2017 Fall Forum on Governance: Turning the Tide

Devon Berkshire

Director of Conferences and Fieldwide Learning, Theatre Communications Group

 

Devon leads the conference producing team at TCG, and has an expansive background in event management, non-profit administration, business development, and theatre. With TCG she has produced and helped to curate the programming for six national conferences, including the record-breaking 2016 Theatre Nation in Washington, DC; she has also been on the producing team of every Fall Forum on Governance since 2012, and TCG’s two Audience (R)Evolution Convenings. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College and received her M.F.A. in acting from the American Repertory Theater’s (ART) Institute at Harvard University and Moscow Art Theatre, after which she founded an arts-centric events production company, attended NYU’s summer intensive on events marketing, and did a stint planning business development events in the corporate sphere. Devon was a co-founder, former Producing Director and President of Studio 42, a NYC-based company dedicated to producing the most adventurous work of emerging playwrights from 2000-2015. She has performed off Broadway in New York, regionally, and internationally. Read more about her and her thoughts on theatre, producing, and parenthood on her blog: fempresario.wordpress.com.


Adrian Budhu

Deputy Director & Chief Operating Officer, Theatre Communications Group

 

Adrian Budhu comes to TCG after five years at The Theater Offensive (TTO), an LGBTQ not-for-profit arts organization in Boston, MA. The strategies he implemented there have strengthened The Theater Offensive’s brand on a national scale, increased its profile in the community, broadened its support base, and built capacity and resources for its sustainability – retiring the organization’s debt, growing revenue from $0.5 million in 2011 to $1.3+ million in 2016, and building cash reserves. Other professional experience includes: GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project, XAMOnline.com, Metro Boston Newspaper, and John Hancock Financial. Adrian lives in New York City with his fiancé Chris, a surgical resident at Mt. Sinai Hospital, and Boston terrier named Jack. He’s an avid runner and completed numerous marathons fundraising over $200K to benefit LGBTQ youth, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, homeless people, survivors of Hurricane Katrina, and victims of domestic abuse. Adrian has won numerous awards for his leadership and activism. His prior affiliations include: the Boston Cultural Change Network (committed to collective action for social justice through Arts & Culture), the Boston Creates Leadership Council, where he advised and helped shepherd Boston's cultural plan into implementation; TCG’s Board of Directors (from which he has since resigned); and Point Foundation’s National Board of Directors.


Emilya Cachapero

Director of Artistic and International Programs, Theatre Communications Group

 

Emilya Cachapero is the director of TCG’s Artistic and International Programs and has been active in the US arts community for more than 30 years. She is part of the core team that organized Beyond Orientalism, a national initiative to address the use of yellow face, brown face and whitewashing. For 11 years she was a member of the Executive Board and Council of International Theatre Institute (ITI) Worldwide, and was lead producer of multi-national productions in Xiamen, China; Madrid, Spain and Manila, Philippines. Prior to joining TCG in 1991, she served as general manager for the Concordia Chamber Symphony; associate director of the Non-Traditional Casting Project in New York; conservatory administrator for American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco; and chair of the artistic committee for the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco. She was instrumental in creating the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and was its founding producer for the first two years of the program. Her writing has been published in American Poetry Review and several poetry anthologies.


Snehal Desai

Producing Artistic Director, East West Players

 

Snehal Desai is the Producing Artistic Director of East West Players, the longest running theater of color in the country and the nation's largest Asian-American theater company. He has directed plays at venues from The Old Globe in San Diego to Boom Arts in Portland, Oregon to the Old Vic in London, and worked at more than a dozen theaters in New York City. Desai is also a member of the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition (APAMC) and serves on the board of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (Caata). He was previously the Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager at East West Players. Desai has also served as Resident Director of Theater Emory; participated in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab; and was a literary fellow with London’s Royal Shakespeare Company. A Soros Fellow and the recipient of a Tanne Award, Desai was in the Inaugural Class of Theater Communications Group’s (TCG) “Spark” Leadership Program. He was also the Inaugural Recipient of the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship. Snehal is a graduate of Emory University and received his M.F.A. in Directing from the Yale School of Drama.


