Montford Park Players Board of Directors
The Montford Park Players are run by a volunteer board of directors, each of whom serve for a 3-year term. The board meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 4:00 PM via Zoom. Meetings are open to all, with the exception of matters affecting personnel. Organizational documents are available to the public here .
& Governance Committee Chair
Jessica works as an independent fundraising and organizational development consultant with over 14 years of experience in public media, the arts, community impact and public service sectors. Prior to breaking out into the world of self employment, she worked as the Director of Membership and Operations for the Public Radio Program Directors Association (PRPD), and formerly worked in the development department for Asheville’s NPR station. Jessica is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credentialed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals and holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She spends her free time hanging out with her 75 pound labradoodle, Max.
Board Vice Chair
& Finance Committee Chair
A native of Durham, Charles is a product of the North Carolina public schools and an alumnus of Duke University, where he majored in history. He later received a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and embarked on a banking career, which took him to Georgia and Florida before returning to North Carolina 13 years ago, still in banking. Charles and his wife, Winslow, found Montford Park Players during their move to Asheville, fell in love with the experience and the community, and have been active attendees and supporters ever since.
Charles enjoys hikes and long walks with Winslow and his participation in the Asheville Debate Society and an active history book club. He also serves as treasurer of the Border Memorial Folkmoot Foundation and the Haywood Community College Foundation.
Jennifer received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Auburn University’s College of Architecture Design and Construction. She worked in Architecture firms in Alabama, Georgia and Massachusetts where she designed for corporate and commercial clients as well as Universities and Non-profits. After moving to Asheville in 2008, Jennifer made a turn toward smaller scale design and art as she and her husband purchased Frugal Framer in Montford. As an artist and designer, Jennifer has found the business of custom picture framing to be the perfect marriage of design and detail. Jennifer is pleased to be serving as a board member for Montford Park Players and enjoys promoting Montford’s arts and entertainment scene.
At large Member
Stan Ingber, a retired law professor, has taught and written in the fields of constitutional law, criminal law, and legal philosophy for more than 43 years at 10 schools in the United States, Canada and Europe. He has also served on numerous American Bar Association and government commissions dealing with criminal justice and anti-discrimination. In addition to his many years performing before crowds of often enthralled law students, Stan has also enjoyed the stage lights as a litigator, a storyteller, an actor (community theater), and the legal consultant for The Hippodrome Theater, a professional regional theater in Gainesville, Florida. He thanks the Montford Park Players for again affording him a role to play in the theatrical community.
At large Member
First and foremost, Tod Leaven is father and husband, living in the Montford neighborhood of Asheville, just a few blocks from the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater. Additionally, he is a lawyer and partner at the law firm Grimes Teich & Anderson, as well as an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Law, and a Veteran of the United States Army. He likes to believe that he is also an actor, appearing beside his very talented daughter, Eleanor, at Montford Park Players, Asheville Community Theater, and Shakespeare & Friends in Tryon, NC. He attended college at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and law school at the University of North Carolina School of law at Chapel Hill.
At large Member
Honor Moor started out her career as a board certified k-12 art teacher but quickly transitioned to follow her dreams in acting in both Seattle and Manhattan. She was a member of a Southern Repertory Theatre & performed in countless plays and a long standing Off-Broadway musical review. She studied the Sandford Meisner technique with famed, teacher Fred Karaman, in Carnegie Hall Studios. After years of acting, Honor left the circus and worked for two New York Cancer Foundations in development where she learned to fundraise, create events and write grants. Moor moved back to her hometown of Asheville in 1998 and raised two kids and continued to act, direct and teach theatre while also being the Executive Director for Junior Achievement WNC, Asheville Parks and Greenways Foundation and was in charge of development for the Altamont Theatre. She was a six year member of the Junior League of Asheville and board member of the NC Arboretum, Jewish Community Center, Asheville City Schools Foundation, Asheville Community Theatre, Asheville High School PTO and AHS Speech & Debate Executive Committee. Moor is currently is serving on the THRIVE board. She is delighted to be writing plays and has had five of them produced locally at the Magnetic Theatre and Montford Park Players.
At large Member
Candace Taylor is an actress, teacher, vocal coach and director who has taught Acting and Voice and Speech classes at a number of prominent universities around the country. She is presently Chair and Artistic Director of the Theatre Department at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. She has worked as an actress with the Acting Company, the Public Theatre, American Players Theatre, Pioneer Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Clarence Brown Theatre, Shakespeare Festival of Dallas, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, North Carolina Stage Company and Milwaukee Shakespeare, to name a few. Candace, trained in the classics, has directed a whole lot of Shakespeare, and most recently, has been helming contemporary prizewinning authors. As a vocal coach, she has worked with Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and with Indiana Repertory Theatre, where she was the dialect coach for a production of Intimate Apparel, starring Viola Davis. Most recently, Candace has been teaching in the Swannanoa Women’s Correctional Center through the Inside/Out program out of Temple University and has developed a new theatre course called Performing Social Justice. She has been elected to and served in Warren Wilson College’s shared governance Forum for four years, helping to create new policy for the College. She was elected to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the College, representing the interests of faculty. Candace has a BS in Theatre from Northwestern University, an MFA in Acting from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware, and is a certified instructor of Fitzmaurice Voicework.
Ava Atwood is a highschool student who has been acting their entire life. They have lived in Asheville forever, and have been participating in youth Shakespeare and other theatre productions for eight years. Ava has worked with Anam Cara theater company, the Montford Park Players, The Montford Moppets, Mouse House Productions, and backstage at ACT. They also enjoy film production and screen acting. Ava loves making music and writing, and if their theater dreams fall to pieces, they plan on pursuing a musical career. They always look forward to seeing and performing in MPP productions, and are thrilled they get to be part of the workings of the theater.
Montford Park Players Staff
Executive Director & CEO
Executive Director John Russell became the first employee and Executive Director of Montford Park Players in 2006. He has been instrumental in growing the audience and enhancing the audience experience since his arrival. He was appointed
to the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Arts Council in July 2017 by Governor Roy Cooper. He currently also serves on the North Carolina Governor’s School Foundation Board as Vice President and Chief Fundraising Officer,
and also as a member of the Theatre Consulting Group for SETC.
In 2018 the Institute of Outdoor Theatre recognized Russell with the Mark R. Sumner Award, a national award exemplifying the highest standards of American outdoor drama. The Sumner Award recognizes significant contributions by an individual to a specific drama, or to the outdoor drama movement. Recipients have played a major role in the production of a specific outdoor drama or they have made a noteworthy impact on outdoor theatre.