Board of Directors
TCG Board members represent a broad cross-section of the American theatre field and professional perspectives. They are united by their belief in TCG’s mission and dedicated to building a bond between TCG and the national theatre community.
Nikkole Salter, Chair
Mara Isaacs, Vice Chair
Eileen J. Morris, Vice Chair
Meghan Pressman, Vice Chair
Angela Gieras, Treasurer
Lisa Portes, Secretary
May Adrales, Associate Artistic Director; Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee, WI
Raymond Bobgan, Executive Artistic Director; Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland, OH
Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director; The Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis, MN
Will Davis, Director & Choreographer; New York, NY
Snehal Desai, Producing Artistic Director; East West Players, Los Angeles, CA
Kelvin Dinkins Jr., Assistant Dean/General Manager; Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT
Teresa Eyring, Executive Director; Theatre Communications Group, New York, NY
John Fontillas, Planner, Architect, Partner; H3, New York, NY
Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
Angela Lee Gieras, Executive Director; Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City, MO
Derek Goldman, Co-Founding Director, Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics; Director, Playwright/Adapter; Professor, Washington, DC
Jamie Herlich McIalwain, Director of Development; Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, WA
Mara Isaacs, Founder and Executive/Creative Producer; Octopus Theatricals, New York, NY
Laurie McCants, Co-Founder; Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Bloomsburg, PA
Johamy Morales, Director of Education; Seattle Children's Theatre, Seattle, WA
Eileen J. Morris, Artistic Director; The Ensemble Theatre, Houston, TX
Lisa Portes, Head of Directing; The Theatre School at DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Meghan Pressman, Managing Director/CEO; Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles, CA
Anthony Rodriguez, Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director; Aurora Theatre, Lawrenceville, GA
Ellen Richard, Executive Director; Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, CA
Nikkole Salter, Actress, Playwright, Educator, and Arts Advocate; Bloomfield, NJ
David Schmitz, Incoming Executive Director; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
Hana S. Sharif, Artistic Director; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Harold Steward, Producing Co-Executive Director; The Theater Offensive, Boston, MA
May Adrales is a director, artistic leader and teacher and has directed over 25 world premieres, including Qui Nguyen’s Lortel Award and Obie Award winning, Vietgone and Poor Yella Rednecks. Her work has been seen at across the country including, Manhattan Theater Club, Lincoln Center, Second Stage, Signature Theater, South Coast Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theater of Louisville, The Goodman and Seattle Rep. She recently was awarded the TCG Alan Schneider directing award and the League of Professional Theater Women’s Josephine Abady Award, which recognizes the cultural diversity of her work. She is a former fellow at Drama League, Women's Project, SoHo Rep and New York Theater Workshop, and a recipient of the TCG New Generations Grant, Denham Fellowship and Paul Green Directing Award. She proudly serves as an Associate Artistic Director at Milwaukee Rep. She is a former Director of Artistic Programs at the Lark Play Development Center and Artistic Associate at The Public Theater. May has taught at Yale, Brown, Juilliard, Harvard/ART, ACT, Fordham, NYU and Bard. She is an arts advocate, participating in panel discussions and forums at Consortium of Asian American Theaters, Asian Arts Alliance, Statera, and SDC. MFA, Yale School of Drama.
