Board of Directors

Sue Ellen Gerrells – Executive Director


As of November 1, 2016 Sue Ellen returns to ACT as Acting Executive Director which she held from 2008-2013. She taught at the University of Maryland University College in Yokosuka, Japan and as an adjunct for the University of South Alabama, Mobile where she also served as an arts administrator for Theatre USA.  She’s an American Association of Community Theatre Ambassador, Trustee, Festival Commissioner and Adjudicator. Sue Ellen has a BA & MA from the University of South Alabama and has been the Artistic Director of the South City Theatre in Pelham since 2012.



Lonny Harrison – President


lonnyMr. Harrison is the Director of Theatre at Saint James School in Montgomery, AL. This is his 18th year at Saint James. He attended the University of South Alabama for undergraduate school where he received a BFA in theatre. Mr. Harrison went on to the University of Florida and the University of Alabama where he earned his MFA in theatre with a concentration in scenic design. He has served on the ACT board in many capacities including serving as treasurer and most recently chair of the secondary division. He is the current Director of the Theatre for the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts (AIEA) and has been on many boards and committees for theatre organizations across the state. Mr. Harrison enjoys what he does and gets a big kick out of watching his students grow and flourish as young men and women while receiving acclaim and artistic fulfillment in their post secondary careers.

Kristy Meanor – Vice President


Kristy Meanor serves as Executive Director for the Wetumpka Depot Players, the River Region’s oldest community theatre. Kristy has directed, acted and designed for the Depot Players for the last 35 years and has been ED for ten years. Kristy leads marketing, educational outreach programs and the artistic activities at the Depot Theatre. Kristy has served in leadership roles with ACT and SETC. Her recent work onstage in Night Mother was recognized at ACTFest and SETC with an Outstanding Achievement in Acting award.  Kristy was also named Best Director at Southeastern Theatre Conference for her work with the talented ensemble of The Fantasticks and was a part of the ensemble cast of the nationally recognized production, Second Samuel. Other roles include Rosemary in Picnic, Willie Mae in The Sugar Bean Sisters, Dotty in Noises Off, Sister Amnesia in Nunsense, Felecia Dantine in I Hate Hamlet and Melissa in Love Letters. Directing credits include, Tuesdays With Morrie, Big River, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Kristy is a former recipient of ACT’s  Marian Gallaway Award. Kristy is mom to an ensemble of amazing children- Laurel, Drew and Colgan and a fur baby named Rudy.

Randall Blades – Immediate Past President


Randy Blades is an Associate Professor and the Head of the Drama Department at Jacksonville State University. He currently teaches costume technology courses, puppetry and Introduction to Theatre. Prior to joining JSU, he was on the faculty of the University of Central Florida. Some of Randy’s costume designs at JSU include Blithe Spirit, Antigone, The Syringa Tree, Much Ado About Nothing, Tartuffe and Broadway Bound. Randy has also designed scenery at JSU for The Last Night of Ballyhoo, A Tennessee Walk and Vanishing Point. Professionally, he has also designed costumes for Kennesaw State University, Stage Door Players (Atlanta), Theatre UCF, Auburn University-Montgomery, Stage Door Players in Dunwoody, GA and the Maples Repertory theatre in Macon, MO. As a professional costumer Randy has worked for the Atlanta Opera, the Alliance Theatre, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Georgia Shakespeare Festival and the movies “Drumline” and “Dumb and Dumberer.”

Katie Dalrymple – Secretary


Katie Flannagan Dalrymple is an Alabama native. She previously taught Theatre and English over the past 9 years. Katie is currently an administrator after completing her Education Specialist degree from the University of North Alabama.  Katie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Judson College and Master’s degrees in Secondary Education and Instructional Leadership from the University of North Alabama. She is pursuing her doctoral degree in Instructional Leadership. She has been involved with over 100 shows as an actress, technician, and director. Some of her favorite credits include: Kate Keller for the past 3 summer’s in The Miracle Worker at Ivy Green, Ouiser in SummerStock at the Ritz’s production of Steel Magnolias, directing the 2012 state finalist production of The Insanity of Mary Girard, directing the internationally adjudicated production of Alabama Rain, and co-directing A Bad Year for Tomatoes here at the Ritz with Darren Butler. Directing credits also include: Godpsell, The Children’s Hour, The Boys Next Door, School House Rock Live!, A Christmas Carol, and countless others. Katie’s passions are education and theatre to which she has devoted her life.  Katie has been married to her wonderfully supportive husband Michael for 10 years and they have one daughter, Nora, who is 7 years old.  Katie works with both Time Out for Theatre at the Ritz in Sheffield, AL and Gingerbread Players at the Shoals Theatre in Florence, AL. She believes in arts education both in schools and through community theatre outreach. She is the current secretary for the Alabama Conference of Theatre.

Jamie Stephenson – Treasurer



Valerie Accetts – College/University Division Chair


Valerie is our Head of Musical Theatre, teaching classes in Musical Theatre Performance. She is a member of Actor’s Equity Association, an Associate Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and a Certified Master Teacher Candidate in the Estill Voice Training System. As an Equity actress, Valerie played Margy Frake in the First National Tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s State Fair, starring John Davidson. During her time in New York City, she performed in numerous other musicals including the title role in Cinderella, Maria in The Sound of Music, and Lady Larkin in Once Upon a Mattress.


