Faculty and Staff



Ms. McGeever received an MFA in Stage Direction from Humboldt State University in Arcata, California and a BA in theatre from San Diego State University.

Ms. McGeever has worked professionally as a director and an actor. Ms. McGeever's scholarly interests include mixing puppetry with live action, new plays, dramaturgy and literary criticism.  In 2001, Ms. McGeever directed a production of  The Art of Dining with the distinguished, award winning playwright, Tina Howe, in residence.  Her relationship with Tina Howe has continued over the course of her career and in 2006 she collaborated with the renowned playwright once again to present a course on the works of Eugene Ionesco and playwriting. The course, taught in Paris and Georgia, culminated in a staged reading of student plays.  In 2011, Ms. McGeever was selected as the Phi Kappa Phi, NAU Faculty  Artist of the Year.  In 2005, Ms. McGeever was selected as the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival National Critics Institute Fellowship Nominee. 

Ms. McGeever has been involved with Arts Education for over 25 years.  Early in her career she taught Theatre Studies in a school for abused children in Colorado Springs, Colorado, junior high and high school Drama on the Mojave Desert in Southern California and was active as a teaching artist for the California Arts Project (TCAP). 

Ms. McGeever has been on the faculty of NAU Theatre from 1996-1998, at the University of Montevallo Department of Communication Arts in Central Alabama from 1998-2004 and served as Chair of Theatre for Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA from 2004-2007. 

Ms. McGeever is a native Californian but holds dual citizenship with Ireland. 


Performance Faculty


Mac Groves holds a PhD in theatre from the University of Colorado, and teaches primarily in the areas of theatre history and literature, management, and in performance areas like acting Shakespeare and oral interpretation. He received his MA in theatre from Stephen F. Austin University and his BA in English and Drama from East Texas Baptist College. Dr. Groves has staged over 50 productions for Northern Arizona University Theatre since joining the faculty in 1992.

Dr Groves was named the College of Arts and Letters Teacher of the Year in 2008. In addition to his nearly 40 years as a director and artist scholar, Mac has worked in a variety of artistic and administrative leadership positions in the American regional theatre.

A playwright as well as a director, he is the author of three original works, On New Beginnings, a comedy in two acts; Forgotten Places, Looking for a Lost America, a multi-media story theatre with music, and Route 66: A Celebration of America’s Main Street.

His play, Route 66: A Celebration of America's Mainstreet, is an educational initiative of the Department of the Interior/National Park Service and has toured the eight-state Route 66 Corridor three times. 



Bob Yowell received his PhD from Bowling Green State University, His MA from St. Louis University, and his BA is from Southeast Missouri State University.

He has directed and acted in over one hundred plays from a wide variety of genres.  His production of El Paso Blue by Octavio Solis, was a national winner with the American College Theater Festival, and it was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.  He has authored articles on Theater as a Learning Medium, Theater Education, Directing, Acting, and Dramatic Literature.  His book, Stepping Out, An Introduction to the Arts is a text for an introductory course in the Arts.  Dr. Yowell’s latest original play is entitled Collision, which is based on the 1956 mid-air collision over the Grand Canyon.  This past Spring he directed NAU Department of Theatre's successful production of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, which was dramatized by Christopher Sergel.He has served in many leadership positions in professional organizations and has served as the Chair of Theatre and Dance at four universities.  Professionally, he has studied acting with Eric Morris in Hollywood, and worked with the late motion picture casting director Mali Finn.  His wife Marsha is Emeritus professor of Communication at NAU, and a retired attorney.  The have two sons, Bobby and Patrick, and a granddaughter, Noelle.


Darby Winterhalter Lofstrand received her MA from Stanford University, her MFA from Arizona State University, and her BA from Santa Clara University.   

As an actress she has worked in over one hundred productions in film and stage in Los Angeles, the San Francisco/Bay Area, and Portland, Oregon.  She has also developed and staged several performance art pieces, and she is the voice of Miss Kitty in the Uncle Percy's Adventures in Space educational shorts at Lowell Observatory.  She has directed one-person shows, festival plays, musicals, performance pieces, and film shorts.  Her 16mm short, HeartSister, was featured at the New York International Independent Film Festival.

Darby is also a writer.  Her collection of short stories, Elephant Kisses: A Novel of Sweden Told in Five Stories, was released in Sweden to acclaim, and she has an upcoming fiction novel in the final editing stages.  Her stage adaptation of Susan Lowell's children's books, Josefina Javelina, a Hairy Tale, and  The Three Little Javelinas, was produced for three years by Peaks Theatre Fest, and she has several full-length and short plays which have been seen or heard in various venues.

