STAFF BIOGRAPHIES

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Staff Biographies

Connie Brinda (Finance Director)

Connie is the co-founder of Prime Stage. As a supporter of the arts for many years she understood the need for a theatre that bridged the gap between children and adult theatre. Her foundation started with her family owned business and continued her education in business management at Point Park. She services on the board of directors as the /treasurer along with the executive and fundraising committees. She is a retired finance/billing manager for Reed Smith, LLP, where she managed a staff of 11 and oversaw the client billings for their Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh and Princeton offices. Prior to Prime Stage, Connie volunteered with the television ministry at the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.

Wayne Brinda (Production Artistic Director)

Wayne is Co-founder and Producing Artistic Director of Prime Stage where he directed Treasure Island, The Outsiders, Twelve Angry Men, I Never Saw Another Butterfly and The Terezin Promise, and the premiere of The Giver. He is Associate Professor of Secondary Education at the University of Pittsburgh Bradford where he teaches and conducts research on adolescent literacy. Prior to Pitt, he was Director of Playhouse Jr., Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Duquesne University, an instructor at The Oakland School, and Director of the Senior School Theatre Department at Sewickley Academy. As a Museum Teaching Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, Wayne produces several Holocaust theatre productions and conducts presentations on using literature and theatre to teach the Holocaust. Locally, he has directed for Apple Hill Playhouse, Little Lake Theatre, Red Barn Theatre in Allison Park, and South Park Theatre.

Tina Marie Cerny (Managing Director)

Tina has had a long career in theatre throughout the east coast, from Florida to Philadelphia, and on tour with American Theatre Arts for Youth. She proudly served as a founding member of Throughline Theatre Company as their Production Manager for 6 seasons, as well as Coordinator of Special Events and Individual Giving for the past two years. Although she has lived here for over a decade, Tina is a transplant to Pittsburgh from North Carolina, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts at Catawba College. Tina spends much of her time introducing theatre to her children with her husband, Liam.

John Clark (Web Developer)

John was first introduced to Prime Stage in 2003 when his ten-year-old son was cast as Ollie Herdman in their production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Since John was attending most of the rehearsals he was "lucky" enough to earn the part of Fireman #1. This was an awesome experience for both John and his son. Ever since he has been volunteering his time to Prime Stage - spending many hours working on their website, marketing and even as a Board Member. He is proud to be part an organization that does such wonderful work “bringing literature to life” for the community. His real-time job is with State Farm as an Analyst and that ten-year-old son is a Public Policy Analyst at Washington & Jefferson College.

John Dolphin (Education Consultant and Global Classroom Coordinator)

Johnr is a retired teacher the Pine-Richland School District where he spent 23 years. John taught English in every grade from eight through twelfth. Throughout his career, he has also worked as department chair, both at the middle school and the high school. He initiated programs that established a Fall Play at the middle and high school as well as worked as sponsor for the International Thespian Society and the Gay Straight Alliance at the high school. He worked as a reader for the AP Literature and Composition exam for six years as well as assisting in the development of the Pennsylvania Keystone Exams for three years. In 2010 he was named an Honorary Member of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council as well as being named a National Society of High School Scholars Educator of Distinction. In 2011 he wasnamed a semi-finalist in the Pennsylvania State Teacher of the Year Awards, and in 2019 received the All Star Teachers Award from the Pittsburgh Pirates. John is a member of our Board of Directors and on our Teacher Advisory Council for 5 years.

Linda Haston (Education Director)

Director/Performer/Teaching Artist) a professional (AEA) actress, singer, dancer and director and had resided in New York City for 10 years where she has performed her own cabaret act, did National and Regional tours, from musicals, dinner theatre to outdoor drama. She has directed and performed in the past and present seasons with various major Pittsburgh theatre companies. She also is a teaching artist in the educational system in Pittsburgh. Her background includes a BFA and MFA in theatre. She heads the Teacher’s Advisory Committee (TAC), the Literacy in ACTion Program, the Discover Your Inner Hero Program, and Global Learning Program for Prime Stage’s Education Department.

