Committee on Theater & Performance Studies
Kurtis Boetcher (TAPS Director of Design)
Terrance T. Brown
Devon de Mayo
Julia Rhoads (TAPS Director of Dance)
Greg Allen is the Founding Director of all three nationwide branches of The Neo-Futurists and creator of "Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind" and over sixty other productions. His work as director and playwright has been seen at the Goodman, Steppenwolf, The Public, Lincoln Center, HERE, Woolly Mammoth, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, as well as in dozens of store-front theaters in Chicago, all over North America, and around the world (just this year he had productions in Tokyo, Rome, Edinburgh, Korea, Australia, and Tanzania). His scripts include "The Strange and Terrible True Tale of Pinocchio (the Wooden Boy) as Told by Frankenstein's Monster (the Wretched Creature)", "Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious", "The Last Two Minutes of the Complete Works of Henrik Ibsen", and "K.", his award-winning adaptation of Kafka's The Trial. Greg’s show “The Complete Lost Works of Samuel Beckett as Found in an Envelope (partially burned) in a Dustbin in Paris Labeled “Never to be performed. Never. Ever. EVER! Or I’ll Sue! I’LL SUE FROM THE GRAVE!!!” has had eleven international productions, and his adaptation of all 9 acts and 7 hours of “Strange Interlude” was met with hecklers and instantaneous standing ovations as part of the Goodman Theatre’s Eugene O’Neill Festival. His play "What Happened in Pinkville? (A Cubist Dialectic on the Massacre at My Lai)" was a finalist for the 2015 National Playwright's Conference, and this season his original adaptations of “Ibsen’s Ghosts” and “Moby-Dick” premiered in Chicago and Virginia. His current projects include adapting the works of Kafka for master-puppeteer Michael Montenegro and creating a show based on the life and works of Edgar Allan Poe with Blair Thomas and Company. Greg teaches performance and playwriting at University of Chicago, The Theatre School at Depaul University, and at the National Theater Institute at the O’Neill Center in Connecticut, as well as at his Neo-Futurist branches and in residencies worldwide.
Seth Bockley is a playwright and theater director specializing in literary adaptation, design-driven production, and new play development. Directing credits include Gilgamesh + Enkidu (TRIA Theatre Toronto), Charisma! with Minneapolis’ Greycoats, the multimedia documentary theater works Wilderness and Basetrack Live with En Garde Arts (Abrons Arts Center, NYC), 2666 (with Robert Falls, Goodman Theater), Tabletop Tragedies (Cabinet of Curiosity Chicago), Lauren Yee’s Samsara and Philip Dawkins’ Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens, Chicago); Jason Grote’s Civilization (all you can eat) and 1001; the clown play Guerra, with Mexico City-based troupe La Piara (toured Mexico, Colombia, and the U.S.) As a writer his works include Tabletop Tragedies, Rip Van Winkle; or, Cut The Old Moon Into Stars (the first commission by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival in Cold Spring NY), 2666 (adapted with Robert Falls from the novel by Roberto Bolaño, Goodman Theater), CRISPR Kids, Laika’s Coffin, Journey For The Sun, Wilderness, February House (with Gabriel Kahane, The Public Theater, NYC), and adaptations from stories by George Saunders: Jon and CommComm, plus the “Cool Dads of America” sketch from A Prairie Home Companion. He is a recipient of TCG’s New Generations and On The Road grants. More at sethbockley.com
Kurtis Boetcher (TAPS Director of Design) is a Chicago-based scenic designer whose work has been seen locally at Victory Gardens Theater, TUTA, and Sideshow Theatre, among others, and regionally at Yale Repertory Theater, Edinburgh Fringe, Theatre @ Boston Court, Gulfshore Playhouse, First Stage, A Noise Within, Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, The Blank, Black Dahlia, and Celebration Theatre, among others. His designs have been nominated for Jeff, NAACP, Ovation, and Falstaff awards and he is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Bob Z Award for Career Achievement in Set Design, and the LA Weekly Award for Best Production Design. Mr. Boetcher holds a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University and an MFA from Yale School of Drama.
Terrance T. Brown is a screenwriter, playwright and lecturer in Chicago. His credits include work for Comedy Central, The Onion and The Second City as well as staged work at iO Chicago and Victory Gardens. He earned a BA from Vanderbilt University followed by an MFA from Northwestern University and lectures on screenwriting, creating web series and finding your comedic voice at various institutions including The University of Chicago, The Harold Ramis Film School at Second City/DePaul, Northwestern University and Loyola University.
