Central Office Staff

The Central Office staff performs much of the behind-the-scenes work that keeps the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) working efficiently. Based in Greensboro, NC, the Central Office serves as headquarters for SETC and its state, regional and national members. Central Office staff manage the organization, programming and events, and work collaboratively with the SETC Board of Directors to fulfill the mission and vision of the organization. Members of the staff are responsible for all communication and marketing, customer service, membership, billing, publications, convention planning, professional and educational theatre services, convention registration, festivals and public information.

Contact Us

You may reach us by calling the SETC Central Office at 336-265-6148
Regular office hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

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Toni Simmons Henson

Executive Director

  • Organizational Leadership

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Toni Simmons Henson is a spoken word poet, best-selling author, public speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She has over 30 years of expertise in business development, theatre and entertainment production, and marketing. Henson has launched and operated three franchises and four businesses in her career, most notably, the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, Black Family Table Talk Podcast/Blog, Black Theatre TV, and ABTF Travels. She is a graduate of New York University (MPA) and Howard University (BBA) and earned Executive Certificates in Non-profit Management and Women in Leadership.

As a public speaker and spoken word artist, Henson has performed and presented her best-selling book, Let It Go: Queens Gotta S**T in New York City, Paris, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Accra, Ghana.

Accomplishments

In 2007, Henson moved to Atlanta and started Micah 6-8 Media, LLC. She began producing plays written by women. In 2012, she and her sister, Wanda Simmons, co-founded the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival (ABTF). This annual event attracts thousands of theatre lovers from around the corner to around the globe. The ABTF has provided a platform for over 145 self-producing playwrights and over 3,000 artists. In 2020, she expanded the ABTF brand to include an arts and cultural travel company. This company lead a delegation of 34 artists and art enthusiasts to Ghana West Africa in 2021 at the invitation of the National Theatre.

In 2020, she and her husband, Antonio Henson, co-launched the podcast/blog Black Family Table Talk. This medium focuses on building conversations around strengthening relationships and families. It quickly rose to prominence and was named the “Top Black Podcast to Follow in 2020 & 2021” by Feedspot and “Top 50 Black-led Podcasts You Should Hear” by The Harvard Advocate.

In 2020, the pandemic forced the launch of Black Theatre TV, a streaming platform for live and pre-recorded theatre. The opening launch reached over 1,100 households and close to 2,600 students around the U.S. as a virtual field trip to the theatre.

Awards and Recognitions

Henson was honored by the National Council of Negro Women Greater Atlanta Section to recognize her contributions to the theatre community. She is the recipient of the 2019 “Jewel of the Mountain Award for Arts and Letters” from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, SM-LAC. She has also received numerous awards for distinguished achievements in business, including feature stories in -the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), ArtsAtl.com, Meet the Leaders: African American Development Network, Entrepreneur Magazine, a cover story in the Princeton Packet Weekend Magazine, and Ghana’s popular CMonline.com.

Her work has also been recognized in academia through publications such as Black Theatre, City Life (Northwestern Univ. Press, 2022), Routledge Companion to African-American Theatre and Performance (Routledge, 2020), and Merge Literary Magazine Celebrating Black Women (Special Edition 2022)

In 2014, Micah 6-8 Media, LLC was named the first runner-up, Emerging Business of the Year, by the DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce. This distinction was for ABTF’s “significant contributions to economic development and community impact in DeKalb County”.

Personal

Henson has been married to Antonio Henson for 33 years. They both love arts and cultural travel and have visited 23 countries on five continents. Together they raised four children, three biological and one adopted. They have also served as foster parents for one year. Their oldest son is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, is married, and currently serves as a Naval Officer. Their oldest daughter graduated from Spelman College and is a Ph.D. (ABD) in Mathematics at the University of Washington. Their youngest daughter is a graduate with a Master of Architecture from Hampton University and works for the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command. Their youngest son is a recent graduate of Brookwood High School and works as a laborer.

Clay Thornton

Clay Thornton

Marketing Manager

  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Email Campaigns

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Clay’s responsibilities include working with organizational partners, the media and the SETC team to position and promote the SETC and IOT brands as the dedicated and passionate providers of resources for the theatre industry that they are. Clay has a penchant for data driven and customer centric marketing and focuses his work on membership satisfaction and quality of service as it relates to customer experiences.

Clay has worked for over 30 years with a variety of companies and organizations in North Carolina including the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. Clay received his B.F.A. from East Carolina University in Communication Arts.

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Elizabeth Theodora

Professional Services Manager

  • Job Board
  • Professional Auditions & Screenings
  • Ready To Programs
  • Theatre Job Fair

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Elizabeth got her start in theatre as a stage manager in the United Kingdom, working for theatres such as The Royal Court, Hampstead Theatre and National Theatre. She was also personal assistant to theatre director Katie Mitchell and actor Gawn Grainger. She has dabbled in assistant directing, company management and theatre promoting. Most recently, she served as the Communications & Public Relations Assistant for a non-profit organization that provided crisis assistance to the working poor and the homeless. Elizabeth received her BA Honours in Theatre Practice – Stage Management from The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, University of London.

