Courtney Burkett / Producing Artistic Director
For five seasons Courtney was the Director of Theatre Programs with Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, directing the internationally-acclaimed Mosaic Acting Company. Prior to joining Mosaic, Burkett was a founding Artistic Partner with Breathe Art Theatre Project. She also served as the the Business Manager for the University of Detroit Mercy Theatre Company, and the Managing Director of the CRLT Players at the University of Michigan. Burkett performs and directs with Detroit-area theatres on a regular basis. Her work has been recognized with several local theatre awards and nominations. She received her BFA from Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts in St. Louis, and her MFA from Wayne State's Hilberry Theatre program.
Sarah Clare Corporandy / Producing Artistic Director
Sarah has more than 15 years experience as a theater performer and professional. She is the Managing Director for the Chautauqua Theater Company at the Chautauqua Institution and has also served as Managing Director for Pig Iron Theater Company in Philadelphia. In addition, she has worked with such companies as Barrington Stage Company, New York Stage and Film, and Breathe Art Theatre Project. She is currently on faculty at both Savannah College of Art and Design and University of Kentucky, teaching in the Master’s program for Arts Administration. She serves on the board of the New York Shakespeare Exchange, and on the advisory board of Serenbe Playhouse. Her work has been published in the International Journal of Arts in Society. Sarah Clare holds a MFA in Theater Management from Wayne State University.
Sarah Winkler / Producing Artistic Director
Sarah was a Producing Artist with the Obie, Drama Desk, and Lucille Lortel award-winning Off-Broadway Epic Theatre Ensemble. While at Epic, she oversaw the development department as the company's annual budget grew from $300,000 to $1,300,000. Winkler was also a member of Epic’s acting ensemble, where she performed in more than a dozen Off-Broadway productions, workshops, readings, and Shakespeare Remix productions, and was a Teaching Artist in Epic’s programs in the New York City Public Schools. In 2013, Winkler relocated to Metro Detroit and has been working as an actor with select Michigan theatres since arriving. She has produced and performed in numerous critically-acclaimed films and plays in New York City and around the country. She serves as a facilitator in the Shakespeare in Prison program at Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Winkler earned her Bachelor of Science in Theatre from Skidmore College.
Frannie Shepherd-Bates / Director of Shakespeare in Prison
Frannie is the founder, director, and lead facilitator of Shakespeare in Prison, Detroit Public Theatre's signature community program. She has also served as DPT's Director of Programs, and as Director of Education and Development for Water Works Theatre Company. Frannie has designed directed many productions at Metro Detroit theatres including Detroit Public Theatre, Tipping Point Theatre , Williamston Theatre, Shakespeare in Detroit, Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company (which she co-founded), and Planet Ant Theatre, among others. Frannie has been recognized for her work as an artist and arts advocate by the Wilde Awards (Critics' Choice 2013; Best of the Bard 2015; Best Play nomination 2016), the Pulsar Awards (Best Play 2017), and CBS Detroit, and she accepted an Arts Achievement Award on behalf of MGT from WSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She has spoken about prison theatre at conferences such as Shakespeare in Prisons (2013), Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (2017), Art X Detroit (2015), and Human Rights Through Education (University of Michigan, 2013). She has been featured numerous times in local, regional, national, and international media for her work in prisons and as an artist.
Board of Directors
+ Wendy Batiste-Johnson
Board of Directors
Wendy Batiste-Johnson has over 15 years of experience driving sales growth in the retail and real estate industry. As the General Manager of The Mall at Partridge Creek, Wendy functions as the local executive of the 609,000 sq. ft. center property with internal and external leadership responsibilities among numerous stakeholders. Among her accomplishments at Partridge Creek, Wendy has led her team to exceed income projections for five years consecutively, despite the fluctuating climate in retail real estate. Additionally, she has led several new development projects on the property, one of which entailed manipulating an underutilized asset and transforming it into a revenue generator.
Prior to joining The Mall at Partridge Creek, Wendy was Assistant General Manager at Twelve Oaks Mall, assisting to oversee and manage the 1.6 million sq. ft. center property. Previously, at the age of 22, Wendy founded and operated a retail business in Ann Arbor for 10 years. During this time, she led her business to profitability within three years by developing income generating strategies that included the launch of an in-store private label. Wendy understands the importance of community involvement, and serves on the board of directors for Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, Macomb Community College, and Macomb County Chamber; and she is excited to contribute to the board at Detroit Public Theatre. Wendy earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Cornell University, and also has completed a business certificate for Women in Leadership at Cornell University SC Johnson School of Business.
