Mr. Peterson received degrees in theatre from Emporia State University, studying under nationally respected Dr. Karl C. Bruder. His post-graduate studies have included studying with Jon Jory of the Actors Theatre of Louisville and Ron Daniels of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
An award winning director, Mr. Peterson is also a published playwright. His plays include Heaven Ajar, a historical fiction dealing with the Coolidge presidency, written in cooperation with President Coolidge’s son, John.
As an actor Mr. Peterson has toured the Orient with the USO, and in regional theatre has played “Salieri” in Amadeus, “Scrooge” in A Christmas Carol, and “Saunders” in Lend Me A Tenor.
In film, Mr. Peterson had a leading role in Miramax’s The Crude Oasis receiving “thumbs up” notices from the New York Times and Variety. Most recently, he appeared in featured roles in Casualties starring Mark Harmon, and The Good Things, winner of the Deauville Film Festival for Best Short Film.
Mr. Peterson has been nationally honored by the Kennedy Center in association with the American College Theatre Festival for his playwriting (Heaven Ajar), Design Work (Hank the Cowdog), and acting (Barbershop Quartet).
In 2006, Mr. Peterson was designated as a Kansas Master Teacher.
Leslie Coates, Theatre and Speech Faculty
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Leslie Coates received a B.F.A in Theatre from Emporia State University and an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University.
Leslie founded and operated the not-for-profit Gamaliel Theatre Company producing original musicals, new plays, interpretations of Shakespeare plays using small ensemble casts, and experimental theatre utilizing oral interpretation, music, and movement.
As an actor, credits include various roles at Lamb’s Players Theatre Company in San Diego, CA, Seacoast Repertory Theatre in Portsmouth, NH, Forum Theatre Company in Wichita, KS.
Leslie worked for the United Methodist Church serving two years in Milford, New Hampshire and then nine years at First United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas. While working in churches, he designed several experimental worship experiences integrating music, video, poetry, and food. A few favorite projects working in church communities include a staging of Archibald MacLeish’s Pulitzer prize winning play, J.B., developing an annual collaborative Blue Christmas Worship Experience with Forum Theatre Company, leading the small worship community The Gathering at Mead’s Corner, and supporting the weekly live television broadcast of Downtown Alive aired every Sunday morning on KAKE TV.
To balance the chaos of work, Leslie enjoys escaping to the outdoors with his wire-hired wonder dog, Pippin. Hunting and fishing provide a chief outlet for stress as well as inspiration for his writing practice.
Caden Runnalls, Theatre Department Technical Director
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Caden received associate degrees in Mass Communications and Technical Theatre from Butler Community College, studying under Butler Chair of Theatre Bob Peterson and Bernie Wonsettler. During his time, he both acted and worked extensively backstage.
Caden is also a producer and editor, working in addition with podcast host Justin Wieland as his Co-Host, content producer, and video editor for the Seeking Context Podcast.
As an actor, Caden has played roles like the children's show original character, “Alvin the Alligator”. He was awarded Best Actor for his portrayal of “Robin of Locksley” in “Sherwood: The Adventure of Robin Hood”. Also receiving best Supporting Actor for Gus in “The Ballad of Kate the Shrew”
As a technician, Caden has worked as Special Effects supervisor and Artistic AdvisOR for multiple productions. Specializing in Effects and Sound Design. Leading the Technical Theatre Department in large scale construction and engineering. Also creating many of the graphics and poster designs used for productions. Along with promotional videos for the FAC. Also reviving a video Mockumentary around Butler Theatre students, Fly In The Theatre.
Many frequently hear the phrase from staff and colleagues when developing new digital and design concepts, “Just make Caden do it.”