Jerome Akubue

Jerome Akubue

Administrative Assistant / Production & Artistic

Jerome@GREATTheatre.org

Jerome Akubue is an Administrative Assistant with GREAT, working closely with programming. He has been involved with GREAT since he was a teenager, first as a summer camp attendee and then in a variety of roles. Jerome has been on the Board of Directors, he has choreographed GREAT’s Youth Artist Program, and he recently represented GREAT in the annual fundraiser Dancing With Our Stars. Elsewhere in the community, Jerome has choreographed for St. John’s Prep and St. John’s Boys Choir, and he is Director of Hip-Hop at Ms. Melinda’s Dance Studio. In his free time, he likes to dance, choreograph, and make great coffee. For Jerome, one of the best things about working with GREAT is seeing productions evolve from script to stage.

Bonnie Bologna

Bonnie Bologna

Prop Master

Bonnie@GREATTheatre.org

Breana Burggraff

Breana Burggraff

Administrative Assistant / Finance & Database

Breana@GREATTheatre.org

Breana Burggraff is an Administrative Assistant at GREAT, focusing specifically on finance and databases. She organizes payment for staff and visiting artists, processes donations, and handles subscriptions, along with organizing and managing GREAT’s large database of patrons. Breana also hosts HOW GREAT: The GREAT Theatre Podcast alongside Keenan. GREAT has been lucky enough to have Breana for the past two years as an Administrative Assistant, and for four years as a Teaching Artist before that. With a BA in Theater and Communication and a Minor in English writing, Breana tends to prefer challenging theatre experiences and enjoys analyzing the artistic choices behind most any production. Outside of her time with GREAT Theatre, Breana works with Pale Horse Studio making films. She’s also an avid fan of arts and crafts, and spends many afternoons sewing, knitting, etching glass, or trying a craft entirely new to her.

Ross Harris

Ross Harris

Assistant Technical Director

Ross@GREATTheatre.org

Ross Harris (he/him/his) is from Oklahoma originally, but came to Minnesota in 2017 with a few stops along the way. While Ross originally attended NYU to pursue a BFA in acting, life took him in other directions. Ross was hired by GREAT as an overhire scenic carpenter in the latter half of the 2018-2019 season and was hired full-time the summer of 2019. Since then, Ross has grown into the role of GREAT’s Assistant Technical Director. Along with being heavily involved in the construction of sets, he runs summer camp sound, helps facilitate load-in and load-out, and manages volunteers in the Scene Shop (if you’re interested, please reach out!) In his own words, “I build structures that look alright. But then they get painted. And then they get lit. And somewhere in that process they go from being rather ordinary looking objects to being something magnificent. That magic is only possible through the collaborative efforts of all involved. The finished product is so much more than the sum of its parts and it’s that sense of creative collaboration that fills me with awe and gratitude for the work I am so lucky to take part in every day.” In his spare time Ross enjoys hiking, playing games, and performing in the occasional show– but his favorite way to spend a free day is making a long drawn out meal like gumbo or chili.

Colin Jarrell

Colin Jarrell

Technical Director

ColinJ@GREATTheatre.org

Colin Jarrell (he/him/his) is from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Colin is the Technical Director at GREAT, which means that he coordinates the building of each set and implements their technical elements, including lights, sound, etc. Colin works alongside the production team for each GREAT show to ensure that scenic carpenters and painters have necessary guidance and tools to create sets that range from simple to complicated and dynamic. Colin enjoys seeing volunteers gain confidence as they work with him repeatedly over time.

Jasmyn Linn

Jasmyn Linn

Administrative Assistant / Education & Volunteers

Jasmyn@GREATTheatre.org

Jasmyn Linn (she/her/hers) is an Administrative Assistant at GREAT. In this role, Jasmyn coordinates volunteers and helps facilitate education initiatives. A published illustrator, Jasmyn graduated from Luther with a B.A. in studio art and started working at GREAT shortly thereafter. Jasmyn designs marketing and educational materials, schedules volunteer opportunities, and tracks volunteer participation. During a typical show week, Jasmyn works alongside volunteer greeters in the lobby before shows and during intermission! In her free time, she draws and creates prints. One of Jasmyn’s favorite aspects of working with GREAT is getting to know more about the volunteers she works with.