+ Debbie Erb
Board Chair - Board Member at The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, MI
Born and raised in the City of Detroit, Debbie has a Marketing Degree from Ferris State University. Debbie sits on the Board of the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, is a Board of Trustee of Beaumont Health System, President of The Bloomfield Hills Branch of the Michigan Division of Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association Inc, and is on the Detroit Institute of Arts Women’s Committee. Over the years, Debbie has chaired many fundraising events throughout the metropolitan area. Debbie and her husband John are longtime patrons of The Stratford Festival in Stratford, Ontario.
+ Nina Essman
Board Treasurer - Partner at 321 Management Board of Governors Broadway League NYC
Nina is a General Manager and Producer on Broadway and Off Broadway, and a partner at 321 Theatrical Management. Selected credits include Wicked (over twelve productions worldwide), Fun Home (Tony Award® Winner Best Musical 2015), If/Then (Broadway and North American tour), Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway/Off Broadway/North American tour), Bring It On: The Musical (Broadway/North American tour), Sister Act, Next to Normal (Broadway/North American tour), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Broadway/North American tour/Chicago/San Francisco/Boston), The Graduate (Broadway, North American tour), Man of La Mancha, Bat Boy: The Musical, The Vagina Monologues, and The Lion King. Nina is a longstanding member of The Broadway League, serving on the Board of Governors, Labor Committee, Government Relations Committee, and International Committee.
+ Susan Gordon
Board of Directors - Managing Director, Advisory Services, Mission Throttle
As the Managing Director of Advisory Services, Susan oversees all aspects of Mission Throttle’s client engagements. Over the past 20 years, Susan has had an extensive career working with several leading international consulting firms and Fortune 500 companies. She has worked extensively with companies experiencing pervasive change, providing financial restructuring and turnaround advisory services along with capital advisory and merger and acquisition assistance. Her clients ranged from manufacturing-based middle market companies, to public conglomerates and financial services firms.
Susan’s diverse experience has provided her with numerous opportunities to interact with companies at various points in their growth cycles including, due diligence and deal negotiation, cash management, and financial crisis management and turnarounds. These experiences have provided Susan with a particularly strong ability to trouble-shoot problems at the front end of a transaction and identify strengths and flaws in both the organizational and financial structures of business plans. While Susan’s professional career has been exciting and rewarding, she is most interested in utilizing her corporate expertise to assist for-impact organizations to achieve financial stability and enhanced social impact.
Susan is active in numerous community, philanthropic and professional organizations, including parent leadership at Cranbrook Schools, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and as the past Chair and Founding Member of the Michigan Network of the International Women’s Restructuring and Insolvency Confederation. Susan serves on the board of ORT America and Hopeful Harvest. She is a frequent lecturer at professional forums, and a former Adjunct Finance Professor at Walsh College.
Susan earned her BA from the University of Michigan and her MBA from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University. Susan is completing the coursework to receive the Certified Forensic Financial Analyst designation.
+ Noah Haidle
Board of Directors
Noah Haidle is a playwright and screenwriter whose work has been produced in New York at Lincoln Center, Roundabout, MCC, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre. Regionally, his plays have been produced at Goodman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Huntington, Long Wharf, Woolly Mammoth, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is the recipient of three Lincoln Center Le Compte Du Nuoy Awards, a Helen Merrill Award, the Claire Tow Award, and an NEA/TCG theatre residency grant. His plays are published by Methuen in London, Suhrkamp in Berlin, Nordiska in Copenhagen, and in New York by Dramatists Play Service and Overlook Press. Stand Up Guys, his first produced screenplay, starred Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. Mr. Haidle is a graduate of Princeton University and The Juilliard School.
