Faculty and Staff

Renee Archibald
Assistant Professor of Dance
BFA from University of North Carolina School of the Arts
MFA from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Renée Archibald is a dancer, choreographer. She has performed throughout New York City, the United States, and internationally with independent artists including Christopher Williams, Ann Liv Young, Joshua Bissett, Nina Winthrop, and Rebecca Lazier. Her choreographic work has been presented at NYC venues including The Brooklyn Museum, The Chocolate Factory, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, and The Kitchen. She has received choreographic residencies through the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Movement Research, and Yaddo and has taught at Barnard College, University of Illinois, the Yard, and White Mountain Summer Dance Festival.

Jessica Cerullo

Jessica Cerullo
Assistant Professor of Theatre

Jessica is a performer and the Managing Director of MICHA, the Michael Chekhov Association. Her original performance work has been supported by the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, PS 122, the Terra Nova Collective, Seattle’s Studio Current, Colorado’s Tin Shop and Connecticut's Dragon's Egg residency. She has performed in numerous regional theaters, including the Folger Theater, is a former member of the Stanislavsky Theater Studio (now operating as Synetic Theater) and collaborates regularly with The Actors' Ensemble and the Dance Art Lab. Jessica teaches the Michael Chekhov technique internationally and organizes the annual 'Theater of the Future' open space event which brings together artists from around the world to envision our collective future in the theater both in the professional and pre-professional world. Her teaching is influenced by the principles of developmental movement, Body Mind Centering®, Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process and various approaches to improvisation. Together with Fern Sloan she wrote the MICHA workbook to assist those practically studying the Chekhov technique. She is the editor of the book Michael Chekhov: Critical Issues, Reflections, Dreams.Ms. Cerullo received an MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University.

Peter de GrassePeter de Grasse

Peter is a dancer and choreographer. His company credits include American Repertory Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, and Spectrum Dance Theater, where he became a principal artist under artistic director Donald Byrd. After dancing for Spectrum, Peter closed his company career with a four year term as a soloist at Staatstheater Darmstadt in Germany.

Peter has performed and presented choreographic work at festivals and workshops in Europe, South America, and Asia. Freelance performance credits include BalletX, Complexions Choreographic Workshops, and John Passafiume Dancers. Musical theater credits include “West Side Story” (5th Avenue Theater, Seattle), “Fiddler on the Roof” (Germany), and “Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida” (Germany). Peter has appeared and/or collaborated in dance/art films which have played at Hidden Rooms/Venice, Seattle Transmedia and Independent Film Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art-Jacksonville, Northwest Film Festival, and in performances with Portland Chamber Orchestra. Peter holds an MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University and a BFA in Dance from Juilliard.

Kristen Kosmas

Assistant Professor of Theatre
M.F.A., Playwriting, Brooklyn College
B.F.A., Independent Theater Studies, Boston University

Kristen is an American playwright and performer. She has had new works commissioned by Performance Space 122 (NYC), The Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf (NYC), Seattle University's SITE Specific, Dixon Place (NYC), and the New City Theater in Seattle. Her plays and solo performances have been presented in Seattle, Austin, Boston, Chicago, and in New York City at numerous venues including the Prelude festival, Performance Space 122, Dixon Place, Little Theater, Barbès, the Ontological/Hysteric Downstairs Series, and the Poetry Project. Her play Hello Failure was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and her multi-voice performance text This From Cloudland appears in the latest issue of “PLAY: A Journal of Plays.” As an actor, Kristen has appeared in many notable new plays including Potatoes of August by Sibyl Kempson, Mark Smith by Kate Ryan, ASTRS and Some Things Cease To Be While Others Still Are by Karinne Keithley, The Internationalist by Anne Washburn, and Producers of Fiction by Jim Strahs. Kosmas is a founding member of the OBIE Award winning performance series Little Theater; the Brooklyn-based experimental writer's collective The Ladies' Auxiliary Playwriting Team; and The Twenty-Five Cent Opera of San Francisco, a monthly event for the enactment of texts and theatricals.

PetitChristopher Petit
Director of Theater
Associate Professor and Paul Garret Fellow
M.F.A. Columbia University Professional Director's Training Program 
B.F.A., Rutgers University Professional Actor's Training Program.

