The American Southwest Theatre Company (ASTC) is a not-for-profit corporation (501c-3), governed by a Board of Directors made up of company and community members who value the arts and philanthropy. It is a separate, not-for-profit organization that works with the NMSU Theatre Department in a mutually exclusive production arrangement. NMSU Theatre Department Head Wil Kilroy serves a the Managing Director/Treasurer of ASTC.
ASTC was founded in 1984 by Dr. Bruce Streett and Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff. Their purpose was to invite visiting Guest Artists to work alongside a Resident Company of theatre professionals to enrich the community and New Mexico State University’s Department of Theatre students.
ASTC’s Resident Company members teach courses for the Department of Theatre and lead the production of ASTC/NMSU’s theatrical season while working professionally around the nation to forge valuable artistic connections.
ASTC’s visiting Guest Artists are funded solely by ASTC’s Board of Directors’ fundraising efforts. Recent guest include Casting Director Mark Paladini, Actor, Stand-Up Comedian, Singer/Songwriter and Theatre Director Zachariah Stearn, Actors Tracy Liz Miller and Alison Cimmet, and Theatrical Intimacy Educator Chelsea Pace.
The ASTC Board supports NMSU Theatre Arts through a series of events/fundraisers, through program ads, and through Board donations (see Giving Guidelines). Currently, the Board contributes to student travel to conferences and auditions, and the High Desert New Play Development Workshop.
The Board carries out its activities in accord with bylaws that define its structure, governance, and mission.
If you are interested in joining us as a Board member and working with ASTC and NMSU Theatre Arts, please contact Denise Welsh (firstname.lastname@example.org), Board President.
Meet the American Southwest Theatre Company Board Members!
Denise Welsh retired from NMSU in 2015, as Director of Instructional Media Services coordinating worldwide video conferencing and live interactive distant education courses. She had worked at NMSU since 1984. Denise became an ASTC board member in 2008 and has served as Vice President for several years. She was drawn to theatre after seeing Dracula in the Hershel Zohn Theatre. She loves working on this board with great folks who share her passion for theatre. A real plus for her is getting to get to know the theatre students and watching them grow and mature as actors and young adults.
Scott is a local actor and radio personality who has acted in several local productions at ASTC, No Strings Theatre Company, Las Cruces Community Theatre, and the El Paso Playhouse; in addition to plays in Atlanta and his hometown of St. Louis. He can also be heard weekdays on Classic Rock 98.7 and KOOL Oldies 104.5.
Barb holds degrees in elementary education (B.S.), Special Education (M.A., Ed. Specialist) and Curriculum and Administration (Ed.D). She worked for many years in Nebraska as Special Education Administrator and Staff Development consultant/trainer. She received the Nebraska Governor’s Award for Service to Children and Families; served as Chair, Nebraska Interagency Coordinating Council; and was President, Hastings Symphony Board of Directors. She is currently Vice-President, Las Cruces Symphony Association, and was President of the ASTC Board for four years. She values the collaboration with faculty and students that brings live theatre to the community and helps students grow in creativity and professionalism.
Wil has worked nationally as an actor, with roles ranging from Steve in Becky’s New Car to Laertes in Hamlet, and on TV productions such as All My Children and Babylon Five, and is an alumni guest artist with The State Ballet of Rhode Island. Directing credits range from his original work, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to musicals such as his recent Catch Me if You Can. As the co-founder of the National Michael Chekhov Association, Wil has taught nationally and internationally. Wil was awarded the Kennedy Center bronze medallion for achievement in Theatre Education in 2014.
Teddy is a graduate of the NMSU Theatre Arts Department. While a student in the program, Teddy has won the Bravo Award for Leadership and the Best Supporting Performer Award. Teddy was also President of the Creative Student Theatre Company and is responsible for reintroducing improv to CSTC. Teddy studied improv and graduated from the Improv Asylum in Boston and has gone on to study internationally with some of the legendary improv companies in North America.
“Who Am I?” – Valjean, Les Miserables
While she does not have a formal education or training in theatre arts, she developed an interest and love of theatre from a very young age, she still remembers the excitement and awe of seeing a production on Broadway. She is originally from the New York suburbs and later moved to the El Paso/Las Cruces area and it has been her home for the past 26 years. Throughout the years the interest and excitement attending a new show continued to grow and she has thoroughly enjoyed all the season lineups at ASTC/NMSU Theatre and working with the board members. She is grateful for the opportunity to be part of ASTC and help students achieve their goals.
Julia has a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s of Professional Writing. She co-founded a pre-school, The Gentle Nudge, in Santa Fe, had her own paralegal business, also in Santa Fe, and taught elementary school for many years in Colorado, California and New Mexico before retiring in 2014. She worked as Assistant Stage Manager and general gopher for the Starlight Children’s Theatre 2015 production of Iolanthe. She believes in the power of live theatre to implement change and creative dialogue, and believes whole-heartedly in the students who participate in the Theatre Arts Program at NMSU.
Layle Chambers is a Teaching/Artist and Professor of Theatre at DACC. She has worked as an actor in the region for over 25 years, performing with Shakespeare on the Rocks, Outrageous Fortune Theatre Company, UTEP, and NMSU American Southwest Theatre Company. Though primarily a theatre actor, she has also performed in film, television, and as a radio voice over artist. Her areas of focus are Shakespeare and vocal production.
Esther Devall retired from NMSU in 2019 after 28 years as a faculty member in Family and Child Science, and is enjoying teaching part-time as professor emeritus. She has bachelor’s degrees in both Child Development and Elementary Education, and master’s and doctoral degrees in Child and Family Development. She has taught students from age 2 to 82 years. In her youth, she acted in plays at school and church. AS an adult, she has season tickets to all the theaters in Las Cruces. She enjoys the power of live theatre to showcase humanity in all its forms and tell stories that remain with you forever.
After working in the field of Special Education for forty years, he retired to Las Cruces with his wife Barbara. Irv earned his Master’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate from the University of Illinois. He has never participated in theatre arts, however, as an educator he appreciates the application of theatre performance to daily life. Going to theatre teaches us about ideas, meaning and people and places. Having seen NMSU theatre performance for the past several years it is gratifying to see how the students have fun with each performance.
Carolyn Williams is a retired special education teacher. Currently she teaches high school equivalence classes in the DACC Adult Education Program. She has been a member of the Las Cruces community for over ten years and has been a volunteer for ASTC in the past and has served as president. She has also served on the board for the Las Cruces Symphony, and currently serves on the Governance Council of Alma d’arte Charter High School. Carolyn has returned to serve again on the ASTC Board. Her love of live theatre began when she played a pumpkin in a kindergarten play. She says that going to the theatre makes us laugh, cry and think. But, most of all, it helps us better understand the human condition.