Mark Baer (President)
Mark Baer is lifelong actor, director and producer with a passion for the communities that living theatre cultivates. Mark is currently Associate Professor of Acting and Directing with Indiana University Northwest, having received his MFA in directing from Illinois State University. Before coming to northwest Indiana, Mark witnessed the power of live Shakespeare as a performer with Virginia Shakespeare Festival, The Warehouse Theatre (Greenville, SC), Commonweal Theatre Company, and St. Croix Festival Theatre and later as an assistant director for Illinois Shakespeare Festival and Great River Shakespeare Festival. As a founding member of Gary Shakespeare Company, Mark believes that Shakespeare has a voice that can speak to all people of our common human experience. He lives with his wife, Kelly, and daughter, Samantha, in Crown Point, IN.
Kelly Horton (Vice-President)
A Gary native, Kelly was attracted to the arts at an early age. She attended Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts, majoring in instrumental music with an emphasis on piano. While there she also studied the violin, clarinet and oboe. She rediscovered her love of theater after taking a community acting class. She has appeared in many local community theatre productions including Dreamland Burning, Working, The 1940s Radio Hour, and A Century of Music Under the Stars. In the spring of 2013, she was cast in the newly formed Gary Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear (as the Duke of Gloucester) and became a founding member of the Board of Directors. She has since contributed to every production including onstage in Romeo & Juliet (Prince) Twelfth Night (as Lady Olivia) and Macbeth (Witch). She holds an Associate’s Degree in Microcomputer Network Management from Davenport University and have been working in the Systems department at Spencer Stuart as a Configuration Management Analyst since 2001.
Janice Pritchard (Treasurer)
Brandon Hearne (Secretary)
Brandon is currently working on his degree in secondary education with a focus in history. He will also be receiving a minor in history, theatre and an associate degree in pre-law from Indiana University Northwest. Currently serving as the secretary of the Gary Shakespeare Company, Brandon continues his association with the arts and love of the classical theatre that he took with him from the Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts. He has performed in various community theatres across northwest Indiana. He is also an educator with the Chicago based sector of Junior Achievement. He is also a multifaceted musician playing various instruments, serving in his local church as youth leader and music coordinator. Brandon can be seen playing anything from the straight character as in Shakespeare’s “12th Night or What You Will” to the silliest of characters as in Molière’s “The Miser”. He is very much excited about where the company is heading and feels that his purpose for teaming up with such a dynamic group of performers is to make Shakespearean theatre happen where it would normally not be if not for this company.
Christina Biancardi (Historian)
Stephanie Naumoff has enjoyed performing, directing, and designing for over 30 years in multiple area theatres, as well as various venues in Chicago, and across the country. She has worked on productions in community, educational, and professional settings. Stephanie has also enjoyed lecturing and teaching courses in acting, directing, costuming, improv, and Shakespeare for local middle schools, high schools, and colleges. Stephanie was honored to portray both Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing and Maria in Twelfth Night for The Gary Shakespeare Company. She was also elated to direct her favorite of Shakespeare's works: Macbeth, for GSC in 2016. Most of Stephanie's recent theatrical work however, is in costume design; she has costumed over eighty productions in her lifetime and looks forward to many more. Shakespeare has always been a passion of Stephanie’s; a passion she shared with her father who was the greatest actor she has ever known.
Memphis born Tim O’Donnell has been involved with theatre since 1986. Favorite experiences include workingall over the southeastern United States as well as working as a stage apprentice at The Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico and as a scenic artist at Seaside Music Theater in Daytona, Florida. Tim received his BA as a theatre generalist with a minor in art studio from The University of Alabama at Birmingham and received an MFA in scenic and lighting Design from The University of Memphis. Tim was from 1996 to 2006 the Designer/Production Manager for Venice Theatre in Florida and between 2006 and 2008 taught various design classes at The Art Institute of Tampa. Tim has been a member of IATSE local 412 of Sarasota and also a member of the International Association of Lighting Designers. Currently, Tim is the Production Manager/Technical Director for the department of Performing Arts at Indiana University Northwest.
Claude Ann Poupolos
Born in Flint, MI and transplanted to Gary as a young child, Claude Ann developed an appreciation for the Expressive Arts, particularly the Performing Arts, due to her talented speech and drama teachers at Froebel High School. She aspired to be a motivational speaker in order to help others improve their life circumstances, which lead her to obtain a Master's Degree in Social Work from Indiana University Northwest and become a License Clinical Social Worker. She is driven to have a lasting impact in the community, which her current position as head of a Purse ministry, allows her to pursue. Her organization provides homeless women with needed personal items delivered to them in purses. According to Claude Ann, "My desire to make a difference dovetails perfectly with the Arts because they both are uplifting to both the heart and the soul."
Jim Severa is a retired educational and healthcare facilities administrator...and an amateur theater set designer. Jim has created sets for over twenty stage productions with the Purdue Calumet 'Building Community Through the Arts' series, the Purdue Calumet Theater Company, and the Gary Shakespeare Company.