Full Time Theatre Faculty
Paul Davis- Department Chair, Design & Technology
Paul Davis teaches Scenic and Costume Design at HSPVA. He has been an active set designer in and around Austin; he has worked for The Zilker Park Summer Musical (B. Iden Payne nomination), Different Stages (Circle Critics Nomination), Capital T Theatre and The Da! Collective. His work for Hyde Park Theatre has been honored with B. Iden Payne award nominations: The Pillowman , The Drawer Boy, The Sound Of Music . He has also worked as a scenic artist for the Dallas Theater Center, Portland Stage, and Connecticut Repertory Theater, and as a Scenic and Costume Designer for the Finborough Theater in London, England. His work has also been seen at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival and The Prague Quadrennial. He has advanced to the State Level with OAP twice with Leander High School’s productions of Armitage and Paganini.
Dana Harrell- Technical Director
Dana Harrell is a freelance Technical Director, Scenic Designer and Master Carpenter/Rigger in and around the Houston area. Dana began her professional Technical Theatre career as a carpenter at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville in 1999 after receiving her Bachelors’ of Arts degree from Francis Marion University in South Carolina. In 2005, Dana moved to Houston TX to assume the Lead Carpenter position with the Alley Theatre. There she spent 3 years, being promoted each of them, to Scene Shop Forman and then Assistant Technical Director. In 2008 Dana left the Alley Theatre to pursue her Master’s Degree in Technical Direction and Scenic Design from the University of Houston. While there, as a first round student in the Graduate Design program, she helped create and establish the curriculum that is used today. Since receiving her MFA in 2011 Dana has worked freelance with the High School of Performing and Visual Arts, Alley Theatre, Rice University, HITS, Unhinged Productions, Freneticore Theatre, Stark Naked Theatre, Horse Head Theatre, Black Lab Theatre, Zilker Theatre and Crossroads Theatre. She works with I.A.T.S.E Local 51 as a Carpenter/Rigger for venues including George R. Brown Convention Center, Minute Maid Park, Reliant Stadium, Hilton Hotel, Wortham Theatre, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Hobby Center and Verizon Wireless Theatre.
Travis A. Horstmann – Facilities Manager
Travis Horstmann is the facilities manager, instructor of lighting, sound and projection for both production and design. Studied theatre at the University of North Texas and University of Houston receiving a Masters of Fine Arts in Theatre Design from the University of Houston. Travis has worked professionally in both production and design with The Alley Theatre, Cincinnati Play House, American Stage and Texas Repertory Theatre. Most Recently Travis worked as lighting and sound tech for Data Display AV where he got to travel the world working AV in Bahrain, Istanbul, Stavanger, Amsterdam and all across the United States.
Matt Hune- Acting
Matt Hune has been an adjunct instructor at HSPVA in the theatre and creative writing departments since 2009 before becoming full-time faculty in 2016. He has also lectured and taught acting at Rice University Shepherd School of Music, Prairie View A&M University, the Alley Theatre, Theatre Under the Stars, HITS Theatre, and St. Francis Episcopal Day School. In addition to his teaching, he is dedicated to presenting non-traditional performance, theatre, and opera. He produces works under the moniker Hune Company as well as the newly established Rec Room in downtown Houston. As a director, original plays or adaptations include: Inherited, Not Mad,Tis Pity She's a Whore, Haunted Theater, and Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Along with his self-produced work, he has acted or directed with Houston Grand Opera, Alley Theatre, Stages Repertory, Loring Theatre, and The Inconvenience among others. In 2003 he received a level one award in acting from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) and was also recognized for his work in the regional premier of Edward Albee's The Goat or Who is Sylvia. He is a BFA alumnus of The Theatre School at DePaul University and a MFA candidate at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a member of SDC (Stage Directors and Choreographers Society). More information can be found at www.hunecompany.com and recroomhtx.com.
