Dr. Charlene Gould is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. She oversees academic and co-curricular programming for undergraduate and graduate majors, including a professional licensure in psychology and a professionally accredited social work program.more
Dr. Charlene Gould is Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. She oversees academic and co-curricular programming for undergraduate and graduate majors, including a professional licensure in psychology and a professionally accredited social work program. Responsibilities include departmental strategic planning, program review, curriculum development and assessment, and budget oversight.
Dr. Gould is Professor of Theatre and Producing Artistic Director of Goppert Theatre at Avila. She has created a partnership with Theatre for Young America, a professional children’s theatre company, which led to co-productions at the Union Station City Stage in Kansas City, Missouri and job opportunities in design and performance for Avila graduates and faculty.
Dr. Gould earned her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in theatre and film. She was a recipient of a post-doctoral fellowship at Northwestern University where she participated in historical and interdisciplinary representation of the Holocaust. Dr. Gould co-authored an article with historian Dr. Jeffrey Myers, in Trajectories of Memory: Intergenerational Representation of the Holocaust in History and the Arts (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008). She and her co-author present at international conferences and are reviewers for the Holocaust and Genocide Studies, published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. Gould, whose teaching interests include directing, theatre history, and interdisciplinary courses, has presented at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and continues to direct. She serves her community by participating in a women’s educational organization and supporting an intercultural dialogue foundation.
Director of Theatre Design, Technology & Management
Associate Professor of Theatre
Prof. Harris teaches courses in Stagecraft, Lighting & Sound, Scene Design, and Props. He advises Design/Tech/Management (DTM) students and students seeking certification in Green Theatre Practices.more
Professor Harris has taught at Avila since 2003, winning Professor of the Year in 2007. He holds an M.F.A. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a B.S. in Secondary Education from Kansas State University. Before joining Avila Theatre, Jason made stops around Kansas City at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Starlight Theatre, Coterie Theatre, and Quality Hill Playhouse.
Professor Harris teaches DTM courses, serves as Technical Director and Theatre Manager for the mainstage productions and theatre rentals, coordinates initiatives in Green Theatre Practices, and mentors Avila student designers and technicians on their production work. His students have won numerous awards for their work at the American College Theatre Festival (ACTF) and have earned summer internship opportunities around the country. His graduates have gone on to professional work in a variety of theatre fields as well as advance to highly-selective graduate programs.
Off-campus, Jason serves as Technical Director and Resident Designer for The Theatre in the Park and the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, and by doing so he provides design/tech opportunities to Avila students year-round in order to further develop their portfolios through paid, professional internship experiences in additional theatre venues and environments.
Jason is an active member of the United State Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) and ACTF, of which he serves on the management team for the annual Region V Festival. He is also a co-founder of The Backstage Connection, a company created to serve the Theatre Design/Tech community of the KC Metro area through promotion, education, and consultation.
Erin Joy Schmidt
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre
Office: GOP 321
Erin Joy Schmidt is a nationally recognized actor, director, and teaching artist. She holds an M.F.A. in Acting from The Actors Studio Drama School at New School University, where she was awarded the prestigious Shubert Scholarship for Excellence by her peers.more
Erin Joy Schmidt is a nationally recognized actor, director, and teaching artist. She holds an M.F.A. in Acting from The Actors Studio Drama School at New School University, where she was awarded the prestigious Shubert Scholarship for Excellence by her peers. She also holds additional training in Meisner Technique from The Ward Studio and Alexander Technique from the Alexander Technique Center for Performance and Development in New York City. She is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.
As an actor, Erin has performed regionally in over forty productions, including several world premieres. She has worked at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Mirror Rep, City Theatre, and Palm Beach Dramaworks, among others. She has been an acting company member at Mad Cat Theatre Company since 2007, and is a proud member of the Actors Equity Association.
Prior to joining the faculty at Avila, Erin was a Professor of Theatre at Broward College and New World School of the Arts, where she taught all levels of acting, and most recently, she was Artistic Director at the Frierson Theatre in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she directed several productions, including Into The Woods, The Grapes of Wrath, Uncommon Women and Others, and Pippin.
Dr. Amity Bryson
Dr. Amity Bryson, Music Department Chair, teaches various music courses including applied voice, and directs both Avila Singers and University Singers.more
Dr. Amity Bryson, Music Department Chair, teaches various music courses including applied voice, and directs both Avila Singers and University Singers. Dr. Bryson completed her doctoral work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Conservatory of Music and holds both a BS Ed in music education and a MM in voice performance from the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is also an alumnae of Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. In addition to previous faculty appointments at William Woods University and Westminster College, Dr. Bryson has taught in the public school systems at both the elementary and secondary levels.
Dr. Bryson is active in local, state, and national professional music organizations and is a member of the board of the Kansas City Metro chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She also serves on the state board of Missouri Choral Directors Association as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Women's Choirs.
As a lyric soprano, Dr. Bryson continues to perform on both the recital and opera stage. Recent recitals include a program of art songs by women composers, featuring In a Persian Garden by Liza Lehmann. Opera roles have included Zerlina, Juliette, and Ännchen, but most memorable was her portrayal of Gretel in Hänsel und Gretel.