Artistic Staff

Jayna Fitzsimmons,
Artistic Director
Jayna is an instructor in the theatre department at Augustana University where she directs productions and teaches courses in acting, theatre history, playwriting and improv.  She has a B.A. in theatre arts from SMSU, an M.A. in theatre with emphases in theatre history and literature, directing, acting and Elizabethan drama from USD, and is currently working toward her PhD in English at USD. Originally from the Sioux Falls area, Jayna grew up enjoying Bare Bodkins performances.  Now, in her tenth summer working with Bare Bodkins, Jayna is thrilled to be serving as the producing artistic director of the company and has enjoyed collaborating with this season's incredibly gifted company!
Robert Fitzsimmons,
Production Designer
"Rj" is co-owner of Bare Bodkins and the husband of Jayna Fitzsimmons. He is the Technical Director and Resident Designer at Augustana University, where he teaches stage craft, scenography, drafting, rendering and stage management. He has a B.F.A. in technical theatre and design from Western Kentucky Universtiy and has worked for the Black Hills Playhouse in South Dakota, Brevard Music Center in North Carolina, Jenny Wiley Theatre in Kentucky, and the Arundel Barn Playhouse in Maine.
Nadine Purvis Schmidt,
Nadine Purvis Schmidt is Professor of Theatre at Southwest Minnesota State University, where she directs shows, teaches various acting, directing and other courses, and is the producer and program coordinator. Recent credits include Superior Donuts (Lady) at TheatreSquared, and the last 5 seasons with Bare Bodkins, including The Winter’s Tale (Paulina, Shepherd), Hamlet (Gertrude), All’s Well that Ends Well (Countess, Widow), Romeo and Juliet (Friar Laurence, Capulet), and The Tempest (Prospero). Nadine has an MFA in acting from the University of Arkansas, a certificate in Shakespeare performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and a B.A. in English from Harvard.
Bob Wendland,
Bob Wendland is back for his ninth summer of Bare Bodkins.He stays busy as Artisitc Director for The Good Night Theatre Collective and Director/Program Coordinator for The Dakota Academy of Performing Arts teaching theatre to over 500 students each year. He graduated from Augustana in 2010 with degrees in theatre and communication studies. Some of his favorite roles have been Ariel (The Tempest), Mark (RENT), Ophelia (Hamlet) and Phaeton (Metamorphoses). Bob feels very fortunate to make a living doing what he loves and is especially thankful to Luke, his family, and friends for providing him with unending support and encouragement.
Clara Bentz,
Clara is excited to be a part of her first ever Bare Bodkins production. Recently graduated from Stephen College in Columbia, MO, Clara has her BFA in Theatre Arts- Acting. Roles during her time there include Anne in "Anne of Green Gables," Puck in Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Anne Frank in "The Diary of Anne Frank," and Esme in "Everything You Touch." She has also directed for the student run Warehouse Theatre Company. In August, Bentz will move south to Phoenix, AZ to begin work with Theater Works as part of their fellowship program. Thanks especially to Mom and Dad, the little bros, Sara Crosby, the whole of Stephens' faculty, the many friends who have become family, and a huge thank you to Bare Bodkins and other companies who seek to make the arts more accessible.

Jeff Larsen,
Jeff is excited to be returning for his fourth year with Bare Bodkins. He is a recent graduate of Augustana University where he earned his B.A. in Theatre and Philosophy. In addition to working in the area as an actor/director/designer, Jeff serves as the Artistic Director for Monstrous Little Theatre Company. He currently works in the box office at the Washington Pavilion. Some favorite roles of his include Wally Ferguson in The 1940s Radio Hour, Henry in Next to Normal, Ariel in The Tempest, and as "himself" in The Complete History of America (Abridged). He would like to thank his family and friends for their incredible support.
Martha Stai,
Martha Stai is thrilled to be returning to Bare Bodkins. She is a graduate of Augustana College, where she studied English, secondary education, and theatre. Some of her most memorable roles include the Narrator in Joseph..., Penny Pennywise in Urinetown, Eve/Mama Noah in Children of Eden, and Paulina in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. She was recently seen as Mary Poppins with the Sioux Empire Community Theatre. She is the company manager for the Good Night Theatre Collective and has spent the past year performing in and directing cabarets during Good Night's inaugural season. Martha would like to thank God, family, and friends for their unwavering love and support.

Dakota Driver,
Actor and Fight Choreographer
Dakota Driver is happy to be returning for his second year as fight choreographer and is excited to make his acting debut with Bare Bodkins Theatre Company. Dakota attended Augustana College, and currently works at Midwest Alarm. He has been a part of several recent Monstrous Little Theatre Company productions, along with an assortment of local commercial opportunities. Some of his favorite roles include Tim in "Catalyst", and Roland in "Constellations". He would like to thank his family and friends for their love and support. Additionally Dakota is very appreciative of the extremely supportive Sioux Falls arts and theatre communities.
Jessa Roberts,
Jessa Roberts is very excited to be joining the Bare Bodkins company. She graduated from SMSU in 2014 with a BA in Theatre Arts, emphasizing in directing. She will be starting Grad school in the Fall at USD and hopes to someday be an awesome professor like her wonderful Mentor/Adviser and fellow cast member Nadine. She has participated in many shows during her years at SMSU (17 to be exact). A few of her favorite roles include Antipholus of Ephesus (The Comedy of Errors), Mrs. Gottlieb (Dead Man's Cell Phone), and Annie (The 13th of Paris). Jessa is very excited to be able to take this journey and would like to thank her parents for all of their love and support, her friends for always believing in her, and most of all her adorable son for being patient and "helping" his mommy memorize her lines.