Graduate Students 2019-2020
Donnie Bales, 2020 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Donnie Bales is from Marion, Virginia and holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Bluefield College. While completing his degree, he began working at Stagedoor Manor where he taught Film Analysis and Movie Making, and served as the sound designer and video department lead. Donnie has also worked in several roles including: Stage Manager, Lighting and Sound Designer, and Assistant to the Theatre Manager. He most recently served as the project manager for Cube Fest, an international music festival, at the Moss Arts Center as well as working in the development department at Barter Theatre. Donnie is currently in his third year internship at Blumenthal Performing Arts in programming, development, and marketing.
Amy Baldwin, 2021 M.F.A. Candidate (Directing and Public Dialogue)
Amy Baldwin is a native of Virginia and is happy to once again call these hills her home. She comes to the Directing and Public Dialogue program after many years as a full-time professional actor, singer, choreographer, private coach, instructor and researcher. Amy was a Resident Acting Company Member at the Barter Theatre for 6 years and performed with other regional theaters across the country, most recently in Seattle, Washington. She has performed with the Village Theatre (directed by Brian Yorkey), Parley Productions, Lime Kiln, Civic Rep, and others. Amy also assistant directed with Showtunes Theatre Company. Amy is a proud member of Actors' Equity and is a hiker and dog lover--particularly of her own 14 year old dachschund, Al Pacino. She is focused on enhancing communication through theatre techniques and tools, particularly in relation to medical care professionals and patients, as well as continuing to be involved in teaching and research, as these are the delightful things!
Corrie Besse, 2021 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Corrie Besse originates from Nebraska and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts & Communication Studies from Central College, Pella, IA. Prior to her enrollment, Corrie spent 16 years working in the Production and Arts Administration fields in Chicago. Most recently she served as the Managing Director for the Theater & Performance Studies Program at the University of Chicago and the Operations Manager for Salonathon. She has been fortunate to work with A Red Orchid Theatre, Albany Park Theater Project, Teatro Vista, Redmoon, Roosevelt University, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Hypocrites, Shattered Globe, Seanachai, Chicago Dance Crash, Mary –Arrchie, Famous Door, Chicago Humanities Festival, Barrel of Monkeys, PineBox, and the Gate Theatre, London. Following graduation, Corrie’s goals are to lay the foundation for a co-op space in which artists will have access to resources, and through radical hospitality create environments that foster empowerment for artists.
Trichia C. S. Cadette, 2023 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Trichia Cadette is a native of the West Indian island of St. Lucia and holds a B.A, in Theatre Arts from Grambling State University. Her career in the arts began at young age, however she did not fully embrace her talent until her early adult years as a performer, creative writer, and creator of visual art. Her educational background in Theatre Arts and Management propelled her to return to St. Lucia to pursue a career as a teacher, which in turn ignited her passion for social work and transformation. Her work in the classroom inspired her to create several after school programs for underprivileged children on the island. Trichia has used her knowledge and experiences to advocate for the empowerment and overall development of young women through the arts. In 2017, she launched the “I am a Queen” campaign which used pageantry as a vehicle for social empowerment and development of positive self-imagery in teenage girls. The M.F.A. program at Virginia Tech is an important step on a long journey of artistic and professional development and leadership. Trichia intends to continue her work in community engagement, creative development, and advocacy.
Allison Dellinger, 2020 M.F.A. Candidate (Stage Managment)
Allison is from Raleigh, NC. She discovered her love of theatre during her time at Barton College, where she received her B.A. in Theatre. After exploring the various facets of theatre production in undergrad, she found her passion for stage management and worked in Raleigh, NC. A few of her favorite shows at Virginia Tech have been Fun Home, Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, and As You Like It. She is ecstatic to be finishing her third year!
Casey Duke, 2023 M.F.A Candidate (Lighting Design)
Casey holds a B.A. in Theatre from the Mississippi University for Women, and has been freelancing as a Lighting Designer and Master Electrician for the past five years. Her career has encompassed both corporate theme park entertainment (Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Hersheypark) and Tony-winning regional theatre (Goodspeed Musicals – Electrics Apprentice, Holiday Inn; Utah Shakespeare Festival – Assistant Master Electrician, Big River, The Foreigner; Tour Technical Director, Macbeth; Assistant Lighting Designer, Henry VI, Pts 2 and 3). Favorite design credits so far include Newsies and Always…Patsy Cline (Lees-McRae Summer Theatre), and The Glass Menagerie (Theatre Tallahassee). Casey hopes that, through the production of her own art, she can inspire others to seek fulfillment in the arts as well, and is especially interested in works that empower women, folx of color, and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Joseph Fry, 2020 M.F.A. Candidate (Technical Direction)
Joseph Fry earned his Bachelors of Arts in Theatre Tech and Design, with a minor in Mathematics, at Winthrop University in Rock Hill S.C. Throughout and after his undergraduate education he worked for several Summer Theatres as an electrician or carpenter. In the fall of 2016 he worked at Meadow Brook Theatre in Rochester Hills, Michigan as a scene shop intern for a ten-month contract. Having been over much of the east coast, Joe decided that is where he would like to continue his career. He took his next step, which is coming to Virginia Tech to earn an MFA in Technical Direction.
