Faculty and Staff

Eric Renschler, Department Chair / Scenic Design / Associate Professor

Eric Renschler, BS, BA, MFA

Department Chair / Scenic Design / Associate Professor

Shanklin Theatre, Room 102

In 2015, Mr. Renschler was named the Chair of the UE Department of Theatre, after joining the faculty in 2006 as the scenic designer. He returned to his alma mater after nearly twenty years of working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and on regional and international productions.

His Broadway designs include scenery for Mamaloshen and As Long As You Both Shall Laugh (including a subsequent national tour and PBS special). His Off-Broadway credits include designs at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Circle Repertory Company, Pan-Asian Repertory Theatre, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, and The Juilliard School. His regional design credits include Cincinnati Playhouse, Chautauqua Opera, Barrington Stage Company, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Adirondack Theater Festival, Hangar Theatre, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

As an associate designer, he worked on over forty Broadway shows, national tours, and international productions, including The Color Purple, Doubt, Chicago, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Footloose, Proof, Wonderful Town, The Redwood Curtain, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The UE Center for Innovation and Change named Mr. Renschler a 2011 Global Scholar Award-winner. He used his award to expand his experience in the international design arena with a year-long comparative study of national design aesthetics as exhibited through theatrical scenography. He is a former board member for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, a member of the Evansville Historic Preservation Commission, and a frequent grant reviewer for the Indiana Arts Commission.

He holds an MFA in Theatre Design from the University of Michigan and is a member of IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and USA (United Scenic Artists).
Sharla Cowden, Managing Director / Head of Theatre Management

Sharla Cowden, BA, MFA

Managing Director / Head of Theatre Management

Hyde Hall, Room 109 E

Ms. Cowden has been the Head of the Theatre Management program at UE since 2000 and coordinates the national recruiting efforts for the department and the marketing of the theatre season’s productions. At UE, she teaches Theatre Management and Principles of Arts Marketing, as well as independent studies in special topics within the field of arts management.

She served as the Managing Director of Connecticut's Hartford Children's Theatre, Marketing Associate at Hartford Stage, and worked extensively for eight seasons with the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival. She also served as the Audience Development Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma School of Drama for six years.

She is a graduate of Leadership Evansville and is regularly asked to make presentations on networking and business etiquette. In addition, she serves as the co-coordinator of the National Unified Auditions, held annually in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Ms. Cowden has a BA from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a MFA in Theatre Management from Wayne State University’s Hilberry Theatre in Detroit, Michigan.
Diane Brewer, Theatre History and Criticism / Professor

Diane Brewer, BA, PhD

Theatre History and Criticism / Professor

Hyde Hall, Room 109A

Dr. Brewer teaches theatre history and dramatic criticism, serves as the department’s Resident Dramaturg, and directs text-based as well as ensemble-generated productions. An avid supporter of new plays, she has actively developed new work in venues such as Primary Stages, the Tofte Lake Center, The New Harmony Project, the Utah Shakespearean Company Plays in Progress, the Mark Taper Forum’s P.L.A.Y, and the University of Evansville.

Her dramaturgy has earned published credits in Arlene Hutton’s See Rock City and Gulf View Drive. She regularly dramaturgs for award- winning playwright Mark Rigney, whose plays, including Acts of God and Bears, have been produced in nineteen states and Canada. She is a founding ensemble member and performer with In the Mix, an Evansville-based company dedicated to the collaborative development of new work. Her work as a director is a featured subject in Deaf Side Story: Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets and a Classic American Musical (Gallaudet University Press).

She has received the Dean’s Teaching Award from the University of Evansville and a Certificate of Merit for Dramaturgy from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Her developmental initiative has generated grants for playwriting, dramaturgy, and directing from the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, the University of Evansville, and the Illinois Arts Council. Her published articles have appeared in The Dramaturgy Protocol, The Dramaturgy Sourcebook (vol. 4), Theatre Topics, PAJ: Performing Arts Journal, and HowlRound at the Center for Theater Commons.