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Raymond Bobgan specializes in working through an ensemble process to create new performances that are bold, multilayered and highly physical. Raymond’s work has been seen in Romania, Brazil, Denmark, Serbia, Turkey, The United Kingdom and Canada. Under his leadership, CPT has eliminated significant debt, run consistent operating surpluses, and completed a $7 million capital campaign. This financial advancement was a result of mission-focused programming including a strong emphasis on supporting new works and local artists, a bold aesthetic vision and CPT’s educational and engagement programs. For CPT, Raymond initiated the STEP program, a job training theatre program for low-income teens, Y-Haven Theatre Project which engages homeless men in writing and performing theatre, and Teatro Publico de Cleveland. Raymond was the first theatre artist to receive a Cleveland Arts Prize in 2014. In 2015 Raymond received Equality Ohio’s Ally Award and more recently received the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. He currently serves on the executive committee of the National New Play Network and is Board Chair of The Gordon Square Arts District CIC Board. Back to top
Jeremy B. Cohen is in his eleventh season as Producing Artistic Director at the Playwrights’ Center, having previously served as Associate Artistic Director/Director of New Work at Hartford Stage (2003-2010), where he also directed several premieres. He is also the Founding Artistic Director of Naked Eye Theater Company in Chicago. Other Regional/NYC directing credits include productions at: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alley Theatre, Alliance, Baltimore Centerstage, Dorset Theatre, George Street Playhouse, Goodman, Kansas City Rep, McCarter, Mixed Blood, New Victory, Olney Theatre, Open Fist, Repertory Theatre of St Louis, Royal George, Steppenwolf Theatre, Theater J, Theater Latté Da, Victory Gardens, and Workhaus Collective; workshops at O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, New York Stage & Film, Pasadena Playhouse, Denver Center, Portland Center Stage, A.C.T./New Strands, New Harmony, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and Woolly Mammoth. As Founding Artistic Director of Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago, Cohen developed/directed more than 15 plays, including several premieres. He has received numerous directing awards, an NEA/TCG Directors Fellowship, and a Northwestern University grant for his play 12 Volt Heart. His Off-Broadway production (The Duke on 42nd Street) of singer/songwriter Jonatha Brooke's My Mother Has 4 Noses is currently touring the U.S., and he's currently under commission on a co-written play (with Dipika Guha), Malicious Animal Magnetism at A.C.T./ZSpace in San Francisco. . Back to top
Will Davis is a transgender director and choreographer focused on physically adventurous new work for the stage. Off-Broadway credits include: Road Show (Encores! Off-Center); India Pale Ale (MTC); Bobbie Clearly (Roundabout Underground); Charm (MCC); Men on Boats (Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons—Lucille Lortel nomination); and Duat (Soho Rep). Regional credits include: Spamtown,USA (Children’s Theater Company); Everybody (Shakespeare Theater Company); A Doll’s House, Part 2 (Long Wharf Theatre); The Carpenter(The Alley Theatre); Colossal (Olney Theatre Center and Mixed Blood Theater—Helen Hayes award for best direction); Evita (Olney Theatre Center—Helen Hayes award nomination); and multiple productions for ATC in Chicago where Davis also served as artistic director. He is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the NYTW 2050 Directing Fellowship, the Brooklyn Art Exchange’s Artist in Residence program, and is currently a Princeton Arts Fellow. Back to top
Snehal Desai is the Producing Artistic Director of East West Players (EWP), the nation's largest Asian-American theater company and one of the longest running theaters of color in the country. Recent directing credits include: Assassins, Mamma Mia, Free Outgoing, Shakuntala and the Los Angeles premiere of Allegiance. 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 Theatre Communications Group’s (TCG) “Spark” Leadership Program. He was also the Inaugural Recipient of the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship. Snehal is on the faculty of USC's graduate program in Arts Leadership where he teaches Executive Arts Leadership. Snehal is a graduate of Emory University and received his M.F.A. in Directing from the Yale School of Drama. Back to top
Kelvin Dinkins Jr. is the Assistant Dean, General Manager, and Lecturer in Theater Management for Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, CT. Kelvin developed his passion for theater management and producing while an undergraduate at Princeton University where he received his A.B. degree in English and received a Certificate in Theatre & Dance from the Lewis Center for the Arts. He earned his M.F.A. in Theatre Management & Producing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Prior to Yale, Kelvin served as General Manager at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey. He has worked as Communications & Development Manager at The Civilians in NYC; Development Fellow at the National Corporate Theatre Fund, and Associate General Manager at Intiman Theatre in Seattle. Kelvin currently serves on the Board of Directors for the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and is the Chair of the LORT Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. Kelvin is a member of the inaugural Theatre Communications Group (TCG) SPARK Leadership Program for the professional development of leaders of color and was recently awarded TCG’s Leadership(U): Continuing Ed grant to study new producing models, institutional leadership transition and inclusion in art and community. Kelvin was selected to join the Banff Centre for Creative Leadership’s cohort for the “New Fundamentals: Leadership in the Creative Ecology” program for leaders committed to creating the future of their sector by drawing on the strengths and unique qualities of creative work. Kelvin also serves as a member of the Graduate Board of Trustees for the Princeton University Triangle Club. Back to top
Teresa Eyring joined TCG as executive director in March 2007. Ms. Eyring has been an executive in theatres around the U.S. for over twenty years. Prior to joining TCG, she served as managing director of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis since 1999. Eyring began her theatre career as director of development for the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, D.C. in 1983. She completed an MFA in theater administration at the Yale School of Drama between 1986 and 1989. From 1989-1993, she was assistant executive director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, where she handled artist contracts, play commissions, and oversaw a $5 million theater renovation project . From 1994-99, she was managing director of the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, where she spearheaded completion of an $8 million capital campaign and oversaw the construction and transition to a new 24,000 square foot theater facility on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. She was named a ‘Woman to Watch” by the Twin Cities Business Journal in July 2005. Eyring’s past affiliations include service as chairwoman of the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, board member of WYBE-TV, executive committee member of the League of Resident Theaters; board member and Treasurer of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts; and board member of Intermedia Arts. She currently serves on the boards of the Performing Arts Alliance and The Actor's Fund. Eyring holds a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from Yale School of Drama. Back to top
John Fontillas is a Principal at H3 Architects, a New York City-based design firm that specializes in projects for arts and cultural organizations across the country. John’s experience bridges the gap between the buildings we create and the urban fabric in which we live. With zeal and foresight, he has a unique capacity to see the big picture and work across all scales, from the large canvas of a city to the smallest architectural details.
