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Theatre and Cinema Arts Faculty

Felia Davenport, Theatre Department Chair

Niyi Coker, E. Desmond Lee Endowed Professor of African and African/American Studies

Glen Anderson, Associate Professor of Technical Theatre and Design

Jacqueline Thompson, Assistant Professor of Theatre

Rita Csapó-Sweet, Associate Professor of Cinema

Felia Davenport
Theatre Chairfelia
Felia Davenport holds a BFA in Theatre with an emphasis in Costume Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, an MFA in Costume Design from University of Tennessee-Knoxville.  She has won many awards for her costume design work from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Southeastern Theatre Conference and her work was recognized at USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology).  She has also been honored to have her designs be shown at the Prague Quadrennial, which is an international exhibition of theatre designers and artists from over 50 countries.  Over the years, she has worked for theatres in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri as a designer or a crafts artisan.

As a designer her professional credits include Preemptive which premiered at the Shaw Theatre in London and at the National Theatre in Nigeria, Equus (HotCity Theatre), Black Pearl Sings (St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre Company),The Eight Reindeer Monologues (HotCity Theatre), O Pioneers!, a world premier opera at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, Lakme (Union Avenue Opera), Music and Moves, Disconnect and various other dance pieces for Modern American Dance Company, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Stray Dog Theatre), The Odd Couple, A Year with Frog and Toad, The Trojan Women, Fences (The Clarence Brown Theatre), The Waiting Room (The Actors Studio), Boesman and Lena (St. Louis Black Repertory Company), Sarafina (St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre Company), The Misanthrope (Clarence Brown Theatre).  She has also designed clothing for local Motown musical groups, as well as, contributing to the August Wilson Series which appeared at the Kennedy Center.  

Felia Katherine Davenport 
Associate Professor, Costume Design
Theatre Department
The University of Missouri Saint Louis
201 Arts Administration Building

niyiNiyi Coker, Jr.
E. Desmond Lee Professor
African/African-American Theatre, Cinema, Directing, Playwriting, & Acting Center for International Studies Fellow

Dr. ‘Niyi Coker, Jr. is E. Desmond Lee Professor in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Media Studies. ‘Niyi Coker Jr., has directed over 50 major stage productions around the world. He has also served as Director for several professional theatre companies ranging from the National Theatre of Nigeria, to Malmo Hogskola in Sweden, Copenhagen, Denmark, Ghana and England.

He is the founding Artistic Director of the African Arts Ensemble in New York City. His theatre directing credits include Ola Rotimi's "The Gods Are Not to Blame" at the Nat Horne Theatre- Off Broadway in New York City, Lewis Nkosi's "The Psychiatrist" at the John Houseman Theatre in New York City (Theatre Row), and at King Alfred’s Theatre in Winchester, England. He has also received the Kennedy Center Merit Award and recognition for Directing.

He received British Council Grant and Support in writing the play, "Endangered Species", which was also performed at John Houseman Theatre in New York and toured several theatres in the United Kingdom. In association with the Southern Ute Tribal Council in Colorado, he wrote the historical play, "Ouray". This is a play based on the 19th century struggles of the Utes in Colorado, against European encroachment. In collaboration with Musician, Dr. Barbara Harbach and Lyricist, Dr. Jonathan Yordy, he wrote and directed the musical “Booth!”, which had its Off-Broadway New York Premiere at the NYU Skirball Theatre. The production of his latest play,  “Preemptive” recently toured Barbados, Nigeria, and Great Britain.

His Film writing, directing and producing credits include, "Black Studies USA", which won best short documentary at the 2005 Berlin Black Film Festival in Germany, 2007 Silver Remi Award at Worldfest in Houston, and was Official Selection at the 2007 Hollywood Black Film Festival. He also directed & produced "The Black 14" for FERPA/PBS through the University of Wyoming Television. He has served as Consultant for Black Canyon/HBO Productions Emmy nominated documentary "Fields of Fire". His latest film, “Pennies for the Boatman”, a feature film he directed, based on writer Mario Farwell’s play, “The Seamstress of Saint Francis Street” opened at the Tivoli Cinema theatre in Saint Louis Missouri.  He is working on a new documentary film on  OTA BENGA.

