Board of Directors

Cindy Harper – Executive Director

Cindy HarperCindy currently serves as the Executive Director of ACT.  Cindy has worked as a consultant with non-profit organizations bringing more than 25 years of experience with boards, staffs, and volunteers of arts organizations and community groups.  She has expertise in strategic planning, annual and capital fund campaigns, grants and grants administration, prospect research, and program development and evaluation. With a B.S. in Mathematics from Wake Forest University and an M.A. in Arts Administration from the University of New Orleans, Cindy has held various positions with arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Alabama Ballet. Active in the community, she served as president of the Birmingham Figure Skating Club for five years and chaired the 2016 US Figure Skating National Theatre On Ice Competition in Pelham, AL.  She has served on numerous other boards including Association of Fundraising Professionals – Alabama Chapter, Magic City Actors Theatre, Space One Eleven and the Music Opportunity Program.


Sue Ellen Gerrells – Festival Director

Sue Ellen returns to ACT as Festival Director. 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, Fellow, 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.  She is recognized in Ireland, Singapore, Japan, and the U.S. as an award-winning actor and director, most recently receiving an Outstanding Achievement in Acting Award at the Southeastern  Theatre Conference in 2015 for “Night, Mother.”


Brian Cocke – Secondary Festival Director

Please welcome Brian as the new Secondary Festival Director.  He has taught Elementary Music & Drama for 17 years at Chalkville Elementary School (Jefferson County Schools) and Paine Elementary (Trussville City Schools) and is currently teaching elementary Drama at Gwin Elementary and Trace Crossings Elementary (Hoover City Schools). He received his Bachelors, Masters, and Educational Specialist Degrees in Choral/Vocal Music Education from the University of Alabama and his Doctorate in Organizational Development and Leadership from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.


Kristy Meanor – 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.

Revel Gholston – Vice President

Revel Parsons Gholston has been a part of Alabama’s Secondary Theatre Education crew for the past seventeen and half years. All of these years have been spent managing the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts, and managing the High School theatre program at Opelika High School. Graduating from the University of Iowa with focuses on English, Theatre, and Creative Writing, Revel, is always eager to help out anyone and everyone that could use a hand. Having handled over 100 professional touring prouductions for the East Alabama Arts Association, all while directing near 50 high school productions, and teaching in the classroom part time…Revel tries to find time to rest as well as spend as much time with his wife and two children before they forget who he is. Bringing as much culture to the state of Alabama has always been Revel’s mission, and Alabama Conference of Theatre is more than a great platform for everyone to do just that. Revel looks forward to the bright artistic future that the state is producing.

Randy Blades – Secretary

Randy Blades is an Associate Professor and the current head of Drama for Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL.  He joined the faculty at JSU in 2006 and was hired as Department Head in 2012.  He is primarily a  costume technician and designer and holds an MFA in Costume Design from Penn State University and a BA in Drama from Jacksonville State.  Prior to joining the JSU faculty he was an Assistant in Theatre and costume shop manager for the University of Central Florida.

As a costume designer his credits include Shenandoah (Kennesaw State University), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Stage Door Players), What the Butler Saw, The Trickeries of Scapin (University of Central Florida) Hamlet, A Soldier’s Play, and Macbeth (Penn State University) The Daughters of Abraham (Auburn University at Montgomery/ALA-etc) Steel Magnolias (Maples Repertory Theatre), and The Normal Giant (The Tesseract Theatre Company).  While at JSU, costume designs include An Enemy of the People, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Antigone and She Kills Monsters (costumes and puppets).

As a technician Randal has also worked for the Illinois, Georgia ,Orlando and Utah Shakespeare festivals, the Alliance Theatre, and the Atlanta Opera where he was costume shop manager and cutter draper for two seasons.

An active member of ACT, Randy has served in the past as the President, the Vice President, and the College Division Chair.

Vacant – Treasurer

Lonny Harrison – SETC Representative/Past President


Mr. Harrison is the Director of Theatre at Saint James School in Montgomery, AL. This is his 19th 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.

Roy Lightner – College/University Division Chair

Roy Lightner is an award-winning theatre creator, director, choreographer, and educator born and raised Kansas City.  He recently joined the Musical Theatre Faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as an Assistant Professor. Previously, Roy served as the Associate Artistic Director for the Transcendence Theatre Company, and also on the Musical Theatre Faculty of Ithaca College.  As a national director for Dancers Inc., he toured the country as a master class teacher.  Roy has taught at New York City’s Professional Performing Arts School, as well as created the contemporary/musical theatre dance program for the Astoria School of Fine Arts.  As a director/choreographer his credits include: Transcendence Theatre Company’s productions of Best of Broadway Under the Stars, Fantastical Family Night, This Magic Moment, Wine Country Speakeasy (creator/director), Gala Celebration, Oh, What a Night! (2015 Winner Best Director Broadway World San Francisco), Superheroes in Love, and Music of the Night; New York City Opera’s Lucky to Be Me (Lincoln Center, assistant to Peggy Hickey), Hairspray, Miss Saigon (Sondheim Center), Newsies (New London Barn) Hound of the Baskervilles (Cape Playhouse, New Jersey Rep, Westin Playhouse, Depot Theatre). University of Alabama at Birmingham Productions: Working and Hairspray. Arizona State University: Legally Blonde.  Ithaca College productions: Dogfight, A Chorus Line, Under the Covers, How to Succeed…, Gone Missing, and Legally Blonde; Bring It On (Music Theatre of Kansas City), Hairspray (Winner Best Director Broadway World KC), Thoroughly Modern Millie, Good News, Urban Cowboy, Starmites, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and more. Roy currently serves as Festival Producer for MTWichita. Dance Concert Choreography credits include: two full-length original choreographic works Under the Covers (Ithaca College) and In Your Eyes (Miller-Marley Ballet Company), The Oklahoma City Dance Project, NYC’s Community Dance Project, New York City’s Jazz Choreography Enterprise, Astoria Fine Arts and B.C. Beat.  Performance credits include: Holland America’s Grand World Voyage (lead singer/dancer), Babes in Toyland (Lincoln Center), a two time Kansas City Symphony principle soloist, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Stages St. Louis), Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Geva Theatre, Oklahoma City Rep. and Music Theatre of Wichita’s CATS (Mungojerrie), 7 Brides for 7 Brothers (Gideon), West Side Story (Baby John), Seussical (Wickersham), Hairspray (IQ), The Full Monty, Phantom, Aida, Beauty and the Beast and more totaling over 40 professional productions. He graduated summa cum laude from Oklahoma City University with a degree in Musical Theatre; and received his Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts with a Concentration in Performance Creation from Goddard College.