Nick Loweree

Nick Loweree

Production Director & Stage Manager

NickL@GREATTheatre.org

Nick Loweree (he/him/his) is the Production Director and Production Stage Manager at GREAT Theatre. Over the past 14 years, he has made his career throughout the country as a freelance Stage Manager of color where he worked on productions varying from small plays to full scale ballets and operas. Nick has worked with companies such as The Dallas Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Minnesota Opera, Tulsa Opera, Opera Fayetteville, Charlottesville Opera, Dallas Children’s Theatre, The Builders Association, Finger Lakes Opera, Northern Lights Music Festival, Opera Columbus, Dance Heginbotham, The Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Lucky Plush Productions, The Nickel City Opera, The Champaign-Urbana Ballet, The Santa Fe Opera, The American Dance Festival, and the El Paso Opera. He holds an MFA in Stage Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Texas at El Paso. He is originally from El Paso, Tx, but now calls St. Cloud his home where he lives with his beautiful wife Hannah and their adorable dachshund, Sindri.

Jessica Mancini

Jessica Mancini

Costume Shop Manager

Jessica@GREATTheatre.org

Jessica Mancini (she/her/hers) grew up in Kimball, MN and has lived in St. Cloud, MN for more than a few years. Jessica leads a wonderful team of volunteers in the creation and care of costumes for GREAT’s productions, summer Camps and other programming. She works closely with the Resident Costume Designer to understand the costume needs for each project, and to facilitate and contribute to the realization of the Costume Design. Jessica loves spending time with members of her family, and especially finds joy in watching her nieces and nephews discover and learn.  She also enjoys books and audiobooks, logic puzzles and riddles, singing in the car, and dancing in the kitchen. For Jessica, making a contribution to a production is wonderful, but she takes even more pride in the moments when costume shop volunteers can pick out specific costume pieces they’ve worked on, and experience the feeling that comes from watching their work come to life onstage.

Colin Nord

Colin Nord

Education Manager

ColinN@GREATTheatre.org

Colin Nord (he/him/his) is GREAT’s Education Manager where he supports the development and delivery of programs that provide a broad range of educational experiences ensuring access to the transformative power of live theatre in schools, at the theatre, and in community settings. You may recognize him from a variety of roles he’s play on stage, as a past teaching artist, or most recently as our summer camp director. Colin graduated from Minnesota State University with a BA in Theatre Arts. Outside of work, he likes to act and sing, travel, drink coffee, and laugh. Colin is happy to be serving the community alongside the theatre company that he grew up with.

Kendra Norton Dando

Kendra Norton Dando

Artistic & Education Director

Kendra@GREATTheatre.org

Kendra Norton Dando (she/her/hers) As Artistic and Education Director for GREAT, Kendra is focused on increasing access to the arts by bringing engaging theatre to our stages, developing partnerships and opportunities to tell the stories of our community, and expanding learning experiences for audiences of all ages. Kendra is originally from the Chicago area and joined GREAT as Education Director in January of 2019. She holds a Master of Theatre Studies from Southern Oregon University and brought fifteen years of experience in educational theatre to GREAT, having developed, designed, and taught theatre curricula for middle and high schools in St. Louis, MO and Madison, WI. Additionally, Kendra is an award-winning director and educator who has directed youth and adults in over fifty productions. She has presented nationally on social justice and theatre and served as the co-director of the Educational Theatre Association’s Wisconsin Thespians and on the board of Minnesota Thespians, increasing student opportunity and access to theatre arts. In addition to teaching acting and theatre courses at St. Cloud Community and Technical College, she has worked with area school districts on developing K-12 arts pathways and was recently selected to the 2022 cohort of the Minnesota Young American Leaders Program with the University of Minnesota and Harvard Business School. When not in a classroom or rehearsal, Kendra is most frequently found enjoying the sunlight, tending to houseplants, or building ginormous LEGO creations with her children.

