Faculty & Staff

Lee Neibert

Lee Neibert
Department Chair of Fine Arts and Communications; Director of Theatre
Associate Professor

Office:  Humanities and Performing Arts Center 125

Lee Neibert is in his 10th year of teaching at USC Upstate and his 4rd year as the Chair of Fine Arts and Communication Studies. At USC Upstate, Lee has directed 18 productions including, Bluest EyeA Midsummer Night’s Dream, the musical Spring Awakening, Rumors and A Raisin in the Sun. He has also directed Pursuit of Us, a devised theatrical piece, Mud, Almost Maine, and All About Ives for the International Youth Arts Festival (IYAF) at The Rose Theatre in Kingston, London. Lee has taught Script Analysis, Fundamentals in Acting, Intermediate Acting, Fundamentals of Directing, Voice and Diction, Voice for the Actor, Audition Techniques, Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Classical Styles of Acting, Alternative Styles of Acting, and Advanced Directing.

Lee received his B.A. in English from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania and his M.A. in theatre from Oklahoma State University. In 2010, Lee received his MFA in Drama Directing from the University of Oklahoma. He currently serves on the Advisory/Selection Board and as the Coordinator of Devised Theatre Project for the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).

Jimm Cox

Jimm Cox
Distinguished Professor Emeritus

Director of Theatre (1974-2018)


Twice nominated by USC Upstate for the United States Professor of the Year Award, Jimm received the USC system wide Trustee’s Professorship and the Founder’s Day Award from the University. He was named the 2009 South Carolina Art Administrator of the Year in Higher Education and was nominated for the Andrew Heiskell Award for Innovation in International Education. He spent 45 years teaching in the USC system, having previously taught on the campus in Columbia and at Coastal Carolina University. 

Rich Robinson

Rich Robinson
Associate Professor of Theatre

Office: Humanities and Performing Arts Center 130

Rich Robinson is in his 18th year of teaching in the USC Upstate Fine Arts and Communications Department. He received his MFA from Florida Atlantic University, MA from California State University Stanislaus and BA from Fresno State University. 

Rich has taught Introduction to Theatre, Theatre for Youth, Stagecraft, Lighting Design, Set Design, Theatrical Makeup, Stage Management and Senior Seminar. He designs sets and lighting for the USC Upstate Shoestring Players and directs TAAG (Thursday Afternoon Acting and tech Group). He also directs and coordinates a 3 week Summer Youth Theatre Camp held on campus and tours a children's play to local schools every spring. Rich is involved in Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) as a respondent and spent the last 16 years on the South Carolina Speech and Theatre Association (SCSTA) Board. He designs for Chapman High School, Landrum High School and for the Spartanburg Ballet. 

Laura Rikard

Laura Rikard
Assistant Professor of Theatre

Office: Humanities and Performing Arts Center 132

Laura Rikard (SAG-AFTRA/AEA) is in her 2nd year of teaching at USC Upstate. She is a director, actor, stage movement specialist, intimacy choreographer, and a founding member of Theatre Intimacy Education. Directing credits include: The SeagullDead Man’s CellphoneSpring Awakening13 - the MusicalRomeo and Juliet, and others.  Acting Credits include: A Streetcar Named Desire, By the Bog of CatsTwo Gentlemen of VeronaMacbethThe Last Night of BallyhooRhinoceros, and others. Stage Intimacy Choreography includes: Scenes from an Execution, Three Guys and Brinda, Tally’s Folly, Ominium Gatherum and The Red Paint. Laura has worked in film and television in NYC, regionally, on national tours, internationally and devised solo performance productions.

She has been coaching and teaching for 19 years. Former students have won the National Shakespeare Competition at the Lincoln Center, been accepted to top training programs and are currently working on and off Broadway, in professional theatres in Chicago, Los Angeles, London, at top regional theatres and her students can also been seen in numerous films and television series. Laura is a recipient of the best acting award at the Virginia Film Festival and has been named by Academic Keys as a "Who's Who in Fine Arts Education" Festival.  She has served and taught theatre at the University of Virginia, Stephen F. Austin State University, Brown University, and the University of Maimi.  She is a member of the SAFD, ATME, ATHE, VASTA and Learn more about Laura at www.laurarikard.com and www.laurarikarddirector.com

Allen Evans Allen Evans
Adjunct Professor

Office:  Humanities and Performing Arts Center 133

Allen Evans is in his 13th year at USC Upstate where he is proud to be a part of the Fine Arts and Communications Department.  He is especially thankful to work with such a talented theatre department team and to share in the artistic process with the wonderful students who share their talents along their journey. Allen has taught Introduction to Theatre, Fundamentals of Acting, Intermediate Acting, Fundamentals of Directing, Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre History I, and Theatre History II.

Allen received his M.F.A. in Acting from the Yale School of Drama.  He has originated two published theatrical roles and performed in their respective world premieres:  James in Jane Martin’s The Boy Who Ate the Moon, directed by Jon Jory at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Samuel French) and The Bear in Phil Bosakowski’s Chopin in Space, directed by James Simpson at Yale Repertory Theatre (Dramatists Play Services).   Regional theatre credits include: What the Butler Saw, Richard II, Tartuffe, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Grapes of Wrath.  Daytime television: Guiding Light.  He has also appeared in numerous productions since moving back to the Upstate area in 2000

Barry Whitfield

Barry Whitfield
Theatre Manager and Technical Director
Adjunct Professor

Office:  Humanities and Performing Arts Center 138A

Barry Whitfield is in his 25th year as Theatre Manager and Technical Director for the Humanities and Performing Arts Center at the University of South Carolina Upstate. He received his MFA-IA from Goddard College. He is also a set, lighting and costume designer and has designed sets and lights for The Warehouse Theatre in Greenville SC.

Barry has directed The Shoestring Players' productions of The Wizard of Oz, Steel Magnolias, Leading Ladies, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Vanities, Sordid Lives and Greater Tuna. He has also designed and taught classes in WYSIWYG (a lighting design program), Technical Directing, Costume History & Scenography, Sound Design, and Introduction to Theatre. As an actor some of his portrayals include: Riff in West Side Story, Freddi in My Fair Lady, Rolfe in The Sound of Music & Michael in I Do! I Do!

Tiffany Bismarck

Tiffany Bismarck
Box Office Manager

Office:  Humanities and Performing Arts Center 138

Tiffany Bismarck joined the USC Upstate family in the fall of 2015 as the Performing Arts Center Box Office manager. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Ceramics from Clemson University in 2003.

Over the past 10+ years, Tiffany has worn many hats including marketing & administrative assistant at NASCAR®, ceramicist at Cider Press Tile, guest services representative & museum guide at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate, and painting instructor at Wine & Design - Greenville. In her free time, she enjoys cheering for the Clemson Tigers, crafting, hiking, building LEGOs (because you're never too old), horseback riding, spending time with friends & family and adventuring/traveling with her husband, Stephen and son, August. 

Performing Arts Center Box Office 
Humanities and Performing Arts Center, 138
170 Gramling Drive
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Hours: Monday-Friday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.