Richard Evans

President, EmcArts Inc.

 

Richard Evans directs, designs and facilitates EmcArts’ programs and strategic partnerships, which support individuals, organizations and communities on their journey to becoming highly adaptive. Through this work, EmcArts creates conditions for adaptive change to become integrated throughout the arts sector. A frequent speaker on the relationships between systemic change, cultural policy and emerging practices in the arts, Richard’s recent engagements have included most of the annual conferences of arts service organizations in the U.S. and Canada. His research and analysis has been published in numerous publications. Richard received his M.A. from Trinity College, Cambridge, England. Prior to founding EmcArts, he held senior positions in performing arts management and philanthropy, including: Co-director of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Advancement Program; Coordinator of the National Alliance of Artists’ Communities; Chief Executive of the Bath International Festival of Music & the Arts, England; and Vice President of the National Arts Stabilization Fund.


Teresa Eyring

Executive Director, Theatre Communications Group (TCG)

 

Teresa Eyring joined TCG in March 2007. Prior to arriving at TCG, Eyring spent more than twenty years as an executive in theatres around the U.S. Positions included: managing director of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis from 1999-2007; managing director of the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia from 1994-1999; and assistant executive director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis from 1989-1993. She began her theatre career as director of development for the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., in 1983. She holds a B.A. in international relations from Stanford University and an M.F.A. in theatre administration from Yale School of Drama. Eyring is currently active as an executive committee member of the Performing Arts Alliance, chair of the follow-up process for the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention, board member of The Actors Fund and was previously a member of the Tony Awards nominating committee.


Larissa FastHorse

Playwright, Director and Choreographer and Co-Founder of Indigenous Direction

 

Larissa FastHorse (Sicangu Lakota) is an award winning playwright, director and choreographer and co-founder of Indigenous Direction with Ty Defoe. Larissa's produced plays include What Would Crazy Horse Do? (KCRep, Relative Theatrics), Urban Rez (Cornerstone Theater Company, ASU Gammage, NEFA National tour 2019-20), Landless and Cow Pie Bingo (AlterTheater), Average Family (Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis), Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation (Native Voices at the Autry), Vanishing Point (Eagle Project) and Cherokee Family Reunion (Mountainside Theater). Her new comedy, The Thanksgiving Play, will be produced at Artists Rep and Cap Stage next season. Larissa directed the critically acclaimed play, Our Voices Will Be Heard (Perseverance Theater Company). Together with Indigenous Direction she is developing several new projects to direct with an emphasis on cross cultural community engaged work between Indigenous nations. Larissa won the PEN USA Literary Award for Drama, NEA Distinguished New Play Grant, Joe Dowling Annamaghkerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, the UCLA Native American Woman of the Year and numerous Ford, Mellon and NEA Grants. She is a proud officer of the Board of Directors of TCG.Indigenous Direction is a consulting firm that helps organizations and individuals who want to create accurate work by, for and with Indigenous peoples.


Susan Nelson

Executive Vice President, TDC

 