She first began her studies in musical theatre at the University of Miami and received a BA in Musical Theatre Pedagogy from Otterbein University and an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She was the Head of Drama at Campion School, a British international school in Athens, Greece, directing seven productions including Godspell, which toured to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer of 2010. Her other directing or assistant directing/choreography credits include Gypsy, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Avenue Q, The Producers at Virginia Repertory Theatre and Annie at the Pioneer Theatre. Most recently, Valerie worked with Kathleen Turner at Arena Stage in Washington DC on a workshop of Mother Courage. Her paper, “Muddy Waters: Navigating Musical Theatre Historiography” will be published this year in the journal Studies in Musical Theatre.

J. Clayton Winters – College/University Vice-Chair


Clayton is Director of Musical Theatre and Dance at Samford University. He began his professional career in Kansas City and was privileged to work with great theaters’ like the American Heartland and Coterie. He studied at the University of Okalahoma and received his BFA in Theatre Performance before  attending Virginia Commonwealth University and where he received his MFA in Theatre Pedagogy with an emphasis in Theatrical Movement and Choreography.


Clayton’s duties at Samford University include: Instruction, Direction, Choreography, Coaching, Advising, Curriculum and Syllabi Construction and making powerful stories come to life. When not teaching at Samford Clayton continues to direct, choreograph, and perform professionally as well as lead masterclasses and workshops on Musical Theatre Audition Techniques, Theatrical Movement, and Improvisation.


The training of musical theatre artists and future storytellers is very important to him and he believes the creative and educational process should be exciting, challenging, and collaborative.


“Collaboration is the key to Creativity.”

Michael Clint Merritt – Secondary Division Chair


Mr. Merritt is a graduate of UAB where he received a B.A. in Theatre. He then completed his M.F.A. in Theatre at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL. Mr. Merritt has been teaching for nine years. He has served as an adjunct Professor of Theatre at UAHuntsville and at Calhoun Community College teaching Theatre Appreciation, Acting, & Advanced Acting.  He taught Theatre, Technical Theatre & Speech at Hazel Green High School for 7 years before joining forces with Mrs. Patel at James Clemens High School this year in the role of Technical Theatre Instructor. Mr. Merritt was Teacher of the Year at HGHS during the 2012/2013 school year. Mr. Merritt has written and received grants from ING, the Alabama State Council of the Arts, the Alabama Dept. of Education, the Alabama License Tag Committee & he also collaborated with local legislators to secure thousands of dollars’ worth of funds for his theatre programs. Mr. Merritt was a 2013 Fund For Teachers Fellow & studied improvisation & comedy sketch writing at Second City in Chicago and then attended the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mr. Merritt is currently serving as the Alabama Thespians State Treasurer and is also the Alabama Conference of Theatre’s Vice Chair for the Secondary Division.  In December, 2016 he received The Secondary Teacher of the Year Award from the Secondary Division of the Alabama Conference of Theatre. Mr. Merritt has been married to his wonderful wife Jessica for nine years and they have two children, Noah & McKayla.

Jeff Glass – Secondary Division Vice-Chair


Jeff is a graduate of Auburn University Montgomery, and he currently teaches Theater I, II, Musical Theatre and Technical Theatre at Wetumpka High School. Jeff was responsible for reviving a program at WHS that had been dormant for years and has taken many joys (and a few pains) in building the program. After being a “homeless”  troupe for 12 years, his students now perform on a brand new stage that Jeff has worked for years to secure.


Jeff has won 1st Place for One Act Plays at the Southern Literary Festival and was selected as the  Best Alabama Student Playwright at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival while at AUM.


Jeff worked in a competitive  internship at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival during his senior year. He is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. He is also the recipient of ABC News Golden Apple teaching award.


Terry Kelly – Community Division Chair


Terry is on the board of directors for the Auburn Area Community Theatre. Before moving to Opelika Terry was on the board for the Walker Independent Theatre. Terry has been involved in community theatre for 15 years.

Terry has a degree in Economics/Political Science from the University of Alabama and is employed by AT&T.

Tom Salter – Community Division Vice-Chair




Michael P. Howley – Professional Division Chair


Michael is a freelance stage director. He is retired from the faculty of Alabama State University and a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

He was a visiting scholar at the University of Cambridge. He also held positions at Long Island University C.W. Post Campus and St. John’s University.

Santana Carlton – Theatre for Youth Division Chair


Santana is the Co-Owner/Artistic Director of Children’s Theatre at CharACTers Entertainment. Santana received her theatre degree from Jacksonville State University in May of 2016. She previously studied business/art at Gadsden State College.

Santana is married to Cody Carlton and lives in Rainbow City.



Neil David Seibel – SETC Representative


Neil David Seibel teaches the performance curriculum at Auburn University Montgomery. A proud member of Actors Equity, he spent six seasons with Theatre Aspen, appeared Off-Broadway in Jonathon Larson’s JP Morgan Saves the Nation, originated the role of Lewis for the TV musical Passages: Lewis and Clark, and enjoyed regional contracts with the Denver Center, Arvada Center, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The Alley Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre Under The Stars and most recently the Montgomery Ballet. He has directed and choreographed for numerous theatre companies across the US and served three years as the associate artistic director of ALAT-etc (A Laboratory for Actor Training – experimental theatre company). As a playwright, he has developed several solo and ensemble works that have been performed throughout the United States and Europe.