John has designed and constructed arts and cultural facilities at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Long Island University, New York Botanical Garden, New York Academy of Sciences, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Martha Graham Dance Center, and New York City Opera. He has developed master plans and programs for Adelphi University, Arts Student League, Barnard College, Columbia University, University of Colorado, Washington University, Cooper Union, New School, UCLA, and cultural plans for Denver, CO, New Haven, CT, Greensboro, NC, Round Rock, TX, and Nyack, NY. John’s firm, H3, has completed performing arts projects for the Shubert Organization, Nederlander Organization, Disney Development, Ambassador Theater Group, Fort Lee Film Commission, Joyce Theater, New York City Ballet, Orchestra of St Luke’s, New 42, and Radio City Music Hall. H3 has worked with resident professional theaters such as Lincoln Center Theater, McCarter Theatre, Wilma Theater, Signature Theatre Company, Theatreworks, Daryl Roth Theatre, Theatre Row, Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Barter Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Gulfshore Playhouse, and Theatre for a New Audience.
John was born in Oakland, California and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds a Masters of Urban Planning/Policy from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from University of California, Berkeley. John serves on the board of the Theatre Communications Group and is a member of American Institute of Architects, Architectural League, Urban Land Institute, Municipal Arts Society, and Brooklyn Community Board #7. Back to top
Nataki Garrett is Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s sixth artistic director. As the former associate artistic director of CalArts Center for New Performance, Garrett has been hailed as a champion of new work as well as an experienced, savvy arts administrator. 2019 was Garrett’s first season at OSF, where she directed How to Catch Creation. At CalArts, Garrett oversaw all operations of conservatory training and produced mainstage, black box, developmental projects, plays, co-productions and touring productions. She is currently on the nominating committee for The Kilroys, and she recently served on the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust Distinguished Playwright Award nominating committee and the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship panel.
Garrett’s forté and passion are fostering and developing new work. She is responsible for producing the world premieres of The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson, Two Degrees by Tira Palmquist, Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by Matthew Lopez, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, and American Mariachi by José Cruz González. She also directed the world premieres of BLKS by Aziza Barnes and Pussy Valley by Katori Hall, and the U.S. premiere of Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker.
She is well-known for her work with MacArthur Fellow- winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, having directed the regional premieres of several of his plays, including Everybody at California Shakespeare Theater and An Octoroon at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Garrett also directed the first professional production of Jacobs-Jenkins’ acclaimed play Neighbors at the Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Garrett’s production received five Ovation Award nominations—including Best Production.
Garrett most recently served as acting artistic director for Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) during the $66 million organization’s 18-month leadership transition, working in partnership with the chief executive officer, managing director and board of directors to oversee all artistic operations for the theater company. During her tenure, she produced a very provocative Macbeth. The play was the most successful production in the Space Theatre’s 40-year history. She also initiated and negotiated the first co-world premieres in 10 years for two DCPA-commissioned plays—The Great Leap with Seattle Repertory Theatre and American Mariachi with The Old Globe.
