Faculty and Staff


Michael Barnett  - Chair & Associate Professor of Lighting Design

Michael Barnett is Chair & Associate Professor of Lighting Design in the Theatre Arts Department where he heads the BFA Lighting Design Program. Recent designs include: National Tour (Forever Plaid, Miracle on 34th Street); North Shore Music Theatre (Grease, The Sound of Music); Faction of Fools (Our Town, Titus Andronicus); Barter Theatre (TarzanBeauty & the BeastAlways…Patsy ClineThe Wizard of Oz, Kiss Me Kate, Forever Plaid); Arkansas Repertory Theatre (Always…Patsy Cline); Tennessee Repertory Theatre (Sweeney ToddBig RiverSuperior DonutsCabaretA Christmas Story )...

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Alan Arrivée - Associate Professor of Cinema, Cinema Director 

Alan Arrivée is a filmmaker, writer, and artist. He is Associate Professor of Cinema and Cinema Director at The University of Mississippi. His short film SILENT RADIO was awarded Best Foreign Film at The European Independent Film Festival 2007 in Paris, and his short THE ORIGINAL I.Q. TESTER received the Founder's Choice Award at the 2015 Queens World Film Festival. His short play THE ORIGINAL I.Q.TESTER was a finalist for the 2007 Heideman Award and was published in The Tusculum Review. His memoir THE APPROPRIATE USE OF HANDS appeared in The Florida Review...

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Donna Buckley - Instructional Assistant Professor of Costume Technology

Donna Buckley recently completed her MFA in Costume Design, at Wayne State University’s Hilberry Repertory Theatre in Detroit Michigan and her BA from Oakland University in Rochester Michigan. Ms. Buckley has recently worked at the Utah Shakespeare Festival and has also worked in film.  She was the credited renaissance costume designer for the film All’s Faire in Love, and worked on Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful, constructing clothing for the principle actors. 

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Joe Turner Cantú - Professor of Theatre Arts

An actor trainer, director, and playwright, Joe is head of the acting program and is a teacher of acting, directing, and playwriting. His teaching expertise is in acting process, acting styles, and voice. For ten years, Joe was artistic director of Oxford Shakespeare Festival (OSF), a summer theatre on the Ole Miss campus.  His professional playwriting credits include several productions throughout the country of his play Rock and Betty Dance, winner of a Rockefeller playwriting grant award. His play American Cowgirls performed at a theatre festival in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria.

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Max Doolittle - Instructional Assistant Professor of Lighting Design

Max earned his MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Maryland, where he also taught Lighting Design and Theatre Graphics. Regionally, Max has designed or associate designed lighting for Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Mosaic Theatre of Company of DC, The Shakespeare Theatre Company and The Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy of Classical Acting, Forum Theatre, Maryland Opera Studio, Olney Theatre Center, Signature Theatre Company, Folger Theatre, Pointless Theatre Company, NextStop Theatre Company, Adventure Theatre...

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Dex Edwards - Associate Professor of Scenic Design

Dex holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Mississippi and has spent the last 15 years designing and directing nationally and internationally. During six years as resident designer at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, his designs won the Critics Choice Award three years in a row. Regionally, he has designed for theatres such as Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Portland Centre Stage and the Sacramento Theatre Company.

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Carey Hanson - Associate Professor of Costume Design

Carey Hanson received a Master of Fine Arts degree in costume design from Utah State University. Her costume experience has covered a wide range of theatre, dance, opera, musical theatre, and theatre for youth. Carey has worked professionally with The Santa Fe Opera, Utah Opera, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, Unicorn Children’s Theatre, Sundance Summer Theatre, Old Lyric Repertory Company, The Harper Joy Theatre, and Playmill Theatre-Jackson. Her most recent designs include The Elephant Man, Oedipus the King, Urinetown, Hair, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Six Characters in Search of an Author.

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Rhona Justice-Malloy - Professor of History & Literature

Rhona Justice-Malloy is the Editor of Theatre History Studies. She is a past president of the Mid-American Theatre Conference. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Theatre Conference and serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the City Attic Theatre in New York, New York. She has served as co-producer, director, and Equity Guest Artist at the Highlands Playhouse in Highlands, North Carolina. She is co-editor of a collection of essays about performance studies and living history published by the University of Alabama Press in 2010.

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Rory Ledbetter - Associate Professor of Voice & Acting

Rory Ledbetter is Associate Professor of Voice, Speech, and Acting in the Theatre Arts Department. He received his MFA in Theatre Directing from Florida State University in 2004. He is a certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework® and has extensive training in the Linklater Voice Progression, Knight-Thompson Speech Work, and Patsy Rodenburg's voice methodologies. Rory has studied Clowning with Chris Bayes, Avner the Eccentric, and Elizabeth Baron.

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Justin Lee Miller - Visiting Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre

Justin Lee Miller holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Musical Theatre from Tulane University in New Orleans. As a performer, he appeared in the original Las Vegas company of The Phantom of the Opera, working with the original creative team of Harold Prince and Gillian Lynne.  He went on to appear in both the National Tour and the Broadway companies.  Some of his New York performing credits include the revival of On the Town on Broadway and the PBS Broadcast of Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic.

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Jennifer Mizenko - Professor of Movement & Dance

Jennifer Mizenko is a Professor of Movement for the Actor and Dance at the University of Mississippi, where she has run the Theater Department's dance program since 1989 and the movement program since 1996. Jennifer's duties include teaching jazz and modern technique classes, plus dance composition, dance appreciation, movement for the actor, and directing the university dance company, Mississippi: The Dance Company. Throughout her tenure at Ole Miss, Jennifer has continually enhanced her skills as a movement instructor.