Monty Cole has worked on productions, readings and workshops for The Goodman Theatre, Center Theatre Group, The Alley Theatre, The Court Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, American Theatre Company, Haven, The Gift Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, Cape Cod Theatre Project and others. He’s currently commissioned to adapt Black Like Me, by John Howard Griffin. Monty is also working with collaborator and choreographer Breon Arzell on revitalizing In Dahomey for the Center for New Performance. Next up, Cole will direct The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Black Odyssey by Marcus Gardley at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Monty recently received his MFA Directing degree at the California Institute of the Arts.
Heidi Coleman (Senior Lecturer) has worked professionally as a director and dramaturg in New York City and San Francisco as well as Chicago. She has collaborated with Anne Bogart, Andrei Serban, Tina Landau, Frank Galati, and Tony Kushner; taught in Columbia University’s Theater MFA and English departments; and most recently participated in Steppenwolf’s First Look Series. At the University Theater she has curated the New Work Week and initiated the summer arts residency program, Summer Inc., and co-curated the University of Chicago Presidential Fellows in the Arts Program as well as the TAPS Commissioning Project. Her work focuses on the integration of theory and practice, in both artistic and programmatic arenas.
Devon de Mayo is a director, devisor and teacher. Her recent credits include: Women Laughing Alone with Salad for Theatre Wit; The Burn World Premiere for Steppenwolf; Don't Look Back/Must Look Back, Devised Work/World Premiere at Pivot Arts; You on the Moors Now for The Hypocrites; Animals Out of Paper for Shattered Globe Theatre and You Can't Take it With You for Northlight Theatre. Devon worked as the Resident Director under Stephen Daldry on the Broadway production of The Audience. Other Directing credits: Jet Black Chevrolet (side project); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, Clouds (Dog & Pony); Infiltrating Bounce (Luminaria, San Antonio); and 52 (Canal Café, London). Directing & devising credits: Guerra: A Clown Play (performances in Chicago, New York, Albuquerque, Madrid, Bogota, and Mexico City); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls (Dog & Pony), and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony, Steppenwolf Garage Rep). She received her MFA from Middlesex University in London with further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali. She has been a Lecturer at the University of Chicago since 2012 where she also directed An Actor Prepares.
Drew Dir is a co-Artistic Director of Manual Cinema, a cinematic puppetry and music company, where he works as a writer, director, and puppet designer. His work with Manual Cinema has been seen at the Public Theater's Under-the-Radar Festival (NYC), The Tehran International Puppet Festival (Iran), La Monnaie-De Munt (Brussels), BAM (NYC), the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK), Adelaide Festival (AU), Court Theatre (Chicago), and elsewhere around the world. Prior to co-founding Manual Cinema, he served as the Resident Dramaturg of Court Theatre. He holds a master’s degree in Text and Performance Studies from King’s College London and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Mike Durst has designed the lighting for plays at venues including The Huntington Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Broad Stage, The Black Dahlia, Theater Wit, Remy Bumppo, The Neo-Futurists, About Face Theatre, and A Red Orchid Theatre, where he is an ensemble member. His work has been seen Off-Broadway with Primary Stages, Cherry Lane, and 59e59. His national Tours include 'It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s' The Nightman Cometh and Buyer&Cellar as Associate Designer. His RocknRoll work includes Pete Townshend in concert at La Jolla Playhouse and X 25th Anniversary Live at The House of Blues Sunset Blvd. Mike has also served as a lighting consultant for theatrical renovations including The Gray Center at The University of Chicago and The Circle Theater in Los Angeles. His awards include Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award, Los Angeles’s Ovation Award, and San Diego’s Craig Noel Award. Mike is a member of I.A.T.S.E Local #2 and United Scenic Artists #829.