Mekeva McNeil - Acting
Born and raised in Houston, Mekeva began her studies in theatre at the prestigious High School for Performing and Visual Arts. She went on study theatre at the University of Houston where she received her BFA in Theatre. Mekeva later moved to New York where she earned an MFA in Directing from The Actor’s Studio Drama School at Pace University. In her spare time she dj's, travels and meditates. She believes that art is a vehicle that inspires discourse, action and offers people a voice as agents of change.
Mark Ponder- Design/Drawing
Mark Ponder received his MFA in Drawing and Painting in 2009 from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. He received his BFA in Graphic Design in 2004 from Lamar University Beaumont. He is currently the instructor of record for Digital Photography at the Glassell School of Art as well as a consultant for Young Audiences of Houston. Ponder has served as the Exhibition Coordinator at BOX13 ArtSpace, the gallery registrar for Devin Borden’s Gallery, and as the legacy specialist to Terrell James. He was awarded the distinguished Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 2014 and continues to exhibit his work regionally.
Claudia Rodriguez- Costumes Construction / Design
Ms. Rodriguez graduated from the University of Houston with a BA in Technical Theatre with an emphasis in costume construction and design. Since then, she has worked with The Houston Shakespeare Festival, The Texas Shakespeare Festival, The Houston Ballet, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Musical Theatre of Houston, Stages, Houston Grand Opera, and is excited about adding HSPVA to that list. Her expertise lies in draping and patternmaking, along with freelance costume design. Some of her favorite shows she has worked on include, Opera Theatre's, Alice in Wonderland, HSPVA's Pippin, and Houston Ballet's, Doll's House, Marie Antoinette, and Carnival of the Animals, along with countless others.
Shay Rogers- Guest Director
Shay is currently freelancing as a director/choreographer in multiple theatres and schools. She works with iTheatrics and has created more than 30 instructional choreography video’s for MTI, Disney, R & H, Samuel French and Tams Witmark as well as serving as an adjudicator for the Junior Theatre Festival. Shay created the Academy for Theatre Under The Stars in 2003, making it one of the top education programs in the country and managed the program until 2016. While running the Academy, Shay also assisted both Adventure Theatre in Maryland and The Rose Theatre in St Louis to creating their top ranked Education programs. Choreography highlights include iTheatrics: Chicago High School Edition, A Chorus Line High School Edition, West Side Story High School Edition, Footloose YPE, Sister Act Jr, 42nd Street YPE, Wicked Jr, Nice Work If You Can Get It High School Edition, Rock Of Ages YPE, Disney’s The Jungle Book, Junie B Jones Jr. Theatre Under The Stars: Bring It On, Heathers, Rent, James and the Giant Peach, Xanadu, Legally Blonde, The Who's Tommy, Southwest Regional Premiere of 13 and Geppetto and Son, World Premiere of The Stephen Schwartz Project, Disney's Aladdin Duel Language and Pilot of Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr. Wildfish Theatre: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, School of Rock, Rent, Spring Awakening. Ohio University: Cabaret and You're A Good Man Charlie Brown.
Mitch Pengra, M.A.
Mitch Pengra is an arts educator and pianist in the Houston area. He holds a BFA in visual arts and a MA in Child Development. He has taught art and music to students of all ages and abilities for over 25 years, plays in a variety of bands, and serves as music director, coach and accompanist for theatre students, singers and classical instrumentalists all over Houston. Supporting self-expression and learning from the process are fundamental to all his projects and collaborations. Accompanying singers for auditions is a cherished endeavor. Mitch strives to mentor clients as they learn to make connections with accompanists and prepare audition music for optimal performances.
Past productions include “Grand Hotel” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” with TUTS, Houston; "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" and "Always, Patsy Cline," at Stages Theatre, Houston; musical director for several student productions with Houston’s best theatre programs including Queensbury Theatre and Wildfish Theatre; and multiple vocal auditions for the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Houston, and the Texas Educational Theatre Association.