'Niyi Coker, Jr. received the B.A. in Dramatic Arts from the University of Ife. He received the MFA in Directing from Brooklyn College CUNY, and the Ph.D in African American Studies from Temple University, Philadelphia.

He has published two books; "A Study of the Music and Social Criticism of African Musician Fela Kuti" and "Ola Rotimi's African Theatre: The Development of an Indigenous Aesthetic". His articles have appeared in several newspapers and journals including, the NYU Renaissance Journal, the Journal for Black Studies and the Encyclopedia of Black Studies. He has a book chapter on “Film as Historical Method in Black Studies” in the "Handbook for Black Studies" edited by Molefi Asante and Maulana Karenga, published by Sage Press. 

He is a member of the United States Commission for FESMAN III to be held in Dakar, Senegal in 2011. He was recently honored with the 2009 Saint Louis American Excellence in Education Award. He is Festival Director of the Africa World Documentary Film Festival.

Niyi Coker, Jr.
University of Missouri-St.Louis 
237 Art Administrarion Building  

Glen Andersonglen
Associate Professor of Technical Theatre and Design

Glen Anderson holds a BS degree in Technical Theatre and Design from Ball State University in Muncie, IN. He received his MFA degree from The University of Florida in Gainesville, Fl. He revived the Barbizon Award for design excellence from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2007 for his design of Samuel Becket’s WAITING FOR GODOT. His work has appeared in Light and Sound America, Dance Teacher Magazine, Muse Magazine and the cover of Southern Theatre. He has displayed his work in the World Stage Design exhibition in Toronto Canada and has been invited to display his work in the The Prague quadrennial design exhibition. He has trained in both American and European theatrical design philosophy, combining them both into his work. He has worked professionally as a Scenic Designer, Props Designer, Lighting Designer, Projection Designer, Technical Director, Charge Artist, Master Electrician, Scenic Carpenter. His work has appeared on Tour and on stages around the country with companies such as the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre, Light Opera Oklahoma, The Theatre in The Park, Western Washington University, Missouri Western State University and The PK Yong Performing Arts program.

Glen M. Anderson
Associate Professor, Technical Theatre and Design
Theatre Department
The University of Missouri Saint Louis
201 Arts Administration Building


jacky thompsonJacqueline Thompson
Assistant Professor of Theatre

Jacqueline Thompson is a theatre artist passionate about providing students opportunities to explore their creativity and embrace their individuality. She received her B.A. in Speech Communications from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia.  Ms. Thompson holds a Master in Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Louisville as well as a graduate certificate in African American Theatre. She also earned a certification in Broadcast Performance from the Broadcast center in St. Louis.

This actor and director  has utilized her collective experiences to work as a teaching artist for regional theatres such as Actors Theatre of Louisville.  Thompson has performed in myriad productions throughout her career.  Some  local credits include Insidious (Black Rep) Gees Bend (Mustard Seed) A Kid Like Jake (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis) Afflicted (Metro Theatre Company)  Old Hearts Fresh and the director for the 2015 Shakespeare In The Street production(Shakespeare Festival St. Louis). Jacqueline is a member of SDC and a member of the 2015-2016 SDCF Observership class. 

Jacqueline Thompson
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Theatre Department
The University of Missouri Saint Louis
201 Arts Administration Building

Rita Csapó-Sweetrita
Associate Professor of Cinema

Rita M. Csapó-Sweet earned her BFA (painting) and BA (history) degrees from Washington University, and her masters and doctoral degrees from Harvard University.  She is Associate Professor of Theater and Cinema Arts and directs the Film Program in the Theater and Cinema Arts Department, at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

Csapó-Sweet is an internationally recognized expert on the culture and politics of Eastern Europe, specializing in Hungarian media.  For over 25 years, she curated programs on international cinema at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Harvard University Film Archive, the St. Louis International Film Festival, and the Mediawave Film Festival in Hungary. Csapó-Sweet has published over a dozen articles and book chapters on film, propaganda, media analysis, globalization and children’s television in: Critical Studies in Mass Communication; Filmmaker Magazine; The European Journal of Communication; and other scholarly publications.  She also conducted educational research for the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW), WGBH, and WQED.  

Csapo-Sweet received the President’s Award for Community Engagement from the University of Missouri System in 2013.