Department of Theatre Faculty

Click on any faculty member's name to see a list of achievements.

Dr. Elissa Sartwell (2014), Associate Professor and Theatre Chair
B.A. George Fox University
M.A.T. George Fox University
Ph.D. Louisiana State University
601-974-6131
esartwell@belhaven.edu

Dr. Elissa Sartwell is a theatre historian, dramaturg, and director. Her research explores the ways in which history is written and codified through performance. Sartwell's specific research focus is the performance of ethnicity on the 19th-century American stage. She has presented papers and articles at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Mid-American Theatre Conference, and the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Conference.

While a student at Louisiana State University, Sartwell was a resident dramaturg at Swine Palace, Louisiana's premier professional theatre, where she worked with directors John Dennis, Leon Ingulsrud, and Jane Drake Brody. She has been recognized by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for costume design and for ensemble devising. In addition to serving as a production respondent and directing mentor, she served as an Irene Ryan judge at KCACTF, Region V from 2011-2013. Previously, Dr. Sartwell was the Director of Theatre at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri.

Dr. Sartwell teaches courses in theatre history, dramatic literature, script analysis, dramaturgy, and acting.

Dr. Sartwell is happiest when she is in the mountains. She also enjoys reading novels and visiting museums. If she were not a theatre professor, she would like to work in an enormous archive of historic artifacts. Or she would be a professional dog-walker.

Rebekah Bert, Specialty Instructor of Technical Theatre

Rebekah Bert (2010) Specialty Instructor of Technical Theatre
B.A., Grove City College
M.A., Binghamton University
601-974-5497
rbert@belhaven.edu

Rebekah Bert went to Grove City Collage in Pennsylvania for her Bachelors in Music and Business and a Minor in Theatre, and received her Masters in Technical Theatre from the State University of NY in Binghamton, NY. She started working at Belhaven University as the Technical Director in the fall of 2010.

Rebekah has been a guest designer for Noises Off for SUNY Binghamton, drop design and build for Ballet Magnificant's show of The Snow Queen, and several shows for Millsaps College Theatre department.

Working for Belhaven University has provided her with unique opportunities to problem solve and be creative in the build and production of many different types of theatrical productions. Rebekah looks forward to many more years of creative collaboration for the Belhaven University theatre department.

Becky Freeman

Becky Freeman - Assistant Professor of Theatre Costuming and Production
B.S., University of Alabama
M.F.A., University of Alabama
601-965-7059
bfreeman@belhaven.edu

Becky begain her costuming career as a back stage mom volunteering with local community theatre.  Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Becky has been a southern transplant for many years. 

While earning a BFA in Clothing and Textile Design from the University of Alabama, Becky became acting costume shop manager in 1989. This contract assignment inspired her to utilize her fashion skills in the area of Theatre as a costumer.

For twelve years She was the costume shop manager at the University of Alabama where in 2011 she earned an MFA in costume design and technology.  Earning this degree has led her here to Belhaven where she can teach and mentor students as they find God's calling in their lives. 

Design credits include: Children's Theatre of Tuscaloosa, Theatre Tuscaloosa, The Rude Mechanicals, Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre, Actor's Charitable Theatre, Training Better Actors, U of A Black Box Theatre and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.

Joseph Frost (2004) Associate Professor of Theatre
Joseph FrostB.A. Malone College
M.A., M.F.A., Regent University
601-974-6148
jfrost@belhaven.edu

Joseph Frost is a playwright, actor and director living in Jackson, Mississippi, with his wife, Shannon and their children, Nina, Darby and Emory and Beau, and is in his twelfth year at Belhaven. 

Joseph's short plays have been featured around the country on university stages at Malone, Regent, Spring Arbor, Belhaven, and at Gizhou University in China. His bio-play van Gogh was produced at an exhibit of the artist's work at the Chrysler Museum of Art, and his work The Memory Trilogy has been given readings (whole or in part) in VA, MS, NC, and New York City and produced by Belhaven. Joseph's play Oz was developed into the independent feature film Before We Close, and he has penned several short films, including the Cine Award winning The Heart of Saturday Night. Joseph's farce comedy The Mayfair Affair premiered at Belhaven in 2012, and he is currently developing its follow-up Mayfair, Ma Chére. He's written a cycle of short plays, The Long Surrender, inspired by the music of Over the Rhine, and has completed the 31 Plays in 31 Days project three times.

