David J. Loehr | Caridad Svich | Adam Thurman | Ayad Akhtar | Maxwell Anderson |Giselle Antoni
Desdemona Chiang |Teresa Eyring|Gabriel Greene |Laurie McCants | Dafina McMillan
Kevin E. Moore| Will Power | Nina Simon | Natasha Tsakos|Kinan Valdez
Carmen Morgan is a diversity consultant and has worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) for four years on structural and organizational equality. Morgan is currently the Program Director of Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR). Carmen co-wrote and edited ExpandingLDIRship: A Resource Promoting Positive Intergroup Relations in Communities Through Awareness, Skills and Actions, which remains the center piece of LDIR’s community programming and training. Morgan’s leadership work in the interethnic arena involves three civil rights organizations: Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) and Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Martin Luther King Dispute Resolution Center (SCLC/MLKDRC). They have developed programs that are proactive instead of reactive. She has presented at national conferences including the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity, National Association for Multicultural Education, Grantmakers in Health, INCITE! and the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation’s Annual Meeting. Morgan is a founding member of the California Chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), a former Human Services Commissioner for the City of Pasadena, and is currently on the fundraising committee for Black Women for Wellness, a community-based organization serving women in South Los Angeles. She remains a committed community activist who has worked within the nonprofit sector, specifically around social justice issues, for over 15 years.
Lisa Mount refuses to specialize. As the Director of Artistic Logistics, she works as a consultant with nonprofit arts organizations, and facilitates dynamic meetings for groups large and small. Past and current clients include Childsplay, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival Foundation, Cleveland Public Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company, Pig Iron Theatre Company, the Network of Ensemble Theaters, and Theatre Communications Group. As an independent artist she produces, directs, and appears in contemporary performance work, including the acclaimed community story plays, Headwaters :: Stories From A Goodly Portion Of Beautiful Northeast Georgia, Headwaters: Birth, Death and Places In-Between, and Headwaters: Didja Hear? at the Sautee Nacoochee Center. She toured with the DeLuxe Vaudeville Orchestra as rhythm banjo player from 1994 to 2006. Before embarking on her consulting career in 1997, Lisa served as the Managing Director of 7 Stages theater in Atlanta. She has served as the Board Chair for Alternate ROOTS, the Atlanta Theatre Coalition, and Georgia Shares, a workplace giving campaign. Lisa received the 1996 "Abby" Award from the Atlanta Arts and Business Council for Outstanding Arts Professional, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine in 2008. In 2009, she was given the first Paula Vaughn Community Arts Lifetime Achievement Award by the Georgia Assembly of Community Arts Agencies.
Howard Shalwitz is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, DC. He has been the visionary force behind the company for 32 seasons, steering its adventurous play selection, guiding the development of dozens of new works, building a renowned acting company, and leading Woolly Mammoth in the creation of an award-winning new downtown theatre which opened in May 2005.
Timothy J. Shields has been Managing Director of McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ since January of 2009. This is his second period of employment at McCarter. From 1983 through 1992 he was McCarter’s Business Manager, and later General Manager. His professional experience spans 30 years and includes serving as Managing Director of Milwaukee Repertory Theatre for ten and a half years and as Managing Director at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY for six. He has also held administrative positions at The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis and at the Denver Center Theatre Company. He is the President of the League of Resident Theatres [LORT], the nationwide management association of seventy-five professional non-profit theatres. During his career, Mr. Shields has also served on the boards of Theatre Communications Group, the national service organization for professional non-profit theatre; Milwaukee’s Latino Arts Board; and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee. He was co-founder of Wisconsin’s statewide theatre association, Theatre Wisconsin, and served as its President for eight years. He has been a panelist, panel chair, and an on-site reporter for the National Endowment for the Arts. As a consultant he has led strategic planning retreats and conducted searches for leadership positions for other theatres. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drama Production from Carnegie-Mellon University in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.
