Executive Board

Members of the Executive Board of Region 8 have been vetted by the Regional organization and National organization in concordance with the by-laws of ACTF Management, Limited.

Region 8 Chair

Eric Bishop
MiraCosta College

Hello! My name is Eric Bishop. I live on the land of the Kumeyaay nation in what is now known as San Diego County.  My pronouns are he/him/his.  I am a father, husband, son, brother, friend, theatre artist, educator, leader, humanist, empath and citizen.  I root for the local baseball team, love music, art, documentaries, animals and my home state of California.  I am of mixed race and honor my grandmother from Mexico.  My creativity is supercharged when I witness exceptional, inspiring theatre!

My love of KCACTF began as a community college student at Fresno City College when my passion was ignited by the vast array of theatre opportunities, plays, workshops and life-long friendships cultivated.  I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a Region 8 festival since 1990.  I loved my time as a student in KCACTF and never dreamed I would be leading this regional organization back when I was in college, but I am proud to give back after all KCACTF has given me.  Life has a funny way of coming full circle.  I strive to make KCACTF in Region 8 a positive, stimulating and life changing experience for all students from all states and all communities. I believe that there is a place for everyone in the theatre.  It is my goal to continue to push the boundaries to make our festival as inclusive, welcoming and inspiring as possible.  Onwards!

Region 8 Vice Chair


Shaunte Caraballo
California State University Dominguez Hills

My name is Shaunté Keakalani Caraballo. I reside on the land of the Tongva nation. My pronouns are she/her/hers/ella. I am fortunate that my name is an excellent representation of who I am. I am a woman of color. I am African American. I am Latinx. I am a proud Boricua! I am the daughter of two veterans. I am a hula dancer/choreographer who is active in the Asian/Pacific Islander community and have been for 14 years. I have been an ally for the LGBTQ+ community long before I knew it was a thing. I am a Christian who believes that the greatest expression of Christ’s love is to love all just as they are and I do not believe it is my job to make everyone believe as I do. I love all faiths and believe I can learn from all. I have produced culturally-specific work for many years. I love to choreograph and devise new works that include multiple areas of performance that normally would not be combined. I enjoy developing work for only those communities I am a part of, but also for other minorities and underrepresented groups. It is a true passion of mine to have BIPOC artists tell their stories. And I would like to see more of that in theatre. BA-CA Baptist University, MFA-CSU Long Beach

Region 8 Immediate Past Chair | Finance Director

Gil Gonzalez
Whittier College

I am proud of my Oaxacan heritage and ancestry. As an advocate for the Latinx community, I am proud to stand alongside my fellow BIPOC artists and citizens to advocate for representation, equity and diversity in all aspects of life. BA History and Dramatic Arts, University of Wisconsin-Parkside; MFA in Acting, University of Virginia.

Region 8 Representation, Equity, and Diversity (RED) Chair

Kristi Papailler
California State University, San Bernardino Kristi.Papailler@csusb.edu

My name is Kristi Papailler.  I live on the territory and ancestral land of the Yuhaaviatam in what is now called San Bernardino, California.  I am Haitian American with some German roots, and my pronouns are she/her/hers.  I grew up in what is now called Louisville, Ky and when not in school or playing outside I was surrounded by my parents- an Opera singer and civil rights worker and Haitian diplomat turned poet and professor of Pan-African Studies and Modern Languages.  I am a mother, artist, educator whose commitment to positive social change includes an expanding awareness of what that means and working for representation, equity, and diversity in theatre with others of good conscience.  I am thankful to have volunteered with organizations like the Louisville Fairness Campaign and The Kentucky Alliance Against Racist & Political Oppression years ago and to have co-founded and co-produced Juneteenth Legacy Theatre (Kentucky’s only professional African American Theatre from 1999-2011). I am proud to stand with my fellow BIPOC and of good conscience artists, students, and educators as we move towards a more just and equitable world.  BA- Theatre and Literature, MFA-Theatre Performance, Graduate Certificate- African American Theatre- The University of Louisville.  Sifu- Tai Chi and Qi Gong with specialty in these arts for actors.  

Region 8 Representation, Equity, and Diversity (RED) Vice Chair 

Jozben Barrett
California State University Dominguez Hills

Jozben Barrett is a Los Angeles based actor, director, producer, educator and event emcee. He is the founder of 2 Rhythms; a multidisciplinary arts organization that develops work focusing on the untold and under-told stories of communities of color. Jozben has performed in the world premiere production of What To Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris, a play/pageant/ritual that responds to racial violence in America, the world premiere of SNAKES by Chris Webb at the A.C.T. Strand Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing with the Independent Shakespeare Company in Griffith Park, August Wilson’s Radio Golf directed by Fran Bennett, among many others.

Region 8 Chair of Design, Technology and Management

JR Luker
California State University, Dominguez Hills

Region 8 Vice Chair of Design, Technology and Management

Malie Speetjens

University of Hawaii at Manoa

Maile Speetjens serves as Professor of Costume Design and Technology for University of Hawaii, Manoa. Originally from Kauai, Maile received an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Georgia, Athens, and a BFA in Musical Theatre from Emerson College. Prior to joining the team at UHM, Maile worked as Costume Shop Manager and Special Assistant Professor of Costume Design at Colorado State University. She has designed, draped, and worked as wardrobe supervisor in Boston, Georgia, Hawaii and Colorado. Maile has worked extensively in Children’s Theatre as a designer, director, and teacher. She spent over 10 years working with Hawaii Children’s Theatre on Kauai, and 4 years directing Kids Do It All, a program in Colorado focusing on devised Children’s Theatre. Maile’s passion is creating a collaborative and educational environment for students to explore, expand, and HAVE FUN; after all, it’s called a play!  

