Meet Our Faculty & Staff

Felicia Bertch is a theater artist. She holds a BA in English from Wheaton College and an MFA in Acting from The University of South Carolina. She studied physical theater arts at L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques LeCoq in Paris and has lived and worked professionally as an actor, clown and model all over the country. Felicia has taught, directed and choreographed at various institutions, including The University of South Carolina, Wheaton College, The University of Chicago and Columbia College as well as in Tanzania, East Africa. She is also a producer and performance devisor and is rarely bored.

Joe Chapa (director) is an associate professor of theatre at the University of Texas at Arlington where he teaches stage combat, acting, Improvisation and children�s theatre. He is the past recipient of the Getrude Golladay Memorial teaching award and a nominee for the Chancellors excellence in teaching award at UTA. While at UTA, he has served as Fight Director for many regional theatre productions including Narnia-the Musical, Prince Caspian, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, The Princess and the Pirate and The Jungle Book. Joe is also the co-founder of the Texas Theatrical Combat Academy which offers combat training to DFW professional and non-professional actors alike. Mr. Chapa is also a recognized Associate Instructor of Stage Combat with Dueling Arts International He teaches the disciplines of Unarmed , Broadsword, Single Rapier, Rapier and Dagger, Smallsword and Quarterstaff, Joe is also the director of Flight 12, UTA's comedy improvisation troupe. Joe holds a B.A in Television Production/Speech Communications from the University of Texas at Arlington, and an M.F.A. in acting from the University of Mississippi, where he was awarded Best Graduate instructor.

Dr. Natalie J. Gaupp is Playwright-in-Residence for the University of Texas at Arlington's Maverick Theatre Company. She has developed her plays with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's New Play Development Workshop (Chicago, Denver, New Orleans, NYC, Toronto), Inner Space Theatre (NYC), Pelican Theatre (Miami, FL), FronteraFest (Austin, TX), Creative Arts Theatre & School (Arlington, TX), Watertower Theatre�s Out of the Loop Festival (Addison, TX), Playwright's Theatre (Dallas, TX), Theatre Three (Dallas, TX), SceneShop at Arts Fifth Avenue (Fort Worth, TX) and the Texas Woman's University New Play Festival. She has been published by the nationally recognized Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas which annually spotlights Texas artists who have made significant contributions in the arts and humanities. Her arts-in-education play, ARTSTARS, was selected for a developmental grant by The Hillcrest Foundation, produced by Theatre Three (Dallas, TX) and received further support from Variety Club of North Texas. Gaupp has participated in La MaMa Umbria International Playwright Retreat in Spoleto, Italy, where she worked under the guidance of Erik Ehn, Head of Playwriting at Brown University. She has directed several Maverick Theatre Company Mainstage productions including THE TEMPEST, THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning DOUBT. Additionally, Dr. Gaupp has received the Oscar G. Brockett Award in Theatre History from the Southwest Theatre and Film Association, is Producing Director of Spare Room Productions and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. Dr. Gaupp earned her Ph.D. in Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Andrew Christopher Gaupp is a director, educator, theatre administration specialist and an Actors' Equity Association actor and stage manager. He holds a BA from Texas Tech University and a MFA from Trinity University where he studied under theatre pioneer Dr. Paul Baker. A former member of the Dallas Theater Center's Resident Artistic Company, Gaupp has been recognized by major media critics as one of the area's finest character actors. Professor Gaupp has directed numerous productions in the United States and Canada and his productions have been listed by area newspaper critics in their top ten lists of the year. He has served as assistant managing director of Dallas Theater Center, general manager of the national off-Broadway tour of COTTON PATCH GOSPEL, presenter of national touring productions, managing director of Arkansas Repertory Theatre, and Founding Managing Director of the Ring Theatre's Professional Company (Coral Gables, FL). Professor Gaupp has served as an arts consultant since 1980 to educational, cultural and governmental agencies in seven states. His arts administration research has been awarded the annual Herb Griggs Award by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT). A former president of Southwest Theatre and Film Association, Gaupp has received numerous awards from the organization and induction into the prestigious College of Fellows. The University of Texas at Arlington has presented Prof. Gaupp with the Gertrude Golladay Award for Outstanding Teaching, he has been nominated for teaching awards, and he has received awards from various arts and civic organizations for his volunteer and creative work. Professor Gaupp has also taught for Trinity University's graduate and undergraduate theatre programs, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Miami (FL), and has guest lectured for several other univeristies and organizations.