Scott Elmegreen is a playwright, composer, and author based in New York City. His play Straight was a New York Times Critics’ Pick Off-Broadway and has been translated into four languages for productions around the world (pub. Dramatic Publishing Company). His music and orchestrations have premiered on Broadway and HBO in the Drama Desk- and Emmy Award-nominated Colin Quinn Long Story Short, and in numerous national tours and Off-Broadway productions. He wrote the book, music and lyrics for theatrical adaptations of The Magic School Bus (national tours in the United States and China) and the NYT Bestselling series Ivy + Bean (Atlantic Theater Company; national tour; pub. Theatrical Rights Worldwide) and Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy (national tour; Bay Area Children’s Theatre). Other shows include Vote For Me: A Musical Debate (TheTimesCenter; Off-Broadway; London), Thucydides (Samuel French Play Festival Winner; pub. Samuel French), College The Musical (Hippodrome Theatre; pub. DPC), and Awesome Allie, First Kid Astronaut (Vital Theatre; planetariums national tour; pub. TRW). Scott was also a co-founder and resident composer of the American Story Project, a devised theatre company in NYC. He has led masterclasses on playwriting at the London Theatre Workshop, Utah Rep, and the Dunedin Fringe Festival in New Zealand, and has worked with students as an invited artist in the University at Buffalo and Pace University Manhattan musical theatre programs. Under pseudonym, Scott is the author of four novels published by HarperCollins Publishers. He is a graduate of Princeton University.
Sarah Geis is an audio producer, editor, and former artistic director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival. Her work airs regularly on the BBC, CBC, and podcasts around the world. In 2018, her documentary The Art of Now: Guantanamo won the Whickers Audio Recognition award.
Emily Hooper Lansana is an arts administrator, educator and performing artist, she is Associate Director of Community Arts Engagement at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago. She performs with In the Spirit. She has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival, the National Association of Black Storytellers Festival, and at many venues. She enjoys passing on traditions as a coach and mentor with Ase Youth Group and Rebirth Poetry Ensemble. She received her BA in Theater Studies from Yale University and MA in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.
Lizzie Leopold is a Chicago-based artist/scholar and the Executive Director of the Dance Studies Association (DSA), an 800+ member international organization of dance scholars, artists, and pedagogues. In addition to national and international conference gatherings, DSA publishes Dance Research Journal, Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies, and Studies in Dance History book series. As an independent researcher, Leopold is currently working in the film archives of midcentury modern dance pioneer Sybil Shearer, cataloging 700+ films for the Chicago Film Archives. She received an interdisciplinary PhD in Theater and Drama from Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the political economy of choreographic production and circulation, asking questions about the intersection of cultural and financial value. Her essays have been published in Perspectives on American Dance (University Press of Florida), Oxford Handbook to Shakespeare and Dance (Oxford University Press), and forthcoming Futures of Dance Studies (University of Wisconsin Press, Studies in Dance History series). Leopold is also a choreographer and the director of the Leopold Group, a 2018 Links Hall Co-Mission Resident Artist.
Evan Linder is a founding member and the former co-artistic director of Chicago's The New Colony, a theatre company founded in 2008 devoted to world premiere plays and musicals. He works in Chicago as a playwright, actor and director. Evan is a proud graduate of the College of Charleston where he was named Alumni of the Year in 2016. His plays include Byhalia Mississippi, 11:11, The Warriors, The Bear Suit of Happiness, B-Side Studio and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which was named Best Overall Production at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival and is published by Samuel French. His play Byhalia, Mississippi received simultaneous world premiere productions on January 8th, 2016 at theatres in Chicago, Toronto, Memphis and Charleston SC. The following week, theatres in Boulder, Los Angeles and Birmingham produced staged readings of the play before a live online World Premiere Conversation was held connecting audiences and creative teams in all seven cities. Byhalia received six nominations including Best Production at the 2016 Non-Equity Jeff Awards where Evan was given the Jeff Award for Best New Work. In summer of 2016, Evan reprised his role as Jim in the remount of Byhalia, Mississippi at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Byhalia was recently announced as part of the Kennedy Center's 2018-2019 Season. His play The Hunted, co-written with Paul Oakley Stovall was named a finalist for the 2017 O’Neill Playwrights Conference. The Hunted received further development at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab in August 2017. His newest play Jo & Liv was commissioned by the Goodman Theatre and received a staged reading there in July 2017 directed by Krissy Vanderwarker. www.evanlinder.com