+ Sarah Prues Hecker
Sarah is the founder and principal of Prues Hecker, LLC, a Grosse Pointe-based fundraising, event management and consulting firm. She is a recognized community leader and convener, dynamically connecting thought leaders and change agents throughout the region’s business, nonprofit and political sectors. Sarah brings her expertise to board memberships and advisory roles with several Southeast Michigan organizations, including Samaritas, Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Public Theatre, and Detroit Entertainment District Association. She is a past member of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Founders Junior Council and the Detroit Historical Society Advisory Board.
+ David Jaffe
Board of Directors
David Jaffe is a theatre lover, lawyer and businessperson at Jaffe Counsel in Birmingham, where he provides strategic counsel to business owners, CEOs and senior leaders, and serves as an independent director.
David spent 24 years at Guardian Industries Corp., where he was Vice President and General Counsel. He has been Chief Counsel of Stoneridge, Inc., a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, a law clerk to Justice William Rehnquist at the U.S. Supreme Court, and a theatre tech person at The Roeper School and The University of Chicago.
David’s non-profit board leadership experience includes The Roeper School, Cranbrook Academy of Art and Museum, JVS, Music Hall, Jesuit Program for Living and Learning, and American Jewish Committee.
David has been married for over 30 years to another fervent DPT supporter, Erica Peresman, and they have two splendid adult children.
+ Niki Johnson
Board of Directors
Niki Johnson is an Organization Development Consultant focusing on driving business performance by connecting people, processes, and the purpose of organizations throughout the World. Clients include, Google, Premier, Meals on Wheels, Sky West Airlines, Squish&Scrub and Henry Ford Health System.
Niki has an active history of being a part of Detroit and San Francisco's philanthropic and creative communities for over fifteen years, serving on committees benefiting the Detroit Opera House, the Detroit Institute of Arts, MOCAD, University Liggett School, University of Michigan Alumni Association (Ann Arbor and San Francisco Alumni chapters) and the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
One of Niki's most “fun” endeavors was creating Detroit Fashion Pages. During Detroit's economic downturn (2006-2011), Niki created the first regional online fashion magazine and e-commerce site focused on showcasing Detroit's creative community. Detroit Fashion Pages was instrumental in successfully launching and growing the careers of many nationally renowned photographers, designers, journalists, public relations professionals and event planners.
Niki earned her M.S. from the University of San Francisco in Organization Development and B.A. from the University of Michigan in Organization Development.
She currently resides in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI with her supportive husband, Bobby and her son, Bobby III.
+ Felicia Eisenberg Molnar
Board of Directors - Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives, Detroit Institute of Arts
Felicia Eisenberg Molnar has worked in nonprofit communications for more than 20 years with organizations ranging from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem to the Getty Conservation Institute and Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum, where she served for 12 years as the Director of Communications and Marketing. She has worked directly with the Advancement staff of the Cranbrook Educational Community and the boards of governance and is well connected to many of the city of Detroit’s philanthropists and foundations. She holds a Master of Science degree from Drexel University in Nonprofit Administration. Felicia has authored two books and is the mother of two children. She is a big fan and supporter of the performing arts.
+ Dominique Morisseau
Board of Directors
Dominique, a writer and actress, is an alumnus of the Public Theater Emerging Writer’s Group, the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, and Lark Playwrights’ Workshop. Among her playwriting credits are: Detroit ’67 (Public Theater; Classical Theatre of Harlem/NBT; Northlight Theatre), Sunset Baby (Labyrinth Theater Co – NYC; Gate Theater- London), and Follow Me To Nellie’s (O’Neill; Premiere Stages). Her produced one-acts include: Third Grade (Fire This Time Festival); Black at Michigan (Cherry Lane); Socks, Roses Are Played Out and Love and Nappiness (Center Stage; ATH); love.lies.liberation (The NewGroup), Bumrush (Hip Hop Theater Festival) and The Masterpiece (Harlem9/HSA). Dominique is currently developing a 3-play cycle on her hometown of Detroit, entitled “The Detroit Projects.” Detroit ’67 is the first of the series. The second play, Paradise Blue, was developed with Voice and Vision, the Hansberry Project at ACT, New York Theatre Workshop, McCarter Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Public Theater. Dominique’s work has also been published in NY Times bestseller “Chicken Soup for the African American Soul” and in the Harlem-based literary journal “Signifyin’ Harlem.” She is a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award honoree, a two-time NAACP Image Award recipient, a runner-up for the Princess Grace Award, a recipient of the Elizabeth George commission from South Coast Rep, a commendation honoree for the Primus Prize by the American Theatre Critics Association, winner of the Barrie and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award, the Weissberger Award for Playwriting, the U of M – Detroit Center Emerging Leader Award, a Lark/PoNY (Playwrights of New York) Fellow, and a recent recipient of the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama. She is an artist that believes wholeheartedly in the power and strength of community.
