Board and Staff Members
Creating Accessible Theater For All
Katie Cummings has dedicated twenty years as a theater artist, educator and advocate for inclusion and diversity in theater. Recently, she founded Pink Umbrella Theater Co., the first one of its kind in the city of Milwaukee, focused on providing and promoting theater for people who identify with a physical, intellectual or emotional disability. A Wisconsin native, Katie graduated from Cardinal Stritch University with a BA in Theater and Business. Her resume includes First Stage, Bunny Gumbo, UW-Milwaukee, Chamber Theater and St. Joseph High School. She attended, and taught, a variety of professional development sessions throughout her career focused on equality, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Katie believes that theater has the power to develop empathy, create human connections and engage community.
Karen Estrada is an actress based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has had the privilege of working with First Stage Milwaukee, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Next Act Theatre, In Tandem Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Skylight Music Theatre including Kidswrites, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Splinter Group, numerous shows with Sunset Playhouse’s Bug in a Rug children’s theater, Musical Mainstage, with Bunny Gumbo's Combat Theater, and a collaboration with her sketch comedy troupe The Show and Danceworks performance company. Karen is a proud three time alumna of Disney on Classic in Japan and Taiwan. She has taught at many schools of theater including First Stage's Next Steps program and academy, MITY, Waukesha Civic and Next Act Theatre’s Next Actors program.
Rebekah Farr is a local actress and teaching artist. She graduated from Bradley University with a Bachelors in Theatre Performance and recently moved to Milwaukee in August of 2018. She is grateful to work with other Milwaukee companies such as First Stage, Skylight, and Optimist. She is very excited to be working with Pink Umbrella Theater Co as her own personal mission is to make theater that is accessible and welcoming for everyone. She looks forward to learning from this experience.
Teaching Artist, Playwright
Fletcher is a theatre professional that has plied his trade in Milwaukee for over thirty years. He is the Artistic Director of The Bunny Gumbo Theatre Co. which he founded in 1999. He has acted with many of the professional theatres in Milwaukee including some that are no longer around. He also directs, designs fights for the stage, teaches at all levels and writes plays. Some of his works include Give Until It Hurts, Losers, Blue Stella, The House of Silence, Sweet Dreams and The Four Hamlets. Fletcher is passionate about the fact that theatre, and art in general, has the power to transform. Let’s get to it!
Teaching Apprentice & Office Intern
Kate is a junior at Alverno College where she is majoring in psychology with plans to pursue a master’s degree in special education. She has always loved theater and grew up attending the First Stage Academy, performing in main stage shows, and at Alverno. She was an intern and teaching apprentice for First Stage and the Next Steps Program. She can’t wait to meet you all.
Audra Handschke is a teaching artist and actor in the Milwaukee area. Audra graduated from Stephens College in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Theatre. After college she lived in Chicago where she took improvisation classes at The Annoyance Theatre and completed the long-form improvisation program at iO Theatre (formerly ImprovOlympics). Audra currently resides in Slinger, but regularly commutes to Milwaukee for teaching and improvising. She works as a teaching artist with First Stage Children’s Theater. Her favorite classes are Improvisation and anything with the Next Steps program. Audra also teaches and improvises with Mojo Dojo Comedy. She is part of several teams: Said and Done, First Five, and MKE Secrets. When Audra is not in Milwaukee, she is usually at home working on her latest embroidery project and snuggling with her two cats, PeeWee and Leroy, and her new puppy, Gunther.
Lesley earned her BA in Theater from Cardinal Stritch University, interned at the Goodman Theatre, and has worked in a variety of theaters both on and offstage. She most recent appeared in Waukesha Civic’s production of For Purely Elfish Reasons with two of her daughters.
Her fifteen year career in fundraising provided experiences with both small and large organizations including: the Milwaukee Art Museum, Bel Canto Chorus, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, National PKU Alliance, Columbia St. Mary’s, and MIAD. Additionally, Lesley has served on the fundraising committee at her daughter’s school and volunteered for countless events and activities in the community over the years.
Lesley currently serves as the Director of Chaos for her magical household of six humans and seven pets while working toward her Master of Arts in Teaching with a dual licensure in special education and general education at Carroll University. Her husband Dave and girls (Emma, Rowan, Laura, and Sarah) inspire her daily.
She is passionate about the mission of Pink Umbrella Theater Co. and truly believes in theater for all.
Dawn has been a lifetime believer in self-advocacy, diversity and inclusion. She committed over 30 years working with young adults with physical, emotional, intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism and mental health struggles.
Dawn is a Wisconsin native. She received a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy at UW Milwaukee and she furthered her education in Social Work. Her resume includes UW Madison Hospital & Clinics, Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Hospital, Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, and Milwaukee Center for Independence.
Dawn’s greatest role is being a mom to Jared and Emily, the length of their lives. They shared with each other a deep love of music, theater, nature and inner peace. The mission of Pink Umbrella Theater Co is the heart and soul of Dawn, Emily & Jared. When her children passed away, she made a commitment to spread as much love, inclusion and tolerance as she could in as many ways as she is able.
Brenna is delighted to be a contributing teacher with Pink Umbrella Theater! In all of her work, Brenna strives to cultivate clarity, compassion, and connection. She is an advocate for accessibility and inclusion, and has experience as a program director and care provider to people with autism and other developmental differences. She recently returned from a month abroad in Goa, India, where she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training with Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre.