As an actor, Joseph has performed on stage in over 50 productions, including comedies (One Man Two Guvnors, Scapino!, Jake's Women), dramas (Betrayal, All My Sons, All the Way, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Crucible, Dinner with Friends), contemporary (Dead Man's Cell Phone, The Bald Soprano), original works (Letters to John Lennon, In the Flesh, Pilate, Holy Motion), musicals (Assassins, Peter Pan, The Fantasticks) and Shakespeare (The Tempest, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and an award-winning turn as Hamlet). He appeared in the independent feature films The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah and Endings, and was a founding member of the Slap Happy! Improvisational Comedy Troupe. Joseph's directing work has included plays by Shakespeare, Ionesco, Chekhov, Eliot, Brecht, Pinter, and world premieres of Kurt Gerstein by Paul Patton, a performance adaptations of Ecclesiastes and Gregory Orr’s poems of Orpheus and Eurydice, his own works, Braids, The Silent, The Playhouse, and the devised works Johanne d’Arc and the descent/lifted me.

Joseph is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a board member and head of the New Works Initiative for Christians in Theatre Arts (CITA), and is the chair of the playwriting committee for the Mississippi Theatre Association. Joseph is the artistic director of the floodlight theatre company.

David SollishDr. David S. Sollish (2015), Associate Professor of Musical Theatre
B.F.A., West Virginia University
M.S., Illinois State University
Ph.D., Bowling Green State University
dsollish@belhaven.edu

David S. Sollish holds a Ph.D. in Musical Theatre Direction and Arts Management from Bowling Green State University, an M.S. in Theatre History, Criticism, and Theory from Illinois State University, and a B.F.A. in Acting/Directing & Children's Theatre/Puppetry from West Virginia University.  His most recent faculty appointments have been as Head of Musical Theatre/Shakespeare Studies at Waldorf College in Iowa and Head of Theatre/Musical Theatre at Blackburn College in Illinois.  He is an active member of the Actors’ Equity Association, Society of Directors and Choreographers, American Society for Theatre Research, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Mid-American Theatre Conference, Puppeteers of America, and the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival.  He has presented workshops and papers at most of the conferences associated with these organizations, as well as at the Missouri State Thespian Festival, the Illinois State High School Theatre Festival, and the Mosaic Invitational in Detroit, Michigan.  He has articles published in Theatre Journal, The Sondheim Review, and Theatre and Christianity.

As a professional actor for nearly 30 years and a professional director for 15, Dr. Sollish has been a part of over 300 productions and has worked with the best and brightest from Broadway and Hollywood including Tony Award winner Christian Borle, Eddie Mekka (Carmine from Laverne and Shirley), and Joe Manganiello (True Blood, ER, Spiderman).   Professional directing credits include The Will Rogers Follies, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, The Sound of Music, Little Shop of Horrors, Honky Tonk Angels, Annie, Oliver!, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Doubt, Twelfth Night, and The Tempest among many others.  Professional acting credits include Sweeney Todd (Sweeney & Judge Turpin), Chicago (Amos Hart), Fiddler on the Roof (Lazar Wolf), Seussical the Musical (Horton), Oliver! (17 productions), The Tempest (Prospero), Romeo & Juliet (Capulet & Friar Laurence), Death of a Salesman (Uncle Ben). The Odd Couple (Murray), and The Sound of Music (Max) among many others.  He has worked at numerous regional theatres and summerstocks from Chicago to New York, Pittsburgh to Florida and everywhere in between.

When not engrossed in the world of theatre, Dr. Sollish loves spending as much time as possible with his wife Kelsey and their Beagle-German Shepard mix Lucy.  As a family, they love Bible study, church activities, baseball, hockey, film, and all things Disney.

Adjunct Faculty:

Shannon Frost (2004) Adjunct
B.A., Malone College
M.A., Regent University