+ Marlowe Stoudamire
Advisory Board - Owner/Chief Engagement Strategest of Butterfly Effect Detroit + Founder of Mash Detroit
Marlowe Stoudamire has over 15 years’ experience with local, national and multi-national companies in areas of business development, community engagement, project management, and marketing.
Prior to launching his business, he served as Chief of Staff at the Skillman Foundation in Detroit, acting as a trusted advisor to the president and critical member of the executive leadership team in support of efforts to deploy $17 million a year in six investment areas of Detroit: Education, Safety, Social Innovation, Neighborhoods, Community Leadership, and Youth Development. Proceeding Skillman, he was project director in Strategic Business Development at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) – most notably working on projects in China, India and Saudi Arabia. Previous employers and experience include project management and analyst roles with: Ford Motor Company, Microsoft Corp., Kmart Corp., Valassis Communications, and other national/local PR and marketing campaigns as an entrepreneur.
Marlowe possesses a toolkit of technical, social and business skills with a proven track record of delivering value-added, sustainable and difference-making results that influence and impact next generation leadership, entrepreneurship and community building. Known as an independent thinker, Marlowe is trusted and respected by mentors, peers and young professionals for being loyal, ethical, and non-political. He gives back to the community, provides advisory support to social entrepreneurs, and participates as a speaker and contributor to forums, conferences and round tables across the region.
Marlowe was named to 40 under 40 lists by Crain’s Detroit Business in 2012 and the Michigan Chronicle in 2013. He received the prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship through the German Marshall Fund of the United States in 2013 and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.
+ Peter Van Dyke
Board of Directors
Peter Van Dyke is CEO of Detroit-based Van Dyke Horn, Michigan’s foremost publications firm. He heads an award-winning, 14-person team to provide leading communications services to the company’s 30-plus clients, which range from global corporations to local charitable organizations.
Peter is a Detroit resident and deeply involved in serving his local community. He serves on the board of visitors for Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, and on the boards the Detroit Public Theatre, the Michigan Humane Society, chairing its PR committee, and the Marche du Nain Rouge, as its treasurer. He is also on the L.E.A.D. committee for the Detroit Historical Society and the honorary board for the Detroit Artists Market.
Peter has received several awards and recognitions, including Crain's Detroit Business's “40 under Forty” and "20 in their Twenties,” D Business Magazine’s “30 in their Thirties,” Detroit Young Professionals’ (DYP) Vanguard Leadership Award, WDIV-TV’s “I Have the Drive.”
+ Zak Berkman
Advisory Board - Producing Director at People’s Light & Theatre, PA
Zak is Producing Director at People’s Light & Theatre, as well as a playwright, director, and dramaturg. Prior to joining People’s Light in September, 2011, Zak was co-founder and Executive Director of Artistic Programming with Epic Theatre Ensemble, an OBIE, Drama League, and Lucille Lortel award-winning artist-run company in New York City. During his ten years of leadership, Epic gained a distinguished reputation for developing new work and cultivating diverse, new audiences. The company’s numerous Off-Broadway premieres include Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play, No Child... by Nilaja Sun, Palace of the End by Judith Thompson, and Hannah and Martin by Kate Fodor. Epic also produced the widely acclaimed New York revival of JB Priestley’s Time and the Conways. His own plays include Beauty on the Vine, A Breath Short of Breathing, and The Harassment of Iris Malloy. Beauty on the Vine has been produced in New York and Chicago, published by Dramatist Play Service, and starred Olivia Wilde and David Strathairn. Zak also co-adapted Antigone and The Visit for Epic’s nationally recognized Arts-In-Education residencies at public high schools throughout NYC. Berkman is a former scriptwriter for NBC’s Days of our Lives.