Allyson Richert

Allyson Richert

Artistic Director

Allyson@GREATTheatre.org

Allyson Richert is from St. Petersburg, FL. Allyson holds a BFA in Musical Theater Performance from the University of Florida. As a performer, she performed in three Broadway national tours: Mel Brooks-The Producers, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and Catch Me If You Can. She was also seen in regional productions including but not limited to: Wonderful Town (Off Broadway), Beehive (Old Log), and South Pacific (Guthrie). After spending almost 10 years teaching and performing in New York City, Allyson found her way to Minnesota. Allyson choreographed GREAT productions such as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Sound of Music and Grease. She also had the pleasure of directing Mamma Mia. As Artistic Director Allyson takes great pride in collaborating to bring fresh, exciting and fun live theater to GREAT while continuing to cultivate the immense talent in Central Minnesota.

Anita Reber

Anita Reber

House Manager

AnitaR@GREATTheatre.org

Anita Reber (she/her/hers) is from St Joseph, Minnesota. Anita is a House Manager and Stage Manager at GREAT. As House Manager, Anita sets up the lobby for auditions, performances, and other events, and helps train any volunteers working in the lobby as well. As Stage Manager, Anita communicates with the production team, writes rehearsal reports, coordinates with the production team to get the show ready on time, and makes sure that shows run smoothly. Anita enjoys spending time with her kids and grandkids! She also likes to garden, read, visit her family cabin, and draw with watercolor pencils. Anita is on a mission to camp at each state park in Minnesota! Anita’s favorite part of working with GREAT is educating cast members (particularly newcomers to theatre), welcoming them to GREAT’s space, and helping them feel comfortable and confident. Anita also enjoy working with nervous newcomers at auditions, as well as nervous repeaters. She encourages these actors to do their best, relax, and have fun!

Keenan Roberts

Keenan Roberts

Engagement Manager

Keenan@GREATTheatre.org

Keenan Roberts (he/him/his) grew up in Tennessee, Michigan, and Massachusetts. He moved to St. Cloud in 2021 after getting his MA in Communication at Western Michigan University, where he taught for two years and was awarded the departmental award for teaching excellence. Keenan began working at GREAT as their Engagement Manager in 2021, only a week before their debut at The Ledge Amphitheater. As Engagement Manager, Keenan works to publicize GREAT’s programming and build awareness of GREAT’s initiatives throughout the Central Minnesota community. In a typical week he handles donation requests, works with volunteers at shows, manages GREAT’s social media presence, designs show programs, and works with Breana to create HOW GREAT: The GREAT Theatre Podcast. In his free time, Keenan likes to bike, listen to new music, play video games, and blunder his way through card games. Keenan says that his favorite part of working at GREAT is getting to meet folx with a wide variety of artistic experience, all working together to create art. Seeing the community come together to create art is like nothing else!

Lacey Schirmers

Lacey Schirmers

Executive Director

Lacey@GREATTheatre.org

Lacey Schirmers (she/her/hers) was recently appointed as GREAT’s Executive Director after serving as interim executive director for six months. Having worked very closely with the founding Executive Director in the role of Managing Director, Lacey’s business leadership over the last eight years with GREAT and has been integral to the organization’s recent successes and essential to making our artistic vision possible as we strive to ensure everyone has access to the transformative power of the arts.

Lacey was born and raised in St. Cloud and has firmly rooted her family here. Graduating from St. Cloud State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Management and Marketing, she has experience working in a variety of industries and over 15 years of applied experience achieving financial and marketing results, developing and leading others, and managing projects from ideation through implementation and evaluation. Until recently, Lacey also owned her own business as a freelance graphic designer and photographer for eleven years.

Although not a performer herself, Lacey is passionate about the arts and strongly believes that the arts play a critical role in making a community a vibrant place to live. This is especially important to Lacey, as she is deeply engaged in the community. She has been actively involved with Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation since 2015, most recently co-leading a marketing initiative to reframe the narrative of the greater St. Cloud region to one that is inclusive, celebratory, and authentic– St. Cloud Shines. She previously served as a board member for the American Advertising Federation of Central MN, was a recipient of the St. Cloud Times 5 under 40 Award in 2017 (recognized for innovation, involvement, and influence), and was a member of the inaugural cohort of the Minnesota Young American Leaders Program with the University of Minnesota and Harvard Business School in 2019. Lacey currently serves on the steering committee for Granite Table – a Communities of Excellence initiative through CentraCare, as well as the Waite Park Collaborative Project– an initiative of the city, Boys and Girls Club of Central MN, and St. Cloud Public Safety Coalition.

