Mark Baer (President)
Mark Baer is lifelong actor, director and producer with a passion for the communities that living theatre cultivates. After gaining a BS in Theatre Performance from The University of Findlay (OH), Mark traveled the Midwest acting with many theatres including Virginia Shakespeare Festival (Williamsburg, VA), The Warehouse Theatre (Greenville, SC), Kentucky Repertory Theatre (Horse Cave, KY), Commonweal Theatre Company (Lanesboro, MN) and St. Croix Festival Theatre (St. Croix Falls, WI). Mark received his MFA in Directing from Illinois State University. His directing credits include THERE SHALL BE NO NIGHT and MAN OF LA MANCHA with St. Croix Festival Theatre, INTO THE WOODS and BOHPAL with Illinois State University, and THE BIRDS with Eureka College (IL). In the fall of 2011 Mark accepted a tenure-track appointment as Asst. Professor of Theatre at Indiana University Northwest where he has directed EURYDICE and LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. In Northwest Indiana, he has directed FRANKENSTEIN for Chicago Street Theatre and THE NIGHTMARE ROOM and PERFECT WEDDING for the Towle Theatre of Hammond. He is a founding board member of Gary Shakespeare Company.
Kelly Horton (Vice-President)
I was attracted to the arts at an early age. My first acting performance was as a turtle in a Christmas pageant when I was in the second grade. Soon after, I began taking piano lessons and began playing for my church’s Children’s choir. While in the 4th grade, I was encouraged to audition for a new school that would be opening the following fall. That institution was Emerson School for the Visual and Performing Arts where I majored in instrumental music with an emphasis on piano. By the time I graduated in June 1990, I had not only progressed on the piano, but had also studied the violin, clarinet and oboe. Following my college years, I rediscovered my love of theater after taking a community acting class. This later led to my auditioning for and being cast in several local productions, including “Dreamland Burning”, “Working”, “The 1940s Radio Hour”, and “A Century of Music Under the Stars”. In the spring of 2013, I auditioned for and was cast in the newly formed Gary Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear (as the Duke of Gloucester). Following Lear, I joined the GSC’s Board of Directors and have also performed in the troupe’s later productions of Romeo & Juliet (as both the Prince and the Apothecary) and Twelfth Night (as Lady Olivia).I obtained 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.
Jennifer Mead (Treasurer)
Jennifer’s first foray into the world of theater was in the second grade where she played the pivotal role of “the mother” in her school Valentine’s program. Since then, she dabbled in both theater and music until the summer of 2001, when she began to be more seriously involved, especially in theater, both behind the scenes and on stage. For Jennifer, it has been an honor and a blessing to have had many opportunities to work with talented people (too numerous to list) and exceptional organizations…such as Laurel Church and YDC School of the Arts, West Side Theatre Guild, PATH (A Positive Approach to Teen Health), Keep Arts Alive Productions, MASMedia 7, and the Gary Shakespeare Company and it is her dream to combine her passion for theater and her heart for children in order to impact lives using her God-given talents and gifts and the Arts to set people free. (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18)
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 lives in Valparaiso and has enjoyed performing, directing, and designing for multiple area theatres as well as variousChicago venues. Favorite past roles include Sara Jane Moore (Assassins), Kate (Kiss Me Kate), the Wicked Witch (Wizard of OZ), and most recently, Maria (GST’s Twelfth Night). Some favorite directing projects include Forever Plaid, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). 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
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.