+ Celia Keenan-Bolger
Advisory Board - three-time TONY Nominated Actress and native Detroiter
Keenan-Bolger is a three-time TONY Award-nominated actress and an alumna of the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and the Detroit School of Arts High School (formerly the Detroit High School for the Fine and Performing Arts). She is a graduate of the University of Michigan’s musical theatre performance program. Just a few of Celia’s Broadway credits include The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Les Miserables, Peter and the Starcatcher, and The Glass Menagerie. Keenan-Bolger recently starred in the Lincoln Center production of Sarah Ruhl’s The Oldest Boy at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater.
+ Christopher Burney
Advisory Board - Associate Artistic Director at Second Stage Theatre, NYC
Christopher Burney serves as both the Associate Artistic Director of NewYork’s Second Stage Theatre and Curator of 2ST Uptown. He has worked with Second Stage since 1997. At Second Stage, he has shepherded productions of Bachelorette, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Trust, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal, Becky Shaw, and Let Me Down Easy (conceived, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith). While at Second Stage he has worked with such writers as Douglas Carter Beane, Paul Weitz, Craig Lucas, Lanford Wilson, William Finn, Stephen Sondheim, Sam Shepard, David Ives, Kenneth Lonergan, Albert Innuarto, Cheryl West, Martin Sherman, Wallace Shawn, Jason Miller, Wendy Kesselman, August Wilson, William Finn, Michael John LaChiusa and Stephen Sondheim. He has worked with many leading directors such as Trip Cullman, Peter Dubois, Mark Brokaw, Scott Ellis, Michael Greif, Gary Hines, James Lapine, Marion McClinton, and Kathleen Marshall. As curator for 2ST Uptown he has developed numerous emerging writers and directors including Rajiv Joseph, Marisa Wegrzyn, Roberto Aguirre Sacasa, Brooke Berman, Adam Bock, Carly Mensch, Trip Cullman and Joe Calarco, among others.
Christopher worked from 1991-1997 at The Lincoln Center Theater as the Assistant to the Director of Musical Theatre. He has consulted for organizations including the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative, the Kesselring Prize, the KurtWeill Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Jerome Fellowship. He teaches at Columbia University in the School of the Arts and has lectured at Barnard College, The Einhorn School for the Performing Arts at Primary Stages, The Juilliard School, Bard College, The Boston School of Music, Marymount Manhattan College and the New England Theatre Conference. Christopher is a graduate of Brandeis University, B.A., and Columbia University, M.F.A.
+ Kathleen Chalfant
Advisory Board - TONY Nominated Actress
Kathleen Chalfant is an award-winning stage, film, and television actress recognized for both her high level of artistry and her deep involvement with social and cultural issues. Chalfant earned a TONY nomination for her role in the New York premiere of Angels in America, and won Drama Desk, OBIE, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards for starring in the original Broadway production of Wit.
Chalfant’s other New York stage credits include the New York premiere of Racing Demon, M. Butterfly, Spalding Gray: Stories Left to Tell, Talking Heads (for which she won a second OBIE Award), Great Expectations, Guantanamo, and Henry V at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Her film work includes Tony Gilroy’s Duplicity, Whit Stillman’s The Last Days of Disco and Bill Condon’s Kinsey. Her most recent television work includes House of Cards and The Affair.
In addition to her Drama Desk, OBIE, and Lucile Lortel honors, Chalfant has received the Drama League and Sidney Kingsley Awards for her body of work, as well as a 1996 OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. A founding member of the Women’s Project, Chalfant is a board member of The Vineyard Theatre and Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS, and an advisory board member of the NewYork Foundation for the Arts. Chalfant has served as Artist in Residence at the Weill College of Medicine of Cornell University (2005 -- 2006) and a Beineke Fellow at the Yale School of Drama (spring 2006, fall 2008, fall 2010). She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Cooper Union in June 2010.
+ James Kuhl
Advisory Board - Artistic Director at Tipping Point Theatre, MI
James is honored to be in his seventh season as Tipping Point Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director. He received his BA in theatre from Alma College and his MFA in acting from Wayne State University. He completed the Purple Rose Apprentice program as well as a two-year internship with Alma College where he helped teach classes. He is a past winner of the Heck Rabi Playwriting Competition, a Wilde Award and Pulsar Award Nominee and has recently taught acting classes with Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University. Tipping Point directing credits include The Outgoing Tide, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Murder at the Howard Johnsons, as well as directing the Hilberry Theatre’s production of August: Osage County. James has worked as an area actor with The Purple RoseTheatre Company, Williamston Theatre,The Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Boarshead Theatre, Spotlight Theatre, Croswell Opera House, and the Summer Studio Theatre in Illinois.
