Theatre Faculty & Staff

Robin photoRobin Armstrong
Professor of Theatre, Makeup, Costuming, Intro
Office B132, Plano Campus


Jeremy photoJeremy Ashlin

Assistant Director of Technical Theatre
Office C156, Plano Campus


Renee photoRenee Dessommes
Discipline Lead, Professor of Theatre
Office C226, Plano Campus

Tom photoTom Hull
Director of Technical Theatre
Office C153, Plano Campus

Evans photoEvans Jarnefeldt
Professor of Theatre, Improvisation, Acting, Theatre History
Office D120, Plano Campus

ShannonShannon Kearns
Professor of Theatre, Intro, Stage Movement
Office D121, Plano Campus


Joanne photoJoanne Zipay
Professor of Theatre, Acting, Script Analysis, Film Appreciation
Office B229, Plano Campus





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Robin Armstrong

Robin is the resident costumer and a director at Collin College. She is also a critically acclaimed professional director with credits ranging all over the DFW area. Robin has an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a BS from Northwestern Louisiana State University She is also an alumni of Collin College. Robin has also studied stage violence with the Academy of the Sword in San Francisco, the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat and the Canadian Society of Fight Director and was named the Female Fighter of the Year by the Society of American Fight Directors in 1993. In addition to her extensive work in the DFW area, Robin has worked in Boston, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and a number of other places around the country. Robin has worked for Collin College for the past 14 years.  


Jeremy Ashlin

Jeremy is the Assistant Technical Director for the theatre program. Identifying as a “reformed” high school theatre teacher, Jeremy has spent the past 25 years as a professional educator, director, designer, and technical director, working for high schools and professional theaters across Texas. Jeremy received both his BA and MSE in Theatre/Speech from Harding University. Along with his wife, Melissa, Jeremy spends his free time raising (and chasing after) their 5 kids. Jeremy’s most memorable stage roles include a singing shrubbery (The Secret Garden), a staircase (My Fair Lady), and a mattress (Once Upon a Mattress).


Renee Dessommes
 Renee Dessommes was born in Plano, TX and graduated from Plano East Senior High in 2002. She studied acting and directing at Collin College and Texas A&M University-Commerce before deciding that she was a Stage Manager. She then went to the University of Missouri, Kansas City and earned her Masters of Fine Arts in Stage Management. She lived in Kansas City for three years and worked at regional theatres like the Unicorn Theatre and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. She moved back to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex in 2013. She has worked regionally in D/FW at Casa Manana, Dallas Children's Theatre, Theatre Three, Circle Theatre and Uptown Players. Renee has worked around the nation as a Stage Manager and loves to meet new theatre artists by working outside her region. Her work has been seen in New York City, Indiana and Virginia. 


Renee started teaching in 2015 at Tarrant County College on the Northeast Camps. She joined the Collin College faculty in 2018 as an Associate Professor. She joined the full-time faculty this fall and looks forward to her new career path. Renee is focused on student success and engagement in the field of theatre. Her goal is to train professional technicians and designers and to help them choose the next step in their academic journey. Renee has taken over the North Texas Drama Auditions, is a Co-Advisor for Collin Theatre Cares and is a proud member of The Dignity Initiative on the Plano Campus.


Tom Hull

Tom Hull has been with Collin College for 24 years.  During that time, he has facilitated countless productions at the Spring Creek Campus.  He was a recent nominee for the Collin College ROSE Award.  This is the highest award Collin gives to staff members for the recognition of service and excellence.  Prior to joining the College, he spent five seasons as the Assistant Technical Director with the Dallas Theater Center and also worked with the Shakespeare Festival of Dallas.  Tom received his BFA from Sam Houston State University where he focused his training on set construction and stage lighting.  A native of Plano, and a former Collin student, Tom loves to serve on the Collin Theatre faculty.  His hobbies include fishing, geocaching and coaching baseball.  Tom is a member of our Hall-of-Fame.  Tom is the proud father of Max and Maggie.


Evans Jarnefeldt

Evans Eden Jarnefeldt is a professor, actor and devised theatre maker that moved to the DFW area in 2019. He currently teaches Acting I, II, Voice for Theatre, History of Theatre, and Film/Theatre Appreciation. Mainstage Collin Theatre Centre productions include: Citizen Scrooge, Love’s Labour’s Lost and It Could Happen Here. In addition to producing 2020’s new works festival, Little Gems 2.0, Jarnefeldt also spearheaded an interdepartmental, devised piece with the music and photography department in support of Collin College’s Book-In-Common selection, The Leavers. Previous devised productions he has directed include: Respira, Half-Mammals of the Stage, Theatricals Interpretations of Silver Sparrow, Dreams of Our America, Drama-Based Praxis w/ UTC College of Medicine, Frankenstein, The Mountain of Madness in Tennessee, and Has Your Faith Been Tested? in San Antonio. His regional theater credits include: Guthrie Theater - Postcards From Earth, Clarence Brown Theatre - South Pacific, Shakespeare Santa Cruz - UTC Theatre Co, Tartuffe - Midsummer Night’s Dream & Julius Caesar, Chautauqua Theater Company - Twelfth Night, The Cherry Orchard, Aux Cops, Pacific Conservatory Theatre - Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Three Sisters, Pride & Prejudice, A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan, Curtains, West Side Story, The Weir, Tender All My Sons, Equivocation, Invierno. Evans has a MFA in acting from the University of California, Irvine and a BA in English from the University of Texas, Austin.