Marti Lyons most recently directed Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens Theater. She also recently directed How to Defend Yourself for the 2019 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. This production is part of a co-world premiere with Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, where Marti will direct How to Defend Yourself again in 2019. Marti has also directed Witch (Writers Theatre); Botticelli in the Fire (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); The Wolves and Kings (Studio Theater); Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (The Court Theatre); Short Shakes! Macbeth and Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Native Gardens (Victory Gardens Theatre); The Mystery of Love and Sex (Writers Theatre); Wit (The Hypocrites); and The City of Conversation (Northlight Theatre Company). She directed Wondrous Strange (2016 Humana Festival) and Title and Deed (Lookingglass Theatre Company). Other projects include The Merry Wives of Windsor and Twelfth Night (Montana Shakespeare in the Parks) Laura Marks’ Bethany, Marks’ Mine and Will Nedved’s Body and Blood (The Gift Theatre); Catherine Treischmann’s Hot Georgia Sunday and Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar (Haven Theatre); The Play About My Dad (Raven Theatre); Mai Dang Lao , 9 Circles and Maria/Stuart (Sideshow Theater). Next, Marti will remount Cambodian Rock Band, first with City Theater in Pittsburgh and then with Merrimack Repertory Theater in Lowell, MA. This season she will also direct The Niceties by Eleanor Burgess at Writers Theater, Jen Silverman’s The Moors at A Red Orchid Theatre, and The Scarlet Letter by Kate Hamill at South Coast Repertory. Marti is an ensemble member at The Gift Theatre, an Artistic Associate with Sideshow Theatre and a proud member of SDC. www.martilyons.com
Mickle Maher's plays have appeared Off-Broadway and around the world, and have been supported by grants from the NEA, the Rockefeller MAP fund, and Creative Capital. They include: It is Magic; There is a Happiness That Morning Is; Song About Himself; Small Ball; An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening; The Hunchback Variations; The Strangerer; Jim Lehrer and the Theater and Its Double and Jim Lehrer’s Double; Spirits to Enforce; Cyrano (translator); The Cabinet; Lady Madeline; The Pine; and An Actor Prepares (an adaptation of Stanislavsky's seminal book). He is a cofounder of Chicago’s Theater Oobleck, and has taught playwriting and related subjects at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, and Northwestern University.
Derek Matson is a dramaturg and translator of theater and opera. His dramaturgical work has included productions, readings, and development workshops for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Lookingglass Theatre, the Metropolitan Opera, Court Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, the Hypocrites, American Theater Company, TimeLine Theatre Company, About Face Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Vanguard, DePaul University, and Northwestern University. Derek studied acting at the Cours Florent in Paris, and serves as a diction instructor of French, Spanish, and Russian for the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. He’s a regular pre-performance lecturer at both the CSO and Lyric Opera. His translations of French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, German, and Catalan have been featured on ARTE in France and at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Montreux Comedy Festival, the Eastman School of Music, and Cornell University, where he earned his M.A. in Theater and Performance Studies. Derek is a former recipient of a Fulbright Assistantship to France and a Rotary Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship to Russia. Closer to home, he’s a company member of The House Theatre of Chicago.
Susan Messing is a NJ native and graduate of Northwestern University’s Theatre School, has been an improviser and comedian for almost thirty years. She is an alumna of the iO Theatre, Second City’s Mainstage, and a founding member of Chicago’s infamous Annoyance Theatre. Susan created and has taught her curriculum at iO and iO West, The Annoyance Theatre, The Second City, and around the globe. Susan is an adjunct instructor for DePaul University, The University of Chicago, and The School at Steppenwolf. Her standup act with her puppet, Jolly, was featured at the HBO/US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and NBC’s Late Fridays. Her most impressive bit movie role was as a bad stripper in a halo brace in Let’s Go to Prison! Every Tuesday night she performs at the iO with Blaine Swen in Blessing, Thursday nights in her own critically acclaimed show, Messing with a Friend, now in its 11th year at The Annoyance, and Friday nights with The Boys at The Second City. She was in the lineup for the TBS/Just For Laughs festival all five years of its residence in Chicago. She presented ‘Braving the Unknown’ at TedXUofC in 2014. She has been lauded as “Improviser of the Year” by Chicago Improv Festival, “Best Improviser” by Chicago Reader and the “Funniest Woman in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine.
Shade Murray's directing credits include work at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre, Writers' Theatre, Second City, The Inconvenience, Wildclaw, Next Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Roadworks, the MCA, Shattered Globe, About Face Theatre and Chicago Moving Company. Shade has collaborated on the workshop and development of new work with playwrights Marisa Wegyrzyn, Carlos Murillo, Joel Drake Johnston, Brett Neveu, John Fournier, Janine Nabers and Scott Barsotti. Shade is an MFA candidate in directing at Northwestern University, an associate artist with A Red Orchid and has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Act One Studios, National Louis University, National High School Institute, Piven Workshop and the Actor's Gym.