Christopher is a director, performer, and teacher. In Seattle he has worked for the Seattle Repertory Theater, Seattle Children's Theatre, the Group Theater, Shady Lane Productions and Umo Ensemble, and was the founding Artistic Director of the Open Circle Theatre and an Artistic Associate for One World Theater. In New York City his work has been seen at Here Arts Center, Neighborhood Playhouse, Abingdon Theater, Mile Square Theatre, Upright Citizens Brigade and East Third Ensemble. He holds an MFA in directing from Columbia University and a BFA in acting from Rutgers University. Recent credits include The Skin of Our Teeth, The Tempest and two original pieces he devised; Mary Esther (in collaboration with Nick Zagone), and Final Broadcast (Umo Ensemble).


Daniel Schindler
Associate Professor of Theatre
MFA, Indiana University, Bloomington
BA, Montana State University, Bozeman

Daniel is a theatre designer and scenic painter.  He is a member of United Scenic Artists #829 and has designed professionally at the Toledo Repertory Theatre, the Arvada Center in Denver, CO,  and the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts.  Prior to arriving at Whitman, Dan has taught at Rocky Mountain College, Colorado State University, and most recently California State University, Chico.  Dan is the former chair of the Rocky Mountain Section of the United State Institute for Theatre Technology and is currently the Vice Chair of Design, Technology, and Management for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region 7.  Along with design, Dan is greatly interested in international theatre forms and has traveled to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and most recently China pursuing that passion.

Nancy SimonNancy Simon
Paul Garrett Professor of Dramatic Art Emerita
B.A. Whitman College
M.A. Tufts University
Ph.D. University of Washington
Studio and Forum of Stage Design

In a career spanning more than a half century, Nancy has directed well over a hundred plays and operas and has taught directing, acting, dramatic literature, theatre history, and lighting design.  A frequent traveler, she has directed and offered master classes in China, Taiwan, and Portugal.  She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the U.S. Institute of Theatre Technology, and Theatre Communications Group.

Robin Waytenick SamsneRobin Waytenick Smasne
Costume Designer; Senior Lecturer
M.F.A., University of Arizona
B.S., Oregon State University

Robin is the resident Costume Designer for Harper Joy Theatre. She teaches Costume Design, Costume Construction and Play Production Laboratory. Her costuming experience includes two artistically acclaimed seasons as resident Costume Designer for The Pit and Balcony Theatre Company. Her career has also taken her to theatres around the country including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Western Stage, Ashlawn-Highland Summer Festival and The Barn Theatre. Robin's costume design credits include, among others, Les Miserable, Beauty and The Beast, The Cherry Orchard, She Loves Me, Alice in Wonderland, An Inspector Calls, The Philadelphia Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The School for Scandal, The Taming of the Shrew, and Born Yesterday. Robin holds an MFA in Costume Design from the University of Arizona.

Nathan ThomsheckNathan Tomsheck
Technical Director; Lecturer M.F.A., Yale University
B.A. Whitworth College

Nate has worked for the last ten years as an Associate Professor at LaGrange College in LaGrange Georgia, where his duties encompassed teaching, serving as Technical Director and resident scenic and lighting designer.  Show credits of note while at LC include Sweeney Todd, Metamorphoses, Smokey Joe’s Café, Little Shop of Horrors, The Maids, The 39 Steps, and The Cherry Orchard. Nate also free-lanced as a Technical Director and Scenic Designer in LaGrange and South Atlanta.  Show credits include: Love Letters, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Spitfire Grill, and Smoke on the Mountain.  In addition to theatrical work, Nate worked with the Hills and Dales Estate designing and constructing flower show exhibits for the Southeastern Flower Show of Atlanta. In his spare time Nate is an avid wood worker and gardener, although those take a back seat to his wife Laura and son Asher.

WalkerKevin S. Walker
Technical Director; Lecturer
M.F.A., University of Oregon
B.A., Humbolt State University; M.A.T. Willamette University

Kevin brings 25 years of theatrical building experience to Harper Joy Theatre. Kevin has a B.A. from Humboldt State University, A Master of Fine Arts from the University of Oregon, and a MAT from Willamette University. Having worked in such diverse locations as Ashland. Ohio; Flagstaff Arizona; Boise, Idaho and Portland, Eugene and Corvallis, Oregon, he has amassed a huge amount of knowledge and experience in theatrical construction, which he puts to use to help create our season each year as well as to teach the Technical Production courses.

Keri WeberKeri Weber
Administrative Assistant, Harper Joy Theatre

Keri is a long time resident of Walla Walla. She and her husband have a daughter and two furry kids, Pup and Lucy. In addition to keeping up the homestead, Keri loves to spend time reading and bicycling. Happy to be part of the Whitman College family, Keri enjoys working with the students and faculty and learning more about the Theatre.