A professional non-profit ensemble theatre company based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Ensemble Member/General Manager
Emma holds a BA from Gettysburg College, where she double majored in English and Theatre Arts with a minor in Classical Studies, and an MA in Performance Studies from the University of Chichester. Other theatrical work includes internships at Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Gettysburg Arts Festival, as well as onstage work at Actors’ NET of Bucks County and Renegade Shakespeare troupe. In her time at Touchstone, she has enjoyed extensive hands-on involvement in production, with roles including stage management (Shipwrecked, The Tempest, YPF), lighting design (The Pan Show, The Whitman Piece, Fresh Voices), and performance (Dr. Horrible, Follies, Journey from the East). When not immersed in production, Emma manages the space rentals, assists with marketing, teaches in the Young Playwrights’ classroom, and dabbles in graphic design.
Bill received his B.A. in English Literature from Lehigh University and his M.F.A. in Acting/Directing from the Dallas Theatre Centre of Trinity University. He studied mime with Paul Curtis of The American Mime Theatre, founded the People’s Theatre Company in 1977 and later co-founded Touchstone Theatre in 1981 where he was Producing Director until 1990. During a hiatus from Touchstone in 1996, Bill created Little Pond Arts Retreat in Nazareth, Pennsylvania with his wife Bridget–a retreat center dedicated to exploring the art of transcendence–and toured to Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, and throughout Canada and the United States with his original dramas: The Kingfisher’s Wing and The Marriage of Munirih Khanum. Bill returned to Touchstone as a full-time Ensemble Member in 2003 where he has won numerous awards over the years–including a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and a Pennsylvania Solo Theatre Arts Fellowship. Bill has served as a panelist and adjudicator for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland State Arts Council and the Barrymore Awards of Philadelphia.
James P. Jordan
Ensemble Member/Artistic Director
James has called Touchstone Theatre his artistic home for its last eleven seasons. He has helped produce over seventy productions since his arrival, serving in multiple capacities including director, designer, composer, actor, and playwright. Some of James’s most notable contributions were his leadership as Project Director for Touchstone’s last two community-based productions (A Resting Place and Journey from the East) and his original series of musical comedies under The Pan Show title, which chronicles the misadventures of the Greek God Pan in modern day America and is co-written with Touchstone Ensemble Associate Christopher Shorr. Both projects brought accolades in the form of awards given by Bethlehem’s local press; notable amongst these honors were “Producer of the Year” and “Best Original Play”. Before coming to Touchstone, James worked at the Zoellner Arts Center on Lehigh University’s campus. During his five-year tenure as Zoellner’s Stage Coordinator, he helped in the production of hundreds of events – from lectures to Broadway musicals to some of the best ballets and orchestras in the world. While at Zoellner, James freelanced with many production companies as a sound and lighting designer. James holds a BS in Telecommunications (video production) with minors in both Theatre and Music from Kutztown University and an MA in Performance from the University of Chichester.
Ensemble Member/Managing Director
Lisa holds a BA in theatre and minor in music from Kutztown University. After serving as Production/Administrative Intern at Civic Theatre of Allentown for their 2000-01 season, she came to Touchstone to stage manage Christmas City Follies ’01. This initial experience with ensemble-created work opened her eyes to a whole new world of theatre creation, and Lisa joined the company as Production Manager. In 2005 she joined the Ensemble, and in 2008 became the Managing Director. Over 50 productions later Lisa has filled many roles, including: stage manager (A Comic Strip, Don Quixote of Bethlehem), lighting designer (Shipwrecked!, Follies), props designer (Hit or Myth), costume designer (The Pan Show, The Tempest) and assistant director (Southside Experience, The Glass Menagerie).
Mary Wright has been a professional theatre actress, director, playwright and storyteller for more than 25 years. Her affiliation with Touchstone began when she moved to Bethlehem in 1997. Since then she has been a Community Guest, a volunteer, an Ensemble Affiliate, an Ensemble Member and now an Ensemble Associate and Young Playwrights’ Lab Coordinator. She is an actress (Laura, The Glass Menagerie, Little Red/Moxie Cocoa Christmas City Follies), director and playwright, (Southside Experience, JOURNEY: Dream of the Red Pavilion) and costumer (Ulysses Dreams). Mary graduated from Allegheny College with a B.A. in Theater Arts, and trained in the Kennedy Center’s “Partners In the Arts” program. In addition to her work with Touchstone, Mary is a founding member of the Lehigh Valley Storytelling Guild, co-founder of Friends of Liberty Theatre, is a rostered teaching-artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and is on the faculty and a director at Pennsylvania Theater for Youth. She received the 2014 Individual “Tribute to the Arts” for her contribution to the arts from the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission.
Christopher Shorr is a playwright/director/designer and Associate Professor/Director of Theatre at Moravian College. He moved to Bethlehem from Petersburg, Virginia, where he was the founding Artistic Director of Sycamore Rouge, a professional, non-equity theatre and performance venue. Recent productions for Touchstone: Journey from the East (Co-written with Bill George), Dear Tamaqua In a New Light (Co-conceived and designed with Jp Jordan), Ulysses Dreams (Co-written with Jp Jordan), The Pan Show: In Pan We Trust (Director; co-written with Jp Jordan), The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale (Director; co-written with Jp Jordan), Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (Director), A Resting Place (Director), The Whitman Piece (Director), and a reading of Clytemnestra’s Daughters (Playwright; Director); for The Bach Choir of Bethlehem: Young Meister Bach (Director), Coffee Cantata (Director); Recently directed at Moravian College: Jesus Christ Superstar, Proof, Superstory, The Clean House, The Memorandum, Faust in France (also Playwright), and the jazz opera The Real Book of Gig. His documentary play Tribute: September 11, commissioned in 2002 by the AmeriCulture Arts Festival to mark the first anniversary of 9/11, was revived for the tenth anniversary, and performed at Moravian College and at the University of Baltimore. He is particularly interested in the creation of new theatre pieces and in the aggressive re-working of classic texts. Through his work, he strives to prevent his audiences, his artists, and himself from succumbing to complacency. His interest in international theatre collaboration has taken him to China, Romania, Serbia, Czech Republic, and Italy. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University, and an MFA in Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University.