Jacqueline E. Lawton received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a James A. Michener fellow. Her plays include Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; Ira Aldridge: Love Brothers Serenade, Mad Breed and Our Man Beverly Snow. She has received commissions from Active Cultures Theater, Discovery Theater, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Round House Theatre and Theater J. A 2012 TCG Young Leaders of Color, she has been nominated for the Wendy Wasserstein Prize and a PONY Fellowship from the Lark New Play Development Center. She resides in Washington DC and is a member of Arena Stage's Playwrights' Arena. jacquelinelawton.com
David J. Loehr is the editor and artistic director of 2AMt. He is also the artist-in-residence & co-founder of the Riverrun Theatre Company in Madison, Ind. Plays include: The Incomparable Radio Theatre of the Air, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Seeing Red, Wise Man, A Report of Gunfire, The Rough Guide to the Underworld and more. His work has been performed at the Capital Fringe Festival, Chicago Fringe Festival, Louisville Playwrights Festival, South Carolina Repertory Company, Glass Mind Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville. He is also a marketing consultant and occasional sound designer for multiple theatre companies. davidjloehr.com 2amt.com
Caridad Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for GUAPA, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She has edited several books on theatre including Out of Silence (Eyecorner Press), Trans-Global Readings and Theatre in Crisis? (both for Manchester University Press) Divine Fire (BackStage Books), Out of the Fringe (TCG), and Conducting a Life: Reflections on the Theatre of Maria Irene Fornes (Smith & Kraus). caridadsvich.com
Adam Thurman is the Director of Marketing for Court Theatre, one of the largest nonprofit theaters in Chicago. During his tenure, Court has had some of the highest grossing production in its 57 year history. He is also the founder of Mission Paradox, an organization devoted to connecting art and audience. He authors a widely read blog on the arts, marketing, leadership, diversity, and other issues at MissionParadox.com. He has been featured in the LA Times, Time Out New York, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Artist Resources and TedxBroadway. Adam is a former board member of the League of Chicago Theatres and has served on the Illinois Arts Council’s Advisory Panel. He has been recognized as an Emerging Leader by Americans for the Arts and the Theatre Communication Group (TCG). He is also a member of the TED mentor program and provides support and counsel to TED Fellows.
Ayad Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the author of American Dervish, published in 25 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto's Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. Ayad is also a playwright and screenwriter. His stage play Disgraced played at New York's Lincoln Center Theater in 2012, and won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has received commissions from Lincoln Center and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ayad is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing.
Maxwell L. Anderson is the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art. After graduating from Dartmouth College and receiving a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University in 1981, he worked as curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for six years. Since 1987 he has directed a total of five museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He has served on the faculties of Princeton University and the University of Rome, and is the author of dozens of publications, including The Quality Instinct: Seeing Art Through a Museum Director's Eye (2012) published by the American Alliance of Museums and distributed by the University of Chicago Press.
Giselle “Gigi” Antoni has served for 17 years as the Executive Director then President/CEO of Big Thought, a Dallas-based nonprofit that utilizes creativity and collaboration to provide equitable learning opportunities for students and families. Gigi was named a Champion of Change by the White House for her convening role in Thriving Minds, a citywide initiative between the City of Dallas, the Dallas Independent School District, Big Thought and more than 100 other organizations. Gigi also received the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Arts Education on behalf of Big Thought (2013), National Arts Leadership Award (2010) from the National Guild for Community Arts Education and the prestigious Local Hero Award (2005), given by Bank of America. She was selected to join the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive program, which recruits international leaders in the fields of arts, culture and education. Gigi is also a Fellow of the British-American Project, which creates sharing and exchange between top young leaders from each country.
Desdemona Chiang is a freelance stage director and Co-Founder of Azeotrope (Seattle). Directing credits include: Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Azeotrope, Impact Theatre, FringeNYC, Playwrights Foundation, Golden Thread Productions, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Unicycle Collective, SIS Productions, and Cornish College of the Arts. Assistant Directing/Dramaturgy: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Playmakers Repertory Company, ACT Seattle, Arizona Theatre Company, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre. Alumnus: Drama League Directing Fellow, SDC Sir John Gielgud Directing Fellow, TCG Young Leader of Color, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. Associate Member: Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). BA, Integrative Biology and Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies: University of California at Berkeley. MFA Directing: University of Washington.
