Frannie Shepherd-Bates, Director
Frannie has been leading Shakespeare in Prison since its inception in February 2012. She co-founded Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company in 2008 and served on staff until 2014. Frannie is Director of Programs for Detroit Public Theatre and Education Director for Water Works Theatre Company, also working as a freelance director, teaching artist, choreographer, dialect/accent coach and actress throughout metro Detroit with professionals and students of all ages. Since 2011, she has been mentored by Curt Tofteland, founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars, and she spoke on panels at the first annual Shakespeare in Prisons Conference in 2013 and Art X Detroit in 2015. Frannie has been recognized for her work as an artist and arts advocate by the Wilde Awards (Critics' Choice 2013 and Best of the Bard 2015) and CBS Detroit, and she accepted an Arts Achievement Award on behalf of MGT from WSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance. Facilitating this group has been and continues to be incredibly fulfilling work, and she is thrilled to be a part of it.
Kyle Grant, Assistant Director
Kyle studied Acting from 2002-2005 and holds a BA from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. In the UK: Directed Julius Caesar with the ISB in Liverpool, appeared in The Catcher in the Rye in the Liverpool City Centre, Brezhnev's Children at the Battersea Art Centre, London. In New York: Directed The Tempest with Playlab NYC, assistant directed Macbeth with The Red Door Theatre. In Michigan: Directed Antony and Cleopatra with Shakespeare in Detroit; and has performed in The Taming of the Shrew and The Merry Wives Of Windsor with Water Works Theatre Company in Royal Oak, as well as The Fever at the Marlene Boll Theatre in Detroit. Kyle has taught various Shakespeare workshops, and directed several productions with Livonia’s CAPA program and at Belleville High School. Kyle recently completed a Master’s in Secondary Education, with an emphasis in the Small Urban Environment at the University of Michigan-Flint.
Lauren Montgomery, Co-Facilitator and Costume Coordinator
Lauren Montgomery studied acting at Wayne State University. She went on on to become an apprentice and understudy at The Purple Rose Theatre Company. She primarily works now as a costume designer, but has also acted, directed, and stage managed. She just completed her 5th season with The Michigan Shakespeare Festival as a part of their costume design team.
Matthew Van Meter, Co-Facilitator
Matthew Van Meter is a writer. His articles about criminal justice have appeared in The Atlantic, Longreads, The Awl, and Friends Journal, and he is currently at work on a book about a landmark Supreme Court case. After joining Shakespeare in Prison for the 2013-2014 season, he took two years off to study creative writing at Columbia University. His M.F.A. done, he is happy to be back at Women's Huron Valley.
Sarah Winkler, Co-Facilitator
Sarah is the Co-Artistic Director of Detroit Public Theatre, Shakespeare in Prison's home company. In 2013, Sarah moved to the Detroit area from New York City, where she was a member of the Epic Theater Ensemble. Among many other credits, Sarah was a teaching artist in Epic's award-winning arts-in-education programs in public schools. She has worked extensively as an actress in off-Broadway and regional theatre, as well as in film, and is happy to be a part of Shakespeare in Prison.
Many, many thanks to past co-facilitators Alastar Dimitrie, Bethany Hedden, Gaia Klotz, Dominique Lowell, Clearie McCarthy, Molly McGuire, Vanessa Sawson, Matthew Van Meter, and Jamie Weeder. Thanks to Mary Elizabeth Anderson for facilitating our pilot program with Wayne State University, and thanks to Curt Tofteland of Shakespeare Behind Bars for the endless advice and inspiration.