Theatre Arts Grads.
Josh Innerst has a Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre: Classical Acting from Illinois State University (2012) as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Performance Studies from Bob Jones University (2008). He completed the Acting Internship with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater (2008-2009) and studied at The Globe Theatre in London (2009). He is a Certified Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and has worked across the country as an actor, musician, and combatant in the Regional Theatre scene as well as a university level instructor. Josh is located in the Shenandoah Valley with his family, where he was been an actor at the American Shakespeare Center for several years. Josh's first introduction to Shakespeare onstage was with the Classic Players at BJU.
Other theatre credits include: American Shakespeare Center, Cape Fear Regional Theatre, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Heartland Theatre, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Bootless Stageworks, and the Greenville Shakespeare Company, where he appeared in selected roles such as Bassanio (Merchant of Venice), Aufidius (Coriolanus), Brutus (Julius Caesar), Richard Hannay (39 Steps), Chorus (Henry V), Algernon (The Importance of Being Earnest), Dauphin (Henry V), Sergius Saranoff (Arms and the Man), Don Pedro (Much Ado), Apemantus (Timon of Athens), Agamemnon (Troilus & Cressida), Duke Senior (As You Like It), Macbeth (Macbeth), Hoss (Tooth of Crime: Second Dance), Tybalt (Romeo and Juliet), Lysander (Midsummer Night's Dream), Vershinin (Three Sisters), Friar Lawrence (Romeo and Juliet), Valmont (Les Liaisons Dangereuses), Macduff (Macbeth), Martius (Titus Andronicus), Bardolph, (Merry Wives), Caliban (Tempest), Demetrius (Midsummer Night's Dream), and the Prince (Romeo and Juliet).
Benjamyn Toler has a Masters in Performance Studies from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC and was a member of the inaugural Apprentice Class of 2013 for the Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville, GA.
Ben has been involved in theater and music almost his entire life, from educational theater as a recurring member of the Classic Players specializing in Shakespearean performance to recent professional productions with the Aurora Theater and the Stage Door Players in the Atlanta area. Currently, he teaches theater and music arts as well as directs the in-house productions for the Artios Academies of Johns Creek with students winning several major competitions and attaining auditions for reputable collegiate theater programs.
Ben is a leader at his local church. Watch as he and his wife, Lana, talk about getting involved in community groups at Emmaus Church in Buford, Georgia.
Lydia Stewart is a playwright, director and teacher from Kingman, Indiana. She has a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing and an MA in Dramatic Production from Bob Jones University, and is currently an MFA candidate at the Hollins University Playwright's Lab.
Her most recent piece, Chrysopylae, was produced at the Spinning Jenny in Greer, SC. In January, 2015, another new play, Whales Outside the Window, was produced at Bob Jones University. She is a free-lance writer and has developed several children's programs for community and religious theater. A Christmas Carol, a musical she co-wrote with lyricist Paul Keew, appeared for its third year onstage in 2014, and her play, Then Came the Rain, premiered in 2011.
Meghan Reimers holds a BA and MA in Theatre Arts from BJU. She’s currently pursuing her MFA from the Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University while working in the Greenville area.
"As a part of the grad program, I gained valuable experience producing, designing, funding, and writing my own theatre event – not just for a campus audience, but for the broader Greenville community. That’s the essence of the MA program – practical preparation for your future as an artist.”
Laura Spencer Nicholas
Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Theatre at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. While there, Laura taught Public Speaking and served as the Creative Producer and Director of the original musical A Christmas Carol to be added to the University's repertoire. After graduation, Laura held production team positions at Centre Stage South Carolina including Costume Coordinator, Stage Manager, and Guest Director. She was recognized there in 2012 for her direction of a staged reading for a new play with playwright-in-residence Mark Medoff. Laura is currently working on her Master of Fine Arts in Directing at Baylor University where her anticipated graduation is May 2017. Her thesis project An Experiment with an Air Pump by Shelagh Stephenson will be performed there as part of the 2016-17 mainstage season.
Laura's scholarly and artistic interests include women in theatre, religion and performance, and stage movement. Laura has presented her research at nationally recognized conferences such as Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), Comparative Drama Conference (CDC), Texas Education Theatre Association (TETA), and Mid-America Theatre Conference (MATC). She also serves on the Graduate Student Sub-Committee, Excellence in Editing Committee, and the Religion and Theatre Focus Group for the Association of Theatre for Higher Education (ATHE) as well as the Graduate Student Association (GSA) for Baylor University. Her most recent endeavors took her to Bangalore, India for two weeks to work with the undergraduate students of Christ University as a visiting faculty member. While there, Laura taught theory, history, and acting classes while advising student directors on production work.
