Meet Your Board

Brad Downall : President, Community Theatre Festival Co-Chair, West Region Co-Representative

Brad Downall

President, Community Theatre Festival Co-Chair, West Region Co-Representative

A 1983 graduate in theatre from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Brad worked in technical theatre in the Twin Cities and Duluth before moving to Madisonville, Kentucky in 1991 to serve as the first Technical Director at the Glema Mahr Center for the Arts at Madisonville Community College.

Brad was promoted to Executive Director in 1999 and has focused on growing community-based activities such as the Summer Arts Academies and reviving community theatre while maintaining the quality of the presenting program and arts-in-education programs.  Brad is a member of the Kentucky Presenters’ Network and the Tennessee Presenters’ Network. Recent theatrical credits include “Young Frankenstein” – Scenic Design, “I Do, I Do” & “Shrek” – Direction, and portrying Birdboot in “The Real Inspector Hound.”

Brad and his wife, Susan Crosswait, share three sons, Ryan – 30, Evan – 22, and William – 20, as well as two dogs and two cats.
Sarah Diamond Burroway : Vice President, Middle Grades Festival Co-Chair

Sarah Diamond Burroway

Vice President, Middle Grades Festival Co-Chair

Sarah Diamond Burroway co-chairs the KTA Middle Grades Festival each spring. She co-founded and directs Actors for Children Theatre (ACT). The Flatwoods troupe has won several regional awards at Southeastern Theatre Conference Community Theatre Festival since 2014 including OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN PROPS, OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN ACTING and the SPIRIT OF THE ROAD award. Under Sarah’s direction, ACT has won OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION honors at the KTA Community Theatre Festival (2013, 2014, 2015) as well as OUTSTANDING COSTUME / MAKE-UP DESIGN, BEST ACTOR and BEST ENSEMBLE. ACT is a two-time recipient of the 50/50 Applause Award from the International Center for Women Playwrights. Sarah’s plays have been produced in New York, California, West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, including the Ten-Tucky Festival of New Plays and the Kentucky New Play Series. Her work is included in the juried Women of Appalachia Project (2015, 2016) and her recent essay, “Morning Milk” was published by The Bitter Southerner’s Folklore Project. Sarah is grants director at Ashland Community and Technical College, where she will serve as Director for the ACTC New Play Festival starting in spring 2017.  She is pursuing her Master of Fine Art in Writing at Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University.
Wayne Kirsch : Secretary, North Region Representative

Wayne Kirsch

Secretary, North Region Representative

After majoring in theatre at Ball State University, Wayne spent 20 years in community theatre in Indiana, as well as directing the theatre program at the high school where he taught for 30 years.  Once coming to the Northern KY area, he has worked with many of the area’s community and regional theatres.  Wayne has acted, directed, and designed lighting and sets, in addition to holding numerous board and committee positions.  He helped his home theatre, Village Players of Fort Thomas, bring entries to KTA State Festival.  He has been a regional representative and Board of Directors member of the Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA), currently serving as 1st Vice-President.  He traveled across much of America performing for Entertainment Consultants of America, in a one-man tour of “The Mr. Wizard Show.”  Wayne has won numerous local, regional, and state awards for acting and design.  He has received the President’s Award and the prestigious Art Rouse Award from the Association of Community Theatres of Greater Cincinnati, OCTA’s Spirit of Community Theatre and Presidential Awards.  He has recently served as State OCTA Fest Chair and chaired the 2015 State OCTA Conference in Cincinnati.
Zackary Ross : Communications Director/Website Manager

Zackary Ross

Communications Director/Website Manager

Zackary Ross is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Bellarmine University in Louisville. He has a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master’s degree in Educational Theatre from New York University, and is an honors graduate of Lewis and Clark College’s theatre department in Portland, Oregon. In addition to his experience as an educator, Zack is an active director/actor/dramaturg.
Jeremy Kisling : SETC State Representative, Central Region Co-Representative

Jeremy Kisling

SETC State Representative, Central Region Co-Representative

Jeremy Kisling has taught, directed and performed in Iowa, Texas, Washington and Kentucky and is the Associate Artistic Director in Charge of Education at Lexington Children’s Theatre. At LCT, Kisling directs two to three productions a year.

He received his BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Northern Iowa and his MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth from the University of Texas at Austin. Kisling is a part time instructor at the University of Kentucky. He authored stage versions of Why Mosquitoes Buzz, Anansi the Spider and The Princess Who Lost her Hair and this season the Paper Bag Princess.

Kisling serves on the Board Directors for American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Kisling served Divisional Chair for Theatre for Youth for the Southeastern Theatre Conference and is the current State Auditions Coordinator for Kentucky. Through the Kentucky Theatre Association, he is a Past President and the current SETC State Representative.
Phillip Neace : High School Festival Chair, East Region Co-Representative

Phillip Neace

High School Festival Chair, East Region Co-Representative

Phil Neace, Hazard Ky, is a veteran of over 30 stage productions, starting with his beginning theatre education under Dr. Daniel Nazworth at the University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg KY.  Since then he has acted in both community and semi-professional productions as well as a brief bit of independent film work.  He is currently the director of the Award Winning Commodore Players Drama Company of Perry County Central High School, what he calls his greatest vocation and is proud to be the founder of the Eastern Kentucky Dramatic Arts Society (EKDAS), hosting a annual Spring Drama Festival solely for established and up-and-coming East Kentucky high school drama programs.  This has led to an amazing growth in the number and popularity of theatre in the region’s high schools.  Phil is most proud of being a loving husband to his wife Heather and for being a father to his two sons in the military (SPC Chance Neace – US Army, Michael Neace – US Navy) and his daughter Jade who is an aspiring writer/singer/librarian/ anthropologist.
Shelby Steege : Northwest Region Co-Representative, Middle Grades Festival Co-Chair

