Michael Benson has worked across the nation as a scenic designer, technical director, scenic artist, and sound designer for over twenty years for such theatres as Northern Stage Company, Pittsburgh Musical Theatre, Ohio Light Opera, Cleveland Playhouse and the American Heartland Theatre. Scenic designs of note include L’incoronazione di Poppea, Les Miserables, Beehive: The 60’s Musical, and Ruddigore. Specialties include period research, 3D computer modeling, and digital media for the theatre. In addition to holding degrees in Music and Theatre from Baldwin-Wallace College, he received his MFA in Scene Design from the Pennsylvania State University.
Office: duPont 320
Cate Brewer received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Cate also trained at Michael Howard Studio in NYC. Recent DC acting credits include: (Theatre) Woman in Black in Woman in Black at Keegan Theatre; Kathy in The Revelation of Bobby Pritchard (reading) Spooky Action Theater, Sue Bayliss in All My Sons at Keegan Theatre, Claire in Waiting Lessons for The DC SWAN Day Festival, Mrs. Hasty Malone in The Ballad of a Sad Café at Arena Stage’s Edward Albee Festival, Beverly West in MAE at The Mead Theatre Lab. (Film/Television) The Good Listener, Twisted Fate, Who The Bleep Did I Marry?, and Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets. Favorite NYC credits include Young Jean Lee’s Church at PS 122, and Maria in Roland Schimmelpfennig’s Push Up 1-3. Recent directing credits include Frozen, Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Miss Firecracker Contest at UMW, Into The Woods for The City of Fairfax Theatre Co., Four Riffs For A Sailor (Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage), and Gina and Her GPS for The DC SWAN Day Festival.
Office: duPont 322
Bridgette Dennett is a scenic designer and charge artist with a background in the fine arts. Her credits include design and artist credits at venues such as The Rose Theatre of Omaha, Tampa Repertory Theatre, Jobsite Theatre, Stageworks, and a position on the 2015 team for the United States exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial. Favorite recent designs include Macbeth, The Glass Menagerie, Woyzeck, and The Pitmen Painters. She specializes in painting and sculpture, casting and mold-making, ceramics, and both period and contemporary architecture. She holds a BA in scenic and costume design from The University of South Florida and a MFA in scenic design from Indiana University.
Office: duPont 327
Helen Housley received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland where she researched the role of the female director in the American Theatre. In addition to being an accomplished director (whose recent work at UMW includes Lysistrata, Doubt and Talking With), Helen is a specialist in the Lessac technique and serves the department as its primary vocal instructor and coach.
Office: duPont 330
Kevin McCluskey received his MFA in theatre design from Indiana University. Kevin’s career has taken him to professional theatres and universities around the country where he has designed costumes and makeup for over 100 productions, including Les Liaisons Dangereuses, The Tempest and Avenue Q at the University of Mary Washington. Kevin’s specialties include costume history, period style and puppetry.
Office: duPont 326
Gregg Stull is a director and arts manager who has worked extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Gregg has received the Grellett C. Simpson Award, UMW’s most prestigious award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, as well as the Mortar Board Outstanding Faculty Award, the Outstanding Young Faculty Award and twice, the Academic Affairs Council Award for Teaching Excellence. The graduating class of 2003 honored him with the Mary W. Pinschmidt Award as the “faculty member who had the greatest impact on their lives.” Gregg directed the national tour of Crimes Against Nature, featuring Chris Kilmartin as well as the UMW productions of The Laramie Project, RENT, Spring Awakening, Avenue Q, The Drunken City and Noises Off among many others. Gregg is the Chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance.
Office: duPont 328
Our adjunct faculty includes widely acclaimed playwright Steve Spotswood, music director Christopher Wingert, theatre historian Natalie Tenner, musical theatre actor, Sherri Edelen, choreographers Roxann Rowley, and Vicky Wilder, fight director, Casey Kaleba, and AEA stage manager Brandon Prendergast.
Julie Liepelt, a scenic and lighting designer at UMW, trained at Indiana University and has worked at numerous theatres and academic institutions. Julie’s design favorites include Sunday in the Park with George, The Secret Garden and Love of the Nightingale. Julie is an expert at fabric modification, having studied specific techniques with eminent artists throughout the country. Julie has branched out into television set design, culminating in a regional Emmy nomination for her work with Megahertz, a live music and video format production.
David E. Hunt, Jr., professor emeritus
David E. Hunt, Jr. earned an MFA in Scene Design from UCLA. He has designed scenery and/or lighting for over 150 theatre and dance productions. Among his favorite designs are Quilters, Into the Woods, The Taming of the Shrew and The Trojan Women. David received an AMOCO Excellence in Scene Design Award for his production of Much Ado About Nothing. David is an accomplished artist whose work hangs in local galleries and is widely commissioned by private collectors.