Dr. Julienne Aleta Greer is a scholar artist who directs, performs, produces, and writes in the theatre, film, and game studies disciplines. She earned a BFA in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an MA in Media Arts from Texas Christian University’s Bob Schieffer’s College of Communication (formerly College of Communication). Dr. Greer earned her Ph.D. in Humanities — Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas’ School of Arts and Humanities. Her work has been produced in New York and Los Angeles as well as regionally across the United States. Dr. Greer continues to perform in the Dallas-Fort Worth area; including Dallas Theatre Centre, Stagewest, and Circle Theatre. She authored “Digital Companions: Analyzing the emotive connection between players and non-player character companions in video game space” which was accepted to the 2011 Videogame Cultures and the Future of Interactive Entertainment conference at Mansfield College in Oxford, UK. Dr. Greer is a member of the Actors Equity Association (AEA), and the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG/AFTRA).

Michelle Harvey is the resident scenic design faculty member for The University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Theatre Arts. She teaches classes in Scenic Design, Scenic Painting and Properties and oversees these areas for departmental productions. Outside of the University, Michelle has worked for Zoom.7 of Dallas on projects for Mary Kay and The Pampered Chef and was the Scenic Designer for Theatre Arlington’s production of Working which earned the award for Best Set Design for the 2007-2008 season and was also nominated for a Column Award. Michelle also serves as the Vice-Commissioner for Programming in the Scenic Design Commission for The United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) and as the Faculty Sponsor for UTA Theatre Department’s USITT Student Chapter. Previous to UTA, she served for five years at Kent State University Trumbull Campus where in addition to teaching duties served as the Technical Director/Designer for over 30 productions. Michelle received her MFA degree in theatrical scenic design from The University of Arizona in 2001, and BA degree from The Ohio State University.

Anne Healy is a native of Iowa and comes to the Dallas/Fort Worth area from New York City where she worked for many years as a professional actress and musical theatre performer. Anne received a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from the music department at the University of Northern Iowa and an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre/Acting from the theatre department at the University of Miami. While in Miami, Anne studied commercial and film acting with Iris Acker. Currently Anne is completing her Ph.D. at The University of Texas-Dallas. A member of Actors Equity Association, Anne’s diverse background includes work with the Light Opera of Manhattan, The Walnut Street Theatre, PCPA Theatrefest, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, and the North Shore Music Theatre to name a few. Favorite shows include Into The Woods, Side By Side By Sondheim, Sweeney Todd, H.M.S. Pinafore, On The Twentieth Century, and Camelot. Related work experience includes performances with Carnival Cruise Lines, The Sheraton Bal Harbor Hotel-Miami, Marco Polo Hotel-Miami and singing the National Anthem at Avery Fisher Hall-NYC. Anne has had the pleasure of working with six-time Tony Award nominee and director of Miramax’s movie of the Broadway musical Chicago, choreographer and director Rob Marshall. In addition, Anne has trained and worked with veteran opera and musical theatre director Johnathon Pape.
Locally, Anne is thrilled to have been in The Sound of Music as part of Casa Mañana’s Summer Series at Bass Performance Hall, participated in the Dallas New Playwrights Series at the Dallas Hub Theatre as Amy in Noah in My Bedroom, and worked with Amphibian Productions in the one-woman show Just Because You're Paranoid... which premiered in Fort Worth before opening at the famous New York City cabaret "Don't Tell Mama". Recent directing projects include the Maltby/Shire musical Baby for TCU at Fort Worth's Casa Mañana Theatre, Working for the Labyrinth Theatre (Equity) in Dallas, Das Barbecü, and Leading Ladies at Theatre Arlington, The Heidi Chronicles, The Robber Bridegroom, and Dead Man Walking and the musical direction of Cabaret at UTA.
Anne has taught musical theatre performance classes, directing, acting, musical theatre and theatre survey, theatre in education, management for actors, dance for the actor, voice and articulation, and improvisation classes at the University of Miami, Tarrant County College, Texas Christian University, and The University of Texas-Arlington. Anne’s musical theatre workshops have been enthusiastically received at KCACTF conferences, the International Thespian Festival, and the Texas Non-Profit Theatre Conference. Anne wrote an article about Irving Berlin’s contribution to Vaudeville for the American Vaudeville Museum, which was published in their quarterly journal. Anne continues her research in the area of Vaudeville as she completes her creative dissertation culminating in a full-length musical about the lives of Vaudevillians at the turn of the century.