+ Marsha Miro
Advisory Board - Founding Director of Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit
Marsha was the art critic at The Detroit Free Press from 1974-1995. From 1995 she was the Architectural Historian at Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills. She was the Founding Director and Board President of MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) from 2006.
+ Erik Rönmark
Advisory Board - Founding Director of Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit
Erik came to the United States in 1996 to continue his musical education. A classical saxophonist by trade, Rönmark has extensive performing experience in both chamber music and orchestral settings. He has performed in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on several occasions, as a guest in Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, and regularly appears in the contemporary group New Music Detroit, of which he is also co-founder and Executive Director. Recently, Rönmark was featured with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, culminating a national tour with the Pacifica String Quartet. A native of Sweden, Rönmark is a first-prize winner of both the Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition and the Coleman Chamber Music Competition. He is also the recipient of the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s award for establishing valuable relationships between Sweden and America. Using his diverse talents and skills within the music field, he has collaborated and assisted artists such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Terry Riley, Matthew Barney, Shara Worden, and Branford Marsalis, and has commissioned and premiered over 30 new works for saxophone. Rönmark has been a part of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra administration since 2005. In his new role as General Manager, Rönmark combines his administrative experience with degrees in fine arts and music performance from Northern State University, SD and Bowling Green State University, OH, as well as a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan. He lives in Birmingham, MI with his wife Adrienne Rönmark, violinist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and their three children.
+ Lisa Rothe
Advisory Board - Director of Off-Site Programs, Lark New Play Development Center, NYC
Lisa Rothe was recently nominated for SDC’s Joe A. Callaway Award for Direction for Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata.The play was also nominated for a Drama Desk award for Best Solo Performance by actor Joel de la Fuente (and produced by Epic Theatre Ensemble in NYC). The play has had productions at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, the SoloNova Festival in NYC, Playmakers Repertory Theatre in NC and ACT in Seattle. Favorite recent work is Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl with People’s Light & Theatre Company, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Chautauqua Theater Company and Penelope by Ellen McLaughlin & Sarah Kirkland Snider with Playmakers Repertory Theatre. Along with composer Kim Sherman and librettist Margaret Vandenburg, Lisa has been developing a new opera about Ada Byron (Ada) by which was presented last spring as a part of the Center for Contemporary Opera’s Development Series.
Lisa has workshopped, developed and directed over one hundred new plays and musicals, working with many award- winning writers. For the last four years, she has also been the Director of Offsite Programs and Partnerships at the Lark Play Development Center in NYC, where she deals with providing expanded opportunities for playwrights, aimed at advancing new work to production nationally and globally. Lisa has also taught and directed at many theatre programs around the country including NYU’s Graduate Acting Program,Yale School of Drama,The Juilliard School, Chautauqua Conservatory, and the Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA) at Primary Stages. She is a graduate of NYU’s Graduate Acting Program and Director’s Lab, as well as a Drama League alum, Fox Fellow, member of the Women’s Project Director’s Lab and is currently serving on the boards of the League of Professional Theatre Women as the VP of Membership. One of her favorite organizations is Dr.Jane Aronson’s World Wide Orphan Foundation (WWO), where she has spent time in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia creating theatre with children and teens and for local communities.
+ Ron Russell
Advisory Board - Executive Director, Epic Theatre Ensemble, NYC
Ron Russell is an accomplished Off-Broadway director and the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the nationally recognized education leader Epic Theatre Ensemble. While working with leaders from England’s Royal Shakespeare Company, Brazil’s Theatre of the Oppressed, and political action leaders across the U.S., Ron has amassed an arsenal of tools for participant empowerment, communication, and improving personal practice. His singular training style is a result of 20 years experience conducting over 5,000 workshops with over 40,000 students, teachers, conference participants, and industry professionals. Ron’s work is always individualized and responsive to the group’s goals and dynamics, and has been recognized by the highest awards in his field, from the OBIE Awards to civic citations from Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg.