List of Members
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.
FYI Theatre Company
“Alternative, underground theatre practitioners.”
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.
Judith Mountain Players is a non-profit, community theatre organization that aims to educate, entertain, and engage our fellow citizens in the performing arts.
Marianne is the Director of Education, acting teacher and director at the Grandstreet Theatre. She was the 2015 Runner-up for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award.
Amanda is a recent graduate of Helena High School and plans to continue her training in the performing arts and will be continuing her practice in London at the end of 2017.
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. To date, more than a dozen of her plays have been produced around the country.
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.
Mrs. Frank staunchly supports Arts and Cultural events in the United States; and two of her family members have successful careers in the arts.
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.
A lifelong Montanan, Susan was a teacher, is a mother of a teenaged son, and now turns her hand to writing mysteries.
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.
Xan S. Johnson
Ph.D. Theatre, University of Utah. Founder Theatre School for Youth, including invited tours Russia, France, and UK. Directing 200+ productions in professional, community, university, devised community outreach, and K-12 public education. Recent Academic Senate President. International keynote speaker Child Drama and Social Cognitive Neuroscience. Ph.D. Northwestern University.
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 is a native Montanan living in Missoula. His three-part radio series, "Notes From The Huntley Project," was produced by Montana Public Radio. To date, he has written four plays for the Montana Repertory Theatre’s Educational Outreach Tour, including "Raised in the Saddle: The Phantasmagorical Journey of a Future Rodeo Queen" in 2017. Samples of Jay’s work can be found at jaykettering.com.
Brian is an actor, director, playwright, filmmaker, video projection designer, native Montanan, retired college acting and filmmaking professor, and former member of The Vigilante Theatre Co.
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.
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.
Steve is a performer/writer born and raised in Helena and one of the chief organizers of the Last Chance New Play Fest, now in its fifth year.
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.
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.
Cynthia is a screenwriter and photographer. Her work experience includes public radio DJ, television production assistant, and EMT. Her screenplays have won multiple awards.