Benj Deppman joined the Board in 2011. He is an attorney in private practice at Deppman Law PLC, a law firm in Middlebury. He has three children and enjoys spending time with them. Benj is currently serving on the Boards of Directors for Addison County Fair & Field Days, Inc.; Porter Hospital Auxiliary; and the Middlebury Maple Run. He is also on the Scholarship Committee for the Middlebury Lions Club. He also enjoys spending time outdoors with his family and travelling. Benj has yet to appear on the Town Hall Theater stage, but does have aspirations!
Magna and her husband David moved back to Middlebury in 2011. She is a graduate of Middlebury College and Harvard Business School. For over 30 years Magna was involved in the financial services industry in New York City and Hong Kong. In addition to the THT Board, she serves on the Board of the Friends of the Middlebury College Art Museum and is active in the town of Cornwall, serving on the Selectboard, Development Review Board and Capital Committee.
Annie Magri is a native of New York city, who after having lived with her husband, Frank Van Gansbeke, in Brussels, Belgium and then Paris, France, returned to the US and landed back in NY. After vacationing many years in the area, they decided to settle permanently in Vermont and moved to Middlebury in the Fall of 2015 and have jumped in with both feet in the community life here. Annie has a liberal arts degree from Adelphi University on Long Island in Business and American Literature and is a CPA with the state of New Hampshire. She was a corporate tax accountant and consultant at PwC for large insurance companies in New York for over 20 years. She is now a Professor of the Practice at Middlebury College, teaching Introduction to Accounting. Annie recognizes the importance of the arts in the community and is looking forward to working at the next chapter of THT.
Peter DeGraff is a licensed professional civil engineer, and former president and founding partner of Otter Creek Engineering in East Middlebury. His professional career has been primarily focused on the design and construction of public community water systems throughout Vermont and he has volunteered his experience to assist with water supply projects in rural communities in Central and South America.
Peter is an active participant in a number of community organizations, having served on the Boards of Town Hall Theater, Porter Hospital, Ilsley Public Library, and Henry Sheldon Museum. He has also been a board member of the Vermont/Honduras chapter of Partners of the Americas, the Vermont Professional Chapter of Engineers without Borders, and a technical advisor to the University of Vermont’s EWB Student Chapter. He graduated from the University of Vermont and has until recently lived and worked in Middlebury, since 1990.
Bruce Baker grew up in Ohio where he attended Bowling Green State University, graduating with an MA in Jewelry and Enameling. He moved to Middlebury just after college where he taught Jr. High School at MUHS for 3 years. He is a jeweler by trade, and owned Middlebury Jewelry and Design for 17 years. His jewelry line can often be seen at shows in the Jackson Gallery or at Sweet Cecily on Main St. in Middlebury. When not making jewelry, Bruce works as a retail sales and merchandising consultant across the country and abroad. Main Street organizations and small business development centers are his primary clients. He lives with his wife Nancie Dunn in Middlebury.
Susan Donaldson James is a veteran news reporter who has worked for ABC News, VICE, NBC News and a variety of newspaper and radio outlets in the U.S. and abroad. For 15 years, she also worked as communications director for Peddie School in New Jersey. Susan has a B.A. in English from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. Susan and her husband Steve, a former Reuters correspondent, moved to Middlebury in 2015 to be closer to their daughter Megan and her family. Susan writes: “I grew up in a town like Middlebury in Massachusetts where my father wrote plays and directed community theater; our kids were also very involved in music and theater throughout their school years. It’s going to be fun to be involved again.”
Sarah moved to Vermont with her husband and children in 2006, leaving behind a few decades in various east coast cities. Sarah got her undergraduate degree in Spanish from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her MBA at Babson. Sarah’s background includes marketing and business development, with a focus on Latin America, for consumer product companies such as Converse Inc. She later got the entrepreneurial bug and worked for a series of start-up companies for about 10 years. Since moving to Vermont she has been working with the Vermont Small Business Development Center. She has a love and appreciation for the Arts and wanted to find a way to serve Middlebury, and Town Hall Theatre seemed like the perfect place to do just that. She has one child who is very actively involved in Town Hall Theatre youth programs and she appreciates all that Town Hall Theatre brings to the community. Sarah lives in Middlebury with her husband David, and her two teenagers, Devon and Amanda. You can generally find Sarah at all different types of arts events…or at the hockey rink!