She is married to Tobias Lofstrand, the President of the Arizona chapter of the Swedish/American Chamber of Commerce, and enjoys travel and golf.

Christina Gutierrez-Dennehy holds a Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research focuses on Shakespeare's history plays in contemporary performance. Christina also holds an MA in Theatre History from the University of Colorado at Boulder where she spent time as a production dramaturg for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. In addition to her scholarship, Christina is a director, serving as the Artistic Director of Crooked Figure Theatre in Flagstaff, and co-Artistic Director of the 7 Towers Theatre Company in Austin, Texas. Recent productions Christina has directed with Austin companies and Flagstaff companies include Henry V, Quilters, Doubt, Angels in America:Millennium Approaches,All's Well That Ends Well, The Pillowman, Richard II, and John Ford’s Renaissance Revenge Tragedy ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Her scholarly work has appeared in Theatre Topics, the Journal of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers,and an edited volume entitled Shakespeare Expressed: Page, Stage, and Classroom in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries. She is currently working on a book examining casting strategies in American productions of Shakespeare's histories. 

Production and Design Faculty


Kate Ellis (Associate Professor of Theatre) has an emphasis in costume design and technology, and also teaches theatre literature and puppetry.   She received her undergraduate theatre degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and her M.F.A. in theatrical design at the University of Texas, Austin.  She has worked several summer seasons as a cutter/draper at the Utah Shakespeare Festival.    Kate is the chair of the Desert State Section of USITT and has presented workshops in costume design, technology, and stage makeup at local, state, and regional conferences.  In addition to designing costumes, masks, and scenery, she also directs.  Most recently, she spent a month studying Wayang Kulit, or shadow puppetry, with a puppet master (Dalang) in Bali. 


Ben Alexander earned his BFA from the University of Evansville and his MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Some of Ben’s professional credits include: TD and Sound Designer for Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA; ATD for Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA; ATD for the Utah Shakespearean Festival in Cedar City, UT; Master carpenter for Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami, FL and Sacramento Theatre Company in Sacramento, CA.  Ben has also worked numerous IATSE calls for touring shows.

Naoko Skala is a Scene Designer, Scenic Artist, Props Artisan, and Graphic Designer who was raised in Japan.

Previously she was working as a properties coordinator at Arizona Opera.  She was also working as a freelance scene designer/ scenic artist/ props artisan in Phoenix, AZ area.    

Naoko received her Master of Fine Arts degree in Scene Design from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  She also received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre from Emporia State University, and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Literature from Sagami Women’s University, Japan.

Her creative interests are scene design, scene painting, props, computer-aided drafting (CAD), graphic design, motion graphics, painting, sculpture, English and Japanese literature.

 Jennifer has an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and a BFA in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Wyoming.  Through out Jennifer’s career she has worked for NAU Theatre as an adjunct professor, the Costume Designer for Marshall University and the Costume Technologist at Webster University’s Conservatory of Fine Arts.  Her professional credits include Peaks Theatre Fest, The Santa Fe Opera, Sullivan’s Little Theatre on the Square, Louisiana State University and Swine Palace Productions, The Utah Shakespearean Festival, The Sacramento Theater Company and Utah Opera. Some of her costume design credits include: Pride and Prejudice,The Servant of Two Masters, The Elixir of Love, Psychopathia Sexualis, The Magic Flute, The Rape of Lucretia, The Odd Couple, The Fantasticks, I Hate Hamlet, Driving Miss Daisy, Hair!, The Taming of the Shrew, 42nd Street, I Do! I Do!, Home, The Green Bird, In The Blood, and Cinderella

Technical Staff


Nancy Parr holds an MFA in theatre (costume design) from Illinois State University, earned after undergraduate studies at the College of Du Page and Lewis University. After receiving her MFA, she completed doctoral course work in theatrical costume design at Michigan State University.

At Michigan State, Nancy managed the Theatre Department's costume shop. Wanting to pursue work in TV and film, Nancy and her singer/actor husband George, moved to Los Angeles. Nancy worked on the TV series Bone Chillers. Her commercial work includes ads for Budweiser and Hertz. In film, Nancy worked on Batman & Robin, Warriors of Virtue, and the American Film Institute's production of Stepping on the Cracks. In theatre, Nancy won a Drama-Logue award for costume design for her work on Club Indigo Revisited