Kate Handzlik, 2020 M.F.A Candidate (Stage Mangement)
Kate Handzlik is from Chalfont, Pennsylvania and holds a B.A. in both Psychology and Photography from Milligan College. After a brief period working as a social worker in Southwest Virginia, she attained a B.A. in Theatre from East Tennessee State University. Kate worked as a stage management apprentice at Serenbe Playhouse in Atlanta, Georgia which specializes in outdoor, site-specific theatre. She has spent her last two summers at Interlochen Center for the Arts serving as their production stage manager and is currently working with Higher Ground (a community- based theatre group located in Harlan County, Kentucky) on their most recent original play named Perfect Buckets about food, labor, and community.
Cynthia Moon, 2021 M.F.A. Candidate (Costume Design)
Cindy Moon holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fiber Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. While there, she explored the realms of textile design and how fabric can be a mode of storytelling. In Baltimore she was able to intern for the Baltimore Museum of Art textile collection, as well as with Black Cherry Puppet Theatre. Her time at Virginia Tech has brought her the opportunity to design The Foreigner and Balm in Gilead, and be design assistant for Decision Height. Through these design experiences she is learning how to include her textile design background into costumes. She spent the summer of 2019 at the Tuacahn Center for Performing Arts building costumes for their production of The Sound of Music. Having been raised in Blacksburg, she has always had a soft spot for Virginia Tech and the Hokies.
Quinn Sipes, 2023 M.F.A. Candidate (Stage Management)
Quinn was born and lived part of his life in San Diego, California, before moving to Virginia Beach with his family for better opportunity. Quinn received his B.A. from Hampden-Sydney College where he majored in Ancient Greek and minored in theatre. It was at Hampden-Sydney that Quinn found his passion for theatre. As a freshman he volunteered to stage manage the fall semester mainstage The Mystery of Irma Vep and through that one play he fell in love with theatre and more specifically, stage management. Throughout his undergraduate studies, he stage managed for every mainstage performance. He studied performance in Tokyo, Japan, and Athens, Greece. After graduating from Hampden-Sydney, Quinn worked at Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, Virginia as an electrician. It was at this job that he fully realized that his true passion is in stage management. Quinn is super excited to be a part of the Virginia Tech team!
Gabriel Velazquez, 2023 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Gabriel, a native Texan, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Franciscan University of Steubenville and has been involved in theatre production for the last 11 years. With a background in classical performance, Gabriel has spent the last two years collaborating with local vineyard owners to provide an aesthetically pleasing and entertaining blend of Shakespeare, wine, and an intimate performance atmosphere for the Roanoke Valley. Excited to be at Virginia Tech, Gabriel plans to build his knowledge of arts management and creative collaboration to assist with, and eventually lead, the continuing osmosis of art and theatre into our ever-growing culture.
Anna Wehr, 2021 M.F. A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Anna Wehr is from Ellicott City, MD, and holds a B.A. in Theatre Performance with a minor in Marketing from the University of Lynchburg. Upon graduating she accepted a fellowship with Virginia Theatre Association (VTA) where she was Managing Director. While at VTA she planned the Annual Theatre Conference for over 2,000 people from across the Commonwealth. She has also worked for Tony-nominated actor, Mike Faist (Dear Evan Hansen) with marketing and administrative activities for the Ohio Artists Gathering. This past summer Anna worked as Program Coordinator for Tony-nominated performers Terrence Mann and Charlotte d'Amboise with their summer Musical Theatre Intensive, Triple Arts. Previously, Anna taught theatre for six years at Drama Learning Center in Columbia, MD and interned with Center Stage's summer education program in Baltimore, MD. Anna is revisiting her passion for theatre education at Virginia Tech.
Taylor Wood, 2023 M.F.A. Candidate (Arts Leadership)
Taylor is from Nashville, TN where she earned a B.F.A. in Theatre Design/Technology with minors in Dance and Directing. Since earning her undergraduate degree, she has held various roles in management and production for the performing arts including: Stage Manager, Production Manager, Production Scheduler, Assistant Company Manager, Production Assistant, and Event Manager. Taylor has worked with Nashville Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Orlando Shakes, New York Fashion Week, Kindling Arts Festival, and Blackbird Theatre.
Gwenyth Zobel, 2023 M.F.A Candidate (Costume Design)
Gwenyth Zobel, coming from Virginia Beach, has fortunately had the experience of spending the last four years at Virginia Tech completing her undergraduate program. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Arts, she majored in Fashion Merchandising and Design, focusing her studies heavily towards design. In her senior year of her undergrad, in search of the next step, it was through the exploration and participation in a costume rendering class that she realized a true passion for costume design. Gwenyth is thrilled to further her education with Virginia Tech as she pursues her M.F.A.