Teresa Eyring joined Theatre Communications Group (TCG) as executive director in March 2007. Previously, she spent 20 years as an executive in theatres around the U.S. Positions included managing director of the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, managing director of the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, assistant executive director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, and director of development for the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, D.C. Eyring holds a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. She is a member of the boards of the Performing Arts Alliance and The Actors Fund. Under her leadership, TCG adopted a new strategic plan with a major focus on diversity and inclusion, as well as audience and community engagement. With this plan, TCG has articulated a new, unifying vision statement. In summary it is: A better world for theatre. A better world because of theatre.
Gabriel Greene joined La Jolla Playhouse’s artistic staff in 2007, and currently serves as their Director of New Play Development. In addition to overseeing their commissioning program and curating/producing the annual DNA New Work Series, he has dramaturged over a dozen new plays and musicals, including Des McAnuff and The Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Aditi Kapil’s Brahman/i, Kirsten Greenidge’s Milk Like Sugar (off-Broadway transfer; Obie Award), Joe DiPietro and David Bryan’s Memphis (Broadway transfer; four Tony Awards including Best Musical) and Claudia Shear’s Restoration (off-Broadway transfer). A Chicago native, Gabe previously served as Literary Manager for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, where he co-adapted I Sing America (performed at Millennium Park). Other dramaturgy: UC San Diego’s Wagner New Play Festival (six years), Steppenwolf, New York Theatre Workshop, South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival and TimeLine Theatre, among others. Gabe holds degrees from University of Michigan and Trinity College, Dublin, and is married to theatre marketer/ice hockey player extraordinaire Mia Fiorella.
In 1978, Laurie McCants co-founded the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE), a leader in the field of community-based, artist-run professional ensembles. Her original work includes The Alexandria Carry-On (in collaboration with composer/performer Theo Bleckmann), which toured Egypt; Our Shadows, a bilingual puppet play co-created with the Egyptian theatre WAMDA; and Susquehanna: Mighty, Muddy, Crooked River of the Long Reach (created in collaboration with her own ensemble). Recently, she played the Gravedigger in Hamlet and Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at BTE, and she directed Battles of Fire and Water, a play about the conflict between natives and invaders at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. She serves as President of the Board of Trustees of the national Network of Ensemble Theaters and in 2010 was named an actor of “Distinguished Achievement” through a Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship, funded by the William & Eva Fox Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group. Her new solo show, Industrious Angels, a story-spinning-shadow-puppet-memory-play-with-music (composed by award-winning avant-garde accordionist Guy Klucevsek) debuted at the Ko Festival of Performance’s 20th season in Amherst, MA.
Dafina McMillan serves as the director of communications & conferences for Theatre Communications Group (TCG). In this role, Dafina oversees the overall internal and external communications strategy – as well as produces TCG’s convenings, including the TCG National Conference. Prior to joining TCG, Dafina served as the associate managing director of Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, MN. While previously in New York, she was an account supervisor at global public relations agency GCI Group (now Cohn & Wolfe) and implemented communication strategies for Fortune 500 companies. She also consulted with the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts on marketing and community engagement initiatives. Dafina is an alumna of The John F. Kennedy Center’s International Arts Management Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Originally from Houston, TX, she received her bachelor of science degree in public relations from the University of Texas at Austin.
Kevin E. Moore is an arts professional with over 20 years experience. Mr. Moore joined TCG in 2010. He served as managing director for Arizona Theatre Company, a LORT B theatre based in Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona prior to joining TCG. He was with Arizona Theatre Company for ten years, starting as marketing director and finishing his time there as managing director. In addition, Mr. Moore has served in many capacities with organizations including the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, Historic New Harmony in Indiana, Cincinnati Arts Association and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He has served on grant panels for Theatre Communications Group, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the City of Phoenix and was Founding Board Chair of Alliance for Audience, a service organization for the arts in Phoenix. He has also been a guest lecturer at Arizona State University. Mr. Moore graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC.
