Department of Theatre
Come meet some of our alumni who have found their role in community, educational and professional theatre!
Jenna Gove (2015) is a costume designer and costume shop manager from Rolla, Missouri. Jenna fell in love with theatre in 2001 when she was cast as an "extra orphan" in a local production of Annie. She has been working in theatre in some capacity ever since.
Jenna has worked as a costume shop manager and designer at Ozark Actors Theatre and Summer Circle Theatre, and additionally has worked as a stitcher/dresser at the Gateway Playhouse, Barter Theatre, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. She holds an MFA in Costume Design from Michigan State University and a BA in Theatre from Harding University.
- "Theatre MFA Candidate Wins Digital Design Competition for Second Consecutive Year"
- "MFA Candidate Wins Digital Design Competition for Her Costume Designs" - MSU College of Arts and Letters article
Elizabeth Mae Yielding (2012) started her career in her hometown of Heber Springs, Arkansas, at their high school after graduating from Harding University in 2012 with her BA in Drama/Speech Licensure. She built the high school theatre program from the bottom up while also teaching theatre, stagecraft and oral communications.
Elizabeth has taught a theatre professional development for the Arkansas Department of Education around the state of Arkansas.
Elizabeth currently works at Cabot High School where she teaches a few sections Stagecraft along with her main job as the Auditorium Manager.
Amanda Decker (2013) grew up in Saint Cloud, Florida where she was able to participate in many theatrical experiences in the Orlando and surrounding areas. These opportunities include Orlando Fringe Festival, Orlando State Thespian Festival, Osceola Arts Theatre Education Programs, and many more. Now having been trained in Theatre Arts, Amanda has performed in several professional productions with Central Florida Vocal Arts, Garden Theatre, and Osceola Arts. While at Harding, Amanda spent much of her time learning the art of costuming. Upon returning to Orlando, she continues to work as a designer and performer throughout the region. It is common that she spends her days at work and nights rehearsing for a show.
Since graduating from Harding with a Bachelor of Arts, minor in Theatre, Brandtly C. Wheeler (2016) has served as the Technical Director for Interlakes Summer Theatre in Meredith, New Hampshire, and the Master Carpenter for TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He has also served as the Technical Director for the Trike Theatre in Northwest Arkansas. Originally from Flint, Michigan, he is currently living in Fayetteville and is working as the Technical Director at Bentonville West High School.
Originally from Williamstown, New Jersey, Mary Bowden (2011) chose Harding because it felt like home away from home. She is forever grateful to have been a part of several homecoming musicals and plays at Harding, as well as a member of the Pied Pipers and participation in several shows with SSDT. After graduating from Harding in 2011, she became the Drama Teacher at Harding Academy for one year, and then she and her husband moved to his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky where she was selected to be the Director of Theatre at the (then) brand new McCracken County High School. She has built a noteworthy program from the ground up, teaching Drama 1-3 and Musical Theatre, and also directing one play and one musical every year, with smaller projects thrown in.
Mary is also extremely active with the Market House Theatre in Paducah, with notable performances including Young Frankenstein (Inga), Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins), All Shook Up (Miss Sandra), Peter and the Starcatcher (Molly), and The Addams Family (Morticia). You can follow her @maryfbowden on Twitter and Instagram.
Brandt Roberts (2006) graduated from Harding in 2006 with a BA in Theatre, he also holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design and participated in The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Summer Professional Training Program.
Brandt Roberts is originally from Kennett, MO and currently lives and works in Lanesboro, MN at the Commonweal Theatre Company as a full time resident actor/administrator. Over the past ten years, Roberts has performed in twenty-five states and has been honored to learn from many industry professionals. Brandt has also produced and performed his one person show The Art of the Entertainer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brandt is thankful for his family and former professors for their continuing support and for God's perpetual guidance each step of the way.
After graduating from Harding in December 2015, Sarah Harris moved from Little Rock to New York City to join the stage management team of The Crucible on Broadway. From there her network expanded. She rejoined Come From Away this past spring as they opened on Broadway and celebrated a Tony Nomination for Best Musical. She has also worked on the Broadway revival of Once on this Island.
Abby C. Smith (2003) grew up in Houston, TX and currently lives in New York City, working as an actress and singer.
She graduated from Harding University in 2003, she has earned her MM from Oklahoma City University. Her favorite theater credits include Madame Thenardier in Les Miserables, Mazeppa in Gypsy and Mrs. Puff in the Broadway musical Spongebob Squarepants. Television credits include Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Search Party.
Originally hailing from Strawberry Junction, Texas, Jordan McLane Rousseau (2009) received his M.F.A. in Technical Production from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his B.A. in Oral Comm. / Theatre from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He is a Technical Director in charge of behind-the-scenes safety, logistics, and construction in Baylor University's Theatre Department. He is also the Properties Department mentor and supervisor, and can be found working in the basement on various animal puppets and fine furniture.
Jordan's experience includes working for the National Theatre in London, PlayMaker’s Repertory Company (LORT D), The Virginia Shakespeare Festival, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Carrboro Arts Festival, Creative Visions, Searcy Summer Dinner Theatre, Waco’s Children Theatre, as well as many consultant jobs for various high schools and theatre companies.
Jordan specializes in props construction, metal fabrication, rigging, special effects, and CNC operations.
Kyle Wiehe (2011) currently lives in Mount Dora, Florida, where he grew up, and is working as the Technical Director of the Orlando Repertory Theatre. The Orlando REP is the largest fully professional TYA company in the southeast US. Kyle's shows include Disney's Newsies The Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Shrek the Musical and Rudolph the Musical