Joan Vail Thorne (President/Founder) began her professional directing career at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. She was Assistant Director to Alan Schneider on various Broadway productions, and went on to direct independently at regional theatres across the country (The Alley, Asolo, DTC, Florida Stage, People's Light and Theatre). In New York, she directed for The Women’s Project, EST, the American Place Theatre, and the Jewish Repertory Theatre, among others. As a playwright, she wrote The Exact Center of the Universe, starring Frances Sternhagen (Women’s Project, Century Theatre), was librettist for three operas (Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Berkshire Opera, Virginia Arts Festival) and has written and directed two short films: Last Rites (PBS) shown on PBS, and Secrets (Cinemax). She has served on the faculties of The Juilliard School, Pace University, and the Playwrights Horizons Studio of New York University.  She is a member of the ASCAP, SDC, the Dramatists Guild, the League of Professional Theatre Women, SDC, and Women’s Project.

Amanda Feldman (Treasurer) is the Managing Director of Classic Stage Company.  Previously she was the Managing Director of Page 73 productions. She has produced with En Garde Arts, The Foundry Theatre, The Play Company, and The Playwrights Realm. For five years she served as the General Manager of the Lark Play Development Center. Amanda founded Neighborhood Productions, a company that worked with entrepreneurial theatre artists who sought to self-produce their work. She was the Founding Managing Director of CollaborationTown, A Theatre Company, where she produced seven of the company’s world premieres. She is a WP Theatre Producers Lab Alum and she received her B.A. in Drama from Tufts University. 

Ludovica Villar-Hauser (Secretary) is the Founder and Artistic Director of Parity Productions. Her credits include Off-Broadway premiere of Final Analysis by Otho Eskin at the Signature Theatre (Outstanding Direction at Midtown International Theatre Festival); the world premiere of Gregory Murphy’s The Countess, which ran for 634 performances Off-Broadway before moving to London’s West End; the Off-Broadway premiere of Leaves of Glass by English playwright Philip Ridley; As It Is In Heaven by Arlene Hutton at The Cherry Lane; Bold Girls by Rona Munro at 29th Street Rep; and the world premieres of A Dozen Perfect Moments, The Brightness of Heaven, Living Arrangements by Laura Pedersen; the world premiere of She Calls Me Firefly by Teresa Lotz at SoHo Playhouse, and, most recently, the world premiere of Charlie’s Waiting at Theaterlab by 2017 Parity Commission Winner, Mêlisa Annis. Villar-Hauser was the youngest woman to simultaneously produce and direct in London’s West End. Her Long Day’s Journey Into Night transferred after its initial run to a larger West End venue. She is a recipient of NYWA’s Galaxy Award, and has served on the Board of the League of Professional Theatre Women since 2009.

Helen Mills invests and manages real estate in New York and Connecticut. She is the founder of Helen Mills Event Space and Theater, an event venue in New York City, and OFFOFFONLINE.COM, an off-off Broadway theater review website. She also is an active volunteer and board member of various civic and community organizations. In her free time, Helen enjoys gardening, travel, and being with family and friends.

Cheryl Black is a Fellow and member of the Executive Board of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, a Fellow of the Mid-America Theatre Conference, a former President of the American Theatre and Drama Society,  and current Exec. Board member of the International Susan Glaspell Society. She was Catherine Paine Middlebush Chair in Fine and Performing Arts from 2015-20. She is the author of The Women of Provincetown, 1915-1922 (University of Alabama Press, 2002), co-editor, with Jonathan Shandell, of Experiments in Democracy: Interracial and Cross-Cultural Exchange in American Theatre, 1912-1945 (SIU Press, 2016), co-editor, with Sharon Friedman, of Decades of Modern American Drama: the 1990s (Bloomsbury Methuen 2018), editor of Broadway Luminaries: Great North American Stage Directors (Bloomsbury Methuen forthcoming 2020), and has published essays in American Literary Culture in the 1920s, Cambridge University Press, 2017. Blackwell’s Companion to American Literature, ed. by Susan Belasco, Theresa Strouth Gaul, Linck Johnson and Michael Soto (Wiley Blackwell, forthcoming), Palgrave Handbook of the History of Women on Stage (forthcoming), Staging a Cultural Paradigm: the Political and the Personal in American Drama (edited by Barbara Ozieblo & Miriam López-Rodriguez), Feminist Theatrical Revisions of Classic Works (edited by Sharon Friedman), Violence in American Drama: Essays on its Staging, Meaning, and Effects (edited by Alfonso Ceballos and Bernardo Muñoz), The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Survey, Theatre Annual, Slavic and East European Performance, Theatre History Studies, The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, New England Theatre Journal, Theatre Studies, the African American National Biography (edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.), Notable American Women (edited by Susan Ware), and Facts on Files' Companion to American Drama (edited by Jackson Bryer). She received a Gold Chalk Award for Excellence in Graduate Education in 2007, an MU William T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence in 2013, and in 2012 was named ATHE’s Outstanding Teacher of Theatre in Higher Education. She served as Book Review Editor of Theatre History Studies from 2006-2013, on the Editorial Board of Theatre Topics from 2009-2015, and Guest Edited the Spring 2014 volume of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre. Recent dramatic adaptations include Performing Bohemia: The Masses, the Players, and The People, Pride and Prejudice, The School for Scandal, Hedda Gabler and Dracula (with LR Hults), Much Ado About Nothing (with Patricia Downey), As You Like It (with Adrianne Adderley), and William Wells Brown’s Leap for Freedom (co-author Renee Pringle, with assistance from mentor Sue Zizza) for the National Audio Theatre Festival. She is a member of AEA-SAG and has directed 20+ productions at MU.


Jann Leeming


Kathleen Chalfant
Tamara Tunie
Joan Firestone
Gwendolyn Alker
Mary Fleischer



Nicole Martorana, Program Director


(Pictured above: Jann Leeming, Ludovica Villar-Hauser, Joan Vail Thorne, Helen Mills, Amanda Feldman)