List of Members
Anaconda Ensemble Theatre is a newly formed professional theatre company whose mission is to create culture for the community by empowering artists to engage and challenge audiences.
The Downtown Dance Collective in Missoula is a multi-functional art space for visual and performing artists to teach, perform and exhibit. Their programs and services reach everyone, and serves every ability in the Missoula community.
The non-profit Experimental Theatre Cooperative (ETC) supports the development of regional theatre artists, playwrights, and their work, producing an annual Play Fest in Helena, MT, called the Last Chance New Play Festival.
The Montana Actors’ Theatre (MAT) is a regional, non-profit theatre company operating in North Central Montana. Mainstage shows, children’s and youth programs, regional collaboration and educational outreach are all part of MAT’s identity. MAT strives to provide cultural opportunities to a large, rural, underserved region comprised of an extremely diverse population. Our aim is to create inclusive experiences through theatre, while partnering with and supporting other disciplines. Currently, MAT produces a nine-month, eight-show mainstage season. From large-scale musicals to cutting-edge dramas to original works, we offer something for everyone. Education and enlightenment, through entertainment, is our ultimate goal.
The Rocky Mountain College Theatre Arts Department provides student-motivated performance and design opportunities and experiences. Smaller cohorts offer deeper exploration into any and all aspects of performative art, from acting to story creation to puppetry to all forms of design to stage combat and everything in between. The Department produces two mainstage shows each year along with student directed projects, community collaborations, and original works festival. rocky.edu/theatre and RMC Theatre Arts on Facebook.
Since 1997, Orphan Girl Children's Theatre strives to create artistry in Butte and surrounding communities by educating through the performing arts, while cultivating an inclusive community enriched by creative, courageous, well-rounded young people with an instilled sense of accountability and imagination. OGCT produces 4-6 shows a year (including a new play festival), theatre workshops, camps. and classes. With an emphasis on young artists ages 7 and up - Orphan Girl engages both the young and the young at heart within our community.
Pearl M. Allen
Pearl Allen 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. Pearl presently serves as MPN’s Treasurer.
Rita is an award-winning playwright living in Missoula. To date, more than a dozen of her plays have been produced around the country. Find out more at ritabarkey.com
Vincent is a Helena-based author and playwright. He is the author of the novella Count Valentine, and the creative mind behind the Sundry MT ARG.
Op-ed columnist and author of The Huckleberry Book and Wolf: The Journey Home. Asta thinks live theatre is the real "social media."
Last appearing in MPN's "From Page to Stage" in several roles, Julie is from Helena and has written and performed in radio plays and biennial sketch comedy. She is very happy and grateful to be able to support Montana playwrights and the Montana Playwrights Network's productions of original plays!
A retired orthopedic surgeon, Cathy has been an active participant in Colony since the summer of 2007, when she established a playwriting endowment in her mother's name. She has been a member of Zoola Playwrights since that time, participating in many group self-produced play festivals and individual new works. Most recently, Cathy has been frequently chosen to have her work read at the MT Rep's 4x4 and 5x5 Play Slams.
Theresa moved west from the flatlands to the mountains decades ago and has filled her Montana days with art of one form or another. She took a break from teaching art classes and piano lessons during the Covid season and took a dive into another art form—creative writing.
Christa recently moved to Helena and was happy to find MPN. She has a background in theatre, film, and recently finished a novella.
Shaun Gant is a Missoulian with Zoola Playwrights. Her work is published widely online, in journals, books and anthologies. She often collaborates with visual and theatre artists to write and produce shorts and full-length plays in Montana.
Joanne Morris Gores
Once I discovered the relationship between mental strength and writing, my focus on dialogue seemed unstoppable. I have grown to love playwriting. It is a great combination of movement, voice and word that is accessible to all.
Montana-based MFA student, former fly-fishing guide, combat veteran, and creator of the upcoming debut novel, Our Sisters’ Cries, which is a fictional exposition of the missing Native American women crisis in Montana.
Jayme C. Green
Jayme is an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Certified Teacher/Certified Theatrical Firearms Instructor with the Society of American Fight Directors, and a Level 1 Curling Instructor with USA Curling. He has been involved in numerous productions locally, regionally, and nationally as an actor, director, writer, fight choreographer, stunt performer, designer and instructor. He is also a man of mystery and power, whose power is exceeded only by his mystery. And an accomplished parallel parker.
Deb is a community builder, writer, artist and Tantric yogini based in Helena, MT. Deb works with communities to harness the creative spirit of groups who want to explore how, working together, we can have an impact on the communities we live in and the lives we share. She blogs at www.debhalliday.com.
Matthew James Hodgson
Matthew is currently a postgraduate student of literature at Trinity College Dublin, originally from Helena, Montana. He received an undergraduate degree from Montana State University–Bozeman in rhetoric and a postgraduate degree from the University of Chicago in humanities before continuing his education in Ireland.
