Gisela Cardenas is a director based in New York City interested in working with classics and adaptations from a contemporary perspective. She has an M.A in Performance Studies (NYU) and an M.F.A in Directing (Columbia University). Past credits: Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” (Riverside Church Theater), Garcia Lorca's “Don Perlimplin” (Repertorio Espanol); Aeschylus “Agamemnon” (Drama Desk Nomination 2006/Directing); "Antigone" adapted by Jose Watanabe ("Sibiu International Theater Festival—Romania), New York Revival of Kander & Ebb's “Kiss of The Spider Woman” (Vortex Theater Company). Part 1 of "An Oresteia" (Classic Stage Company). Awards: Princes Grace Theater Fellowship (2007), 2008 Phil Killian Directing Fellow (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), 2008-10 Women's Project Director’s Lab and recipient of the 2008 Josephine Abady Award (League of Professional Theatre Women).
Lear deBessonet is a New York based director whose recent work includes a re-imagination of the musical OLIVER! at NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing, a country-blues adaptation of Brecht’s Saint Joan of the Stockyards at PS122, and transfigures, produced Off-Broadway by Women’s Project. Most recently, her site-specific Quixote premiered in Philadelphia and she directed Lucy Thurber’s Monstrosity for 13P. Ms. deBessonet has worked in Kazakhstan and Serbia, and assisted Martha Clarke, Anne Bogart, and Bartlett Sher. She was named one of Time Out New York’s 25 People to Watch, and received the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Presidential Award for Artistic Excellence.
Nelson T. Eusebio III is the artistic director and co-founder of Creative Destruction, a theatre company dedicated to the creation of political, diverse drama. Recent directing credits:Obama Drama: A Political Theatrical Spectacular!(Creative Destruction),God, Sex and Blue Water(Living Image Arts),365 Days/365 Plays (Ma-Yi/The Public Theatre),Finding Ways…(Pan Asian Rep). Nelson was a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theatre, is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and the Rhodopi International Theatre Collective.He has a B.A. in Drama from UC Irvine and an M.F.A. in Directing from the Yale School of Drama.
Michael Goldfried is a New York City-based director whose work includes Novel and Gardening Leave (SPF); Shangri La (Queens Theater in the Park); Charles Ludlam’s Stage Blood (KGB); and recent work with the Drama League including Kahn and Kant (DirectorFest), Mama’s Boy (New Directors/New Works) and 365 Plays. He has adapted and directed numerous comedies including Twelfth Night, Tartuffe, The Imaginary Invalid and The Rover. New play development at The Public; Youngblood and Ars Nova. Alum of the Drama League Director's Project & Lincoln Center Director's Lab. Directing faculty at SVA. Assisted: Oskar Eustis, Les Waters, Jerry Zaks, Peter DuBois. MFA: Brown University/Trinity Rep Consortium.
Laura Kepley is a Resident Director and served as Artistic Associate for four seasons at Trinity Repertory Company directing The Clean House, Laura Schellhardt’s Shapeshifter and co-creating (with Deborah Salem Smith) and directing the docudramas Boots on the Ground and Some Things Are Private. Other work includes George Brant’s shop talk (Drama League’s DIRECTORFEST) The K of D (Kennedy Center and USF/Orlando Shakespeare Festival), Falling Up (Perishable Theatre), and Elephant’s Graveyard (The University of Texas–Austin). Ms. Kepley received her MFA from the Brown University/Trinity Rep Consortium. She is a Drama League Fellow and a member of WordBRIDGE Playwright’s Lab Company.
Jerry Ruiz grew up on the US/Mexico border and is inspired by theatre artists’ ability to bring people together by traversing cultural chasms and aspires to build strong and memorable bridges between diverse audiences in his own work. He has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard and an M.F.A in Directing (UC San Diego). Credits include: "Enfrascada" by Tanya Saracho for Clubbed Thumb, "Love Goes to Press" for the Mint Theater, "Sangre" by Mando Alvarado for NYC Parks Summerstage, “26 Miles” by Quiara Hudes, “Kiss Bessemer Goodbye”, “Rear Exit” by Mando Alvarado (INTAR), “The King is Dead” by Caroline V. McGraw, “Election Day” by Josh Tobiessen, “The Near East” by Alex Lewin, and “Rattlers” by Johnna Adams. Regional credits include “Waiting for the Hearse” at Mixed Blood in Minneapolis , “Twelfth Night” for Chalk Rep in Los Angeles and “Blood Wedding”. Jerry is a Resident Director at Repertorio Espanol. He was a Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theater from 2007-2009, member of Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, 2008-2009, Resident Assistant Director on La Boheme (dir. Baz Luhrmann) from 2002-2004 and part of Lincoln Center Director's Lab, 2002.
José Zayas is originally from Puerto Rico. He holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University. Zayas is Co-founder and Artistic Director of The Immediate Theater Company. Projects include: "The House of the Spirits" by Caridad Svich (Repertorio Espanol, 7 HOLA awards), “Okay” by Taylor Mac (Ensemble Studio Theatre), "Nowhere on the Border" by Carlos Lacamara (5 ACE awards), "Madre: El Drama Padre" by Enrique Jardiel Poncela (2 ACE Awards), "Southern Promises" (PS122) and “Strom Thurmond is Not a Racist/Cleansed” (Brick Theater) by Thomas Bradshaw. Drama League Fellow, Lincoln Center Director's Lab, Soho Rep Writer/Director's Lab, Mellon Foundation Residency.
Director recipients were chosen by a national independent selection panel that included Ilesa Duncan, director, youth and community programs, Chicago Dramatists; Cynthia Levin, producing artistic director, Unicorn Theatre; Terrence Nolen, producing artistic director, Arden Theatre Company, Jay Scheib, director, Jose Luis Valenzuela, artistic director, The New LATC; and Moya Vazquez, Trustee, Intiman Theatre.
Preliminary panelists included Cynthia Levin, producing artistic director, Unicorn Theatre, Jeremy Cohen, associate artistic director, Hartford Stage; Rajendra R. Maharaj, director; and Tina Packer, artistic director, Shakespeare and Company.