Rochara Knight, Executive Director
Rochara Knight has been active in the Columbia theatre community since 2009. She has served on the Talking Horse Productions board for 3 years as Vice President and Fundraising Committee Chair prior to stepping in as Executive Director. She holds a MPA in Non-Profit Management from University of Missouri-Columbia.
Rochara has been involved with several theatre projects over the years not only as a performer, but has also served on production teams as an assistant director, stage manager, and costumer. Her most recent roles include Vera Stark in By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Jacklyn in Rasheeda Speaking, Othello, in Guerl-rilla Theatre’s production of Othello, and Pearl Johnson in Black Pearl Sings. Along with her executive duties, Rochara also assists in producing THP’s annual touring children’s show with Dana Bocke, and is the co-founder and producer of Cabaret for a Cause with friend and fellow performer, Audra Sergel.
Rochara hopes to use her education and experience to continue the mission and vision that Talking Horse was founded on, as well as make sure that the theatre is always an open and welcoming space for all creatives, offering opportunities to those who haven’t had the chance to display their talents in the past.
In addition to her time spent with Talking Horse, Rochara is also a singer and songwriter with her band, The Honey Doves, and works for St. Raymond’s Society, a non-profit organization that assists young mothers in becoming self-sufficient.
Adam Brietzke, Artistic Director
Adam Brietzke returned to Columbia in 2016 for the first time since graduating from Rock Bridge High School in 2004. An actor all his life, Adam participated in community theatre growing up and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Missouri State University. In addition, Adam also holds accreditations for stage combat and stunt coordination from Fight Directors Canada.
Upon returning to Columbia after a decade spent in multi-unit retail management, Adam was eager to put his leadership and degree to work in Columbia's vibrant performing arts scene. Adam came to Talking Horse Productions in 2016 to portray Cal in Mothers and Sons under the direction of Carol Esty and instantly fell in love with the theatre's mission to produce artistic, thought-provoking, contemporary drama in the heart of Missouri.
Similar to Talking Horse Productions founder, Ed Hanson, Adam is particularly interested in new, original works and projects having originated two roles in 2018: Louie in Louie, Louie and Le Dolce Vita and Eric in The Wedding Present. Other Talking Horse credits include, Alan in White People, and Ken in Red. Adam is also the co-founder and manager of The Ponies, Talking Horse Productions' short-form improv troupe.
In addition to his time with the theatre, Adam is a Senior Living Director for The Westbury, a senior living community here in Columbia.
Ed Hanson, Founder, Fundraising Committee Chair
Ed Hanson, the founder of Talking Horse Productions, has called Columbia, MO home since 1978. A retired music educator, Ed launched his professional acting career in 2008 and began THP in late 2011. He holds two degrees from the University of Missouri: a B.S. in Music Education and an M.M. in Vocal Performance.
Ed worked for theatre companies in Missouri, Kansas, Arizona, Mississippi, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Since the creation of Talking Horse, he has continued a limited professional acting career while focusing most of his creative attention on THP. He now serves the company as a board member and chair of the fundraising committee. And he is happy to have Chara and Adam do the heavy work!
Monica Palmer, President
Monica has considered Talking Horse Productions her creative home for many years now. She enthusiastically supports the mission of THP any way she can, whether that’s as an actor, a director, a patron or a board member. In addition to playing Alice in 2018’s Clever Little Lies, Monica also appeared in the ensemble of Sweeney Todd and 2017’s The Lyons as Rita. In 2019, she directed J.T. Roger's White People.
Monica has a media and nonprofit communications background and is currently putting her creative energies into her writing and enjoying time with her two fab kiddos Gabe & Anna and her sickeningly sweet husband Russ Palmer (Manager, Columbia Appliance.)