David New graduated from The Goodman School of Drama, DePaul University with a BFA in acting. Since then he has worked in Chicago and regionally as an actor, director, arts educator, and administrator. He has appeared in over 70 productions at theatres such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Northlight, Marriott Lincolnshire, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens, Writer’s Theatre of Chicago, Apple Tree Theatre, Body Politic, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, and Wisdom Bridge. Regionally, he has appeared in productions at the Ontario Stratford Festival, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Huntington Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and Peninsula Players. In addition, he has appeared on Broadway in Thou Shalt Not (Lincoln Center) and in the National Tour of Scrooge with Richard Chamberlain. David’s television credits include: Law & Order SVU, All My Children, Walker, Texas Ranger, and the NBC mini-series A Will of Their Own. He was associate artistic director at Steppenwolf Theatre Company from 2004-2009. He is a multiple-time Jeff Award nominee, Sarah Siddons Award recipient, Chicago Stratford Associates Fellow.
Julie Nichols is a composer, musical director and sound designer based in Chicago. She recently finished a four year run as the Musical Director for The Second City Mainstage, composing and sound designing four revues. Prior to life on the Mainstage, Julie was the Associate Musical Director at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. While at Boom, she learned production skills for the highly technical, multi-media theater, while composing and sound designing three of their mainstage revues. Julie currently plays keyboards in The Dead River Revival, composes for commercials and freelances for Second City. She has composed music for corporate videos and events, independent films, TV pilots, musicals, plays, and everything in between.
Pamela Pascoe is a member of AEA and SAG since 1979, her New York performances include Broadway as well as Off- Broadway productions at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Dramatists, Writers’ Theater, Theater for the New City, Primary Stages, Lamb’s Theater, Lincoln Center Lab, and the Women’s Project, and comedy clubs such as Caroline’s and the Comic Strip. Regional appearances include the Williamstown Festival, the Berkshire Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Syracuse Stage, San Diego Repertory, and the Huntington Theater. With a BA from UCSD in Drama (Presidential Fellowship) and MFA from Brandeis (Shubert Fellowship), among her teachers were Arthur Wagner, Eric Christmas, Richard Foreman, Ted Kazanoff, Nola Chilton, and Charles Marowitz.
Upon moving to Chicago in 1996 to teach at U of C, her focus shifted to adapting works from Euripides, Calderon, Chekhov, Odets, Shepard, Melville, Steinbeck and other canonical literature. Devised in collaboration with students and exploring myths, dreams, topical events and themes, she has directed and occasionally performed in over 40 plays, site-specific pieces and performance art installations at U of C. Her ongoing collaboration with the creative team at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in NYC has produced, most recently, an adaptation of Measure for Measure; an adaptation of Miss Julie is in development.
Thom Pasculli is a director, performer and the artistic director of Walkabout Theater Company in Chicago, a laboratory ensemble that creates new performances for theaters and public spaces. Recent directing credits include Walkabout’s international touring performances, The Brink! Or Nobody’s Ever Kissed Me Like That and The Wild, both of which were presented at Links Hall, Steppenwolf, and the National School of Drama in India. Recent outdoor spectacles include Monuments, Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade, and A Persephone Pageant, co-directed with Jessica Thebus. Other Chicago directing credits include Mother of Smoke with Walkabout and Red Tape Theatre, Core of the PUDEL at Trap Door Theatre and Circle-Machine at Oracle Productions. Thom’s work has been greatly influenced by his time working and studying at Double Edge Theatre in MA, the Odin Teatret in Denmark, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Redmoon Theater in Chicago as well as by significant international collaborations in India, Russia and South Africa. Thom teaches acting and movement at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago.
John Petrakis is an associate adjunct professor in the Film, Video and New Media Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he has been teaching screenwriting since 1993. He is currently teaching a lecture class at The Gene Siskel Film Center at SAIC on “The History Of The European Art Film.” Previously, John taught screenwriting at Chicago Filmmakers, The Center for New Television and the Chicago Dramatists Workshop. John was a regular film reviewer for the Chicago Tribune for 10 years, including three years writing the weekly “Screen Gems” column. He currently writes film essays for Christian Century Magazine and was the lead critic at New City from 1988 through 1993. John is a member of the Writers Guild of America, East. His script for Song of Songs, directed by Peter Bogdanovich, played on Showtime as part of its “Picture Windows” series.