Shelby Steege

Northwest Region Co-Representative, Middle Grades Festival Co-Chair

Shelby Steege has taught drama at Spencer County Middle School and been the director of the Spencer County Middle and High School Drama Department since 2001.  Since moving to Kentucky, from Milwaukee, WI, she has worked with The Lexington Children’s Theater, Stage One, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, and served as the Artistic Director of Anchorage Children’s Theater for ten year.  She received her BFA in Theater Arts from Illinois Wesleyan University (1998) and her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Spalding University (2004).   She has loved theater and working with kids for as long as she can remember and is very thankful that she gets to do both in a job she loves!
Lisa Cope : Community Theatre Festival Co-Chair

Lisa Cope

Community Theatre Festival Co-Chair

Lisa Cope is the Executive Director at Playhouse in the Park in Murray, after having been involved in community theatre for over 35 years.  Under her leadership, Playhouse expanded the educational programming to include all ages from preschool through senior citizens, including bringing The Penguin Project, theatre for children with disabilities, to Kentucky.  Previously, she was a legal secretary for 20 years and taught private piano lessons for 25 years.  She studied piano at Murray State University and Belmont College.  Lisa and her husband have a son and a daughter, both of whom are adopted from Asia, and she hopes to travel there again someday.  Since a young age, she has been involved in every aspect of volunteering for community theatres and believes strongly that communities and theatres benefit from each other.
Bart Lovins : Northwest Region Co-Representative

Bart Lovins

Northwest Region Co-Representative

A Rineyville native, Bart comes to the PAC after a successful career as a producer, director, playwright and actor for over twenty years. In his free time away from the PAC, he continues to explore other artistic endeavors. He holds a BFA in Performing Arts from WKU, interned at Stage One: Louisville’s Children’s Theatre and has studied with Tim Conway, Tom Poston, James Kirkwood and the National Shakespeare Company. He has served as presenter for the National Arts Education Partnership and is a member of Actors Equity Association, Kentucky Arts Presenters Network, Arts Kentucky, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Arts Education Partnership and Rotary International.

Kathi E.B. Ellis :

Kathi E.B. Ellis

Kathi is a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, the Lincoln Center and Chicago Director’s Labs, and is an associate member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. She directs professionally across the country, and has been nominated for the South Florida Regional Theatre Carbonell Award. In addition to serving on the KTA board, Kathi has also served on the boards of Pleiades Theatre and the Juneteenth Legacy Theatre, Louisville’s only African-American theatre. Currently she is KTA’s co-coordinator of the Roots of the Bluegrass New Play Festival. Kathi is a co-artistic director of Looking for Lilith Theatre Company. For six years she was director and co-producer of Josephine Summerstage at Josephine Sculpture Park (Frankfort, KY), directing annual sculpture-inspired Shakespearean productions. Kathi created ShoeString Productions, an ad-hoc collective of artists who work on productions about which they are passionate. Kathi also works as an adjunct faculty member and teaching artist in K-12 education, conducting residencies and professional development sessions. More at

Kim Willard :

Kim Willard

Kim Willard is a native of New York who now resides in Pikeville, KY.  She is the Director of Education for Jenny Wiley Theatre, Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Pikeville, and the Music Minister at Pikeville United Methodist Church.  Kim has a BS in Music Education from Plymouth State University and an MFA in Acting from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, NYC.  She received a Grammy in 2007 for her chorus and drama curriculum at Chesnee High School in rural SC.  She is also a professional director and actor.

Kelley Elder : Community Theatre Festival Co-Chair, West Region Co-Representative

Kelley Elder

Community Theatre Festival Co-Chair, West Region Co-Representative

Kelley Elder is a native Kansan and a proud graduate of Kansas State University, holding degrees in History and Theater. Kelley has acted and directed in Kansas, Colorado, and in Kentucky at Paducah (Market House Theater), Murray (Playhouse in the Park), Madisonville (Glema Mahr Center), and Owensboro (Theatre Workshop of Owensboro, his home theatre).  Kelley was twice nominated as “Best Director, at the International Mystery Writers’ Festival.  He has served twice as a reader for the final play selection for AACT’s original playwriting competition. Kelley has performed his one-man show “Mark Twain Here” in the United States and Europe over 450 times.  He is on the Board of Directors for Theatre Workshop of Owensboro and the Kentucky Theatre Association, taking particular interest in the KTA Middle School Festival.  Kelley is also an artist whose works have appeared in shows throughout the country.
Kim Miller : East Region Co-Representative

Kim Miller

East Region Co-Representative

Alicia Henning :

Alicia Henning

Dawn Connerley : Central Region Co-Representative

Dawn Connerley

Central Region Co-Representative

Alana Ghent :

Alana Ghent

Cheryl Brumley : Roots of the Bluegrass Festival Chair

Cheryl Brumley

Roots of the Bluegrass Festival Chair

Cheryl is a Theatre Arts Instructor at Campbellsville University, with an M.A. in Educational Theatre for Colleges and Communities and a B.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from Georgetown College. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Kentucky Theatre Association as their Roots of the Bluegrass Play Contest coordinator, as well as Kentucky Playwrights Workshop. Her research on psychological connections to theatre has been presented at multiple conferences, including the NYU Forum on Educational Theatre, SETC, and KCACTF Region 4. Cheryl has a diverse background in theatre ranging from performance to production, and education throughout Kentucky and New York City.
Jane Modlin :

Jane Modlin