Staff and Board



Executive Director

Having grown up in Flagstaff, Dawn’s lifelong dream has been to bring her passion for Shakespeare to her beautiful hometown. Dawn has a Master’s Degree in Shakespeare in Performance from the American Shakespeare Center in partnership with Mary Baldwin University and a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Wisconsin. She worked for five years as an actor and the Director of Education for Southwest Shakespeare Company in Mesa, Arizona. Dawn is thrilled to see her dream realized with the help of Jesse James Kamps, our talented Artistic Director; Christine Schmidle, our hardworking Director of Development; and the overwhelming support and enthusiasm of the Flagstaff arts community, without which this dream could never have come to fruition. She thanks most especially the audiences who make Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival not only possible, but meaningful.


Jesse James Kamps

Artistic Director

Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Jesse has been working in classical theater for over twenty years and currently works as an Associate Artist with Southwest Shakespeare Company, having performed in over twenty productions for the company in the Phoenix area. He was a founding company member with Cleveland Shakespeare Festival for four seasons and a member of Great Lakes Theater’s acting company for two seasons before settling in Arizona. As an actor, he has performed in twenty-four of Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays and has worked with Ensemble Theatre, Signstage, Deaf West Theatre, and Borderlands Theater. Favorite credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Benedick)A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom), Hotspur in Henry IV Part 1(Hotspur), and King John (Hubert), as well as Amadeus (Mozart), The Seagull (Treplev), She Stoops to Conquer (Tony Lumpkin), and Uncle Vanya (Vanya). Jesse is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Shakespeare to the beautiful city of Flagstaff.

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Becki Zaritsky

Production Manager

Making her way all the way from Philadelphia, Becki is thrilled to be joining the FlagShakes admin team after performing with them in 2019. Previous FlagShakes credits include Indecent (Halina), God of Vengeance (Sore), The Duchess of Malfi (Malatesti) and The Winter’s Tale (Paulina). She’s worked all over the country and the globe as an actor and a stage manager. Performance credits include Merry-Go-Round Playhouse and The National Theatre for Children, and stage management credits include the International Tour of West Side Story from 2016-2018 (ASM), The Polar Express with Warner Bros. & Rail Events Productions (SM), Asolo Repertory Theatre (SM Apprentice), Creede Repertory Theatre (ASM) and Bigfork Summer Playhouse (ASM). When not in rehearsal, you can usually find her lost on a trail, on the dance floor or in a really good cup of coffee. Follow along in the adventures! #BeckSideStory or at

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Christine Schmidle

Director of Vision and Text

Christine Schmidle is working as Deputy Text Associate at Shakespeare’s Globe in London. She received her MFA at Mary Baldwin College. Christine’s acting experience includes various roles at the American Shakespeare Center, the Pocket Theater in Stony Brook, and the Airport Playhouse. In Germany, she worked at the Shakespeare Festival in Neuss and the Theatre of Krefeld as Assistant Director. She has been published in the Shakespeare Bulletin with “Bilingual Hamlet: Der Bestrafte Brudermord in the 21st century,” and she translated “Der Bestrafte Brudermord” into English for Hidden Room’s puppet show, which is currently touring Europe.

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Alex Oliver

Company Manager

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Alex fell in love with Flagstaff while studying theatre at Northern Arizona University. Alongside his work with the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, Alex works as an actor and teaching artist with the Southwest Shakespeare Company. As a founding company member, Alex has had the pleasure of working with the many artists that have found a place in Flagstaff and the FlagShakes. Alongside an incredible board and staff, Alex is honored to help create a welcoming and professional home for artists from across Flagstaff and the country.

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Hannah Fontes

Marketing Director

Hannah is proud to have been with the Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival for three seasons, both onstage and off. Her favorite onstage FlagShakes credits include The Tempest (Caliban), Duchess of Malfi (Julia) and Merry Wives of Windsor (Mistress Quickly). Hannah doubles with FlagShakes as a director, choreographer, and movement director. Her favorite offstage credits include directing A Christmas Carol, co-directing and choreographing Indecent and choreographing Duchess of Malfi. Hannah has also worked with Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Theatre Company, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Neil Simon Festival and Canyon Moon Theatre Company. Hannah holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Southern Utah University. She can also be seen behind her computer and around town as FlagShakes’ Executive Marketing Assistant and Housing Manager. When Hannah isn’t acting, directing or choreographing, you can find her out swing dancing, baking and snuggling dogs.


Keath Hall

Technical Director

Board of Directors


Julie Hammonds



Eli Cohen



Jan Rominger

Board Member


Todd Barnell

Board Member

Michelle Abeshaus

Michelle Abeshaus

Board Member


Lauren McKean


Tory Syracuse

Tory Syracuse

Board Member


Alex Cohen-Grey

Board Member

Meet the founding artists

This dedicated group of founding artists saw the potential in FlagShakes and helped us to see that vision come to life. We’re forever grateful. These are the founding artists who made FlagShakes possible:

(Left to Right) Isak Bond, Maureen Ryland, Stefano Coaloa, Dawn Tucker, Andy Cahoon, Megan Lindsay, Christine Schmidle, Alex Oliver, John Way, and (on the floor) Noah Brown, Marshall Glass