Originally from the metro-Boston area, Jane and her husband, Matthew, and two children moved to Middlebury in 2004 after living abroad in Wales. Trained as an electrical engineer at the University of Vermont and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Jane worked in telecommunications for many years. She earned an MBA and has worked on data projects for the University of Wales in Bangor and Middlebury College. Currently, Jane supports donor services for the Vermont Community Foundation. As an outdoor enthusiast in all seasons, living in Vermont has been “a dream come true”. She enjoys serving with others to encourage our community to be the best place it can be. Jane remains grateful for the incredible enriching opportunities that Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater offers.
Andrea moved to Vermont with her husband Richard Marshak in 2016. She has a VMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and practiced for 6 years as a companion animal veterinarian in the Pittsburgh suburbs. Seeking a new challenge, she attended Wharton and upon receiving an MBA moved to the Chicago area to pursue a 20-year business career with Abbott, a diversified health care company. One of the reasons Andrea and Richard settled in Addison County was the presence of varied, high quality cultural offerings close to home with Town Hall Theater as a cornerstone organization for the arts. Now retired, Andrea is enjoying giving her energy and skills to the non-profit sector.
Melissa Lourie received her M.F.A. in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Franciso. She was an equity actress for many years before co-founding the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in 1987 with friend and colleague Terry O’Brien. Lourie served as Producing Director of that company until moving to Vermont in 1993. Melissa is the founder and Artistic Director of Middlebury Acting Company, formerly Middlebury Actors Workshop. She has directed dozens of plays for MACo, most recently Much Ado About Nothing, The Christians, and The Turn of the Screw. Lourie has acted at MACo, as well as Northern Stage, Vermont Stage Company, and in several independent films. She was an adjunct instructor of acting and theater at the University of Vermont for over 20 years and currently teaches acting at St. Michael’s College. Melissa has also been a teaching artist with Courageous Stage.
Cindy and her husband, Michael, moved to Ripton twenty years ago from the Boston area where they worked together as therapists. Cindy also worked as a consultant to school systems and ran a college counseling center affiliated with the clinic where she worked. In addition, she had a private practice for twenty years. In Vermont she has been involved with tennis, pottery, quilting and singing and has served on several non-profit boards. She was a co-rounder of The North Branch School in Ripton. She and Michael have a daughter who lives in Ripton with her husband and two children and a son who lives in California with his wife and three children.
Beth Stanway is a full time, licensed real estate agent with IPJ Real Estate in Middlebury. Born in Montreal, Quebec she moved to New York State when she was 11 years old. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Drama from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. She then took a year of Arts Administration training in Edmonton, Alberta, before taking her first theater administration job as Assistant General Manager at the Roundabout Theatre on Broadway in NYC. After several years there, she became the General Manager of Stamford Theatre Works, a small professional theater in Stamford CT. Beth lives in Middlebury with her husband Tom Klemmer and their two children, Jacob & Suzie.
At 19, I moved to Vermont from Pennsylvania, and the transplant was an immediate success. Living in southern Vermont in the early 80’s , I was part of a team running a restaurant , from the kitchen end of things. From there I went to college, where theater probably should have been my major, but I went for a BFA instead. I have been an avid theater supporter in many roles in recent years , mostly backstage working with props and stage management. I love being part of the magic behind the performance, as well as part of a thriving creative community here in Middlebury. I enjoy teaching children’s art and cooking classes through Middlebury studio school and also supporting community theater though being on the board of Middlebury Community Players.
Paul joined the board in the fall of 2015. Paul graduated Carnegie Mellon with a degree in Engineering and Public Policy and after moving halfway around the world with stops in Tucson, Arizona, New York City and Barcelona, Spain, he and his wife Lisa decided to settle in Vermont. Paul received his Masters in historic Preservation from the University of Vermont, and has worked on landmarks around the northeast, including Pier A in Battery Park Manhattan, the New York Public Library, Fort Ticonderoga, the Brooks House in Brattleboro Vermont, and of course, Middlebury’s own Town Hall Theater. Currently Paul is on the board of the Preservation Trust Realty Holdings and the Aurora School in Middlebury and teaches a course in Preservation Redevelopment Economics in the Master’s Program at UVM (that is when he is not working for Bread Loaf Corporation or on one of seven barns at his farm in Orwell, where he lives with Lisa and their two sons). Paul is delighted to be on the board of the Town Hall Theater, to help build our membership base, continue and expand the excellent programming, art and educational opportunities there, and build community while having a blast at one of the great events held at this local gem.