Board of Directors
Margaret Russo is mother to Laura and Riley DiPillo and stepmother to Leah Visconti. She is a practicing physician, specializing in hospital medicine. She served on the Board of Trustees at Cooley Dickinson Hospital in the role of Chief of Staff. Along with founding the Scarlet Sock Foundation, she also chairs the newly formed Hatfield HEADSUp Committee. HEADSUp is a non-profit coalition with a mission to promote the mental health and wellbeing of the residents of Hatfield, MA. Margaret is a devoted stage mom at her son’s performances and has been an enthusiastic audience member for her whole life.
Heidi Haas is a licensed clinical social worker who has a private practice with a specialty in child and family concerns. In addition to therapy work, Heidi has been teaching theater to children since 1996. She co-created and organized the afterschool drama program at the Leeds Elementary School in Northampton and offered theater and anti-bullying workshops at all the local elementary schools. Heidi coaches the Northampton High School Improv Troupe, FUNKTIONLUST, and created the theater education company, Caught Off Guard, at NHS.
Leah Visconti is Laura’s older sister. They shared a love for theater. Leah became involved with theater when she attended Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School in South Hadley, MA . Some of her most memorable experiences came from the time she spent as part of a theater group called Commedia Del Arte which was based on a 16th century improv comedy troupe. She did an internship at the Chester Theater Company where she gained experience as part of a professional backstage crew. Leah holds her Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. She worked as a Greenhouse Manager on an organic farm for many years and recently switched her career to working for a solar company. She has traveled extensively to Europe, Africa, Central America and Australia.
Emily holds a B.F.A. in Drama from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and an M.A. in Educational Theater from NYU’s Steinhardt School. As an undergraduate, Emily had the joy of studying with Jan Cohen Cruz, a leader in the field of social justice theater. This led her to teaching positions in the South Bronx, Washington Heights, and Sunset Park, Brooklyn through the Children’s Aid Society and The Young Women’s Leadership Institute where she taught Shakespeare and devising with underserved students in grades 7-12. During graduate school, she again focused her coursework on social justice theater which led her to Ireland where she studied abroad at Trinity College and with Augusto Boal at the Center for Theater of The Oppressed in Brazil. From 2009-2021 she was the Director of the Theater Program at the Williston Northampton School in Easthampton, Massachusetts where she received the Gregory Instructorship. At Williston, Emily directed the mainstage productions, and taught acting, directing, social justice theatre, improvisation, and devising. She is currently pursuing her masters in Arts Administration at Columbia University where she is learning how to close the accessibility gap for BIPOC students in the performing arts. Emily looks forward to returning to the Pioneer Valley to share what she has learned!
Kelsey Flynn is an improviser and actor with more than 25 years of experience performing at theaters, clubs, and festivals around the United States and Canada. She is a graduate of Smith College where she began her study of improvisational comedy and performance. Soon after graduating, Kelsey moved to the Bay Area to pursue a graduate degree at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. While there, she was inspired to try stand-up comedy which began the next journey into exploring the transformative connection between performer and audience. Kelsey’s performances have included sets onstage at Caroline’s, Catch a Rising Star, and Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. The next stop on the adventure was children’s theater, particularly PaintBox Theater, where the children in the audience are welcome onstage throughout the show to help tell the story. Since 2003, Kelsey has helped craft many stories so children can bring them home to continue the adventure on their own with their own ideas and voices. Throughout her career, Kelsey has studied with many luminaries in the improvisational world including Keith Johnstone, Amy Poehler, and Gary Schwartz.
Riley DiPillo is an undergraduate at New York University’s College of Arts and Sciences studying linguistics. He is an avid and frequent participant and audience member in community and student theater. In high school, Riley worked under prominent local theater professionals in the Pioneer Valley in many formative settings, and performed in musical productions at Smith Academy in Hatfield, MA and at Black Cat Theater in South Hadley, MA. He has taken acting and drama classes at The Drama Studio in Springfield, MA, at Vassar College, and at NYU. Riley also has worked with advocacy and community service initiatives through Massachusetts statewide youth leadership organization Project 351, has fundraised more than $22,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and has volunteered with the nonprofit Voter Choice Massachusetts.