Amanda Jackson is a performer, choreographer, educator, stylist, and avid cooking improviser holding an M.F.A. in Dance from Texas Woman’s University, where she earned the Excellence in Performance Award and Scholarship and the Pauline Bishop Leman Memorial Award and Scholarship for outstanding artistic achievement. While studying at TWU, Amanda worked as the dance department’s Publicity Coordinator, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Director of KidsDance, and toured with their repertoire-based DanceWorks and improvisational company DanceLab. Amanda taught as an adjunct professor at Tarrant County College Northwest for three years, where she also served as the Assistant Artistic Director of Mosaic Dance Project. Additional teaching credits include master classes and residencies at Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, American College Dance Association, University of North Texas, and Luther College in Decorah, IA. Amanda has performed extensively in local venues as well as professionally at The Kennedy Center with CholoRock Dance Theatre, the American Dance Festival’s 75th Anniversary with Mark Dendy, New Genre Arts Festival with Sarah Gamblin, and most recently at Highways Performance Space in California with Rebecca Bryant. Her choreography has been presented across the US with a notable experience at Harvard University’s 2011 conference Educational Bodies: The Performance of Gender and Sexuality in Academia. Last summer, she toured her high-powered collaborative dance Face on the Ground in Las Vegas. Amanda is currently Co-Director of Big Rig Dance Collective as well as Senior Lecturer and Director of the new Maverick Dance Company at University of Texas at Arlington.

Meredith Knight is a Senior Lecturer and the Associate Artistic Director of the Maverick Dance Company. She holds her M.F.A. in Dance from Texas Woman''s University where she was presented with the Pauline Bishop Leman Memorial Award & Scholarship (2009) and the Outstanding Graduate Student Award (2012). Before joining the Department of Theatre Arts at UTA, she taught dance at TWU, Legacy Preparatory Charter School, North Central Texas College, and Eastfield College. Meredith is also the modern dance instructor at the esteemed Dallas Ballet Center. At DBC, she teaches the Apprentice Trainee company members, participates in the annual Nutcracker production as a performer and teacher, and choreographs and coaches contemporary solos for select Youth American Grand Prix contestants. Last spring, Meredith choreographed HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL for the Lake Highlands United Methodist Church A.C.T. program and was the guest choreographer for the Eastfield Dance Company at Eastfield College. She received national recognition in 2014 for her collaborative choreography, Face on the Ground, through her inclusion in the 16th annual Dance in the Desert Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. A founding member and long-time collaborator with Big Rig Dance Collective, Meredith is interested in opening minds through artistic collaborations, multimedia investigations, and a little bit of humor.

Professor LaFontaine holds an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California and a B.A. from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. He has designed and directed numerous productions throughout the United States over the last twenty-five years. Projects have included: serving as Producer/Director for the Rochester Repertory Theatre Company (Minnesota); several scenic designs including Cyrano de Bergerac with Christopher Cary at the John Anson Ford Theatre (Hollywood, California); The Cherry Orchard with Bella Itkin at the Goodman School of Drama (Chicago); and lighting design for various artists at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall (Las Vegas). His most recent work was the stage direction for the world premiere of the new Richard M. Sherman, Milt Larson and Joe Hoffman musical Little Old Broadway. Before UT-Arlington, he was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Chair of the Theatre Department at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition, he is a member of United Scenic Artists, New York local 829.

