Staff

Hana Sherman

Hana Sherman currently serves as the Clarence Brown Theatre’s Grants, Education and Outreach Manager. Hana began her journey with the Clarence Brown as the Grants & Research Associate in 2014 as her husband Steve was pursuing his MFA in Acting. A native of Michigan, she graduated with honors from New York University with a BFA in Theatre. While pursuing her acting career, she discovered a deep love of the non-profit and education world and thoroughly enjoys using theatre as a means to make a difference in the community. Hana is also proud to be part of the Volunteer Alumni community having earned her MBA in 2020 from UT’s Professional MBA program. After living in New York, L.A., and Atlanta, Hana and Steve are excited to call Knoxville home and feel very fortunate to be raising their little one in such a great community.

Mark Spurlock

Mark is the Information Technologist for Theatre/CBT—meaning he helps people use computer hardware and software to collaborate with one another to be more creative and productive. What he most enjoys about his job in academic theatre is how different his artistic colleagues and experiences are from the stereotypical computing or office environment. He was hired in 2016 after freelancing as a writer for several years, while home-schooling his son and daughter, Nicholas and Catherine. He has a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

When on vacation, he enjoys adventuring into the far off and unknown…as well as returning home.

Jon Mohrman

Jon Mohrman is the Master Electrician for the Clarence Brown Theatre. Jon works with student, staff and over hire to Hang, Focus and maintain over 500 lighting instruments in the CBT’s inventory. Jon worked at the CBT from 1994 to 1998 and then came back in 2013 after being a Dad, building zip lines, climbing structures and being a free-lance stagehand and Rigger. Jon enjoys Hiking, Mountain Biking, Skiing and playing with Ropes and Rigging. He likes carrots, looking at maps and blueprints. Jon has a Degree in Theater from West Virginia University.

Shelly Payne

Shelly is the General Manager for the Clarence Brown Theatre. She manages licensing, contracting, bonding, and all aspects of the guest artist’s residency in Knoxville. She began working with the Clarence Brown Theatre as a freelance stage manager in 2011, and as GM in 2014. In her spare time, Shelly enjoys gardening and watching movies with her family.

Amanda Middleton

Amanda is in her 8th season at the Clarence Brown Theatre. She comes to CBT by way of George Mason University where she received her MA in Arts Management, along with a Certificate in Special Events Management in the Arts. Her background in donor relations and event planning was cultivated in the College of Visual and Performing Arts Development office working directly with George Mason’s Center for the Arts. A native of West TN, Amanda also holds a BA in Art with an emphasis in ceramics from Union University. Since moving to Knoxville, she has joined Sevier Heights Baptist Church and volunteers by teaching preschoolers every week. Amanda is also past Membership Chair and current member of the Young Professionals of Knoxville.

Mike Ponder

Mike was an early disciple of the home studio boom and the revolution in computer and MIDI based production, dabbling in music recording, writing and commercial jingles in Boston before returning to Knoxville to buy a house with a small studio space in the basement. For over 21 years, Mike has been Sound Engineer and Sound Designer for UT Theatre and the Clarence Brown Theatres, designing, engineering and even composing for many of the theatre’s productions over the years. Some standout productions have been the American production of the Hungarian movement-only play, Oozstanc (US title: Dance in Time), with the creator and director Laszlo Marton as well as playing live music and sound effects “poolside” for Metamorphoses; Other stand-outs include, for The North Carolina Stage Company (Asheville), Hedwig & the Angry Inch and Lee Blessing’s Chesapeake with its composed dog oriented bass. Mike maintains the small project studio in West Knoxville.