Chelsea Nicholson – College/University Vice Chair

Chelsea Reynolds Nicholson is a SAG-AFTRA actor and theatre educator who hails from Gulf Breeze, FL. Her areas of focus in the Samford University Department of Theatre and Dance are Musical Theatre and acting. She holds an M.F.A. In Acting from the University of Alabama, and a B.A. in Musical Theatre from Samford University. While maintaining a professional acting career, she has taught a variety of musical theatre and theatre courses for the University of Montevallo and Samford University, and the University of Alabama. She has worked with esteemed AEA houses around the country such as Flat Rock Playhouse, Hangar Theatre, and Greenbrier Valley Theatre. A few of her favorite acting credits include May in “Fool for Love” with the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Lily in the Alabama premiere of “Alabama Story” with Red Mountain Theatre Company, Missy in “The Marvelous Wonderettes” with Actors Point Theatre Company of Nashville, and a silent horror film directed by Jim Hanks.

Sara Butler Argiro – Secondary Division Chair

Sara Butler Argiro is a Scottsboro, Alabama native and a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. She holds a BA in Theatre from The University of South Alabama and a MA in English and Education from The University of Alabama Huntsville.

Sara is the full time Theatre Arts teacher for DeKalb County Schools and is the Director of DeKalb County Fine Arts Academy – a program she was asked to develop through the DeKalb County Technical Center with the purpose of adding the Arts into STEM education. Sara is passionate about moving from STEM to STEAM and spreading the Arts throughout Alabama.

In her career Sara has been involved in numerous productions as a director, actor, or crew member. She has worked in professional and community theatres as well as several secondary programs. She has taught Theatre and English in Alabama, Mississippi, and Washington State.

When not working, Sara is with her favorite people – her husband T.J. and her son Xander – usually playing board games or watching superhero movies.

Sara is grateful for the support of her family and is proud to serve ACT.

Megan Browning Phelps – Secondary Division Vice Chair

Meghan Browning Phelps is from Huntsville, Alabama. She graduated from Jacksonville State University in 2014 with BA in Theatre Performance. Meghan is the full time theatre teacher/director at her alma mater, Huntsville High School. This will be her fifth year of teaching and will be representing her district as the Vice President of District One alongside her job as Secondary Division Vice Chair.  In her short four year stint of teaching HHS has placed best in show at district and state multiple years. They have also represented Alabama at SETC in 2019. Although Meghan has only been teaching for four years, she has been attending Trumbauer since high school. “I met some of my best friends at Trumbauer, whom I still keep in touch with today. My goal is to bring as much joy and unity I can to this crazy art form we all love.”


Adam Miller – Community Division Chair

Adam M. Miller holds an M.F.A. in Theatre Management/Arts Administration from The University of Alabama, having interned at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.  He served as the Director of Marketing & Public Relations for the LSU Department of Theatre and their affiliated Equity theatre, Swine Palace Productions, for more than three years.  Adam has served as the Managing Director of Theatre Tuscaloosa at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, since 2010.

Casey Kauffman– Community Division Vice Chair

 Casey Kauffman is originally from Birmingham,AL. She has a BA in Acting and Directing from Jacksonville State University. She has performed in community and professional theatres in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, New York and New Jersey as well as in a national tour. She choreographed, directed and performed in NYC for 6 years where she met her husband. They moved to Winfield, AL to live close to family as they started their own. Casey and her husband established a community theatre in 2010 in Winfield and became a non-profit in 2015. Self Express Productions, Inc. provides performing arts education. They produce 4 shows a year as well as multiple workshops and they run a dance studio called Song and Dance which offers classes for ages 2 to adult. Casey teaches ballet, jazz, tap and musical theatre in addition to directing and acting throughout the year. She has also recently performed at Theatre Tuscaloosa. She is very passionate about providing opportunities for performing arts and arts education in small communities.

Cheryl Pointer Jones – Theatre For Youth Chair


Vacant – Theatre for Youth 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.

Vacant – Professional Division Vice Chair

Patricia Putman – Executive Director Emeritus

Patricia Putman is presently the Executive Director Emeritus for the Alabama Conference of Theatre (ACT) . Patricia served as a Governor Appointee for the Alabama State Course of Study for Theatre Arts 2017. After teaching music in the Jefferson County School System for 34 years she retired Dec. 1, 2011. Patricia served as the Music Director for Corner Theatre Academy at Corner High School from 1987-2013. She has a BS (1978) & MS (1987) in Music Education from Jacksonville State University. Patricia was the 2011 ACT Secondary Teacher of the Year. She is a huge supporter of the blending of all the arts and Arts Education on all age levels.