Lorrie Evelyn Furrer, Secretary
Lorrie Evelyn Furrer has served as Board Secretary since 2013. Lorrie has acted in and directed shows in St. Louis and mid-Missouri, including several stage appearances at Talking Horse. Her backstage activities include costume construction, props, set dressing, stage management, fundraising, and box office duties. Lorrie is particularly proud of serving on the committee for the Starting Gate New Play Festival since its inception in 2015. She obtained her degree in Theatre Literature from Smith College in 1980, taught children’s theatre classes at the Theatre Guild of Webster Groves, and was a member of the Board of River City Theatre in Rocheport, Missouri. She has worked in radio broadcasting, has taught middle school English and preschool, and now works in Community Relations for the City of Columbia. Lorrie is thoroughly committed to advancing the Talking Horse mission of producing high-quality, character-driven plays that allow the audience to connect with the actors and the storylines in rich and meaningful ways.
Carol Denninghoff, Treasurer
Carol Denninghoff, a native Missourian, has lived in Columbia since 1958 and has been an active member of the real estate community since 1975. She is a founding partner of House of Brokers Realty, Inc. and is a member of the Columbia and National Boards of Realtors. Over her years as a Realtor, she has earned the designations of Certified Residential Specialist, and Accredited Buyer's Representative. In her spare time, Carol enjoys attending plays, concerts and movies, traveling, playing bridge, and is involved in the music and art community in Columbia. She has one daughter, Caroline Casati, who lives and works in New York.
Alana Barragan-Scott, Guerl-Rilla Theatre Chair
Alana Barragan-Scott grew up in St. Louis and has lived in Columbia since the 1980’s when she met her husband to-be in a class at MU. She is a lawyer and worked for the State of Missouri in the executive and judicial branches for almost 24 years. She has also taught at the MU School of Law and most recently served the Federal judiciary branch. She became involved in mid-Missouri theatre after seeing how much her three children enjoyed it, and has acted and sung in almost three dozen plays, musicals, and singing ensembles. When she is not in a show, she enjoys reading, and her latest hobby, learning to play the violin. She previously served for six years on the Board of the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, and is happy to have joined the Talking Horse Board in 2016.
Dana Bocke, Starting Gate Committee Chair
Dana Bocke has been active in the Columbia community theatre scene since 2011, performing with Talking Horse Productions, Columbia Entertainment Company, and the Maplewood Barn Theatre. She’s been involved with Talking Horse Productions Children's Theatre since 2012. Dana is a library associate on the Children’s Team at the Columbia Public Library, a taphophile, and a proud nerd.
Barret Brooks, Board Member
Meg Phillips Crespy, Board Member
Meg Phillips Crespy is a writer, director and performer. Directing credits include Rent, the Diary of Anne Frank, Bent and Other Desert Cities. Favorite roles include Diana in Next to Normal, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors and the Baker's Wife in Into the Woods, for which she received a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival nomination. As a playwright and composer, Meg has had works performed across the county and as part of Cherry Lane Theatre's "Tongue Series" in New York. She won the 2018 Jackie White National Memorial Playwriting Competition and the 2019 Missouri Stories international screenwriting fellowship. At Talking Horse, Meg has been a performer and set designer, and she wrote two of THP's children's touring plays. Her most recent full-length work, Mostly Sweet, had its world premiere at THP in June 2015. In 2018, Meg launched Guerl-rilla Theatre, which provides expanded opportunities to female-identifying performers via dynamic staged readings at Talking Horse.
Erin Hanson, Board Member
Erin Hanson is one of the newer board members but has been a fan and supporter of Talking Horse Productions since its founding. Her father, the incomparable, Ed Hanson, founded THP in 2011 and brought Erin along for the ride until she moved to Seattle in 2013.
Erin earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts with an acting emphasis from Stephens College in 2011. Post college she stayed in Columbia for a few years before migrating to Seattle and working for e-commerce company, Zulily. She migrated back to Columbia in late 2019 to spend more time with family and also enjoy the amazing theatre scene that Columbia has to offer. She currently works at Veterans United as a Recruiter and along with serving as a board member for THP, enjoys volunteering for Second Chance as a cat foster.
Erin’s acting credits include: The Little Mermaid in Disenchanted, Babe in Crimes of the Heart, Susan in [title of show], and Kate Keller in All My Sons among others.