Susan Nelson, Executive Vice President, has been with TDC since 1987. In her many years with the firm, she has led a wide range of projects that includes mergers, strategic business plans, financial restructuring, and facilities planning. Susan’s practice focuses on the complex challenge of aligning an organization’s strategy, implementation plan, and financial sustainability. Her deep financial analysis skills and hands-on operational experience has given her a special expertise in how to scale an organization to an appropriate size while creating a sustainable financial capitalization plan. She has worked with clients of all sizes across the country in such areas as arts and culture, community development, education, and social services. Susan also works with foundation clients to develop effective granting programs and strengthen their investments in organizations. She is the author or co-author of a number of publications about capitalization and the nonprofit arts sector, including Getting Beyond Breakeven and its follow-up, Capitalization, Scale & Investment: Does Growth Equal Gain? She also contributed to the recent study of how 11 American cities support the arts, How Boston and Other American Cities Support and Sustain the Arts. Her current and recent clients include: American Repertory Theatre, Atlanta Ballet, Barr Foundation, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston Lyric Opera, Detroit Institute of Arts, Flinn Foundation, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Klarman Family Foundations, Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, League of American Orchestras, Lookingglass Theatre, McGregor Fund, Opera Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia History Museum, Philadelphia Orchestra Association, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Union of Concerned Scientists, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Wallace Foundation, and William Penn Foundation. Prior to joining TDC, Susan held financial management positions at a variety of nonprofits and public agencies, including the Boston Housing Authority and the Opera Company of Boston. She holds a BA in history from the College of Saint Rose.


Nijeul X. Porter

artEquity Strategist/SOZE Producer

 

Nijeul X. Porter is a cultural organizer, educator, and producer with the wholehearted belief that art is at the tipping point for social change and is always excited about opportunities to facilitate the intersections of art, education, and community. Nijeul co-led the launch of artEquity, a national training initative for arts practioners providing tools and resources at the intersection of art and activism. Since it’s inception, artEquity has launched three national cohorts and continues to provide strategic thinking and leadership as the initiative grows. Nijeul serves full time as Producer and Partnerships Strategist with SOZE Productions, an art for social change media and production agency based in Brooklyn, NY. Nijeul has produced campaigns, initiatives, and events around social justice issues of race, immigration, education, and health. Prior to SOZE, Nijeul served as Director of Student Programs for Greenway Arts Alliance, serving over 2,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District using art and creativity in and out of the classroom. Nijeul has worked in partnership with organizations such as Center Theatre Group, The Pasadena Playhouse, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and others between Los Angeles, Chicago, and the District of Columbia. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Management from California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Howard University. @nijeulx


Meghan Pressman

Managing Director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

 

Meghan Pressman joined Woolly as Managing Director in 2014. Previously, she served as Director of Development for Signature Theatre in New York, a $12 million nonprofit Off-Broadway theatre organization. Prior to joining Signature, she served as Berkeley Rep’s Associate Managing Director as well as the Managing Director for The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. There she oversaw the launch of the program in 2012 and the inaugural summer lab, which hosted over 100 artists working on 13 new projects. Meghan has served numerous other theatre and arts organizations across the country including Yale Repertory Theatre as Associate Managing Director, Chicago Theatre for Young Audiences as Co-Founding Managing Director, and at the Chicago Improv Festival as an Associate Producer. She holds an MFA in theater management from Yale School of Drama, an MBA from Yale School of Management, and a BA from Boston College. At Yale, she was the recipient of the Morris J. Kaplan Award and the Benjamin Mordecai Scholarship, both for recognition in theater management. She is on the National Board for the Theatre Communications Group and was a member of the Leadership Greater Washington Class of 2016.


Vicki Reiss

Executive Director, The Shubert Foundation

 

Vicki Reiss has been Executive Director of The Shubert Foundation since 1993 after having been Program Director for five years. The Shubert Foundation, the nation’s largest funder dedicated to unrestricted funding of not-for-profit theatre and dance companies, has grown every year since then. In 1993, the Foundation allocated $5.4 million to 201 organizations and last year the Foundation allocated $26.8 million to 533 not-for-profit organizations across the country. Prior to being at the Foundation, Reiss spent four years as Director of Development at Roundabout Theatre Company. She also served in positions including business manager, associate general manager and box office manager at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Westport Country Playhouse and Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center. Reiss also helped to establish The Shubert Organization’s Telecharge Center as Operations Manager and has been an adjunct lecturer in Brooklyn College’s MFA Performing Arts Management Program.