Garrett is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group Career Development Fellowship for Theatre Directors and a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Garrett is also a member of the board of directors for Theatre Communications Group, a company member at Woolly Mammoth and an advisory board member for Mixed Blood Theatre. Garrett is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in directing. Back to top
Angela Lee Gieras joined KCRep as Executive Director in 2013 and co-leads with the artistic director to fulfill KCRep’s vision and mission. She is a passionate change-agent and fierce advocate of EDI and female leadership. Since arriving at KC Rep, the organization has completed a $5.5 million campaign to renovate Spencer Theatre; created a five-year $5 million plan to grow audiences, new work and education; increased operational fundraising by 70%; increased single ticket sales by 50%; and broke box office records for plays and A Christmas Carol. In 2018, she launched a study of co-leadership in LORT theatres. She interviewed theatre leaders around the country to determine commonalities of successful partnerships. With the help of TCG, she extended the study through an online survey and plans to share results with the national field in late 2020. Also in 2018, she launched Inspired Arts Management, LLC to focus on nurturing and expanding the leadership capacity in the field. Angela is a certified leadership coach and mentors and sponsors BIPOC and women who aspire to leadership positions. Angela earned an MBA and MA from SMU and a BS in finance from UF. She has lectured at SMU, UF and UMKC. She serves on the Board, and co-chairs the nominating and EDI committee of LORT. She has served as a mentor for two cohorts of the LORT Mentoring program. She is a founding board member for Theatre Alliance of Kansas City. Back to top
Derek Goldman is Director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, co-founded with Ambassador Cynthia Schneider with the mission of harnessing the power of performance to humanize global politics (globallab.georgetown.edu). An award-winning stage director, playwright/adapter, developer of new work, producer, festival director, educator, and published scholar, he serves as Chair of the Department of Performing Arts and Director of the Theater & Performance Studies Program. His artistic work has been seen around the country, Off-Broadway, and internationally. He has directed more than 100 productions and is the author of more than 30 professionally produced plays and adaptations. His work has appeared at theaters such as Steppenwolf, Lincoln Center, Arena Stage, Baltimore CenterStage, Folger, Round House, Everyman, The Kennedy Center Mosaic Theater, Theater J, Synetic, Ford's Theater, McCarter, Segal Center (Montreal), Northern Stage, Olney Theater Center (where he is an Artistic Associate), and others. He is a Founding Director of Unesco's UNITWIN Global Network of Higher Education in the Performing Arts (based in Shanghai), and a partner with TCG on the creation of the Global Theatre Initiative, and he has served as Vice-President of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). His engagement in global performance and politics has taken his work in recent years to Sudan, China, Poland, South Africa, Australia, Russia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Peru, Bulgaria, Armenia, Japan, Chile, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, France, New Zealand, and throughout the UK, and into collaborations with artists from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Belarus, Israel, Afghanistan, Palestine, Ghana, Egypt, the Congo, the Czech Republic, India, Serbia, Sweden, Germany, the Philippines, Uganda, among other places. He is the recipient of numerous awards and major grants, and has been the Principal Investigator in recent years of over $1 million of Program Support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Doris Duke Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts and more. The Mellon Foundation supports the Lab Fellows Program, an initiative he founded and leads which brings together a cohort of path-breaking artists and change-makers from around the world, as well as the biennial CrossCurrents Festival, a citywide global performance event launched in Spring 2019 which he curates, and which culminates in the Lab's signature event The Gathering, which brings together hundreds of leading artists from over 40 countries. In 2016 he received the prestigious President's Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers. He received his Ph. D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Back to top
Jamie Herlich McIalwain is an arts leader with an entrepreneurial edge in the Pacific Northwest. Her extensive career in (and passion for) theatre provides a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities in the field. She is committed to maximizing an organization’s overall impact by bringing and implementing new ideas in order to ensure an organization’s long-term sustainability, and increase its visibility and reach.
Since 2013, she has connected donors to the mission of Seattle Repertory Theatre as Director of Development; increasing overall contributed revenue by 54% in five seasons (including 100% growth in individual giving). Achieving this while the organization transitioned to a new executive leadership team is a testament to the trust and confidence that Jamie instills, as well as her diligence and tenacity. Jamie is a key educator in the region, having been an adjunct professor in the Arts Leadership program at Seattle University and co-founding the Fundraising for the Arts Task Force (an educational and networking resource for arts development professionals). Jamie’s leadership roles have included Director of Advancement and Communications at Edmonds Center for the Arts and Managing Director of New Century Theatre Company (NCTC), a company which she also co-founded. Prior board service includes Washington State Thespians (2006-2012) and NCTC (2013-2016). Jamie created and now is the business manager of a producing company, Letters Aloud, a reading series, now touring throughout the US.
