Board Members

Our Officers

Gwynneth Rausch

Gwynneth Rausch, President

Gwynneth graduated with Honours from The University of Wales, Aberystwyth in Zoology and Botany, and continued her studies with Graduate work at The University of London, England, and The University of York, Toronto,
Since then she has worked for over 30 years in the field of Communication and Education -as the Head of Livestock at Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, and at the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale Breeding Farm. Since 2010 Gwynneth has been training and working as a Standardized Patient with St. Louis medical schools, continuing to develop her experience in the role of constructive and actionable advice in Communication.

She has been pursuing her interest in Theatre since 2008, acting and working behind the scenes in productions at many of the St. Louis theatres. She has been on the Board at First Run since 2014, and has been President since January, 2019. She is passionate about the role First Run Theatre plays in providing a venue for local playwrights to see their work move to production.

She has recently recorded two works on YouTube by local author Marella Sands.

David Hawley

David Hawley, Vice President

David was born in the English/Scottish border area, has degrees in Chemical Engineering and Mathematics/IT from the UK.  He started writing and occasionally acting just before moving to the US in 2006. Working mostly in IT, he wrote plays while travelling, and combined his love of theatre with motorcycle track racing as a competitor and official for some years.  Retired from competition, he is now Chief Marshal of the MotoAmerica US Championship.

He joined the St Louis Writers Group and FRT over ten years ago and, has written ten full length plays and about thirty ten-minute plays.

Denise Mandle

Denise Mandle, Treasurer and Secretary

Our Board Members

Jenn Ciavarella

Jenn Ciavarella

Technical Director for FRT

Rhonda Cropp

Rhonda Cropp

Rhonda Cropp was born and raised in the Great State of Missouri, Rhonda is a retired Caseworker with the State of Missouri. Rhonda is an Actress, Director, Stage Manager, and works with Performers on Characterization and Development. Rhonda has an extensive Resume in the Arts. as a Performer she has Played in A Raisin in the Sun, Vagina Monologues, and a Woman called Truth as Sojourner Truth and #MeToo her Voice must be heard are a few of her projects. Rhonda has been working with FirstRun Theatre for over 10 years serving in different capacities and is excited for what the future holds for FRT.

Rob Miller

Rob Miller

Rob Miller is a composer, musician, and theatre advocate.   He holds both a Bachelor of Music degree and a Master of Music degree in Music Composition from Webster University, St. Louis.  He was honored in 1999 to be among the first inductees to the St. Louis Community College at Meramec’s Alumni Walk of Fame as a founding member of the Oldies band, Sh-Boom. 

Rob currently serves on the board of directors for First Run Theatre, the steering committee for the St. Louis Writers’ Group, and performs regularly with Butch Wax and the Hollywoods.  Rob is married to Christine and has four wonderful children.

Brad Slavik

Brad Slavik

Brad is a graduate of Webster University with a BA in Music Education.

He is a retired Federal Employee of 38 years in the fields of photogrammetry, project management, and federal contracting. He is also an actor with over 50 years experiences in St. Louis theater working with several professional, semi-professional, and community theater companies. He is also a composer with music performed by various groups and theatrical productions. He also dabbles in directing and playwriting. In 2005, after the death of First Run’s founder Dr. Don Weiss, Brad became President of First Run until stepping down in 2015.