Hannah Kunce is a third year musical theatre major at The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She is, also, working on obtaining two minors in music and dance. Hannah was most recently in Dance Makers 2019 at UWM. She is so excited to be a part of Pink Umbrella Theater Co and to be surrounded by so many wonderful and inspirational people.
Molly Mattaini is a first year PhD student in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies with a specialization in Theatre for Youth at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She studies Ability-Inclusive Sensory Theatre and is passionate about accessibility in TYA and drama education spaces. She has nearly ten years experience teaching kids from ages 3 to 25. You can learn more at her website, https://www.mollymattaini.com/
Chelsea is working on finishing her graduate degree in Theatre Education. She earned her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Marywood University. She has also studied Acting in NYC at Pace University for three years. While she was in NYC she worked at Century Productions as the Assistant to the Producer. Her most challenging and favorite role she has every played is Mary Tyrone from Long Day’s Journey Into Night. She has a passion for helping others; especially teenagers/ young adults. She believes it is so important to never give up in life; to always have hope!
Teaching Assistant/Board Member
Chris is a Teaching Assistant for First Stage working with both verbal and non-verbal students, students with classic autism, sensory processing disorders, and other developmental disabilities.
Chris earned his high school diploma from Ronald Reagan High School. Through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, he also completed internships at Alverno College, MPS SSC Center, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Cabinetry by Artistic Design, Outpost Natural Foods, and Stein’s Garden & Home.
In 2018, Chris successfully completed a nine-month internship with Children’s Hospital, as part of Project SEARCH, a rotational development program sponsored by Easter Seals.
Chris lives in Bay View, Wisconsin and enjoys acting, movies, TV trivia, meteorology, local news, music, and restoring vintage Apple computers.
Jennifer and Ken Reibel co-own CJ Communications, a Milwaukee-based marketing and communications agency that provides communication services for agencies, corporations, and media.
Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Kalamazoo College, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She began her career as a reporter for the Milwaukee Business Journal and subsequently
worked for Farm Futures magazine, Case Corp. and Kohler Co. before launching CJ Communications in 1995.
Jennifer lives in Bay View, Wisconsin with her husband Ken and their two children, Christopher and Natalie. She grew up in Grand Haven, Michigan, where she enjoyed many years of horseback riding along Lake Michigan’s sand dune trails. She has a lifelong passion for cats, dogs, and horses, and served as a founding member and foster volunteer for the Golden Retriever Rescue of Wisconsin (GRRoW) group.
Today, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Caledonia Conservancy, which preserves riding and hiking trails for recreational use.
Ken Reibel is father to a 23-year-old autistic man, and a long-time autism advocate. He earned a BA from Western Michigan University and an MA in Communications from Marquette University, and has worked as a journalist, educator and marketing communications professional. He lives in Milwaukee with his wife, Jennifer, and two adult children.
Amanda Satchell is a musical theater professional who has taught for over 15 years in schools, theaters, and non-profit organizations. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan's Musical Theater department. After college, Amanda lived and performed in NYC in concert venues, voice overs, and regional theaters. Amanda's true love is teaching and began her career in South Florida. She has been director, music director, music teacher, vocal coach, and accompanist. Amanda is thrilled to be a part of the Pink Umbrella Theater Co. where she will collaborate and make beautiful music with a great community of artists.
Consultant & Teaching Artist
Mary Stone, M.S., ECSE is the founder and president of Stepping Stones Educational Services. She is an author, consultant, certified special education teacher, college instructor, and parent of a child with special needs. After working as a special education teacher for 12 years, Mary now works as an Associate Lecturer and Program Coordinator in the Department of Exceptional Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is also the author of An ABC Story: A is for Autism and Friendship Footsteps: Stepping Stones to Social Emotional Learning Curriculum. In her work through Stepping Stones Educational Services, Mary designs personalized and interactive trainings and workshops for students, teachers, parents, schools, businesses and community organizations that explore topics that include social emotional learning, sensory immersive story time, inclusion, Autism , and other developmental disabilities. Mary believes that inclusive communities are created together and together anything is possible! Contact Mary at email@example.com
Paula Foley Tillen
Paula Foley Tillen has been a professional musician in the Milwaukee area for more years than she cares to think about. She has served as music director for hundreds of productions from junior high to professional levels, and has been active at Milwaukee ComedySportz since 1985. She has served as a lead teacher at First Stage Theatre Academy, Brookfield Center for the Arts, and as director of music at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Waukesha; in addition, she remains much in demand as a musical director, pianist, vocal coach, and accompanist.
Paula’s arrangements and compositions are found in the catalogues of several national publishing houses, as well as online at sheetmusicplus.com and pftillenmusic.com. Her music has been performed by community, high school, university, and all-state choirs around the USA and Canada, as well as locally, by the East Side Chamber Players, UWM choirs, Master Singers of Milwaukee, and Skylight Music Theatre’s KidsWrites.
Paula is certified as a yoga and meditation instructor, and as a Reiki master practitioner. She teaches yoga and meditation at the Wisconsin Athletic Club (Brookfield) and YogaOne studio (Fox Point/Cedarburg).
Kayla Tillisch is honored to be working with Pink Umbrella Theater Co. She has a deep passion for this line of work and has been inspired primarily from her sisters Morgan and Kasey. Her theater experience includes both acting and directing with a particular love of Shakespeare. She is a proud First Stage Alumni, yogi, artist and coffee connoisseur.