Jamie has a BMus from Western Washington University and received her MFA in Arts Leadership from Seattle University; she graduated from Leadership Tomorrow in 2016. Back to top
Mara Isaacs is a Tony® Award winning producer and founder of Octopus Theatricals, an independent company dedicated fostering an expansive range of compelling theatrical works for local, national and international audiences. She has produced over 150 productions that have been seen on Broadway (Hadestown, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Translations, Anna in the Tropics, Electra), off-Broadway (Hadestown, Fiasco Theater’s Into The Woods, The Brother/Sister Plays, Crowns, The Laramie Project), at theaters and performing arts centers around the US and the world (UK, Europe, Middle East, South America, South Africa, Canada). Current projects include Iphigenia by Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding; Dreaming Zenzile by Somi Kakoma; Detroit Red by Will Power; Voice Over by Lola Arias; Theatre for One; and An Iliad starring Denis O’Hare. She is director of Project Springboard: Developing Dance Musicals, and Artistic Advisor to Fiasco Theater. She is proud to produce the work of Phantom Limb Company, Song of the Goat Theatre and more. She served as Producing Director at McCarter Theater Center in Princeton, NJ for 18 seasons and previously produced new play development programs and productions for Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. She is currently visiting faculty for CalArts School of Theatre and for Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. www.octopustheatricals.com Back to top
Laurie McCants co-founded the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE) in 1978, where she co-created HARD COAL, OUR SHADOWS (with Egypt’s Wamda), and SUSQUEHANNA: MIGHTY, MUDDY, CROOKED RIVER OF THE LONG REACH. In 2010, she was named a national “Actor of Distinguished Achievement” through a Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship, funded by the William & Eva Fox Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group. She served as Co-President of the Board of the national Network of Ensemble Theaters. She recently directed the world premiere of GUNPOWDER JOE, Anthony Clarvoe’s play about Joseph Priestley. She is currently touring her solo show, INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS, which had a return run in 2018 at the Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst, Massachusetts and at BTE in 2019. Currently, she is researching toward a new solo show about Frances Slocum/Sheletawash/Mahkoonsakwa.
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Johamy Morales holds an MFA in acting from The Ohio State University, with a specialization in outreach and devising new work, and a BA in Theatre from San Diego State University. Johamy currently serves as the Director of Education at Seattle Children’s Theatre (SCT) and as a Trustee for Theatre Communication Group (TCG). In addition Johamy has served on the Colorado Creative Industries, TCG’s Education Pre Conference, Theatre for Young Audiences/USA, and TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color panels and webinars. Prior to working with SCT, Johamy served as the Education Director for Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colorado and directed the Comparative Arts Department and the Junior Musical Theatre Program at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. Johamy has worked with Arena Stage in Washington D.C. and the La Jolla Playhouse through their education programs as a teaching artist. Johamy is an alumnus of the Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship at Arena Stage and the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, where she studied Contemporary & Classical works with Deborah Warner and Fiona Shaw. Johamy toured with the cast of New World Jukebox where she performed in the 2006 Grahamstown National Arts Festival, in Grahamstown, South Africa and with San Diego State University in, Carnaval de Calaveras, with performances in Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Mexico D.F. in 2004. In February of 2017, Johamy collaborated with the US State Department, the US Embassy & Consulate and several NGO’s to promote awareness of domestic and gender violence in Kolkata and Ranchi, India. As an educator, artist, and director Johamy has worked with various schools and nonprofit organizations both nationally and internationally including Hope College, Write Now: TYA New Work Festival, Fort Lewis College, University of San Diego, Esperanza Charter School, Wexner Center, Dennos Museum, Students in Transition Empowerment Program, Traverse City Continuation School, Blackbird Arts and Columbus Refugee & Immigration Services.
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Eileen J. Morris is the Artistic Director of Houston’s The Ensemble Theatre, one of the largest African American theatres in the world that own its facility. A native of Chicago, Illinois, she attended Northern Illinois University (BA, 1977) where she majored in Theatre and minored in English. She has a certificate in Theatre Management from Dartmouth College (1998). Her professional career in the arts was just beginning when she relocated to Houston and met The Ensemble Theatre founder George W. Hawkins. They bonded through their passion to develop a space in Houston where African American artists could come together and hone their skills. Her work with Hawkins spanned from 1982 until his death in 1990.
