Amy Ryan
Executive Director

Amy Ryan was raised in North Omaha. After college, she served as a women’s advocate and director of children’s programs at the Newhouse Shelter for Domestic Violence. She returned to Omaha in 1995 to pursue a graduate degree in counseling psychology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Prior to beginning her full-time duties as the theatre’s executive director, Ryan owned and operated a successful Benson restaurant, The Pizza Shoppe & Pub, for 22 years. In 2005, she opened the Pizza Shoppe Collective, an event venue connected to the restaurant.

Ryan was named SCORE’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007 and received 40 Under 40 recognition from the Midlands Business Journal in 2009.

Shelby Audiss
Program Director

Audiss graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a degree in K-12 art education and an emphasis in painting.

Prior to her arrival at Benson Theatre, she worked for Omaha Public Schools as a high school art teacher and a special education paraprofessional. These experiences taught her to multitask and develop lessons to accommodate multiple intelligences.

Audiss co-founded The Octopuses Garden Art Alliance, an Omaha-based nonprofit that provided opportunities for underserved populations to experience and engage in the arts, and also served as its education coordinator. During her six years with the organization, she developed a passion for uniting people from different walks of life through arts programming and community building.

She also served as the secretary liaison for the Nebraska Art Teachers Association and as president of Benson First Friday, where she currently serves as program director.

Audiss lives in Benson with her husband and son.


Board of Directors

Lenli Corbett, Board Chair
Home Instead Senior Care Foundation

Aaron Weiner, Vice President
Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman LLP

Tyler Wilcox, CPA, Treasurer

Teri Corcoran, Secretary
Stephen Center

Kara O’Connor

Michael Vann
Vann Reality

Liz Kerrigan
Greater Omaha Chamber

Tower Kountze
Presbyterian Ministry

David Maenner

Carla Patton
Tri-Faith Initiative

Michele Shearer
Habitat for Humanity of Omaha

Watie White
Watie White Studios

Jack Zerbe
University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media

Amy Ryan, Ex Officio
Benson Theatre