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Lee Crouse

Educational Services and Sponsorships Manager

  • Design Competition
  • Educational Recruiting
  • Exhibit Hall
  • Secondary School Theatre Festival
  • School Auditions & Interviews
  • Teachers Institute

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After ten years on the Theatre Faculty at the Mississippi University for Women and a brief time with the Virginia Theatre Association, Lee is delighted and grateful to join the staff of SETC.  He has contributed to SETC for the past 10 years as a board member, most recently in the position of Vice President of Services.

Lee earned a Master of Fine Arts in Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi, worked professionally both on stage and camera, served as the Mississippi Theatre Association Board President/SETC State Representative, is an alumnus of the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leadership Development Program, and is a proud Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Lea-Gilbert

Lea (Louise) Gilbert

Membership Services Manager

  • Membership
  • Awards
  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Volunteering
  • Convention Registration

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Lea is a theatre artist from Asheville, NC where she earned her BA in Drama from UNC Asheville with concentrations in Arts Management and Accounting. Lea enjoys acting, directing, production, and stage management, and has gained valuable experiences working for different theatre companies, including the North Carolina Stage Company, the Asheville Fringe Festival, and the Asheville Community Theatre. Lea has also studied with the SITI Company and took an original, devised piece of theatre to the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Lea is excited to join the SETC Team and assist other young theatre professionals to facilitate connections.

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Noah Taylor

Graphic & Digital Media Manager

  • Websites
  • Social Media
  • Convention App

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Noah is a graphic designer and theatre artist born and based in Anderson, SC. He earned a B.A. in both Graphic Design and Theatre from the South Carolina School of the Arts at Anderson University, and an M.A. in Theatre from Regent University in 2021. Prior to joining the SETC staff, Noah co-founded 24 Hour Musical, Shakespeare in the Park, and later, Market Theatre, an award-winning community theatre in Anderson. He also successfully started and managed a graphic design and marketing agency for three years, focusing on branding, websites, and print materials for small businesses and non-profits. He served the South Carolina Theatre Association, an SETC state organization, as Community Theatre Division Chair from 2017-2020. Aside from designing and marketing for the theatre industry, he loves directing, producing, and (very rarely) performing.

At SETC, Noah updates and maintains the organization’s network of websites; creates event, program, and website graphics; creates and maintains SETC’s social media presence; designs and lays out in-house publications; and integrates/manages SETC’s convention scheduling app.

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Shameca Freeman

Development Manager

  • Fundraising
  • Grant Writing
  • Sponsorships

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Shameca is a theatre artist hailing from Radcliff, KY. She is a graduate from Western Kentucky University with BFA in Theatre (1998) and a BA in Psychology (2016), and most recently, a graduate from Regent University with an MFA in Film and Television (2021). She has worked with a variety of theatre companies and has toured 48 states and 7 countries. Shameca currently works as an Adjunct Professor of Theatre at the University of Northern Colorado. She enjoys playwriting, directing, acting, and costuming.

Shameca is excited about joining the Central Office Staff in the newly-created role of Development Manager. In this new position, she will be responsible for grant writing and fundraising for SETC.

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Veronica Neblett

Bookkeeper

  • Payments
  • Invoicing

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Veronica is a native of Brooklyn, NY, and currently resides in Gibsonville, NC. She is the mother of two wonderful children, Debra and Preston, and the grandmother of two. She has over 20 years of accounting experience. She is a graduate of York College CUNY, Jamaica, NY, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. She recently graduated with a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.

She is an active member of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro, where she is an ordained Elder. She has a passion to serve and has volunteered in prisons for over thirty years mentoring, teaching, and preaching. She is a published author of two books of inspirational writings, Expressions from my Heart and Expressions from my Heart Continued. Two of her favorite writings are “Me the Butterfly” and “Flying Above the Clouds.”

In her spare time, she enjoys crocheting, traveling, and writing. She is looking forward to working with the Central Office Staff of SETC, incorporating best practices, and bringing her accounting knowledge and expertise to further the mission and vision of the organization.

Betsey Horth

Betsey Horth

Executive Director Emeritus

Betsey Horth served as SETC’s executive director for 20 years (1999 to 2019). In that time, her dedicated leadership was  instrumental in the development, growth and financial success of the organization. In 2018, Betsey was presented with the Suzanne M. Davis Memorial Award for distinguished service to SETC. In 2019 at her final SETC Convention as executive director, she was inducted into the SETC Hall of Fame and named Executive Director Emeritus.

Honors outside of SETC include the 2012 Gold Medallion Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region IV. Prior to becoming the Executive Director of SETC, Betsey taught costuming at Buffalo State College for 11 years and worked in marketing and/or development for professional theatres in Wisconsin and in Buffalo, NY. She has also performed as a commercial/film actress, and successfully produced her own play Joan of Arc: Alive!

Betsey holds an MS in Creativity. As a creativity specialist, she has co-designed and trained for the Center for Creative Leadership’s Leading Creatively Program in Greensboro, NC, and presented to the Dupont Corporation, Singapore Institute of Management and Hewlett Packard among others. She has been a leader at the Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI), a keynote speaker for the Quebec International Creativity and Innovation Networking Conference (ICINC), and a presenter for several annual South African creativity conferences.

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