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Meet the 2023- 2024 ACT Judging Assistants

Anne Marie Penneck

Anne Marie Ewart
Loveland Stage Company, INNOVATheatre

A Cincinnati native, Anne Marie has performed onstage with several groups around the city including Sunset Players, Milford Theatre Guilde, Beechmont Players, Showbiz Players, Showboat Majestic, and Brieabi Productions, with whom she won an Orchid award for her role as Chris Gorman in Rumors. She has held a variety of positions behind the scenes as well—as assistant director, running crew, stage manager, playwright, and founding member of The Know Theatre Tribe, and for the last 10 years as an ACT-Cincinnati judging assistant. With a B.A. in history and master’s in education from Xavier University Anne Marie spends her daytime hours as a social studies teacher at Saint Ursula Academy, her alma mater.

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Mark Culp
Village Players of Fort Thomas

Mark Culp returned to theatre in 2015 after a long hiatus.  Since then, he’s been active both onstage and behind the scenes and is currently the VP-Production for CenterStage Players and Development Director for Cincinnati Music Theater.  Mark is also a frequent judge and consultant for the marching arts and has judged state championship events for marching bands throughout the country.  He works as a Senior Occupancy Planner for Jones Lang LaSalle on the Procter & Gamble account in Cincinnati.  His wife Jane is also involved with community theatre and his son Parker is currently studying theatre at Xavier University.

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Joy Sharp
Cincinnati Music Theatre, Mariemont Players

Joy Sharp has been an ACT Judging Assistant for several years and currently schedules judges for Mariemont Players and Cincinnati Music Theatre.  She has held office as ACT 2nd VP several times, and is dedicated to the wonderful program, helping tweak it to make it even better. Joy’s involvement in community theatre has spanned over 40 years in several theatres throughout our ACT locations.  She is very proud to have many friends and to remember those sweet souls who have passed throughout those decades.  Joy is honored to help with the judging program.

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Amanda Emmons Shumate
Beechmont Players

(She|Her) With over 20 years of experience in Cincinnati theatre, Amanda is thrilled to continue to serve her ACT Cincinnati family. Amanda lives in Northern Kentucky with her amazing partner, Kyle, and their two sons, Jojo and Nico, and cutest black lab around, Dexter. Amanda taught for 17 years where she also mentored as a teacher leader since receiving her master’s degree in Instructional Leadership in 2012. Currently, she freelances digital design work and runs her bakery, Shu’s Sweets! Amanda currently serves on the ACT Cincinnati board of directors as the 1st VP and has held various other roles within that organization, including being a member of the long range judging committee, secretary, awards committee and also currently serves as a judging assistant. Amanda continues to work with several other organizations in our area including Footlighters and Cincinnati Music Theatre, where she is currently serving as the secretary on their board of directors. Throughout the years, she has worked at the regional, collegiate, community and professional levels as a director, producer, set designer, stage manager, choreographer, and performer. She has served on many local boards, including being one of the founding members of Union Community Theatre, and has recently taken time to participate in JEDI training to learn how to use her platforms to better support the diverse theatre community we have here in Cincinnati. Amanda strongly believes that the arts strengthen our community and build lasting relationships and is grateful to be a part of the thriving and vibrant Cincinnati theatre community!

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John Sloan
The Drama Workshop, CenterStage Players

John performed in a handful of plays while in high school, but didn't discover his true passion for theatre until he was in college. Graduating from Bowling Green State University in 2004 with a B.A. in music and theatre, he went on to work at Walt Disney World for about a year before moving back to Cincinnati. He has called Loveland Stage Company home since 2011 and has performed in or worked on over 20 shows there, including directing their productions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Don't Drink the Water. He even met his wife, Carissa, at LSC. Elsewhere, he has also performed in many shows for Cincinnati Music Theatre and Footlighters, Inc. John has also been an ACT judge since 2018 and enjoys going to see wonderful productions all around the Cincinnati area.

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Melissa M. Smith
Gaslight Players, Sunset Players, Queen City Productions

Melissa started in Cincinnati area Community Theater in the 80’s, happily doing what needed doing backstage so others could go on stage. Groups she’s worked with include: Tri-County Players, TDW, Footlighters (Newport & Fairfield), Sunset Players, Stagecrafters, and Milford Theatre Guilde. Melissa left her beloved hometown to support U. S. and Multi-National troops in Baghdad, Iraq from 2004 through 2009, and then she deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2010-2012. Past ACT Board positions include ACT Treasurer and Secretary. Melissa is most pleased to be back in her hometown with family and to be able to live in her own house.

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Mary Stone
Acting Up, Mason Community Players, Tri-County Players

Mary’s involvement with ACT began in 2013 as a judging assistant for Acting Up and Mason Community Players, two groups she continues to serve today as well as Tri-County Players. She believes that the heart of the adjudication system lies in assisting performers and technicians to fine tune their craft, as well as expanding adjudicator’s overall theatrical knowledge. This is her third and final year on the ACT Board, serving as the Marketing/Publicity Chair.

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Jane Winkler
Footlighters Inc., Fairfield Footlighters

Jane Winkler is affiliated with Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre in Hamilton. She has been involved in community theater for almost 30 years. She has served on the GHCT board for many of those years as Chair and ticket manager. Jane has acted in and produced many shows. She will be producing the Sound of Music in December for GHCT. She has also been involved and performing and producing many Hamilton Rotary shows.

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