She earned a BA from Tufts University and a PhD from UCLA. She is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and the Network of Ensemble Theatres.
Stephen Boulmetis, Lighting Design / Associate Professor

Stephen Boulmetis, BFA, MFA

Lighting Design / Associate Professor

Shanklin Theatre, Room 103

Mr. Boulmetis has experience in lighting design for television, fashion shows, cruise lines, theme parks, corporate events, and various architectural projects. His Broadway credits include Associate Lighting Designer for The Drowsy Chaperone, Assistant Lighting Designer for Ring of Fire, Whoopi, Old Acquaintance, Butley, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, and Prymate. He has worked at regional theatres such as Utah Shakespeare Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, American Repertory Theatre, and Westport Country Playhouse.

Mr. Boulmetis received a BFA from the University of Cincinnati–College Conservatory of Music, an MFA from Boston University, and is a member United Scenic Artists–Local 829.
Sarah J Smith, Costume Design / Assistant Professor

Sarah J Smith, BFA, MEIM

Costume Design / Assistant Professor

Hyde Hall, Room 118 A

After over a decade of professional work as a costume designer, stylist, and project manager in New York City, Los Angeles, and regional theatres across the country, Ms. Smith brings her professional work to the classroom while continuing to pursue professional projects. Her theatre work ranges from small-scale new works to opera and Broadway musicals. Sarah has worked at Disney/ABC Television Studios, styled photo shoots for national print campaigns, and designed costumes for television.

Sarah received her Masters and BFA in Drama/Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a proud member of IATSE—United Scenic Artists Local 829 and Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764.
Amelia McClain, Acting / Assistant Professor

Amelia McClain, BFA, MFA

Acting / Assistant Professor

Shanklin Theatre, Room 100B

Ms. McClain served as a guest artist for the 2018–19 academic year and joins the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Acting in August of 2019. She teaches all levels of acting, as well as senior-level audition techniques. In addition, she will direct two productions in the 2019–20 performance season.

She completed a year-long run on Broadway as Sandra in the smash-hit production of The Play That Goes Wrong. Also on Broadway, she worked on Fool For Love, Noises Off, The Heidi Chronicles, The House of Blue Leaves, and the Tony Award-winning Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike. Amelia has been in over 20 productions off-Broadway and in regional theatres across the country.

Her favorites include October/November at Ensemble Stage Theatre in New York, Brooke in Noises Off at Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Pioneer Theatre Company in Utah. If you don’t blink, you can catch Amelia in the film Inside Llewyn Davis, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen.

She received her BFA from the University of Evansville in 2003 and an MFA from the graduate acting program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of Actors Equity Association.
Mitchell Critel, Production Manager / Technical Director / Assistant Professor

Mitchell Critel, BFA, MFA

Production Manager / Technical Director / Assistant Professor

Hyde Hall, Room 118C

Mr. Critel joined the UE Theatre faculty in August of 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Theatre/Technical Director and Production Manager. For six years, he was an Assistant Professor of Practice at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where he was named the 2020 Hixson–Lied Junior Faculty Teaching Award-winner. Prior to joining the faculty at the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film, Mitchell served as the Technical Director at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, from 2010–2014, and as the Assistant Technical Director at the University of Evansville from 2008–2010. He received his MFA from the University of Missouri–Kansas City and a BFA in Technical Theatre Production from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Mitchell’s current research includes the "Integration of Computer Numeric Controlled Routers into Theatre Curriculum," as well as "Adapting Professional Theatre Technical Management Strategies into the College Setting." He is a frequent presenter at the United States Institute of Theatre Technology’s annual conference and is a member of USITT's Technical Production Commission.
Stacey Yen, Guest Artist / Acting / Visiting Assistant Professor