David Schmitz

Executive Director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company

 

David has worked at Steppenwolf for 12 years, serving in the role of Director of Finance and Administration, General Manager, Managing Director and currently as Executive Director. As Executive Director, Schmitz leads a staff of 140 full and part-time folks, and is responsible at the executive level for strategy and execution of all fundraising, marketing and business related activities. His work ensures the ensemble of Steppenwolf have the resources and institutional support to achieve their creative ambitions. Prior to working at Steppenwolf, Schmitz was the General Manager at Lookingglass Theatre Company, Associate Artistic Director of Stage Left Theatre and Business Manager at the entertainment agency Adair Performance. Currently, he serves as Vice President of the Board for The House Theatre of Chicago, is a board member of the Arts Alliance Illinois and the League of Chicago Theatres, and is a former board member for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Schmitz has worked as a strategic planning, business practices, finance and hiring consultant for numerous Chicago organizations, including The House Theatre of Chicago, The Hypocrites and Stage Left Theatre, among others. He holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado, an MFA from the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University and a Certificate in Non Profit Management from Roosevelt University.


Roche Schulfer

Executive Director, Goodman Theatre

 

Roche Edward Schulfer started working in the Goodman Theatre box office and ultimately became executive director in 1980. Since that time he has overseen more than 350 productions including close to 150 premieres. He initiated the Goodman’s annual production of A Christmas Carol, which celebrates 40 years as Chicago’s leading holiday arts tradition in 2017. In partnership with Artistic Director Robert Falls, Mr. Schulfer led the establishment of quality, diversity and community engagement as the core values of Goodman Theatre. During their tenure, the Goodman has received numerous awards for excellence, including the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater, recognition by Time magazine as the “Best Regional Theatre” in the US, the Pulitzer Prize for Lynn Nottage’s Ruined and many Jeff Awards for outstanding achievement in Chicago area theater. Mr. Schulfer has negotiated the presentation of numerous Goodman Theatre productions to many national and international venues. He coordinated the 12 year process to relocate the Goodman to the Theatre District in 2000. To mark his 40th anniversary with the Goodman, his name was added to the theater’s “Walk of Stars.” Mr. Schulfer was a founder and twice chair of the League of Chicago Theatres, the trade association of more than 200 Chicago area theaters and producers. He has been privileged to serve in leadership roles with Arts Alliance Illinois (the statewide advocacy coalition); Theatre Communications Group (the national service organization for more than 450 not-for-profit theaters); the Performing Arts Alliance (the national advocacy consortium of more than 18,000 organizations and individuals); the League of Resident Theatres (the management association of 65 leading US theater companies); Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park and the Arts & Business Council. Mr. Schulfer is honored to have been recognized with the League of Chicago Theater’s Lifetime Achievement Award; Theatre Communication Group’s Visionary Leadership Award; Actors’ Equity Association for promoting diversity and equal opportunity in Chicago theater; the American Arts Alliance and Arts Alliance Illinois for arts advocacy; the Arts & Business Council for distinguished contributions to Chicago’s artistic vitality; Chicago magazine and the Chicago Tribune as a “Chicagoan of the Year”; the City of Chicago; Columbia College Chicago for entrepreneurial leadership; the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee for his partnership with Robert Falls; Lawyers for the Creative Arts; Lifeline Theatre’s Raymond R. Snyder Award for Commitment to the Arts; Season of Concern for support of direct care for those living with HIV/AIDS; and Vision 2020 for promoting gender equality and diversity in the workplace. Mr. Schulfer received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from North Central College. He taught at the theater school at DePaul University for fifteen years and has lectured regularly on arts management at Southern Methodist University and other academic institutions. Mr. Schulfer is a lifelong Chicago area resident and received a degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame where he managed the cultural arts commission.