Lacey’s desire to connect with people and add value to their life extends far beyond her full time gig, volunteer work, and side hustle; she also takes her social life with friends and family pretty seriously. She enjoys spending as many weekends at the cabin as possible, playing card games, early morning workouts, attending theatre and supporting the arts, and being with people that bring joy and laughter to life.

Anthony@GREATTheatre.org

Anthony Schrock (he/him/his) is a scenic carpenter at GREAT. Anthony first found family in the theatre, and in his teens and early twenties he was involved in 20-25 shows. Anthony always tried to be in a show, and often volunteered to help build sets and props. Anthony was even in several productions on the Paramount stage before its big renovation! Between directing Two Days in Saint Cloud at the Helgeson Learning Lab, acting in Ahoy, Murder, Dead Ahead!, and being a volunteer, Anthony has seen GREAT from a many different angles. Anthony loves being part of the GREAT team and finds pride in the high quality productions he works on. Anthony makes designs come to life at GREAT, from designer’s blueprints into a set you can walk onto and shine!

Hillary Vermillion

Music Director

Hillary Vermillion (she/her/hers) is originally from Fort Collins in Colorado. Hillary is the resident Music Director at GREAT. As Music Director, Hillary has a variety of roles. She helps with the audition process for each show and teaches music to each cast. She rehearses with the pit orchestra, and conducts performances of each GREAT musical. Hillary loves instruments and plays the cello. She is also learning the bagpipes and harp. Hillary really enjoys the rehearsal process, and finds it rewarding to see GREAT casts grow and gain confidence as they learn the music for each show. Hillary also loves opening night, because the cast, crew, and production team finally get to share their hard work with amazing GREAT audiences.

Hillary@GREATTheatre.org

Catherine Maydew

Finance Director

Catherine@GREATTheatre.org

Catherine Maydew (she/her/hers) is from Chicago. She is GREAT’s Director of Finance, meaning that she is responsible for accurate accounting and reporting of the financial transactions of the organization. In her free time, Catherine loves to read and see live theatre, ballet, music and opera. Catherine’s favorite part of working with GREAT is providing the funds for the artistic staff to produce, educate, and create live theatre experiences.

Marianne Arnzen

Marianne Arnzen

Board Member

2020-2023, First Term
Retired Management, Community
GREAT Volunteer, Parent of Youth Actor

Dan Barth

Dan Barth

Board Member

2020-2023, First Term
President, Diversified Media Resources (DMR)

Joanne Dorsher

Joanne Dorsher

Board Member

2020-2023, Third Term
Community member, GREAT parent/volunteer

Kimberly Foster

Kimberly Foster

Board Secretary

2018-2021, Second Term
Financial Advisor, Laraway Financial Advisors

2019-2022, Second Term
Human Resources Generalist, City of Waite Park

Buddy King

Buddy King

Board Member

2021-2024, First Term
Director of Operations – Higher Works Collaborative, Board of Directors for Great River Children Museum and Central Minnesota Arts Board, GREAT actor, playwright

Chris Kudrna

Chris Kudrna

Board Treasurer

2018-2021, Second Term
Business Consultant and Garlic Farmer, Self-employed

Cassie Miles

Cassie Miles

Board President

2018-2021, Second Term
Executive Director Great River Children’s Museum

Chad O'Brien

Chad O’Brien

Board Vice President

2019-2022, Second Term
Private Banker, Bremer Bank

Steve Palmer

Steve Palmer

Board Member

2021-2024, Third Term
Retired, Palmer Printing
Board Member with Quiet Oaks Hospice and CentraCare Foundation

Janet Reagan

Janet Reagan

Board Member

2020-2023, First Term
Past GREAT Steering Committee Member, community volunteer

2021-2024, Third Term
District 742 School Board Member