Stacey Yen, BA, MFA

Guest Artist / Acting / Visiting Assistant Professor

Shanklin Theatre, Room 100C

Ms. Yen has accepted the appointment of Visiting Assistant Professor of Acting/Guest Artist for the 2020–21 academic year. Stacey received her MFA in Acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a BA in American History from Brown University. She has previously been a guest artist at Princeton, Fordham, and New York University, and has extensive performance experience both in theatre and television. Her acting credits include roles at several prestigious theatres including: The Public Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, American Conservatory Theatre, The Goodman, Berkley Rep, Arena Stage, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her television guest star appearances include: The Blacklist, The Good Wife, Instinct, Elementary, Madam Secretary, and Treme. She is a member of the Actors Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild.
Wes Grantom, Resident Director / Adjunct Instructor of Directing

Wes Grantom, BFA

Resident Director / Adjunct Instructor of Directing

Hyde Hall, Room 109 B

Mr. Grantom served as a guest artist for the 2018-19 academic year and directed the musical Spring Awakening. In August 2019, he begins a tenure as Resident Director and teaches beginning and advanced directing classes.

His recent directing credits include beep boop, by Richard Saudek, at Ars Nova and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, A Comedy of Tenors, by Ken Ludwig, at Pioneer Theatre Company, Older Brother's Almanac, by Richard Thieriot, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Toxic Avenger: The Musical, by David Bryan and Joe DiPietro, at Pittsburgh CLO, Lone Star Spirits, by Josh Tobiessen, NYC’s Crowded Outlet, Eager to Lose, by Matthew-Lee Erlbach, at Ars Nova, The Steadfast, by Mat Smart, and Mine, by Bekah Brunstetter, for Slant Theatre Project.

He has a number of Broadway credits as resident and associate director, working alongside James Lapine, Emma Rice, John Rando, Anthony Page and Rufus Norris. Mr. Grantom has also directed productions and facilitated workshops at several academic institutions such as University of Evansville, Montclair State University, New York University, Kean College, Centenary College, Professional Performing Arts School, Stella Adler Conservatory, and the Lee Strasberg Institute.

He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, recipient of multiple Drama League Fellowships, a member of Lincoln Center Directors Lab, a 2003 graduate of the University of Evansville, and the Artistic Director of Crowded Outlet, based in Queens.
Jean Nelson, Costume Shop Manager

Jean Nelson, AA, BA, MFA

Costume Shop Manager

Shanklin Theatre, Room 4

Ms. Nelson has served as the costume shop manager and taught several costuming courses at the University of Evansville since 2002. Previously, she owned and operated Town Tailor, specializing in alterations, tailoring, and custom sewing for 20 years. Also, she has worked for the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Opera, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, Santa Fe Opera, Baltimore Opera, and Disney; she continues to spend her summers as a stitcher at The Santa Fe Opera and Guthrie Theatre.

Ms. Nelson has an AA in theatre and business from Austin Community College, a BA in family and consumer science from Mankato State University, and an MA in Design, Housing, and Apparel from the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.
Adam Rager, Assistant Technical Director

Adam Rager, BS

Assistant Technical Director

Shanklin Theatre, Room 108

A native of Mt. Vernon, Indiana, Mr. Rager joined the department in 2017 and oversees all scenic construction and supervises students in the day-to-day operations of the scene shop. A graduate of the University of Southern Indiana, with a B.S. in Theatrical Arts, he has extensive experience with the New Harmony Theatre in technical direction, carpentry, and company management.

Mr. Rager also served as Technical Director for Long Island’s Gateway Playhouse, North Carolina Dance Theatre, and the Albany Berkshire Ballet. Most recently, he worked on the national tours of ELF, DAMN YANKEES, PAW PATROL LIVE, and the 20th anniversary tour of SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE.

Locally, he has designed scenery for Evansville Civic Theatre and Think Pink Productions and is a proud member of IATSE Local 102.
Lindsay Halbig, Dance and Movement / Adjunct Instructor

Lindsay Halbig, BS

Dance and Movement / Adjunct Instructor


Ms. Halbig began her dance training at the age of 3 and developed a love of ballet at The Ballet Center under the direction of Mark Bush in Evansville, IN. While there, she had the opportunity to perform in several ballet productions including The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Snow White, The Red Shoes and other Original Works. It was during this time that she began integrating Pilates conditioning into her dance training, as well as attending a summer intensive worship with David Howard.