Shannon Kearns

Shannon is a Senior Undermain company member and has been so honored, nourished and transformed by creating with her Undermain family since Blasted in 2004.  She was most recently seen as Alice in Shakey Jake and Alice, or How is it that We Live?, by Len Jenkin and Masha in The Three Sisters.  Playing Mary in The Testament of Mary was a turning point for her.  She has had the pleasure of learning from many inspiring teachers over the course of her life’s journey. One of her biggest joys in life is teaching her students at Collin College for the past 19 years.  Additional Undermain credits include Tomorrow Come Today, We Are Proud to Present a Presentation..., Profanity, The New Frontier, The Ghost Sonata, The Conference of the Birds, Time In Kafka, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Easter, The Dog Problem, Port Twilight, The Black Monk, Neil Youngʼs Greendale, The Snow Queen, Shining City, The Appeal, Waiting for a Train, Margo Veil: An Entertainment, and Blasted. Shannon has also worked with Core Performance Manufactory, Echo Theatre, Theatre Britain, Risk Theatre Initiative & The Modern Stage, Kitchen Dog Theater, WingSpan Theatre Company, Arts & Letters Live (Dallas Museum of Art), and The Clarence Brown Theatre (Knoxville). She has worked under the direction of Henryk Baranowski, Liviu Ciulei, Peter Huszti, Kathryn Pogson, Laszlo Marton, and Fred Curchack, and has performed in festivals in Bratislava, Slovakia (Istropolitana), and Budapest, Hungary. She has performed with Mabou Mines and trained with members of Ecole Jacques Lecoq, Shakespeare & Company, Moscow School of Dramatic Arts, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Hungarian National Academy of Acting, DellʼArte International School of Physical Theatre, and The Living Theatre.


Joanne Zipay

Joanne Zipay is a teacher, director, dramaturg, actor, writer, speaker, and producer.  


She is best known as the founder and Artistic Director of NYC’s award-winning Judith Shakespeare Company (1995-2015).  During her tenure, she expanded the boundaries for women in classical theatre, presenting over half of Shakespeare’s canon (including the entire 10-play history cycle) with groundbreaking gender-bending and diverse casting in every show.  She also founded the company’s RESURGENCE New Play Development Program and headed up JSC’s Arts-in-Education programming.


Joanne received her MFA from the Old Globe Theatre/University of San Diego professional classical training program, and has an undergrad degree from SUNY Oneonta in Education (English) and Theatre.  She has also studied with Stella Adler, John Barton, Patsy Rodenburg, Cicely Berry, Larry Moss, and Gail Cronauer.  


She has taught at Pace University, City College of New York, Stella Adler Conservatory/NYU, National Shakespeare Conservatory, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Theatre for a New Audience, Dallas Theatre Center, Princeton Repertory Shakespeare Festival, SUNY Orange, Mount Saint Mary College, the Old Globe, and Collin College.  


In 2008, she directed the Off-Broadway premiere of Timothy Findley’s Elizabeth Rex for Nicu’s Spoon Theatre, and in 2009 she was sponsored by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America to serve as Master of Verse for the Richmond VA outdoor summer production of Henry IV Part 1.


Originally from New York, her long career in the theatre has included teaching multiple subjects to students of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels.  Starting as an actor and teacher in Dallas in the 80’s, she later returned to New York, but has continued to return to the Dallas area in the summers (since 2001) to teach her popular Shakespeare intensive at Collin College, and to direct several shows, including Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew.  She has just relocated to Dallas once again as of the summer of 2019, and will continue her association as a professor and director with Collin College.


As a director, she has also worked at Stephens College/Okoboji Summer Theatre (The Importance of Being Earnest), Pace University (Macbeth), Stella Adler Conservatory/NYU (Pericles, The Cover of Life, Time and the Conways, Marriage a la Mode, The Tempest), Children’s Shakespeare Theatre (Love’s Labours Lost, All’s Well That Ends Well, Much Ado About Nothing, The Learned Ladies, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Theatre of the Open Eye (Twelfth Night), SUNY Oneonta (The Yeomen of the Guard), in addition to her above-mentioned work with Judith Shakespeare Company (25 productions), Collin College, and Off-Broadway.


Joanne is also a writer, co-authoring Come, You Spirits!: The Supernatural World of Shakespeare – A Guide for Critical Thinking and Creative Activities (Puck Press, 2016), and as a speaker, she presents lectures on Anne Hathaway and other Shakespeare-related subjects.  Her words and work are featured in several recent books:  Directing Shakespeare in America: Current Practices by Charles Ney (Arden, 2016), Shakespeare and Gender in Practice by Terri Power (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2015), and Women as Hamlet: Performance and Interpretation in Theatre, Film and Fiction by Tony Howard (Cambridge, 2007).  


She also teaches locally for 1106Lupo, Shakespeare Dallas, and Stage West.  In the summer of 2021, she will is slated to direct Into the Breeches! for Stage West.


“Ms. Zipay has a passion and mastery of the text which is awe-inspiring.”  

—British Theatre Guide, 2002