Kyle Schellinger

Kyle has been the staff Cutter/Draper at the Clarence Brown Theatre since 2008.  He holds an MFA in Costume Design and Technology from The University of Arizona and has worked professionally at Utah Shakespeare FestivalGreat River Shakespeare FestivalBeowulf Alley TheatreLexington Children’s Theatre, and Arizona Theatre Company, among others.  At the CBT, Kyle makes the patterns and cuts our custom made costumes, oversees their fitting and construction, and provides fitting supervision for student designers, supporting the Clarence Brown mission of teaching students in a professional theatre environment. Kyle has also designed the costumes for several past CBT productions and enjoys studying historic and period garments in a museum setting focusing on 19th century women’s garments and corsetry.

Liz Aaron

Knoxville native, Liz Aaron, has been a familiar face with the Clarence Brown Theatre since 2008, and a senior costumer on staff since 2013. She has a BFA in Fine Art/Drawing from UTK and an MFA in costume design from the UTK graduate costume design program under Marianne Custer and Bill Black. As a “Jack of many trades” Liz sews costumes, does crafts and painting, creates prosthetic makeup, co-manages the CBT’s vast costume stock, takes on various organizational shop duties, takes in-house and marketing photography, and co-supervises wardrobe for our 8-9 show season. Liz has worked with The Utah Shakespeare Festival, The Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arizona Broadway Theatre, The Lexington Children’s Theatre, Knoxville’s Word Players, and Knoxville’ Flying Anvil Theatre. You may have seen her costume design work in the 2019 Flying Anvil Production of A Doll’s House 2, or the Clarence Brown Theatre’s productions of Dead Man’s Cellphone, The Music Man, Charley’s Aunt, and The Marriage Of Bette And Boo. Besides costume design, you can also see Liz’s fine art drawings on her Instagram @la_pop_drawings, on Facebook @lizaaronpopdrawings, or her website lizaaron.com.

Calvin MacLean

Mr. MacLean joined the faculty as Department Head and Artistic Director of the Clarence Brown Theatre Company in the summer of 2006.

He has directed A Flea in Her Ear in 2007, Galileo and The Secret Rapture in 2008, A Streetcar Named Desire with Dale Dickey in 2009, Amadeus with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in 2010, Kiss Me, Kate in 2012, and Sweeney Todd starring Dale Dickey with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra in 2012.

Prior to his arrival at UT, Cal was Professor of Theatre and Head of Directing at Illinois State University for fifteen years. He was also Artistic Director of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, a professional, summer classical theatre associated with Illinois State. Under his leadership, the Festival regularly brought in some of Chicago’s finest professional actors and directors, built and opened a two million dollar state of the art theatre, and increased the Festival’s audience and professional stature.

With Chicago’s Famous Door Theatre Company, he directed productions that have earned numerous awards, including: Martin McDonagh’s The Lonesome West (Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for Outstanding Production of a Play, and Outstanding Direction), Anthony Clarvoe’s The Living (Joseph Jefferson Awards for Production and Direction), Manfred Karge’s Conquest of the South Pole (Jeff Citations for Production and Direction), John Godber’s Salt of the Earth (Jeff Citations for Production and Direction), and most notably, Joshua Sobol’s Ghetto, a production that ran for seven months. Critically acclaimed as one of the best productions in Chicago for 1999, Ghetto was nominated for six Joseph Jefferson Awards and honored with four including Outstanding Production of a Play and the first-ever Michael Maggio Award for Outstanding Direction of a Play.

Other professional credits include Chicago’s Tony Award winning Victory Gardens Theatres, the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the Asolo Theatre in Florida, Indiana Repertory, and the University of Illinois. Directing credits at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival include: King Lear, Romeo and Juliet,King John, Measure for Measure, Cymbeline, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, As You Like It, Tom Stoppard’sRosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, John O’Keefe’s Wild Oats, and Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love. Cal was named by the Chicago Tribune in 2002 as one of the “ten most promising” theatre artists in Chicago.

Married to Rebecca MacLean, they have two children, Rachael and Sam.

Julie Anna Summers

Originally from Tennessee, Julie received her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. She has been part of the Clarence Brown Theatre staff since 2005. Julie is the graphic designer for both the Clarence Brown Theatre and the Department of Theatre.