Faculty, Staff, and Production
Dr. Lisa Brooks is currently the Dean of the Jordan College of the Arts at Butler, in addition to Professor of Violin. She held previous faculty appointments at Baylor University, the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire, Messiah College, and Dickinson College.
Dr. Brooks received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in violin performance in four years from West Virginia University, where she was a student of Donald Portnoy. While completing her doctorate in violin performance from the State University of NewYork at Stony Brook, she studied with Joyce Robbins, and as a member of the Stony Brook graduate piano trio, coached extensively with Julius Levine and Gilbert Kalish. Other important teachers have included Rafael Bronstein, Ariana Bronne, Stanley Ritchie, William DePasquale, and Carol Taleff.
As an orchestral musician, Dr. Brooks is currently principal second violinist of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and a frequent substitute musician with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on both violin and viola. She was associate concertmaster of the Waco Symphony and performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Harrisburg and Reading Symphony Orchestras; she also has toured nationally with the Pennsylvania Ballet Company. She was an artist-fellow at the 1984 and1985 Bach Aria Festivals, and was a finalist in the 1981 A.S.T.A. National Solo Competition. Dr. Brooks was a founding member of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra, a period-instrument ensemble.
Influenced by workshops and training sessions she has participated in at the Lincoln Center Institute for Aesthetic Education in New York City, Dr. Brooks has developed and taught a variety of academic courses at Butler. These include a non-traditional, listening-based approach to music appreciation for non-music majors, as well as a two-semester First Year Seminar sequence based on Classical Music and Society, which incorporates critical thinking, reading, writing, and speaking. In demand as a clinician for student musicians and teaching colleagues alike, her recent lectures and recitals have included presentations for the IMEA convention, the College Music Society’s Institute for Gender and Music, and a lecture-recital at a conference celebrating women in music held at Ohio University. In addition, Dr. Brooks presents the pre-concert lectures for the Ensemble Music Society.
In 2013, Dr. Brooks received the inaugural Faculty Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership from Butler University, and in 2001, she received a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis.
Wendy Meaden – Professor of Theatre
Associate Dean, Jordan College of the Arts
Wendy is a professional costume designer and draper (pattern maker). She currently mentors students and teaches courses in Costume Design, Fashion History, Mask Work, and Stage Makeup.
Wendy particularly enjoys fantastic collaborations with students, colleagues, professionals, and guests from around the world. Together they explore new ideas about what theatre is, and what it might become.
“I love designing; it’s an immediate, visceral way to reach the heart, mind, and soul. Theatre engages us on many levels, and is the ultimate collaborative communication between writers, directors, designers, performers, characters, technicians, and audience.”
She delights in facilitating the growth of thoughtful, inventive students into professional theatre artists, and is inspired by seeing our students apply their theatre training to areas that are meaningful to them and the world we live in now.
She earned her M.F.A. in Costume Design and Construction at Indiana University – Bloomington, and a B.A. in Theatre from Bates College. She joined the Butler faculty following 10 seasons with Indiana RepertoryTheatre (IRT), where she was the lead draper/tailor. In addition to her patterning work with IRT, she has constructed costumes for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Louisville Ballet, the Huntington Theater, and the film The Best of the Best. She managed costume shops for The Theatre at Monmouth (Maine), the Nickerson Theatre, and Bates College. Wendy’s design career includes works for Indiana Repertory Theatre (IRT), Cardinal Stage Company, ShadowApe, and The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, among others. Several of her designs were included in the exhibit Costume at the Turn of the Century in Moscow (2015) and in the World Stage Design Festival in Toronto (2005).
In addition to teaching and designing at Butler, Wendy is an active member of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), the Costume Society of America, the Fashion Arts Society, and Phi Beta Kappa. As a recipient of several faculty fellowships, she has traveled throughout Europe, and to Ghana, where she studied Kente and Adinkra textiles. Wendy is currently conducting research on and writing about masks, and she continues to freelance as a costume designer and maker.
Courtney Elkin Mohler joined the faculty of the Theatre Department in Fall 2017 as an Assistant Professor, where she directs productions for the department and teaches courses in Theatre History, Text Analysis and Critical Perspectives in Theatre. She was appointed Associate Dean of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access for the Jordan College of Arts at Butler in 2021. Mohler holds a Ph.D. in Critical Studies in Theater from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also earned her B.A. in Theater with emphases in Acting and Critical Studies. In addition to teaching her classes and supporting IDEA in JCA, Mohler serves as the Faculty Director for the SJD Vocation Fellowship.
Due to her lifelong obsession for making theater, she has acted in, directed and served as a dramaturge for over forty productions on the professional and collegiate stage. Some recent directing credits include An Enemy of the People by Henrik Ibsen and The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe at Butler’s Lilly Studio Theatre, the pre-premiere of Larissa FastHorse’s What Would Crazy Horse Do? at Santa Clara University’s Fess Parker Theatre. As a professional dramaturg, Mohler has worked with playwright Vickie Ramirez on her new play Yah-Che-Wah-Kehn (Bitter), winner of the National New Play Network’s 2020 Smith Prize for Political Theatre, Jason Grasl (Blackfeet) on Lying with Badgers, Desert Stories for Lost Girls by Lily Rushing, and is currently working on Beth Piatote (Nez Perce)’s adaptation of Antíkoni. Bridging her research and artistic interests, she also regularly directs and does dramaturgy for the professional Native American theatre company Native Voices at the Autry in Los Angeles and serves on their National Play Reading Panel.
Specializing in Native American Theatre, Critical Race Theory, and Theatre for Social Justice, Mohler has contributed chapters to American Indian Performing Arts: Critical Directions (UCLA 2009), Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative (Routledge 2019), Contemporary Women Playwrights into The Twenty-First Century (University of Michigan Press, 2021), Transforming Our Practices: Indigenous Art, Pedagogies and Philosophies (NAEA Press 2017) and wrote the essay on American Indian Theatre and Performance in The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Indian Issues Today (Greenwood 2013). She has published articles and reviews in the peer-reviewed journals Theatre Topics, Modern Drama, Ecumenica, Platform, Theatre Research International, Latin American Theatre Review and Text and Presentation. Her co-authored book Critical Companion to Native American and First Nations Theatre: Indigenous Spaces was published in 2020 by Bloomsbury-Methuen Press. In 2019, Mohler received the Butler University Outstanding Professor of the Year in Research.
When she’s not teaching, writing or in the theatre, she is running after her highly theatrical daughters, Violet and Alice.
Cathy Sipe attended University of Akron, where she began touring as an electrician with Ohio Ballet. She spent several years alternating ballet tours with local freelancing, most notably with Great Lakes Theatre Festival and Vincent Lighting. In search of stability, she became the main stage light board operator at PlayersTheatre Columbus, OH, with summers spent as Master Electrician at American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. Encouraged by life in the South, she moved to Atlanta, GA to freelance in all areas of live performance, including conventions, concerts, theatre, dance, and a ridiculous number of corporate parties. After moving back north for family reasons, Cathy took an administrative staff position at IATSE Local 30. Cathy joined the Butler community as Master Electrician for the Jordan College of the Arts in 2008, working on theatre, dance, and opera productions. Because of the wide variety of skills Cathy brings to the table, including lighting design, stage management, carpentry, and stitching, a new position was created and in 2018 Cathy became Technical Director for JCA.
Cathy works with several other companies around town, including Dance Kaleidoscope, Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, and IATSE Local 30.