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FACULTY

Dr. Diane Baxter

David Janowiak
Creative Arts Division Chair,
Professor of Theatre

WOU information

David Janowiak is a Professor of Theatre, Chair of the Division of Creative Arts, and the Artistic Director of Valley Shakespeare Company (VSC), the professional affiliate theatre at Western Oregon University.

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 Professor Janowiak was also a professor of theatre at UW-Manitowoc and Lakeland College in Wisconsin. His twenty-five-year career in academia has included nearly 20 years serving as head of theatre departments at several institutions, including WOU.   Professor Janowiak has been successful as an administrator. He has orchestrated curricular revisions and development to keep departments and divisions dynamic and responsive to changing times and circumstances. He has managed resources efficiently and effectively, successfully supervised personnel, sought out and created innovative collaborations locally and nationally, cultivated significant enrollment increases, written self-studies for regional accreditation, and authored several successful regional and national grants, including the Nation Endowment for the Arts Grant in 2022 to bring Spanish-language classical productions to the stage of VSC. Professor Janowiak served as artistic director of the Spotlight Theatre Company in Milwaukee, WI for five seasons and was a founding member and artistic director of Salem Repertory Theatre, where he produced over twenty shows and directed and acted seasonally. As a member of Actors’ Equity Association, he has worked at professional and regional theatres across the country and abroad, including The Northern Stage Company, Actors Repertory Theatre, The Little Sandwich Theatre, Salem Repertory Theatre, CoHo Theatre, Public Playhouse, Theatre Hebertot (Paris), Dallas Shakespeare Festival and six seasons with the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival. On camera, David has done numerous films and industrials, as well print ads. He continues to work as a professional voice actor in films, commercials, and industrials. He has won numerous awards and accolades for his acting and directing, including Best of 1990 in Theatre Week Magazine for his performance in the title role of Dr. Faustus.

 

He has served as a valued collaborative colleague at both UW-Manitowoc and Western Oregon University—chairing and participating in numerous department, division and university-wide level committees, including academic affairs and restructure; curriculum; sustainability; academic review; professional development; strategic planning;  institutional growth; budgeting and promotion and tenure.

Dr. Diane Baxter

Dr. Michael Phillips

Department Head,
Professor of Theatre

WOU information

Dr. Phillips received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1996, where his dissertation concerned the philosophical connections between 20th century scientific theories (quantum physics, relativity, and chaos theory) and dramatic literature.

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He is a professional director, with over 30 full-length professional and university level productions. His professional credits include work with Salem Repertory Theatre in Salem, OR, Lancaster Opera in Lancaster, PA, Lord Leebrick Theatre Company in Eugene, OR, and The Neighborhood Playhouse in Atlanta, GA. He has also worked as a dramaturg, most recently with Sojourn Theatre in Portland, OR. At WOU, Dr. Phillips teaches Theatre History, Dramatic Literature, and Directing.

Dr. Diane Baxter

Sandy Hedgepeth

Professor of Theatre

WOU information

Sandy is the resident Costume Designer and teaches the costume design and technology curriculum at Western, including Costume Design, Costume Props, Fabric Modification, and Millinery. She received her M.F.A. in Costume Design from Florida State University. 

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She has worked as a professional costume designer all over the United States, including productions at Tygres Heart Theatre in Portland, Oregon, Salem Repertory Theatre in Oregon, and George Street Playhouse in New Jersey. Other regional costume credits include the Portland Opera, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Syracuse Stage in New York. She has also worked extensively with Michael Curry Studios on many projects including the The Lion King on Broadway, Aladdin at Disney, and as Head Milliner for The Cat in the Hat, the live action movie with Mike Meyers. Some of the over 100 productions she has designed include The Liar, Reefer Madness, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Romeo and Juliet, The Inspector General, and A Company of Wayward Saints, and Cabaret.

Dr. Diane Baxter

Scott Grim 

Professor of Theatre

WOU information

Scott Grim is currently a Scenic Designer and Professor of theatrical design and technology at Western Oregon University. He holds an M.F.A. in Theatre (Scenic Design emphasis) from the University of Georgia. 

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Mr. Grim has designed numerous theatrical productions outside of WOU, including Leach Theatre in Missouri, Highlands Playhouse of North Carolina and Pentacle Theatre. A number of his designs have been included in the United States Institute for Theatre Technology International Design Archive. He has served as Technical Director at various institutions for over 14 years.

Dr. Diane Baxter

Jeb Burris
NTT Asst. Professor of Theatre

WOU information

Jeb is a Teacher, Actor, Fight Director, and Intimacy Director who has worked in the Regional Theatre for over a decade.

