Department of Theatre
Come meet some of our alumni who have found their role in community, educational and professional theatre!
Jenna Light (2015)
|Jenna, originally from Rolla, Missouri, graduated from Harding University in 2015. After graduation, she went straight to Long Island to work a contract as a stitcher/dresser at the Gateway Playhouse, a prominent summer theatre located an hour away from NYC. When her contract at Gateway ended, she came back to Rolla and worked with a large community theatre group called Fine Linen Theatre, designing the costumes for their production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Jenna then moved to Virginia for 8 months to work as a stitcher at the Barter Theatre, the longest running professional theatre in the nation. After leaving Barter, she moved to Saint Louis to work as a stitcher at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Jenna briefly returned to Rolla to work as a costume designer for several professional summer stock shows: On Golden Pond and I Do! I Do!, both being produced by Ozark Actors Theatre. She is currently in Lansing, Michigan to begin graduate at Michigan State University pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in costume design with hopes to find a teaching job soon after graduation|
Elizabeth Mae Yielding (2012)
|Elizabeth 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 Oral Communications: Drama/Speech Licensure. She built the high school theatre program from the bottom up while also teaching theatre, stagecraft and oral communications.|
Elizabeth has been very active in using her Theatre skills outside of the classroom. She taught a theatre professional development for the Arkansas Department of Education around the state of Arkansas in the summer of 2017 and she is also currently using her skills at New Life Church on the production team and creative teams and attending their School of Ministry as a student of the Creative track.
This year, Elizabeth has transitioned to Cabot High School where she will be teaching a few sections Stagecraft along with her main job as the Auditorium Manager. She is super excited to see how God calls her to use her gifts both in His church and in her career next!
Amanda Decker (2013)
|Amanda Decker 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 worked as a designer, stitcher, and wardrobe assistant at the Orlando Repertory Theatre and is currently a Costume Assistant with the Walt Disney World Company. It is common that she spends her days at work and nights rehearsing for a show.|
Brandtly C. Wheeler (2016)
|Since graduating from Harding with a Bachelor of Art, minor in Theatre, Brandtly has served as the Technical Director for Interlakes Summer Theatre in Meredith, New Hampshire, and the Master Carpenter for TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Originally from Flint, Michigan, he is currently living in Fayetteville and is beginning his second season with TheatreSquared. Currently he is working on the Tony Award Winning show Fun Home at TheatreSquared, as well as just wrapping up starring in the Arkansas Public Theatre's production of The Wedding Singer: The Musical.|
Mary Bowden (2011)
|Originally from Williamstown, New Jersey, Mary 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 was the Drama Teacher at Harding Academy for one year, and then she and her husband moved to his hometown of Paducah, Kentucky after Mary was selected to be the Director of Theatre at the (then) brand new McCracken County High School. She was able to build her 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 has also become extremely active with the Market House Theatre here 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). She is currently pursuing my Masters in Teacher Leadership. You can follow her @maryfbowden on Twitter and Instagram.
Brandt Roberts (2006)
Brandt Roberts 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. Currently, he is portraying the title role of John Merrick in The Elephant Man at the Commonweal Theatre. Coming up in December, Brandt will be producing and performing in his one person show The Art of the Entertainer at the St. Mane Theater in association with the Lanesboro Art Center. Brandt is thankful for his family and former professors for their continuing support and for God's perpetual guidance each step of the way.
Sarah Harris (2015)
|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. With much gratitude, she will be working on the Broadway revival of Once on this Island in the fall.|
Abby C. Smith (2003)
|Abby C. Smith 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-bound musical Spongebob Squarepants. Television credits include Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Search Party.
Twitter/Instagram: @abbycsmith Website: abbycsmith.com
Jordan McLane Rousseau (2009)
|Originally hailing from Strawberry Junction, Texas, Jordan Rousseau 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. Some of his recent projects have included special properties construction for Dallas Shakespeare and the world premiere of “Deer” at Stage West.
Jordan is also a licensed pyro-technician and special effects operator. He loves blowing things up, and setting himself on fire. You can often see him on the sidelines at Baylor football and basketball games getting ready to make a spectacle.
Jordan specializes in props construction, metal fabrication, rigging, special effects, and CNC operations. Jordan is happily married to Kaity Briscoe, who works as the Fine Arts-LLC Program Director. They are the proud parents of two rescue dogs- .22 and Kimber. Jordan also loves photography, wearing kilts, and science.
Kyle Wiehe (2011)
|Kyle 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. Recent shows include Disney's Newsies The Musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Shrek the Musical, and Rudolph the Musical.|