Val grew up in Wheaton, IL just outside of Chicago. At the age of four she realized that her imagination was pretty cool, so she spent most of her childhood and adolescent years playing make believe as much as possible. Luckily her parents thought this was a positive thing which resulted in her receiving commercial/tv gigs and training at several renowned Chicago theaters including Piven Theatre Workshop, The Second City and Steppenwolf Theatre.
After receiving her degrees in Theatre Performance and Sports Communications from Purdue University, she headed off to the East Coast to study playwriting at the University of Massachusetts. Her play Trubador was produced on Nantucket Island and in Ireland. Other plays in the works are: Aunt Sharlene’s Funhouse, Mr. Sato Saves the Day, Drunk Yoga with Cave, Cohen and Waits, and Stone Poop. Before moving to Portland, Val worked as an actor at several regional theaters doing mostly musical theatre. It was during this time that she also began working as a theatre teaching artist; specifically with at risk youth in Chicago and prison outreach around northwest Indiana.
Her first show with Artists Repertory Theatre was Killer Joe where she played the foul-mouthed, queen of the trailer park, Sharla. Other Artists Rep credits include Between Riverside and Crazy, The Humans, A Civil War Christmas, American Hero, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Miracle Worker, The Liar, Blithe Spirit, The Motherfucker With the Hat, The Big Meal, Red Herring, Circle Mirror Transformation, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Cherry Orchard, which earned her a Drammy Award for outstanding actress in a supporting role. She continues to work regionally when she can and has worked locally for Portland Center Stage, Profile Theatre, Portland Playhouse, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, and CoHo Productions to name a few.
She has been a teaching artist and has directed for Oregon Children’s Theatre since 2001, has been the faculty of Portland Actors Conservatory and privately coaches all ages on audition prep and character development. Some of her film and TV credits include The Sasquatch Gang, Man Maid, What the #$*! Do We Know !?, ER, Cupid and Leverage. She currently lives on a floating home with her four loves: Chris Harder, Finley Ewan McHaggis, Darby Brea McDougal and Bugger the Dumpster Kitty.