Will Power is an award-winning playwright and performer. Power’s adaptation of the Greek tragedy Seven Against Thebes, retitled The Seven, enjoyed a successful Off-Broadway run at the New York Theater Workshop and The La Jolla Playhouse. His solo show FLOW was featured in the Hip Hop Theater Festival before touring nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. Power’s numerous awards include a United States Artist Prudential Fellowship, a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, the TCG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, a Drama Desk Award nomination, and the Trailblazer Award from The National Black Theater Network. Power’s numerous film and television appearances include The Steven Colbert Report (Comedy Central), and Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason (PBS). Presently, Power is in the process of developing new works for The Dallas Theatre Center, The Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles, Hartford Stage, and The Royal Shakespeare Company. Mr. Power spent his early years as a key member in two critically acclaimed avant-garde music groups, Midnight Voices and the Omar Sosa Sextet. With these groups Power recorded and toured extensively. More recently, Mr. Power has traveled on multiple occasions to teach Hip Hop lyricism and theatre across the globe. He has held a number of artist fellowships and guest teaching positions at institutions such as CCNY, Princeton University, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Will Power was a guest of the U.S. State Department on five separate occasions, traveling to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. On these trips and others, Mr. Power taught community workshops in shantytowns, worked with poets in former regimes of the Soviet Union, and lectured at various libraries, grammar schools, and colleges. Power is currently on the faculty at The Meadows School of the Arts/SMU, and the Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence with the Dallas Theatre Center.
Nina Simon has been described as a “museum visionary” by Smithsonian Magazine for her audience-centered approach to design. She is currently the Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History, where she led an institutional turnaround based on grassroots community participation. Nina teaches in the University of Washington Museology graduate program and is the author of The Participatory Museum (2010) and the popular Museum 2.0 blog. Previously, Nina worked as an independent consultant to over one hundred museums and cultural centers around the world and an interactive exhibit design in science and history museums. Nina began her museum career as Experience Development Specialist at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C.
Natasha Tsakos is a conceptual director, and a performance artist from Geneva, Switzerland, now residing in the US. She is notable for achieving what critics call a creative and innovative vision in the art of orchestrating and synchronizing various disciplines, to the execution of high-leveled productions. Her colorful spectrum in the performing arts ultimately allows her to produce ground breaking work for the stage integrating technology in an interactive way. Tsakos has over 300 acting credits, written 12 original works, published her book COLOURS, directed 30 plays, produced 3 original multi-media shows, 6 commercial length films for Ford Motors, a music video for 2011 e-music award winner April Henry, dubbed over 800 TV episodes, was exposed to over 300,000 people with 82 performances scheduled as part of the Adrienne Arsht Center first Theatre group “Urban Disturbance,” performed in front of 90 million spectators with Cirque du Soleil for the Super Bowl Opening Ceremony 2007, is the lead of performance troupe Circ X with over 10,000 scheduled events under their belts and 2 US tours. Tsakos has entertained celebrities and DJs such as Pharrell Williams, Swedish House Mafia, Kaskade, Tiesto, Miami Heat and performed the Coachella Festival with Red Bull. She is also a company member of Octavio Campos’ Hybrid Dance Theatre CAMPOSITION, last featured in the anti-bullying multi-media performance premiering at the Frank Gehry New World Center INTENTION INTERVENTION. Her work has been commissioned by Nickelodeon/MTVi, Miami Art Museum, Miami Light Project, Adrienne Arsht Center, Art Basel, and featured on The Travel Channel, HBO, MTV, and BBC.
Kinan Valdez is a life-long ensemble member of El Teatro Campesino (ETC). Born and reared in the collective milieu of the famed social justice theater company, Kinan currently serves as ETC’s Producing Artistic Director. His accomplishments as a leader of the 48 year-old company have been a four-fronted effort: Activating new generational access to ETC’s expansive theatrical traditions and methodologies; developing the “Teatro Lab” – an experimental new works laboratory; building a mobile educational theater program to reach the farm-working communities of rural central California; and guiding the organization through a revitalization to reposition El Teatro Campesino as a dynamic elder of the Latino Arts field in time for its 50th anniversary in 2015.