She began instructing students at Jan’s School of Dance after graduating from high school and while pursuing her B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Evansville. In 2011, she expanded her instruction to include several classes at Bob’s Gym in Evansville including Pilates, Group Centergy and Burn at the Barre. She continues to perform and choreograph with Legacy Dance Company in Evansville.
Dana Taylor, Adjunct Instructor of Theatre Education

Dana Taylor, BME, MM

Adjunct Instructor of Theatre Education


Mr. Taylor teaches music and theatre at the Mt. Vernon Senior High School Fine Arts Academy in Mt. Vernon, Ind. In addition to teaching, he is the technical theatre editor for Dramatics Magazine and Teaching Theatre Journal.

In 2011, he was named recipient of the Founder’s Award by the Educational Theatre Association and in 2014 received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Education by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology.

Mr. Taylor received his BME and MM degree from Indiana University.
Headshot of Flauto

Joseph P. Flauto, BA, MA, MFA

Designer/Professor Emeritus


Before retiring in 2008, Mr. Flauto served as the department’s Scenic and Lighting Designer for 30 years. He played vital roles in the renovation of of Shanklin Theatre and the construction of the May Studio Theatre and shop expansions. Active in the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for many years, he has had numerous designs appear at regional and national American College Theatre Festivals, including Anatomy of Gray, which was invited to appear at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. His set design for UE’s production of The Comedy of Errors was seen as part of the city-wide Shakespeare in Washington Festival in April of 2007.

Since Mr. Flauto retired from UE, he has designed over a dozen productions, including sets for a production of Skin of Our Teeth at Hope College and costumes for a new play, Bud, Not Buddy at the University of Michigan-Flint.

Mr. Flauto is also active with UE as a President of Friends of Art, a Theatre Society member, and a member of a committee that organizes monthly lunches for the University’s Emeriti Faculty. For many years, he regularly taught at Harlaxton College in the summer. Mr. Flauto currently serves as the Chair of the Preservation Commission of Evansville.
Headshot of McCrory

Patti McCrory, BA, MA

Designer/Professor Emeritus


Retiring in 2017, Ms. McCrory taught and designed at the University of Evansville for 29 years. She has also designed and taught at Indiana State University, the University of California Los Angeles Summer Intensive, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

She regularly spends summers teaching in England at Harlaxton College and spent a month drawing at the Italia Accademia, in Florence. She received her BA from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, her MA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and joined United Scenic Artists in 1990.

Under the mentorship of Ms. McCrory, students from the University of Evansville have succeeded in garnering regional and national awards for their costume and make-up designs. For many years in a row, an Evansville student won the Kennedy Center American College Theater Region III’s award in make-up or costume design and advanced to the national competition. In addition, two of those students received the national award in make-up design and one student received the national award in costume design.

In addition to receiving the 2004 KC/ACTF National Design Fellowship, Ms. McCrory received the 2010 Region III Faculty Service Award for Indiana, and the Gold Medallion Award for extraordinary contributions to the teaching and producing of Theater. Other awards include the Dean's Teaching Award and the Arts Educator of the Year Award from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana.

In 2016, she exhibited in Designs for the Theatre and Life: An Exhibit, a collection of set, costume, and lighting designs, at the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana. As a Professor Emeritus, she is teaching cooking classes and baking, with menus inspired from culinary experiences abroad.

She has two unimaginably handsome and talented twin boys and one amazingly talented daughter in law that live in Los Angeles and New York City.
Sherri Peachee, Senior Administrative Assistant

Sherri Peachee

Senior Administrative Assistant

Hyde Hall, Room 109

Mrs. Peachee oversees the day-to-day operations of the main office, coordinates prospective student visits, and serves as the clearinghouse for internal and external questions pertaining to the Department of Theatre. She serves as an ex-officio member of the UE Theatre Society Board of Directors and facilitates communication on behalf of the executive committee.

Office Phone:

Office Email:

Office Location:
Room 109, Hyde Hall