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OUR BOARD

Claire Wayman, President
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Claire Wayman has been active with the Valley Playhouse since 2015 and has previously served as Secretary to the Board. She has been involved as an actor, choreographer, and assistant director. She has also been involved with ShenanArts, the Oak Grove Theater, and the Children’s Theater Workshops at Blue Ridge Community College. She lives in Harrisonburg and works as the Marketing Director for the Harrisonburg Homes Team, part of Kline May Realty. She also enjoys playing flute and handbells.

Gail Arthur, Treasurer
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Gail has been volunteering with Valley Playhouse for more than a decade since her daughter was in Trumpet of the Swan 17 years ago. She has been involved since then performing,producing,  painting sets, assisting with costumes and props; and serving as president, secretary, and treasurer of the board. A pediatrician by training, she currently lectures part time in the JMU Health Science department.

Emily Winter, Secretary
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While Emily has stage-managed for JMU's Forbes Center for the Performing Arts as a student, and Alice in Wonderland was her first time serving as stage manager for the Valley Playhouse. When she is not stage managing or working as Marketing Director for Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, you might find Emily behind the concessions counter at Court Square Theater or at a game of BINGO.

Josh Mitri, Vice President
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Josh is a life long theater lover; he started acting on stage before he could even walk.  He got his chops here in Harrisonburg doing sound and lighting in Court Square Theater for the Playhouse.  In his free time he enjoys tinkering with technology and pondering the cosmos. Josh is proud to be part of the Valley Playhouse Board since 2020 and he looks forward to bringing entertainment and joy to your day.

Benjamin Wilkins
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A native of New Market, VA, Ben is a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University where he earned his Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts with minors in Music, Art, Theatre, History and Religion. He is a founding member of V.O.I.C.E. and has had the pleasure of performing with various local groups including Blue Ridge Theatre Festival, Oak Grove Theatre & Act-n-Action. His stage credits include Annie Get Your Gun (Charlie Davenport), Die Fledermaus (Baron Gabriel von Eisenstein), Little Shop of Horrors (Mr. Mushnik), and Act 'n Action's Heroes vs. Villains Cabaret. Ben has assisted in teaching theatre courses with Blue Ridge Theatre Festival, The Profession, Inc. and The Harrisonburg Children’s Museum. In addition to performing and teaching, he has had the privilege of being a director, lighting designer, and stage hand for various productions. For his “day job,” Ben is the General Manager of Clarion Pointe Harrisonburg and serves as Management Mentor for other hotels in his company.

Jonathan Erdman
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Jonathan has lived in the valley since 2014 and has four amazing kids Abigail, Nate, Micah, and Caleb. He lives in Fishersville and works in Harrisonburg as a real life chimney sweep (no joke). His passion for music, stage performance, and storytelling started when he was in elementary school. He is a graduate of Liberty University. Jonathan holds a Master's degree in Pastoral Leadership, Hebrew and Greek from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and is a published journalist with the Calvary Chapel Association's quarterly magazine. He loves the outdoors, watching movies, Atlanta Braves baseball, and listening to music. He is a big C..S Lewis fan and certainly lives up to Lewis' quote, "Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."

Mark Dowdy
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Aside from the electronics tinkering and PC building, Mark spends many hours on stage and on ladders involved in theater productions in the area. He’s performed roles in the Valley Playhouse’s productions of The Fantastiks, and Little Shop of Horrors, and designed lights for several shows including Steel Magnolias, Kiss the Sun, Kiss the Moon, and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Leeanne Shepherd
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Recently recognized as a United Way Young Community Builder, Leeanne Shepherd proudly serves as the Executive Director of People Helping People and the Assistant Director of Second Home Learning Center.

As a longtime resident of Shenandoah Valley, Shepherd studied at both EMU and JMU including time as a member of the Marching Royal Dukes. Most recently she completed a certification in Early Childhood Development from BRCC. After her time in college, Ms.Shepherd worked at the Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center, in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, Costa Rica teaching Music and English. From an early age she had a passion for working with children, Shepherd has found many ways to combine her interests into a meaningful career.

Sarah Levine McClelland
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Sarah Levine McClelland is an actor/singer as well as an audition and scene study coach who has performed Off-Broadway, in Great Britain, and regionally throughout the United States. Favorite roles include Alison in Fun Home (4th Wall Theatre, NJ), Celia in As You Like It (Valley Shakespeare Festival, CT), Lady Percy in Wars and Whores: The Henry IV Musical (Philly Fringe), Little Red Riding Hood in Into The Woods (Roxy Regional Theatre, TN), and Mina Harker in Dracula (The Old Rep, Birmingham). Originally from New York, she holds a BA in theatre from Sarah Lawrence College, and also completed the conservatory program at The Atlantic Acting School. She continued her training in the United Kingdom, where she earned her MA with distinction from The Birmingham Conservatoire. There, she had the privilege of working with Cicely Berry of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and on the stage of Shakespeare's Globe. She's also a food blogger and internet cooking show host at wingredients.com

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