David 'dstew' Stewart

Director of Production, Guthrie Theater

 

Prior to his work at the Guthrie, David worked for the University of Texas at Austin, and held positions at the University of Wisconsin – Madison as Production Manager and Head of Stage Management, Stage Manager for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, Director of Production for the Office of Multi-Cultural Arts Institute, Production Stage Manager for Varsity Band, and Event Producer for the Chancellors Office. He has served as an AEA stage manager for Madison Repertory Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, St. Louis MUNY, Kansas City Starlight Outdoor Musicals, The Little Theatre on the Square and Vienna Austria’s English Theatre. In addition, Stewart was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Achievement award from his Alma Mater, Webster University, and is the chair for the People of Color Network at USITT, sits on their board of directors, as well as co-founder of the highly successful Gateway Program. He has two nationally published articles on diversity in theater production, is the technical editor for two theater management books, and holds a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.


Zannie Voss

Director, National Center for Arts Research

 

Dr. Zannie Voss is Director of the National Center for Arts Research as well as Professor of Arts Management in the Meadows School of the Arts and the Cox School of Business at SMU. Previously she was a Professor at Duke University and Producing Director of Theater Previews at Duke, a professional theater company dedicated to the co-production of new works. She served as managing director of PlayMakers Repertory Company, associate manager of the Alley Theatre, and worked in audience development for Center Theatre Group. Research consulting clients include the League of American Orchestras, the Irvine Foundation, Theatre Development Fund and Theatre Communications Group, where she has co-authored Theatre Facts since 1998. Her published research appears in over a dozen academic and practitioner journals. She serves on the boards of the International Association of Arts and Cultural Management, DataArts, TRG Arts, TACA, and Big Thought. She is co-author of the book Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play.


Donna Walker-Kuhne

Founder, Walker International Communications Group

 

Donna Walker-Kuhne is the founder of Walker International Communications Group, a boutique marketing, press and audience development consulting agency. Her team specializes in multicultural marketing, group sales, multicultural press and promotional events. They have over 45 years of executing successful marketing and audience development campaigns for Broadway productions and cultural arts organizations with sales over $22MM. Donna is Acknowledged as the nation’s foremost expert in Audience Development by the Arts &Business Council and has devoted her professional career to increasing access to the arts. Her company has developed a brand reputation among performing arts patrons of exposing them to high-quality productions and unique experiences in a way that exceeds audience members and clients’ expectations alike.

 

Her current client roster includes major cultural and performing arts organizations such as: Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Apollo Theater, as well as the Broadway productions of The Lion King, Aladdin and Once on This Island. She is currently Senior Advisor, Community Engagement at New Jersey Performing Arts Center charged with developing and deepening relationships with targeted communities through partnerships and special events.

 

Broadway productions include: A Raisin in the Sun starring Denzel Washington; A Trip To Bountiful starring Cicely Tyson; HUGHIE starring Forest Whitaker; Porgy and Bess featuring Audra McDonald and Norm Lewis; A Streetcar Named Desire featuring Blair Underwood; Alicia Keys’ Stick Fly; Hairspray; Ragtime; Ann starring Holland Taylor; Thurgood starring Laurence Fishburne, Driving Miss Daisy featuring James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave, August Wilson’s Radio Golf; Caroline, or Change; Time Stands Still featuring Laura Linney, Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, etc.

 

Off Broadway, WICG has worked with Playwrights Horizons,Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, New York Musical Theatre Festival, Second Stage Theatre, New York Fringe Festival, National Black Theatre, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company as well as arts organizations such as Dance Theater of Harlem, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the President’s Committee on Arts and Humanities and WNYC Radio. She provides consulting services to numerous arts organizations throughout the country and worldwide including Australia, Berlin, Moscow, Sochi, Edinburgh and Blomfontein, South Africa.

 

Donna Walker-Kuhne is the recipient of over 30 awards acknowledging her distinguished service in the field of audience development and serves on several Boards of Directors. She is a facilitator for the National Youth Arts and Humanities Program. She is an adunct professor of over 20 years at New York University and also teaches at Bank Street College. Her first book, Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to Arts, Culture and Community, was published in 2005. Ms. Walker-Kuhne is a volunteer with the SGI-USA, a world wide peace organization serving as Vice Director for New York.

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