Performance and Directing Faculty
Specialty: Acting and Directing
Kevin hails from Tacoma, Washington, and graduated with a B.A. in Theatre & Communication Arts and Psychology. He also holds an MFA degree in Acting/Directing in addition to an MA in Counseling, an MEd in Educational Leadership, and holds membership in Actors Equity Association, the union for professional stage actors. Kevin co-founded Arizona Shakespeare Festival in 1991, which morphed into Southwest Shakespeare Company two years later, and SSC is currently a resident professional classical theatre company located at the Mesa Arts Center. Kevin served as managing and artistic director for the company for numerous years. He has taught for over thirty-five years teaching a variety of subjects. Kevin has over 75 production directing credits and was a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Excellence in Theatre Education recipient in 2013 for Region VIII, a Zoni Best Production Award
Winner, and directed Story Theatre, which was presented at KCACTF.
Kara Thomson ADG
Design and Production Faculty
Specialty: Scenic Design, Scenic Art, Art Direction Film & TV
Bio: Kara is Faculty and Head of the Theatrical Design, Technical, and Management program at Mesa Community College’s Department of Theatre and Film Arts. In 2011 she received the Kennedy Center Excellence in Theatre Education Award. She has designed for Arizona Broadway Theatre, Actors Theatre, The Bridge Initiative, The Nebraska Repertory Theatre, The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, University of Nebraska, 24th Street Theatre of Los Angeles, Dolly Parton, and Arizona State University. Her art direction for television includes over four thousand aired hours for the networks: ABC, NBC, and CBS. She has received Emmy honor for her work on Days of Our Lives and an Emmy nomination for her work on General Hospital. Other awards received for Scenic Design; ariZoni for Alice in Wonderland, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Miss Saigon and The Lion in Winter, the Romulo Soldevilla for the Importance of Being Earnest. She is a member of the Art Directors Guild, IATSE Local 800, and a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Currently, she serves as Region VIII Chair of Design, Technical, and Management for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Kara holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Arizona State University. In 2020 she received an Alumni Achievement Award in Theatre and Film from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.
Specialty: Production Management, Stage Management, Venue Management
Bio: Ruth is the Production Manager for the Theatre Department of Mesa Community College. Ruth is devoted to working in and with communities through creative mentorship. She takes great pride in facilitating transformative artistic experiences in public, private, social, and civic sectors. Ruth has worked as a Stage Manager for Arizona with Stray Cat Theatre, Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Theatre Works, Greasepaint Youth Theatre, Arizona State University, and North Valley Playhouse. Ruth recently served as a Community Lead for the Obama Foundation Community Leadership Corps where she mentored and supported young people as they cultivated and initiated civilian lead change-making. Ruth’s foundations in community-engaged practice were cultivated while working as the Program Manager for Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona where she trained over 5,000 volunteers, educators, and teaching artists to bring healing arts programs to over 75,000 young people that experienced the trauma of abuse, neglect, and homelessness. She is a certified trainer in the Youth Quality Programs Assessment tool, Kids at Hope and Art Heals methods. She teaches and presents nationally on artistic programming, creative community development, youth development, trauma-informed practice, and leadership. Ruth has her Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Theatre Production and Management from Arizona State University. currently works as the Production Manager and Technical Director for Mesa Community College's Department of Theatre & Film Arts.
Costume Shop Supervisor
Specialty: Costume Design, Costume Construction
Bio: Adriana Diaz is originally from Tulsa. Okla., where she went to the University of Tulsa. It was there that she got introduced and developed a passion for costumes and costume design. After undergrad, she moved to Phoenix for an internship at Phoenix Theatre. She later received her MFA from the University of Maryland where she studied under Helen Huang. Adriana has gotten the pleasure to work for many companies in the Phoenix area; her design credits include Florencia en el Amazons and Rusulka at Arizona Opera. Calendar Girls, Evita, Over the Rainbow, Anything Goes, Memphis, Ruthless, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Love makes the World go round and Altar Boys ( Phoenix theatre) Charlotte’s Web and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Childsplay), Fairyworlds (Desert Botanical Garden and Southwest Shakespeare) King Lear, Equivocation, Taming of the Shrew, Christmas Carol (Southwest Shakespeare).9 to 5, Little Women, Hairspray, South Pacific(Hale Center Theatre)The Big Meal (Studio Theatre D.C), Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good Very Bad Day (Adventure Theatre, MD).
Specialty: Lighting, Sound, and Media Engineering
Bio: Josh Hontz is the Theatre Technology Coordinator at the MCC Theatre. He has been a part of MCCCD since 2015 and previously worked as an Audiovisual Technician at Estrella Mountain Community College. Josh has worked as a sound and lighting designer for theatrical productions around the Valley - most recently, he designed sound for MCC's production of "Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter." He has received twelve AriZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence for his designs. Outside of the theatre, Josh enjoys gardening and hiking with his lovely wife, Katie, and sweet dog, Jelly.
Specialty: Costume Design, Costume Construction
Bio: Victoria has been working professionally in the performing arts industry for the last decade in every aspect of costuming. She has worked a variety of national touring concerts, theatrical shows, plus local theater productions with responsibilities ranging from running wardrobe quick changes, wig tracks, to building and repairing costumes. Victoria dappled in design for the Class6 production of Sylvia and How I Learned to Drive. But what she loves best is creating costumes from start to finish; seeing them go from design rendering to finished garment ready for the stage. While serving in costume shop staff positions for Arizona Opera and The Phoenix Theatre Company she has had a wide variety of experience constructing costumes ranging from historically based garments to whimsical fantasy garments. Victoria attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison where she received her Bachelor of Science in Environment, Textile and Design and has an Associates in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Box Office Coordinator
Specialty: Box Office Management
Bio: Marisa is from Western New York and from a Theatrical family. When she saw The Phantom of The Opera she fell in love with the beauty of the Theatre. From there she found herself in a few productions before she moved out to Arizona and then continued working as a Stage Manager and Production Manager for theatre productions. She currently works as the Box Office Coordinator for Mesa Community College's Theatre Outback.