Pamela Jamruszka Mencher, President
Pamela returns to Big Sky Country after working as a college professor and arts advocate in Colorado. She is an actor, director, producer, costume designer and playwright, with twenty-six of her plays performed throughout the United States; and has received many awards recognizing her playwriting, teaching and professional theatre careers.
Robert Holter, Vice President
Robert has taught for the last 26 years at Helena High School. He has a BA in Theater, a BA in English Literature and Education, and a MA in Theater and an AA with certificate in Energy Technology from the University of Montana. Robert has taught many theater industry workshops in performing, lighting and sound, and is a current member of USITT, and IATSE Local 389, Great Falls Montana. His screen credits include PBS’ “Meet Christopher Parkening” and the feature film “Amazing Grace and Chuck.”
Janice Jamruszka-Wilson, Secretary
Janice always appreciates a good story whether reading, writing or living them. Her entire life has been driven by story. Growing up on the Pine Ridge and Blackfeet Indian Reservations and her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in French, Spanish, and Elementary and Secondary Education have fueled her adult curiosity and passions in pursuit of story as traveler, teacher, editor and playwright.
Pearl Allen, Treasurer
Pearl graduated from Montana State University with a BS in Business – Accounting Emphasis in 1980. She performed financial-compliance audits of state agencies and universities for the Montana Legislative Auditor from 1980 to 2011. She has been treasurer for two nonprofits and performed bookkeeping duties for a nonprofit dance company.
Jane Ogle, Central Regional Representative
Jane earned a BA in Interpersonal Communication and an MA in Communication Studies from the University of Montana. She has taught classes in communication, genealogy, and public speaking; and is a writer in several genres. She now funds a scholarship in the University of Montana’s Communication Studies program for graduate students, and also volunteers for the League of Women Voters.
Leah Joki, Western Slope Regional Representative
Leah is an actor, writer and director. She has extensively taught in prison and was profiled in The Los Angeles Times, American Theatre Magazine and The LA Weekly. Credits include writing and performing Prison Boxing, nominated for best Solo Performance in Los Angeles; her memoir, Juilliard to Jail, is in development with Joe Manganiello’s company; and plays include The Year of Baldwin, Sheets, The Poppovichs, The Big Picture and Time Will Tell. Recently she devised and directed the play Fathers and Sons with inmates in a maximum-security prison.
Jay Pyette, Northern Highlands Regional Representative
Jay Pyette is the Artistic Director for the Montana Actors’ Theatre and has been with the company since its founding in 1992. His experience ranges from acting to directing to tech theatre, as well as playwrighting. His script, The Dead of Winter, played in London’s Union Theatre for a month to strong reviews. Rugburns, a farce, toured Montana and is currently playing in dinner theatres in Northern Montana. His screenplay, Rosaries, was filmed by filmDioynsia. Jay also serves on the Executive Committee of the Montana Arts’ Council.
Gwen Petersen, South End Representative
Gwen is a retired, older-than-dirt rancher. She originated the annual and popular Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1986 and appeared on the Tonight Show that same year as a Cowboy Poet. Gwen writes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays and comedy. She also has produced plays, benefit shows and poetry gatherings for 40 years.