AACT Fellows
For significant contributions to community theatre
  • The designation “AACT Fellow” is bestowed for life upon members of AACT who over a period of years have contributed significantly to the idea and ideal of community theatre.
  • Nomination and election to this select group is the responsibility of the current Fellow membership.
  • Awards are presented in odd years, with 2015 being the most recent.

AACT Fellows for 2017

[Click here for Fellows elected in previous years]

Ron Cameron-LewisRon Cameron-Lewis (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada) is Professor Emeritus at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, where he helped establish the Music Theatre program in 1972. Sheridan graduates currently work throughout Canada, on Broadway, in the West End in London, and on international cruise ships. He has worked as a theatre educator and adjudicator for AACT at state, regional, national, and international levels and taught adjudication at AACTFests in Rochester, New York, and Carmel, Indiana, plus many workshops at festivals around the USA. In 2016, Ron was re-elected to a second three-year term as a Member-at-Large on the AACT Board, serving on the Education, Adjudication, and International Committees. He recently developed a training video for new adjudicators at State level and in 2013, directed a production representing Canada at WorldFest in Venice, Florida. Ron’s AACT travels over 32 years have taken him to Indiana nine times and another dozen states. He truly treasures his AACT friendships.

Lori ChaseLori Chase (Venice, Florida) has worked in every aspect of theatre during the past 30 years: production, scenic and costume design, stage management, administration, and as an acclaimed actress. Her work spans both community and professional theatre. Currently she works as Event Coordinator for Florida’s Venice Theatre, a position she has held since 2009. Lori planned and executed almost all aspects of the successful 2010 and 2014 AACTWorldFest international community theatre festivals—and is handling the same task for the upcoming 2018 festival. Lori has served as festival chair for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. Eclectic past careers have included business management for a surgery center, as well as touring with an AmeriCorps acting troupe.

Nancy EppertNancy Eppert (Independence, Missouri) has volunteered with several community theatres as Box Office Chair, director of youth summer camps, Screening Specialist for a school gifted program, Advocate for Arts-in-Education, Board President, Publicity Chair, Secretary, Selection Committee Chair, director, actor, and even dug conduit trenches for a new theatre. After attending her first AACTFest in 2003, Nancy has volunteered as a member of the Education, Advocacy, and Workshops Committees, and served as Chair of the Education Committee overseeing the implementation of the Technical Theatre Conference, AACTEd Hours, and Youth Theatre discussions. She has also served on several task forces and subcommittees, most recently working on the implementation of AACT Chat. She is also an AACT Adjudicator. Nancy serves her community as the Artistic Director of the “Enchanted Forest,” a non-scary Halloween event, attracting 4,500 people over four nights and raising approximately $10,000 dollars each year. She is employed as the Artistic Director of the City of Independence, Missouri’s First Person Interpreters Program. She and her husband, John, live in the Truman Historic District of Independence.

Sue Ellen GerrellsSue Ellen Gerrells (Alabaster, Alabama) has been a force in community theatre for the past 55 years. From co-founding theatres in Singapore and San Diego, to performing and directing in Singapore, Ireland, Japan, and various places throughout the U.S., she brings her love of theatre with her wherever she goes. Currently serving as Artistic Director of South City Theatre, Pelham, Alabama, Sue Ellen has worked tirelessly over the years for the Alabama Conference of Theatre, as well as the Southeastern Theatre Conference and AACT where she’s serves as an adjudicator, Endowment Fund Trustee, Festival Commissioner, and AACT Ambassador. “Community theatre has given me so much,” she says. “I can utilize my creativity and imagination, and, most important, make life-long friends. I love the collaborative nature, as well as the discipline of play production. Simply put, community theatre is home.”

Stephen F. KrempaskyStephen F. Krempasky (Knoxville, Tennessee), is President of MASSKUS Productions, an entertainment agency in Knoxville. Graduating college with honors and completing his MFA in 1979, he became Managing Director of the Billings Studio Theatre in Montana.  After producing over 100 shows, he left for the Oak Ridge Playhouse in Tennessee. In 1990, he became Executive Director of the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee working with local groups including Theatre Knoxville and the Tennessee Stage Company.  In 1996, as Vice President of Theatre Operations for the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania he designed for Theatre Harrisburg, Open Stage, and the Harrisburg Opera. Steve is a former ACTA Board Member (AACT’s predecessor) and since the mid-80s has been an active AACT committee member. He has chaired state, regional, and both 1993 and 2001 national festivals.   He continues as an AACT Festival Commissioner and adjudicates across the country. He is currently involved in six upcoming productions in the Knoxville area.

Linda MillerLinda Miller (Prescott, Arizona) has served community theatre at the local, state and national levels for over 26 years. Beginning as part of a two-person staff, she eventually served six board terms and chaired many performance and fundraising committees. Artistically, Linda has been involved in over 60 theatre productions. She has served 18 years as the AACT Arizona Representative, chaired Arizona’s first state AACTFest, organized three Arizona community theatre conferences, and initiated Arizona’s participation in two regional and national AACTFest competitions. Linda is a past member of the AACT Board of Directors, has participated on AACT task force groups, the Festival Commission, and Workshop, International, Awards, and Membership Committees. “Traveling with AACT, I have come to see that each theatre represents individuals working together to enhance life in their community, create entertainment, provide education, build empathy, and support the local economy. Community theatre is an amazing and valuable part of our country’s cultural landscape; it changes lives.”