Jared joined the UTA Department of Theatre Arts in the Fall of 2008. He received his MFA in Theatrical Design, specializing in lighting design, from the University of Memphis and his B.S. in Theatre from Lamar University. Jared's design work in the DFW area has been featured with Shakespeare Dallas, WaterTower Theatre, McKinney Repertory Theatre, The Inevitable Theatre Company, The Festival of Independent Theatres, and as a guest artist with the University of North Texas. Jared teaches students interested in Lighting and/or Sound Design.

Laurie Land received her M.F.A. in Costume Design, from the University of Memphis. She began working with UTA in the spring of 2009, designing costumes for The Robber Bridegroom. Along with her work at UTA, she is currently a free-lance costume designer in Dallas, as well as, the costume shop manager at the Dallas Children’s Theater. She has designed for various theatres in Dallas including: Shakespeare Dallas, The Dallas Children’s Theater, WaterTower Theatre and The Inevitable Theatre Company. Laurie has also served as costume shop manager for the past two summer seasons at Shakespeare Dallas. Her recent work outside of Dallas includes co-lighting design for Voices of the South’s Cicada; and costume design for All the Great Books, Abridged and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (School Tour) at the Hangar Theatre.

Dr. Dennis Maher received his B.A. Cum Laude from St. Louis University, his M.A. from the University of Memphis, and his Ph.D. from The University of Wisconsin- Madison. During his forty-four year career as a theatre professional, he has directed and performed extensively across the country, and his plays have been produced throughout the Southwest and Southeast. In addition to directing at least one production each season for twenty-eight years at UTA, he continues to serve as the appointed dramaturg for the Department. He is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. Thrice nominated for the university’s highest honor, The Academy of Distinguished Teachers, Dr. Maher was UT-Arlington’s 2005 nominee for the Minnie Stevens Piper Professorship, honoring excellence and dedication to teaching in the state of Texas, and a nominee for the President’s Award honoring Excellence in Distance Education. His opinions on popular culture, theatre, film and baseball have been sought and cited by such diverse publications as The New York Daily News, ABCNews.com, USA Today, The Arizona Republic, the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Seraphina Nova received her MFA degree, in Dramatic Writing, from Smith College in New England. She also received a second MFA degree, in Directing, from the University of Idaho. She has travelled all over the world, teaching English from Spain to Eastern Europe and worked as a volunteer teacher and AIDS worker in South Africa and Kenya. She has had several of her plays produced across the country. She won “Best Play of the Year” in Lavender Magazine in 2003. She has taught graduate Literary Theory at Tiffin University and Directing, Acting and Playwriting at other institutions. She has survived malaria in a rural African village, dove in Mariannas Trench, ran with the bulls in Spain, marveled at the Sistine Chapel, and camped on a Namibian shore where the desert meets the ocean. She has had the opportunity to use theatre as a teaching tool all over the world (in AIDS education) and has witnessed the arts alive and well in places most would not imagine them to be thriving. All of this has only fed her passion to write. She is thrilled to have had her first novel published, ANOTHER STONE TO CARRY (All That Matters Press) and is represented by the Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency in NYC.

Kris O’Brien hails from Minnesota where she holds degrees from the University of MN-Duluth in Visual Arts and Theatre, and from Concordia University-St. Paul in Arts Education. She has been a Performance Company Member and Resident Costume Designer for Renegade Comedy Theatre and Dark Horse Theatre in Minnesota as well as Costume Manager for Norcostco in Minneapolis and freelance designer in the Minnesota theatre scene. As a Graphic Designer, Kris also creates our department marketing materials and season posters.

Linda earned her Associates of Applied Science degree from Hill College , where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, after graduating she worked for Hill College in the IT Department. She joined UTA in 2004 where she worked for the scholarship department for four years and joined the Theatre Arts department in 2010 where she manages the Box Office and is the Administrative Assistant.

