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StageQ is currently run by a group of dedicated volunteers who meet monthly both as a board and as various committees. We are also fortunate to have a wide network of volunteers and staff who help StageQ's various committees and fill various roles within the company. All of these individuals are critical to StageQ's existence and have been since the beginning.


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James Van Abel (he/him- President

James is queer, trans, and passionate about theatre. He has always loved theatre for its ability to build communities and provide healing/respite through storytelling, and was drawn to the StageQ theatre company by its additional mission for representation. Combining his love for the arts and social justice, James has a particular interest in making theatre equitable and accessible for all who wish to participate (as actor, production staff, audience member, etc.). He hopes to use his position on the board to help the theatre continue and grow into a space where all members of the queer/LGBTQ+ community can be seen, can be heard, and can just be.


Shawn D Padley (he/they- Vice-President

Shawn is a queer, transmasculine theatrical artist based out of Madison, WI. While primarily an actor and director, he's worked both on and off stage with Madison College Theatre, Edgewood College Theatre, Children's Theater of Madison, and Forward Theater; and he has undertaken work with nine productions in 2022 alone. Shawn's acting and backstage work have earned him numerous accolades, including three Irene Ryan nominations for outstanding performance with the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. They've worked with StageQ as a Director (Molinda Falls and The Agency), Assistant Stage Manager (CapitalQ Theatre Festival), and Lightboard Operator (Queer Shorts: Spirit of Stonewall) in the past and are very excited to join the board!


Lu Meinders (they/them- Secretary

Lu M. Meinders is thrilled to be on the StageQ Board and have the opportunity to encourage and support the theatre community in the Madison area. They received their Theatre Arts: Technical Design Management degree from Edgewood College in 2018. Since moving to Madison, they have worked with various theater companies including Edgewood College Theater Arts Department, Children's Theater of Madison, and KR Women's Theatre. When not stage managing or designing, they spend most of their time acquiring new crafting skills and stalking the local art stores for supplies. 

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Kalea Bicoy (she/her) - Treasurer

Kalea is a queer woman with a long history of love for Theater. Since graduating from UW-Madison she has started to help StageQ both on and off the stage most recently as the sound board operator for Act a Lady and starring as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. While primarily a performer, she is planning on taking her experience as a banker to the Board of Directors and helping StageQ continue operating far into the future. Going forward, expect to see her either up on stage or in a corner hunched over some spreadsheets.


Zak Stowe (he/him) - At-Large

Zak began volunteering with StageQ as their Technical Director in 2016, joined the board of directors in 2017, and served as President from 2018 to 2022. Currently Zak helps with fundraising, marketing, and as the Interim-Production Manager. Aside from these responsibilities, Zak is also an award-winning lighting designer having previously worked with numerous theatre companies in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He also recently directed StageQ's productions of "Southern Baptist Sissies" and "Dog Sees God" He previously served as Technical Director for State Street Theatre Company, Lighting Specialist for Full Compass Systems, and currently is the Lighting Supervisor for the Overture Center. Zak also serves as the President of the Bartell Theatre Foundation Board of Directors, and spends weekends touring with Tora!Tora!Tora! as an airshow pyrotechnician. StageQ has quickly become a home and Zak feels so lucky to be a part of this family of artists and community supporters. Welcome to our family.

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Amber Palmer (they/them) - At-*Large

Amber Palmer's plays have been seen across the country, including Activate Midwest, Flint Repertory Theatre, Bristol Valley Theatre, and Pegasus PlayLab. A monologue from their play “It’s a Small World (or The Robot Play)” is published in Best Men’s Monologues of 2019. Awards include City Theatre's National Award for Short Playwriting (finalist, 2019), Tipping Point Theatre’s Sandbox Play Festival (2nd place, 2019) and Gary Garrison 10 Minute Play Award (Region 3 finalist, 2018). They were Artist-in-Resident at The Mitten Lab in 2019 and resident playwright at Queer Theatre Kalamazoo in the 2019-2020 season. They graduated with their MFA in playwriting from Western Michigan University in spring 2020 and recently moved to Madison to pursue their PhD in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. They have a deep passion for new play development and supporting new voices through dramaturgy, writing communities, theater education and new work directing. They are so excited to be joining the StageQ board and the Madison theater community! 


Kyla Vaughan ( she/her) - At-Large

Kyla is a queer actor and director who got her first directing opportunity with StageQ and quickly fell in love. She is incredibly grateful to have worked with StageQ as the assistant director for Act a Lady and as the director for two plays in the CapitalQ Theatre Festival in 2022 and she can't wait to see where her time on the board takes her. You can also find her frequently acting at Broom Street Theater, where she recently played a multitude of roles in The Abortionist and will be performing as Ash in Its All Overboard this spring. During the day, Kyla works at Epic as a project manager, which is really only an excuse to invite coworkers to her shows.


Interim Production Manager - Zak Stowe

Literary Manager - Amber Palmer

Webmaster - Zak Stowe


Lu Meinders - Chair

Jay Gile

Kyla Vaughan

Isabella Anastasia Leigh

Shawn Padley

Amber Palmer

Zak Stowe

James Van Abel


Zak Stowe - Chair

James Van Abel

Kalea Bicoy

Zoe McCartney

Lu Meinders


Isabella Anastasia Leigh - Co-Chair

Amber Palmer - Co-Chair

Jessie Fidler

Lu Meinders

Shawn Padley


Lu Meinders - Chair

Zak Stowe

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