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René Pulliam - Associate Professor of Theatre Arts
Since 1993, René Pulliam has been head of the BFA program in Musical Theatre at the University of Mississippi. She received her BA in Music from Whittier College in 1972 and her MFA in Dance/Choreography from Mills College in 1992. She has directed and/or choreographed hundreds of musicals across the United States, including the West Coast premieres of SmileCloser than Ever, and Over Here. She has been awarded the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Award for her choreography on No, No Nanette and Good News.

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Matthew Shifflett - Instructional Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts

Matthew Shifflett is a theatre historian and writer who has worked professionally as a playwright, a dramaturg, and an actor. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland--College Park. He has previously taught at Georgetown University and Montgomery College and has led acting workshops at Shepherd University. He is a member of the American Society for Theatre Research, the Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the American Theatre and Drama Society.

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Jared Spears - Instructional Assistant Professor of Scenic Technology

Jared, a native of the Mississippi Delta, is a designer and sculptor who received his MFA in Theatre Design from the University of Mississippi in 2005. Jared was a co-recipient of the Mississippi Governor’s Award For Excellence in the Arts in 2002. In 2010, Jared received a special achievement award from The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for his work on The Passions of Walter Anderson: A Dramatic Celebration of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Artist

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Kristin Stowell - Instructor of Musical Theatre

Kristin Stowell is a music director, pianist, composer, vocal coach and music copyist.  Kristin Stowell was the first female music director for the musical Rock of Ages. Recently, she was the music director for the new musical Matthew McConaughey Vs. the Devil, which was featured in the New York Musical Festival (NYMF). She served as the assistant music director and music copyist for Off-Broadway’s Songbird, with music by Lauren Pritchard and starring Tony Award® nominee Kate Baldwin, and is the resident music director for Berenstain Bears Live!.

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Matthew R. Wilson - Assistant Professor of Performance

Matthew R. Wilson serves as Assistant Professor of Performance at the University of Mississippi and works around the world as a professional actor, director, fight director, scholar, and theatre instructor.   He is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors' Guild / American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Society of American Fight Directors, and Association of Theatre Movement Educators.  He is a three-time Helen Hayes Award nominee and has taught internationally, including serving as a Guest Artist/Instructor at NYU, Columbia, Northwestern, and Georgetown.

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Harrison Witt - Assistant Professor of Cinema Production

In addition to being an award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker, Harrison Witt brings more than 20 years of professional production experience in cinematography and lighting to the Department of Theatre Arts at Ole Miss. Logging thousands of hours on set with directors like Richard Linklater, Quentin Tarantino, Terrence Malick, Spike Lee and Robert Rodriguez has been invaluable to Harrison’s development as a filmmaker and teacher. Similarly, learning camera and lighting techniques while working side by side with cinematographers like Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki, and Pawel Edelman...

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Peter Wood - Instructional Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts

Peter is deeply invested in understanding how the stories people tell themselves—through drama, film, performance, and history—affect human behavior and thought. His research focuses on cross-cultural avant-garde, cognitive science, popular culture, and gender within the US, Europe, and Japan during the 20th and 21st centuries. He has presented work on the shared corporeal topography of Butoh dance and live zombie performances and the cognitive effects of certain kinds of dramatic language and his publications include works on gender representation in theatre (Into the Woods) and film (Aliens), as well as performance and book reviews.

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Adjunct Faculty

Roxie Thomas Clayton - Adjunct Professor of Dance

Roxie Thomas Clayton is a native of Tupelo, Mississippi.  She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre from the University of Mississippi, where she was one of six dancers chosen for the Dwight Rhoden Choreography Project, which was then showcased at the Kennedy Center.  While attending school Roxie was extremely active in Mississippi: The Dance Company, where she was a featured soloist and choreographer. Roxie completed her Master of Arts in Dance at Shenandoah University, where she studied with Alan Arnett, Ting-Yu Chen , Maurice Fraga, Kim Gibilisco, Elijah Gibson, Erica Helm, and Linda Miller.

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Production Staff

Jeffrey Hannah - Master Electrician

Jeffrey Hannah is pleased to be joining the staff of Ole Miss in the position of Master Electrician. Originally from Troy, Michigan, Jeffrey holds an MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Illinois, as well as a BA in Theatre Performance from Oakland University, additionally he has completed internships at the Ozark Actors Theatre and Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre Company.

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Jonathan Lee - Sound Designer / Engineer

Jonathan Lee is a 2011 graduate from The University of Southern Mississippi with a BFA in
Theatre Design & Technology. Design credits include The Learned Ladies and Snakebit at USM,
Comedy of Errors, Distracted, Rent, Time Stands Still, Urinetown, and Hairspray at the
University of Mississippi, and God of Carnage, Retreat from Moscow, and Pete 'n' Keeley at New
Harmony Theatre.

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Mary Gietzen
Costume Shop Manager 
mlgietze@olemiss.edu I 662-915-1818
Felipe Macias
Technical Director 
femacias@olemiss.edu I 662-915-1334

Ed Neilson
Master Carpenter

Professional Staff

Jordan Smith
Administrative Assistant to the Chair
jsmith10@olemiss.edu | 662-915-7287

Brandon Skaggs
Program Coordinator
cbskaggs@olemiss.edu | 662-915-5816