Detra Payne loves the arts, especially theatre and film. She has been acting professionally for 25 years. She earned a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Washington in Seattle, and an MFA in Acting from the Actor’s Studio Drama School a division of The New School. As a professional actor her work has been seen Off Off Broadway, in regional theatre, in numerous films, television shows, commercials and industrials. Detra is a member of SAG-AFTRA, and is working on becoming a member of AEA. She is represented by The Clutts Agency in Dallas and Colors Talent Agency in Memphis. She is a member of the Black Theatre Network, and is a founding member of one of Los Angeles’ most successfully running theatre companies, Sacred Fools Theatre. Most recently she was the Managing Producer for Theatre Oxford, in Oxford, MS, were she produced and acted in several productions. Detra was also a company member of Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis, TN where she taught adult acting classes and acted in a number of productions that earned her Ostrander award nominations. Detra has taught and continues to teach theatre to youth in Los Angeles, New York, Mississippi, and Dallas. Along with acting and teaching theatre, Detra has been fortunate to work in the film industry behind the scenes for many years in a variety of capacities, from actor to PA (production assistant), talent coordinator, production coordinator, director, producer and personal assistant. She acts and teaches because she loves it, it is as simple as that!

Tiffany is our artist-in-residense

Linette Tucker serves as the Academic Advisor for The University of Texas at Arlington’s Department of Theatre Arts. Raised in Arlington, Linette is a homegrown alumnus, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies degree from UTA. She began her career at UTA in 2002, after working with student organizations at Tarrant County College. Before joining the Theatre Arts Department, Linette advised pre-professional students in UTA’s Department of Biology. While there, she was named UTA’s Outstanding Academic Advisor in 2010 after receiving an honorable mention for the award in 2008. In 2012, the National Society of Leadership and Success honored her with the ‘Excellence in Service to Students Award’.

Laurel Whitsett is a supporter of creativity in many forms. Her professional acting career began over twenty years ago in Los Angeles after receiving her BA in Theatre Arts from the University of California San Diego. In 2005 she earned an MA in Drama Text and Performance Studies from the University of London King’s College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Laurel toured nationally with HIT Entertainment’s Bob the Builder Live! and has worked in the area since 1998 with companies such as the Dallas Theater Center, Stage West, Amphibian Stage Productions, Undermain, and Theater 3. In 2011, her work in Rajiv Joseph’s Animals Out of Paper (Amphibian Stage Productions) earned her a Fort Worth Weekly “Best of” Critic’s Choice award for Female Actor. Laurel also enjoys film and commercial work, having appeared in numerous national TV commercials including those for American Airlines, AT&T, and Dodge. Are you a horror film fan? If so, you can see Laurel as Sheriff Terry Frankel in Splinter; indie film fans can catch her as the sarcastic librarian in Super opposite Rainn Wilson, while mainstream moviegoers can see her in Premonition with Sandra Bullock. Having worked as Chuck Norris’ dialogue coach for the final season of Walker, Texas Ranger, Laurel has experience in a variety of positions including film editor and director. Laurel is also a certified Sign Language interpreter and recently worked with the Dallas Theater Center as a Sign Language coach on its production of Bruce Norris’ Clybourne Park.

Eric is a proud alumnus of the UTA Department of Theatre Arts, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre Performance in 2006. Eric currently teaches the department’s Beginner Stage Combat class. He began studying Theatrical Combat in 2004, while attending UTA, and has since become a Certified Instructor with Dueling Arts International and a Recognized Theatrical Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors. From 2008 to 2011, Eric attended Western Illinois University where he earned a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Acting, and was able to experience the Chicago theatre scene. Subsequently, he returned to the DFW metroplex with his wife Jen and his son Gordon to continue professional acting and teaching. Eric has performed professionally with Festival 56 in Princeton, Illinois, Circle Theatre and Jubilee Theatre in Fort Worth, McKinney Repertory Theatre, and the Farr Best Theatre in Mansfield. In addition, he has worked as a Fight Director and Combat Consultant for productions at Richardson Theatre Center and Southlake Carroll High School, and has taught Acting and Scene Study with CATS in Arlington.