Kathy PingelKathy Pingel (North Port, Florida) served as Director of Education and Youth Programming at the Des Moines Community Playhouse for ten years, until her retirement in 2015. She also served as Artistic Director of the Kate Goldman Children's Theatre. Kathy holds a BA in theatre from Eastern Michigan University, an MA from Northwestern University in Performance Studies and an MAT from Northwestern. After graduation, she taught in Illinois then worked as a freelance director and outreach coordinator for Orlando Repertory Theatre. At the Des Moines Playhouse, Kathy directed over 50 productions. She has adjudicated at the state, regional, national, and international levels for AACT, and in 2015 taught AACT’s Adjudication Workshop at the national festival. Kathy also facilitated AACT's Theatre Education Directors Conference in 2010 and 2016. In 2016 she and her husband, Ron Ziegler, won the Cloris Leachman Award from the Des Moines Social Club for best direction of The Hobbit. Kathy was also nominated for best director by Jay Handelman for her work on Metamorphoses at Venice Theatre. In retirement, Kathy freelances as a play editor, director, and teacher in her new home state of Florida.


Fellows of the American Association of Community Theatre


  • Scott Bloom (Silver Spring, Maryland)
  • Eugene Irby (Artesia, New Mexico)
  • Rick Kerby (Bradenton, Florida)
  • Beverley Lord (Foxborough, Massachusetts)
  • Dave Sheppard (Maynard, Massachusetts)
  • Jim Walker (Bath, South Dakota)


  • Tom Cowley (Ponca City, OK)
  • Penelope Notter (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Kristi Quinn (Dakota City, NE)
  • Gary Walker (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Patricia White (Amherst, NH)


  •    Kay Armstrong (Dallas, TX)
  •    Dennis Gilmore (Athens, TX)
  •    Ginger Heath (Charlotte, NC)
  •    Tim Jebsen (Midland, TX)
  •    Sherman Ward, Jr.* (Alexandria Bay, NY)


  •    Murray Chase (Venice, FL)
  •    Mary Doveton (Lawrence, KS)
  •    Annette G. Procunier (Ontario, Canada)
  •    Carole Ries (Topeka, KS)


  •    Morrie Enders (Kalamazoo, MI)
  •    Linda Lee (Fort Worth, TX)
  •    Kathie Maldonado (Alto, NM)
  •    Jim Sohre (US Army, Heidelberg, Germany)


  •     Joanne Berry (Bay City MI)
  •     Bill Muchow (Minneapolis, MN)
  •     Hal Robinson (Royal Oak, MI)


  •     Mary Britt (Ocala, FL)
  •     Jill Patchin (Grand Rapids, MI)
  •     Jack Phillips (Western Springs, IL)
  •     John Sullivan (Sioux City, IA)
  •     John Wills* (Spokane, WA)


  •     Rod McCullough (Lancaster, PA)
  •     Donna Norberg (Minneapolis, MN)
  •     Stephen Peithman (Davis, CA)


  •     Harv Thompson (Madison, WI)


  •     Jimmy Vaughn* (Oklahoma City, OK)
  •     Norm McPhee (Racine, WI)


  •     Mimi Gregg* (Haines, AK)
  •     Sandra Karnack (Minot, ND)
  •     Shirley Cockrell (Oneida, NY)


  •     Julie Crawford Angelo (College Station, TX)
  •     Michael Fortner (Memphis, TN)
  •     Norm Small (Winter Haven, FL)


  •     Ron Ziegler (Des Moines. IA)
  •     Don Bachmann (Midland, TX)


  •     Jon Kerkhoff (Omaha, NE)
  •     Marilyn Pool Allen (Midland, TX)


  •     Frank Peot (Sun Prairie, WI)
  •     Angus MacPherson* (Palm Beach, FL)


  •     Betty Wills* (Spokane, WA)
  •     John Viars (Des Moines, IA)


  •     JoAnne Nissen (Racine, WI)
  •     Enid Holm* (Odessa, TX)


  •     Ginny Winsor (Omaha, NE)
  •     Al* and Elise King (Clinton, IA)
  •     L. Ross Rowland* (Muncie, IN)


  •     Charles Chesnut* (Chappaqua, NY)
  •     Merle Loppnow* (Minneapolis, MN)


  •     James Carver (Kalamazoo, MI)


  •     Bea Miller* (Memphis, TN)


  •     Charles Jones* (Omaha, NE)
  •     Kay Smith* (Stockton, CA)
  •     Sherwood Lohrey* (Memphis, TN)
  •     Twink Lynch (Topeka, KS)


  •     Betty Tomlinson* (Spokane, WA)


  •     David Gooder* (Downers Grove, IL)
  •     Shirley Harbin (Detroit, MI)
  •     Jean Hoffman* (Wilmington, DE)


  •     Richard Fliehr*  (Edina, MN)
  •     Alfred E. Rickert* (Oswego, NY)


  •     Virginia Kirshner* (Concord, MA)


  •     John Wray Young* (Shreveport, LA)
  •     Mort Clark* (North White Plains, NY)
  •     Charles Stilwill (Waterloo, IA)
  •     Ethel C. Brett* (New Orleans, LA)


  •     Jim Cavanaugh (Mt. Holyoke, MA)
  •     John Wilson* (Lincoln, NE)
  •     David Young (Washington, DC)
  •     Robert Gard* (Madison, WI)

1978  Founding Fellows:

  •     David Bryant* (Sheyboygan, WI)
  •     Art Cole* (Midland, TX)
  •     Kay Fliehr* (Edina, MN)
  •     Howard Orms* (Springfield, MO)
  •     Jules Irving* (Holyoke, MN)
  •     Dorm Richardson* (Columbus, OH)
  •     Jeanne Adams Wray* (Stillwater, OK)
  •     Robert Telford (Tulsa, OK)
  •     Walter Jensen* (Corpus Christi, TX)
  •     Norman Nadel* (Staten Island, NY)

          * Deceased


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