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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

Bio coming soon!


Zak Stowe (he/him) - At-Large

Zak began volunteering with StageQ as their Technical Director in 2016 and served as President form 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! 


Interim Production Manager - Zak Stowe

Literary Manager - Amber Palmer

Webmaster - Zak Stowe


Zak Stowe - Chair

Jay Gile

Isabella Anastasia Leigh

Lu Meinders

Shawn Padley

Amber Palmer

Elliot Puckette

James Van Abel


Zak Stowe - Chair

Zoe McCartney

Lu Meinders


Isabella Anastasia Leigh - Co-Chair

Amber Palmer - Co-Chair

Jessie Fidler

Lu Meinders

Shawn Padley


Lu Meinders

Zak Stowe