(if you’re looking for cast and crew bios visit the individual show pages)
Krista Schafer, Founding Artistic Director
Krista earned her degree in theatre from Northwestern University and has additional training from Arden Theatre Company, SITI company, Fringe Benefits, and Augusto Boal. Krista has performed on professional stages large and small across the country. Since returning to her home state of Michigan she has worked with AKT Theatre Project, The Abreact, Shakespeare in Detroit, Matrix Theatre Company, Drastic Theater Company, Broadway OnStage, KHOROS Inc., and the Gottlieb Music Festival. Krista also has over 25 years of experience directing, leading drama workshops, and teaching theatre to all ages. She served as the director at Grosse Ile High School from fall 2016-spring 2019 and has directed several Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festivals. Krista won the 2018 Wilde Award for performance by a lead actress for her title role in Emilie as well as a Best Director award in 2020 for The Watson Intelligence and in 2022 for This Random World. When not at the theatre she loves to read, dance, play games, do jigsaw puzzles, and spend time near or in water. She is famous for her love of Prince and sharks.
Harley Miah, Resident Lighting Designer
Harley is a professional in the entertainment technology industry. He is a freelance lighting programmer for a large number of nightclubs, concerts and festivals across the country, and the chief lighting designer for IKO Global Productions. He has designed the lights for all of the shows in Open Book’s first three seasons and earned a Wilde Award for Best Design – Lights for his work on Red in 2015. Harley has been involved in the technical design of the new performance space from the ground up. He is also the resident lighting designer for the AKT Theatre Project in Wyandotte, and Outvisible Theatre Company in Allen Park.
Gordon joined the Players Guild of Dearborn in 1986 and has been involved in theatrical productions ever since. Over the years he has also worked with Southgate Community Players, Downriver Actors Guild, Lincoln Park High School and Detroit Public Theatre. In 2012 Gordon was inducted into the Dearborn Theater Hall of Fame. Among his more notable construction projects were The Car for I Remember Mama based on a 1908 Cadillac, The Gazebo for Do You Wanna Dance?, The Sewer for Guys and Dolls and The Mid-Century Furniture for Promises, Promises. Gordon began building for Open Book in the spring of 2022 for Too Heavy For Your Pocket, and he continues to upgrade set design and construction methods with his unique style of building and the use of 3D modeling software.
Open Book Theatre Company
Board of Directors
Our volunteer board has a wide range of experience and is active in our community in many ways!
Krista Schafer, President
In addition to her work for Open Book, Ms. Schafer served as drama director for Grosse Ile High School and the Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival. She has a BS in Theatre from Northwestern University and additional training with Arden Continuing Training, SITI Company, and Augusto Boal. She has over 20 years of professional acting experience and over 20 years of theatre directing and teaching experience with various school, community and arts programs. Her board experience includes being a current board member of both Trenton Rotary and Grosse Ile Boar’s Head Festival and previous leadership on the boards for Bear Creek Camp (Wilkes Barre, PA) and the Downriver Council for the Arts.
William Jasman,Vice President
Mr. Jasman recently retired as a contract manager with DTE Energy, and holds a degree from Wayne State University. He’s very engaged with the community, including being active in Trenton Rotary (2011 member of the year, 2023 President) and chairing many events such as Turn Off The Violence. Additionally he works with Trenton Goodfellows, helps coordinate Trenton’s Jazz on the River, is on the advisory board for Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center, and has been a life long supporter of the performing arts.
Erin Shelton, Treasurer
Ms. Shelton is a financial advisor and co-owner of Key Concerns, Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of Michigan. She has over 10 years of non-profit experience, including start-up and grant proposals. She had developed educational programming for special needs children. She is a current board member of the Trenton Business Association and has served on various councils and committees at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, Grosse Ile. She serves as an ambassador for the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber.
Diana Mente, Secretary
Ms. Mente is a retired Laboratory Technologist with BA Biology from SUNY Geneseo. She is Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital Star of Excellence awardee and served on Service Excellence Leadership Development team at HFWH. She is very involved with the American Association of University Women. She has also been involved with the Childbirth Preparation Association, American Cancer Society, Reach-to-Recovery as a volunteer and trainer, Downriver cycling club, Grosse Ile Presbyterian Church, and Thunderbird Ski Club. She was the owner and photographer of Artemis Studio Photography in Wyandotte. Ms. Mente is also a Certified Master Gardener, Wayne County and a member of Michigan Theatre, Ann Arbor.
Madeleine GB Jones, Member at Large
Ms. Jones is a retired educator, working for 34 years in Southgate community schools. She has a Bachelor of Science and Master’s Degree in Education from Wayne State University. She has worked with many additional community and educational institutions such as Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, EarthWorks and Exchange City, American Association of University Women, Wayne County Community College, Episcopal Church Women, Grosse Ile Book Club, Grosse Ile Garden Club, and various tutoring groups. Madeleine is an active part of several choral groups, and an avid attender of theatrical productions.
Peter Poulos, Member at Large
After earning his Master of Arts in Organizational Communications & PR from Wayne State in 1995, Peter spent the next 26 years in leadership positions while marketing and fundraising on behalf of local nonprofits including United Way for Southeastern Michigan, the Detroit Historical Society, and the Michigan Humane Society among others. He’s proudly led large-scale fundraising and volunteer recognition events as well as successfully written grant proposals securing more than $15 million in support of missions he’s served. A passionate believer in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assertion that “everybody can be great because anybody can serve,” his volunteer service includes lending time and talent to the Belle Isle Conservancy, Crime Stoppers of Michigan, the Detroit Public Schools Foundation, the City of Trenton Civic and Historical Commissions as well as the AmeriCorps VISTA program. He currently serves on the board at Community Grown Gardens (Grosse Ile) and is a member of the Rotary Club of Trenton. And he is a mentor with the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Detroit Chapter’s Marjorie S. Fisher Fellows Mentorship program, providing guidance to the next generation of fundraising professionals. His desire to serve Open Book Theatre is driven by his core belief that live performing arts is a catalyst for social justice.
Erin Chapman, Member at Large
Ms. Chapman holds a BA from Western Michigan University in English with an emphasis in creative writing, and a Master of Library and Information Science from Wayne State University. She has worked in public libraries since 2004, holding positions from Library Page to Director. Her volunteer experience includes facilitating support groups for incarcerated women (Clayton, MO). She welcomes opportunities to link artistic expression with vulnerable populations. Over the past 30 years, Ms. Chapman has participated in poetry readings, published her poetry with New Pop Lit, and placed in writing contests (Trial Balloon Poetry Contest, in Kalamazoo, MI, C’Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, VA and St. Louis Writer’s Guild). She currently leads an Adult Writers’ Group at Trenton Veterans Memorial Library.
Our by-laws state that our board must be comprised of four to eleven members. We are looking to grow our board by adding individuals dedicated to working towards our mission. Board members are not paid, but serve as volunteers for the organization. Terms are for one year, but there are no term limits. The board is responsible for ensuring that the activities of Open Book support our mission and meet its legal and financial goals and obligations. We are particularly looking for board members who can bring diverse perspective to our work.