Rob L. Holter
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. Mr. Holter 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.” Robert currently serves as the Vice President for MPN.
Janice A. Jamruszka-Wilson
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. Janice currently serves as the Secretary for MPN.
”An Unrelenting Force You Cannot Ignore.” Once decided, a freight train couldn’t stop her! She defines “persistence” because SHE WILL ACHIEVE! Breaking athletic records in school, collecting debts no one else could, number reconciliation beyond question, out-performing people 35 years younger at Crossfit, and finding solutions where there are none. She will organize your personal life, save your small company, and dare to do many things you won’t.
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.
At the Helena Avenue Theatre, Clare serves as Resident Stage Manager, part-time employee and dedicated volunteer. She developed her interest in theatre as a kid volunteering to sell concessions at the Myrna Loy Center, and worked there with the local Saturday Night Live troupe doing stage work and acting in different skits for over 15 years.
Terrence is making his debut with the Helena Avenue Theatre. Full of energy and creativity, he loves writing stories, inventing games, and playing sports. Having been introduced to theatre by his family, he was instantly hooked on learning as much as he could about productions. He's excited to be part of the crew!
Mr. Karr is a writer from Mississippi. He uses and draws from his chaotic past as a conduit for his stories and music. He formerly wrote for The Madison County Journal and WLBT in Jackson, MS.
Ean M. Kessler
Ean’s work has been produced nationally and internationally, including NYC Off-Broadway. The former Network Director for Chicago Dramatists, his work is published by Vintage Books.
Jay is a native Montanan living in Missoula. His young adult plays have been produced by Montana Repertory Theatre’s Educational Outreach Program and his radio comedies by Montana Public Radio. His own play adaptation, The Girl with the Ivory Ankle: A Montana Musical will be produced by the Orphan Girl Children’s Theatre in Butte in the fall of 2023. More info at jaykettering.com.
Chantal Marie has written, directed and produced commercials, short films and stage plays.
Brian Massman has worked professionally as an actor, director, playwright, videographer, film editor, and video projection designer. Brian is a native Montanan who has recently come home after working and lecturing in all of these fields in New York State.
"Been onstage a lot in plays and as a cowboy poet. Have written over 150 poems. Am working on writing my first play."
Joan Melcher has written more than a dozen plays and screenplays. She has had many staged readings and two plays produced, in Butte and NYC.
Jordan R. Mencher
Jordan is a retired microbiologist, musician, composer/lyricist, storyteller, poet and playwright. His creative works have been performed in Washington, DC, Colorado and Montana. He also served as Colorado State Representative, Vice President and President of the Rocky Mountain Theatre Association and as Producing Director of the Roving Stage Theatre Company.
Pamela Jamruszka Mencher
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. Pamela currently serves as MPN’s President.
Ross Peter Nelson
Ross Peter Nelson’s most recent productions are a New Orleans premier of Becoming Number Six and the Montana production of Colter's Hell, an ecological Montana fable. His one-act, Zoloft Tango, won the Audience Favorite award at the Spokane Playwrights Forum. Ross's work has been produced in the US and overseas. Some of his ten-minute works are available from Heartland Plays. Ross is also the author of prize-winning short fiction and two technical books. He taught undergraduate playwriting in New Orleans, and he is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Ross served as playwright-in-residence at the Can Serrat artist’s colony in Spain during October 2017.
Mark is a former Army officer, an actor, writer and director.
Steve is an artist, performer, playwright and a 4th generation resident of Helena. His first play, performed before a paying audience, was in the Seattle area in 1979. As an actor he's toured with Shakespeare in the Parks and also worked briefly as actor/director/playwright with the Vigilante Players. As one of the main organizers of Helena's Last Chance New Play Fest, Palmer has written and performed a number of one-man shows including BOXED, which was also performed at the United Solo Festival in New York City in 2017.
The history of Bernadette's family is entwined with the history of Montana, from the arrival of her mother’s grandparents in Virginia City in 1864 and the immigration of her father’s parents from Ireland to work in the Butte mines to current family members living all across the state. She is a retired Social Worker, so now she can spend her time pursuing her first love, Montana history.
Glade loves to write screenplays for a hobby (completed six so far) and is now venturing into playwriting. She resides in Helena and also enjoys painting.
Jeff is Director of the English Teaching Program at the University of Montana. He has completed 2 plays.
William is a born and raised Montana Native American. He loves to read and write, and participated in Leah Joki’s DUI PROJECT in 2021.
Glenn writes and teaches autobiographical fiction and personal essays. More at GlennSchiffman.net
Amber B. Skylar
Jackie is a Theatre/Film Actor and Theatre Director based in Anaconda, Montana. Connecting through new works and storytelling is a passion of Jackie’s. www.jackiefreemanvetter.com.
Emily is a Helena-based playwright and screenwriter. Her work has been produced across the country and in the UK.
Greg Younger's plays have had productions throughout the country. Awards include Best Play for Chrysalis at the 2021 Last Chance New Play Fest.