Maile enjoys scuba diving and spending time with her family (both human and canine) on her time off. 

Region 8 National Playwriting Program Co-Chair

Carol Damgen
California State University California, San Bernardino

Region 8 National Playwriting Program Co-Chair

Jenny Kokai
Weber State University

In a playwriting camp I taught, a fourth grader once wrote: “One’s a pond of time.” Identity is a construction of how we see ourselves and how others see us, and it is largely a fictional narrative we create to impose order on chaos. Having been asked to construct just such a thing, I can tell you about some of the things that make up my pond. I grew up mostly in Louisville, Kentucky, the oldest of three girls. Although I am constantly asked if my last name is Hawaiian, it is Hungarian but I know little to nothing about Hungary. I knew I wanted to make theatre from the time I was very small and entirely on my own organized an application and audition for a performing arts high school in search of both a place to make theatre and a place that had room for a nerdy, weird kid who liked to play pretend and wanted the world to be more just. After being accepted as an Acting major, we all quickly realized this was a mistake. But fortunately, they also had a voluntary playwriting and directing class led by one of the greatest teachers I have ever had and I found a voice there. Since then, I have moved from one red flyover state to another in pursuit of my education and career, ending up in Utah a place I never predicted living. I am obsessed with new works from under represented voices, wild theatricality, and coffee. I have no personal concept of gender. I am responsible for seven non-human animals and one human 13-year-old.  BA- Butler U, MA- Washington University in St. Louis, PhD- The University of Texas at Austin

Region 8 National Playwriting Program Vice Chair

Kirin McCrory
Mount San Antonio Community College

This personal identity statement is hard for me to write–I’m pretty introverted and I don’t love talking about myself. I lived on the East coast for most of my life; now I live here and I always miss fall. I grew up on college campuses; I now teach at a community college where most of my students are first generation or nontraditional college students, and I’m reminded every day of what a huge privilege it was to be exposed to academia at such a young age. I started acting in high school, started writing plays and doing fight choreography in college, and got my MFA so that I could teach at the college level. I’m most interested now, in both theatre and education, in making space for other, less represented people to tell their stories or see themselves on stage. Both theatre and education have the potential to make us better humans, though both can and have been used to do the opposite–and my goal always is to help myself and others grow, however incrementally, through these two practices. As a person outside of theatre, reading is my major hobby, and you can find me watching anime in the mornings, listening to vintage soul and jazz records, and playing with my big, dumb dog. BA in Theatre Studies and Literature – Emerson College; MFA in Playwriting – UC Riverside

Region 8 National Playwriting Program Vice Chair

Miguel Torres Cruz
California State University Fullerton

I was born in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico. My city is known for “cajeta,” which is a sweet, caramel-like product made from goat’s milk. My family crossed the border when I was eight years old; I will never forget that long night walking through the desert. For the majority of my life I was defined by my undocumented status, but in my teenage years I found the theatre which freed me from how others defined me. The theatre became my church and its plays my scriptures. It was because of the theatre that I gained an independence, confidence, and self-awareness to shape my own path and go wherever I wished to go. I believe the theatre has the power to liberate the mind and soul. I hope to bring this experience to as many people as I can.

KCACTF National Organization

KCACTF National Leadership

Chair-Michelle Bombe

Co Vice Chair-Brad Dell

Co Vice Chair-Gil Gonzalez

Immediate Past National Chair- David Lee-Painter

KCACTF Representation, Equity and Diversity (RED)

Chair-Gil Gonzalez

Vice Chair-

KCACTF Regional Chairs

Vana Trudeau and Tom Rothacker, Bill Gillett, Herschel Kruger, Lisa Abbott, Jim Wood, Mike Burnett, Nick Taylor, Eric Bishop

KCACTF Design, Technology, and Management Chairs

Chair, Design, Technology and Management-Jesse Dreikosen

Vice Chair, Chair,Design, Technology and Management-

Design, Technology and Management Member-at-Large-

Regional Chairs: Erika Guay and Emmett Buhmann, Nancy Pipkin Hutchinson, Christopher Plummer and Misti Bradford, Tony Galaska, Kelly Marie Schaefer, Elizabeth “Biz” Nelson and Eric Marsh, Raquel Davis, Kara Thomson

KCACTF National Playwriting Program

Chair, National Playwriting Program-Jim Holmes

Vice Chair, National Playwriting Program-Ben Gonzales

NPP Member at Large-Julie Mollenkamp

Regional Chairs: James Ryan Caldwell, Bob Bartlett, Thom Miller, Becky Becker, Sean Byrd, Jackie Rosenfeld, Jenny Kokai and Carol Damgen

The Kennedy Center

President- Deborah F. Rutter

Senior Vice President, Education-Mario R. Rossero

Director, Education Programs and Productions-David Kilpatrick

Director, Education Activation and Engagement-Vanessa Thomas

Manager, KCACTF and Theater Education-Kelsey Mesa

Program Assistant, Theater Education-Jackeline Mass

Artistic Director, KCACTF-Gregg Henry