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Acting credits include work with American Players Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre, The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Sacramento Theatre Company, Capital Stage, Forward Theatre, and Two Crows Theatre Company, among others.

Currently, Jeb is designing Stage Violence and Intimacy for American Player’s Theatre productions, Sense and Sensibility, Hamlet, A Brothers Size, Love’s Labour’s Lost, A Raisin In The Sun, and The Moors.  Onstage, he is currently playing Costard in Love’s Labour’s Lost at APT.

  

Jeb earned his B.A. from Ball State University, his M.F.A. from Illinois State University, and trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the U.K.

Dr. Diane Baxter

Raissa Fleming
Guest Director

WOU information

Raissa has worked in theatre for over 40 years as a professional actor, director, and voice artist.

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She has directed “More Fun than Bowling” and “Baby with the Bathwater” for Western Oregon University. She has also directed for Theatre 33 at Willamette University and for Salem Repertory Theatre. As a teacher, she has taught stage and film acting for both children and adults. 

As a stage actress in the Pacific Northwest she has worked at several regional theatres including Artists Repertory Theatre, Willamette Repertory Theatre, Portland Repertory Theatre, New Rose Theatre, Triangle Productions, Storefront Theatre, Portland Civic Theatre, Salem Repertory Theater and Laughing Horse Theatre.

Raissa studied acting with Doug Patterson and D. Scott Glasser at Willamette University. Additionally, she studied dialect and voice with Rocco Dal Vera at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts; film acting with Loren Bivens; monologue work with Allen Nause and Dennis Bigelow; and dance and movement with Vincent Martinez.

Recent acting roles include the one woman show, “In the Body of the World” by Eve Ensler for Triangle Productions and the new play staged reading of “More of You” in the role of Miriam for Theatre 33 at Willamette University.  She portrayed Aemmon in the U.S. premiere of “The Half Life of Love” by Gail Luow for Verona Studios. She has also appeared as Nat in “Rabbit Hole” and Pattie in “Kimberly Akimbo” for Salem Repertory Theatre along with a four-person version of “Christmas Carol”.  

Her film and television career includes Mean Creek, Nearing Grace and Foxfire, Don’t Cry for Me, Dead by Sunset, The Ann & Abby Story, Fifteen and Pregnant, Nowhere Man, The Fugitive, Medicine Ball, Terror in the Towers, Two Babies Switched at Birth, Under Suspicion, Promise, Night Ride Home, Good Cops-Bad Cops, and Offsides.

She is the original voice of Regal Cinemas, Roller Coaster Video.

Raissa enjoys paddling and racing with a cancer survivor dragon boat team. She also loves to garden.

 

Dr. Diane Baxter

Ryan Wright
Technical Director

WOU information

Ryan received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Technical and Design from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. 

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While in college he worked for the Santa Fe Opera (Santa Fe, NM) and Pennsylvania Center Stages (State College, PA) as part of the stage and electrics crews. Since graduating, Ryan has worked at a number of professional theatres and entertainment companies across the United States. These include Fireside Dinner Theatre (Fort Atkinson, WI) as Master Electrician, Field Installation Supervisor and Regional Manager for Creative Realities Inc. (Fairfield, NJ), Technical Director for Rollins College, as a Master Electrician and a general technician for Innovative Show Designs (Longwood, FL).

Dr. Diane Baxter

Julia Fruit
Program Coordinator

WOU information

A native to Vancouver Island, BC, received her Bachelors and Masters of Music from Western Oregon University, specializing in classical piano performance.

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Julia started out as a student worker assisting the Music Department as an usher, stage manager, box office attendant, and lights/sound coordinator. She went on to work as the Art Department office coordinator, Music Department office coordinator, and now works as the Creative Arts Program Coordinator. She also serves as the Music Director at St. Philip Catholic Church in Dallas, OR. In her spare time, Julia enjoys collecting & trading Pokemon cards, playing competitive esports, and spending time with her husband and 2 zany cats.

Dr. Diane Baxter

Laura Killip
Office Coordinator

WOU information

Laura Killip is an Office Coordinator for the CAD at WOU. She strives to make students feel at home and organizes marketing for the theatre department.

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In addition to her work at WOU Laura is a teacher, music director, singer, songwriter, choreographer, dancer, and actress, who graduated with a Masters of Music in 2017, focusing on American Vernacular Music at Western Oregon University. Laura has worked with Valley Shakespeare Company for two seasons as the music and vocal director. She works as a music director and costumer for Enlightened Theatrics in Salem, serves on their education and season selection committee, and teaches as a camp director for STAGES theatre camp in Corvallis. She founded Meadowlark Music School in 2018 to help students achieve their goals of performing, creating, and building confidence.