A professional non-profit ensemble theatre company based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Ensemble Member/General Manager
Emma is a 2007 graduate of Gettysburg College, where she double majored in English and Theatre Arts with a minor in Classical Studies. While there, she directed, teched, stage managed, and performed in entirely too many theatrical productions, favorites including An Experiment with an Air Pump, Much Ado About Nothing, Metamorphoses, and Lebensraum. Other credits include internships at the Gettysburg Arts Festival and Williamstown Theatre Festival, as well as onstage work at the Actors’ NET of Bucks County and the Renegade Shakespeare troupe. In her time at Touchstone, she has enjoyed 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 (The Pan Show, Follies, Dr. Horrible). When not immersed in production, Emma manages the space rentals, assists with marketing, 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 worked in theatre professionally for the last 19 years. He began his career as a Stage Manager for illusionist Jeff O’Lear’s anti-drug programs, which toured both nationally and internationally. During this period, James played in multiple bands, performing to crowds as big as 5000 people. James graduated from Kutztown University majoring in Telecommunication (video production) with a minor in both Theatre and Music. He appeared in a number of Kutztown University’s Theatre productions and played both guitar and trumpet in the University’s Jazz band. Post college, James continued to play in small musical projects but mainly recorded in the studio. At this time, he began work at the newly opened Zoellner Arts Center on Lehigh University’s campus. During his five-year tenure as Zoellner’s Stage Coordinator, James 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 and also began freelancing as both a sound and lighting designer. Now in his 6th year at Touchstone, James has played a crucial part in every production since his arrival, serving in multiple roles including Designer, Composer, Actor, Director and Playwright.
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 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 Producing 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, a part-time employee, an Ensemble Affiliate, and Ensemble Member and now an Ensemble Associate and Young Playwrights’ Lab Coordinator. She has taught classes (Apprentice Training, Camp Touchstone, arts residencies, Young Playwright’s Lab), made costumes, written and directed plays (Aesop & Co., Southside Experience), swept the stage, managed marketing, performed roles from Tennessee Williams (Laura in The Glass Menagerie) and Shakespeare (The Sonnets) to original plays (Julian in If At All) and created a host of original characters in numerous productions of Christmas City Follies (Little Red, Moxie Cocoa, Agnes Chundlebatch). 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 (a non-profit raising money and awareness of the power of theater in education), is rostered with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts as an Arts-In-Education teaching artist, teaches presentation skills at NCC, and is a member of the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission. She resides in Bethlehem with her husband, and when not involved in artistic pursuits of one kind or another can be found out in her garden or experimenting with a new bread recipe.
Christopher Shorr is a playwright, director, and Assistant
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. While in Virginia, he served as a panelist for the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and on the boards of the Southside Virginia Council for the Arts and the Petersburg Arts Council. Recent productions directed for
Touchstone: The Pan Show: A Cautionary Tale (co-written with Jp Jordan), Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, A Resting Place, The Whitman Piece, and his own Clytemnestra’s Daughters (reading); for Moravian College: Seneca’s Oedipus, Transdition, Betty’s Summer Vacation, The Clean House, and the world premiere 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. Primarily a stage director and playwright, Shorr has also worked as an actor and composer for theatre. Through his work, he strives to prevent his audiences, his artists, and himself from succumbing to complacency. He is particularly interested in the creation of new theatre pieces and in the aggressive re-working of classic texts. His work has been seen Off Broadway in New York, Regionally in New Jersey and Massachusetts, and internationally in Romania and the Czech Republic. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University, and an MFA in Professional Stage Directing from Virginia Commonwealth University.
is a 2012 graduate of Muhlenberg College, where she earned a dual Bachelor’s degree in Music and Theatre. From Chappaqua, New York, she grew up with her first theatrical foundations at the Little Village Playhouse in Pleasantville, NY. She performed with LVP for ten years and has worked for them as a musical director for the past two summers. At Muhlenberg, performances included Dog Sees God, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and The Firebird. Last fall, her original play Subtext was selected for full production, which she also then directed. She also served as a composer and musical supervisor for the productions of Twelfth Night and The Three Sisters. Kathryn studied music composition and physical theatre at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy in the spring of 2011. She is very excited to be an apprentice and looks forward to what the year holds in store!
Kyle Lewis attended Rutgers University receiving his degree in Political Science. Kyle was born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey doing theatre there at Worth-Tyrell Academy. During his collegiate career Kyle has worked on numerous shows including Hot L Baltimore, Our Lady of 121st Street, and Hell Hath No Fury (A Rap and Roll Version of Medea). Upon graduation, Kyle moved to Bethlehem and attended Northampton Community College for theatre. Since his arrival in the Leigh Valley, Kyle has had the pleasure of being a part of Northampton Community College’s productions of Eurydice, Fisher King, and Firebird’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Kyle joins Touchstone as an apprentice with much excitement and enthusiasm after being a part of A Resting Place and The Young Playwrights’ Festival.
Kayla Prestel is from Colorado and graduated in 2012 with a major in theatre and a self-designed minor in arts administration from Cornell College. Favorite Cornell acting credits include Electra, Defying Gravity, Reasons to be Pretty, and Spike Heels. She has performed multiple times with the Working Group Theatre in Iowa City, including their recent debut of Toymaker’s War. Kayla worked with Riverside Theatre where she taught Shakespeare to eighth grade classes in the 2012 Will Power Education Tour, assistant-directed The Cripple of Inishmaan, played Miep in The Diary of Anne Frank, and was a 2009 Acting Apprentice at the Riverside Theatre in the Park playing Fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is coming to Bethlehem after spending a summer in Maine where she served as counselor, stage manager and workshop leader at Acting Manitou. She is so excited to join the creative community at Touchstone Theatre!
Gary Warren has been living, working and raising two children in Bethlehem since 2002. He has a diverse arts background, recently on stage as George in the Pennsylvania Playhouse production of The Wedding Singer, and George the X-Games trampoline enthusiast in The Crazy Adventure on Mt. Everest by Evan Cartwright during The Young Playwrights’ Festival. He’s thrilled to be working at Touchstone.