Julia Rhoads (TAPS Director of Dance) is the founding Artistic Director of Chicago-based Lucky Plush Productions, a dance-theater company that creates original productions with a signature blend of technical choreography, casual dialogue, surprising humor, and socially relevant themes. Her work for Lucky Plush has been presented in over 55 US and international cities, and commissioning partners include Harris Theater (IL), Clarice Smith Center (MD), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (IL), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Krannert Center at University of Illinois, The Yard (MA), and Links Hall (IL). Independent choreography credits include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, Redmoon, and River North Chicago Dance Company, among others. Under her leadership, Lucky Plush received the prestigious MacArthur Award in 2016, and creation and touring awards include National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, National Theater Project, and National Performance Network. She is the recipient of an Alpert Award in Dance, fellowships from Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Dancemakers Forum and the Jacob K Javits Foundation, and her innovative arts management practices were recognized with a Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award. She is a former member of the San Francisco Ballet and ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group, and received her BA in History from Northwestern University and her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute Chicago.
Samuel Taylor is co-founder & partner in the Back Room Shakespeare Project, established 2011. The Project does Shakespeare in a style closer, probably, to the intent with which the plays were written: Serious Actors, No Director, One Rehearsal, In a Bar. He is author of the book: My Life With the Shakespeare Cult, and of a forthcoming followup: How to Build a Shakespeare Cult, which are about that kind of work. He is a graduate of the Guthrie Theater / University of Minnesota BFA program, 2006. Samuel has taught residencies at Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, University of New Mexico, Pacific University, and Door Shakespeare, with shorter workshops at Tricklock Theatre, Chicago Youth Shakespeare, and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Samuel is an artistic associate with Lookingglass Theatre Company. Lookingglass credits include Mr. & Mrs. Pennyworth, Thaddeus & Slocum: a Vaudeville Adventure, Lookingglass Alice, and Peter Pan: a Play. Other Chicago credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Actors Gymnasium, Redmoon (RIP), and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Regional Credits include time at American Players Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Syracuse Stage, the New Victory, and the Guthrie Theater. On Camera credits include appearances on Chicago Fire and Mob Doctor, with recurring roles on Crisis and Boardwalk Empire. He is also owner and operator of Long Table Pancakes: small batch pancakes from Chicago.
Kathryn Walsh is a Chicago-based director whose credits include: Measure for Measure (TheatreWorks Colorado Springs); The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, The Wolves, Balloonacy (Flint Repertory Theatre); Women Beware Women, Richard II, As You Like It (Two Pence Theatre Co, Associate Producing Director); The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, James and the Giant Peach (Filament Theatre); Island of Slaves (Orfeo Group, Boston); breaks & bikes (Pavement Group); Kill the Old Torture Their Young (Steep Theatre). Text/verse coaching credits include: Mary Stuart, Charles III, and multiple ShortShakes/Chicago Parks Tours for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Kathryn received her MFA in Directing from Northwestern University, where she has directed multiple productions for their Imagine U Theatre for Young Audiences series (Knuffle Bunny, Balloonacy), as well as teaching and serving as the Program Mentor for the MFA Directing Program from 2015-2109. B.A. English Literature, Harvard University. Photos and information about upcoming work can be found at kathrynwalshdirector.com
Sandor Weisz is the commissioner of The Mystery League, a company of creative puzzle makers. He’s built puzzles for Google, Chicago Architecture Foundation, The University of Chicago, The House Theatre, The Art Institute of Chicago, Marbles Game Store, NPR, and Cards Against Humanity. He’s spoken about puzzles at TEDx, the Cusp Conference, and Creative Mornings. He has been making puzzles and games since he was a teenager. His previous career was designing for the web. He lives in Chicago with his wife and two kids.
Calamity West is a Chicago-based, award-winning playwright. Her plays have appeared at Roundabout, The Goodman, Jackalope Theatre Company, Steep Theatre Company, Sideshow Theatre, and TimeLine. In 2014 Calamity was recipient of the 3Arts Award. She teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago and Webster University, is a company member at Jackalope Theatre Company and an artistic associate of Sideshow Theatre Company. Calamity holds a BA in dramatic writing from Webster University and an MFA in creative writing from California College of the Arts. She is represented by ICM Partners. In August of 2019 her critically acclaimed play IN THE CANYON was presented in a staged reading at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Additional plays by Calamity include: CHRISTMAS AT HOME (2019); GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW! A LOVE STORY (2018); IN THE CANYON (2018); HINTER (2018); ENGINES AND INSTRUMENTS OF FLIGHT (2016); GIVE IT ALL BACK (2016); ROLLING (2016); IBSEN IS DEAD (2014); THE PEACOCK (2013); and THE GACY PLAY (2012).