Rebecca Gossage received her B.A. in Performance Studies from Bob Jones University in 2013, and her M.A. in Theatre Arts, also from Bob Jones University, in 2016. While getting her degrees, Rebecca lived and worked in Greenville, SC, as an ABA therapist, an actor, a director, a costumer, and a producer. After graduation, Rebecca worked as the stage manager and production assistant at Overshadowed Theatre in Chicago, IL, before moving to Staunton, VA, to pursue her M.F.A. in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University. Rebecca's previous roles with MBU include Lady Capulet in R omeo & Juliet, and Aurora in a new adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. Currently, Rebecca is working as an actor, costume designer, and hospitality manager for The Motley Players theatre company, based in Staunton and touring to schools and found spaces across the state of Virginia.
Johnathan graduated from BJU with an MA in Theatre Arts in '14, and from NIU with a BS in Performance Studies in '11. He has been actively pursuing theatre, film, and performance art since 2007, and has worked on over 30 theatre and film projects in a wide range of functions over the past decade.
Johnathan Schofield is an actor, director, writer, and educator who currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Misfit theatre Company in Greenville, SC.
Lauren Jacobs Hawk
Lauren Hawk received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Theater Arts program at Bob Jones University. After graduating with her MA in Theatre Arts, she moved back to her hometown in Pittsburgh, PA, got married, and started her own theatre coaching business. She is also in helping productions in the public school districts surrounding her.
She is currently a private tutor in public speaking and acting.
“The BJU Theatre Arts Masters program taught me that I have the power to make things happen. No excuses. I’d highly recommend the BJU Theater Arts department for anyone who loves the stage and who loves a challenge spiritually, mentally, and physically.”
Austin Phillips holds an MA Theatre Arts (2013) and a BA in Dramatic Production (2010) from BJU.
He has served as assistant costume designer/costumer for Greenville Shakespeare Company's last four seasons including Comedy of Errors (2013), Midsummer Night's Dream (2014), Love's Labor's Lost (2015), and The Tempest (2016).
He designed BJU's Sense and Sensibility (2016) and Joan of Arc (2014). Other credits include costume assistant for BJU's Love and Laughter (2015) and costume coordinator for Centre Stage's (Greenville, SC) The Explorer's Club (2016).
Elizabeth Turner completed a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Theatre Arts from Bob Jones University and currently works as an editor at the BJU Press.
She began writing plays as a teen when she began writing her church’s Christmas programs, and she continued to develop a love for playwriting in her undergrad degree. After completing her BA in 2013, she and her church performed her new script, If Jordan Shall Roll.
In the Theatre Arts MA program, Beth continued to develop her playwriting ability, and the other elements of the program (i.e., history, theory, acting, directing, design) broadened her understanding of theatre and gave her more tools to use in the crafting of new plays. As part of her MA thesis, she wrote and helped produce Faces in the Mirror, which was performed at the Greer Opry House in 2015.
She continues to write new plays and is passionate about using them to speak truth and to draw attention to social issues. She has written short plays for elementary school children to use as chapel programs and has recently finished a play that the Simpsonville Museum of Revolutionary War History asked her to write for them to produce in October 2016. She also posts irregularly on her blog.
From Ashely: "I am currently in the midst of my 7th year of teaching junior high and high school english at Calvary Christian School in Myrtle Beach, SC. In addition to teaching four english classes, I teach a high school speech class, and an after school children’s acting class. I also direct and produce the school’s elementary and high school theatre productions. I have even had to write and adapt a few scripts in the past few years. Throughout these past seven years, I have directed fourteen plays, and am currently directing my fifteenth production.
The BJU Theatre Arts program helped shape me as a teacher, writer, and director. Although I’ve been out of school for quite a few years now, I believe that the applicable subject matter that I learned, and the specific instruction from my professors in the BJU Theatre Department have been helpful in my development as teacher and director."
Jessica MacQuarrie holds a BS in Speech Education from NIU and an MA in Theatre Arts from BJU. She enjoys acting, directing and working with original plays. Most recently, Jessica performed in the Misfit Theatre Company's "Grimm and Bear It" and the Greenville Shakespeare Company's "The Tempest".
Jessica currently teaches high school rhetoric and elementary drama classes at Greenville Classical Academy. She also serves as the school's event coordinator and History Play director.
Heather Brown Fredericks
Heather Brown Fredericks earned both her BA in Dramatic Productions and her MA in Dramatic Arts at Bob Jones University. Most of her time in college was spent backstage where she designed lights for such classics as Fiddler On the Roof and Beauty and the Beast, as well as for several new pieces like Then Came the Rain and Shadow of Doubt. Other skills include prop construction (Gramercy, Christmas Carol ), directing (Morning Breaks and Knight of New York), and two years as the Assistant Wig Master in Rodeheaver Auditorium. She also enjoyed four years working with the Bob Jones Summer Drama Camps.
After moving to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her husband--who also earned his MA in Performance Studies at Bob Jones—she has since been involved with The Master's Troupe—a high school, home school co-op drama group--until their disbanding due to the director's retirement in 2016. Currently, she is a designer and volunteer at the local community theater--Winchester Little Theater--where she most recently designed lights and sound for the award winning play Absolutely Dead by Michael Walker and is slated to design for the upcoming season's production of Jane Eyre: The Musical.