Matt Henderson (Social Media Manager)

Matt has worked in Pittsburgh theatre in a variety of capacities. In addition to his social media work with Prime Stage, he has appeared in their productions of Walk Two Moons, The Scarlet Letter, and The Westing Game as well as 2nd Stage readings of The Exonerated and Abigail/1702. Other acting work includes appearances at Bricolage (B.U.S., Midnight Radio, Speech & Debate, Weightless), City Theatre (the Young Playwrights Festival), No Name Players (Fixing King John), Off the Wall (boom), Saint Vincent Summer Theatre (Suite Surrender), Cup-A-Jo Productions (Hospitality Suite), TACT (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead), and PICT Classic Theatre (The Lion in Winter). As a playwright, his work has been seen throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada, England, Scotland, and Finland. Local productions include Existence and the Single Girl with 12 Peers Theater, The Roar of the Crowd in Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company’s Theatre Festival in Black and White, Strutting and Fretting with Stage Right and the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, and The Most Epic Awesomest Superhero Movie Ever with In Between Theatre. He is also the Literary Manager and Marketing Director of 12 Peers Theater, where he has performed in productions of White Rabbit Red Rabbit, the Pittsburgh Monologue Project, and Colorado.

Kate Pieratt-Webb (Production Manager)

Kate holds a degree in Dramatic Arts and History from Centre College and a MBA in Sports, Arts, and Entertainment Management from Point Park University. She has worked with various theatre companies in Pittsburgh and around the country including Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Front Porch Theatricals, Playhouse on the Square (Memphis, TN), and Actors Guild of Lexington (Lexington, KY). A few of her most memorable productions include Seussical the Musical, The Curious Savage, and The Wild Party. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Iron Horse Theatre Company in Ambridge, PA. She most recently was the Production Manager for the world premiere show 12:52 The Mike Webster Story at Iron Horse.

Nathan Ruggles (Audio Describer)

Nathan has served as Audio Describer (AD) for blind and visually impaired patrons at Prime Stage since 2017. He has provided AD for production at numerous theater companies and venues, such as Don Pasquale for The Cincinnati Opera, Nomad Hotel at City Theater, and The Lion King and Hamilton for The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Broadway Series. In addition, working with groups such as Film Pittsburgh, the Andy Warhol Museum, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, he has voiced, written, recorded, consulted, and given technical support in addition to live AD. He has trained through Audio Description Access, the Audio Description Coalition, VSA Pennsylvania, and the Kennedy Center Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD). He brings to this work a unique background of professional stage acting, voice over, broadcast radio, podcasting, arts administration, and years of experience in radio reading services for the blind and visually impaired. He is proud to be involved in this new endeavor to bring Prime Stage’s theater productions to audiences online. AudioDescribePGH.org

Debi Sciranka (PR and Accessibility Director)

As Prime Stage Theatre’s PR and Accessibility Director, part of Debi’s work is developing and strengthening relationships with media and press along with various organizations and communities that work with special needs individuals in the Pittsburgh area. These collaborative relationships help Prime Stage Theatre to continually refine and improve how they make their performances accessible to all. Debi takes pride in working with an organization that demonstrates a dedicated and continuing commitment to inclusion and she is passionate in her role in supporting this. Inclusion leads to more diverse audiences, which leads to education and acceptance of all individuals. She has worked in the Pittsburgh arts arena in a variety of capacities. In addition to previously working with Prime Stage Theatre she has assumed the responsibilities of program development, marketing and event planning with the New Hazlett Theatre for the Performing Arts, Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures and City of Asylum Pittsburgh. In 2003 along with two artists, Debi co-founded SALVO (Salvage Artists Linking Venues and Opportunities) and served as Administrative Director. The group saw it as a way of blending arts and ecology. She was instrumental in attaining a grant from the Sprout Fund for their first salvage arts festival.

Heather Sendera (Education Box Office Manager)

Heather moved to Pittsburgh with her family in 2014. Within a month of the move, her son had been cast in Prime Stage’s production of The Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde and she has been volunteering with Prime Stage ever since. Having lived in multiple places in Illinois, Arizona and Texas, the family is growing to love the neighborhoods, educational institutions and performing arts community in Pittsburgh. Heather has worked in the financial sector, non-profit organizations and volunteer-based organizations as well as the public-school system. She is excited to take on the role of Education Box Office Manager and promote the concept of theater as an educational tool and bringing literature to life.