Eileen has produced over 89 productions which include 9 world premieres, over 66 regional premieres, and has directed over 82 productions throughout her career. In April she received the USITT Thomas DeGaetani Award for her contributions to the performing arts community in Texas. She received Broadway World Houston's 2018 Best Director Award for Sassy Mamas and the 2016 Houston Press Theater Award for Best Director of August Wilson’s Fences. In 2017, she was named one of Houston Women Magazine's 50 Most Influential Women. That year she also received the Black Theatre Network's Larry Leon Hamlin Award and the BCCM Kim Kupp Award. She was recognized as one of Houston’s Top 50 Black Professionals and Entrepreneurs by D-MARS.com and is a 2016 recipient of the PACE Foundation Community 15th Award and received the 2016 Houston Community College- Central Campus Unstoppable Leaders Award.
Eileen is among five female artistic leaders selected as the first in the Nation awarded part of a $1.25 million gift of The Pussycat Foundation and Northern Stage in support of women artistic directors in professional theaters across the United States for three years. Each of the Artistic Directors chosen for the BOLD Circle (The BOLD Theater Women’s Leadership Circle grant) has demonstrated artistic excellence and a deep impact on community. The leaders have also demonstrated a strong history of mentoring, and will work together to elevate the next generation of artistic directors.
Eileen currently serves as Vice President on the board of the Theatre Communications Group. She also serves as Board Chair and Cultural Arts Committee Chair of the Midtown Management District, consultant of the Black Theatre Network and is an advisory board member of the Houston Cinema Arts Society.
Her most recent Ensemble Theatre directing credits include Autumn, School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls Play, More Than Christmas, Freeda Peoples, Too Heavy For Your Pocket, ‘da kink in my hair, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Eighth Day of the Week, Front Porch Society, Sassy Mamas, Plenty of Time, Detroit ’67, What I Learned in Paris, Women in the Pit, and By the Way Meet Vera Stark to name a few. Eileen also has numerous directing credits in Pittsburgh, directing annually at Pittsburgh's New Horizon Theatre. Notably, Eileen holds the distinction of being the only woman in the country to direct 8 of August Wilson's 10-play American Century Cycle. This August Wilson quote embodies her creative journey: “Art does not change the world; it changes people; and people change the world.” www.ensemblehouston.com
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Lisa Portes is a director, educator, advocate and leader whose aim is to define and promote a new American narrative that is driven aesthetically and politically by the world we are becoming rather than the world we've been. She has created work regionally for CalShakes, Children's Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse, Denver Center, Guthrie Theatre, Olney Theatre and South Coast Rep. In Chicago she has directed for American Blues Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Next Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Steppenwolf Theatre, Timeline Theatre, and Victory Gardens Theatre. Ms. Portes heads the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University. She co-founded the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC). and served as artistic producer of the LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work in 2018 and 2015. In 2016, Ms. Portes was honored with the SDC Zelda Fichandler Award for Directors. In 2015 she participated in the inaugural TCG SPARK Leadership program and is a past recipient of the NEA/TCG Career Development grant for Directors. She is an alum of the Drama League Directing Fellowship program and the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She received her MFA in Directing from the University of California-San Diego. Ms. Portes lives in Chicago with her husband, playwright, Carlos Murillo and their two teenagers, Eva Rose and Carlos Alejandro. Back to top
Meghan Pressman joined Center Theatre Group as Managing Director / CEO in 2019. Previously, she served as Managing Director of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (D.C.), Director of Development for Signature Theatre (N.Y.), Associate Managing Director of Berkeley Rep, and Managing Director for The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. She has worked at numerous other theatre and arts organizations across the country including Yale Repertory Theatre as Associate Managing Cirector, 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 theatre management from Yale School of Drama, an MBA from Yale School of Management, an MA from Northwestern University, 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 theatre management. She is the Vice-Chair of the National Board for the Theatre Communications Group (TCG).
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Anthony Rodriguez is the Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA, a suburb of Atlanta. Now, the second largest professional theatre in the state of Georgia, Aurora is driven by a mission to create a new generation of theatregoers. Aurora Theatre produces an astounding 800+ events each year for over 80,000 visitors offering a wide variety of programming to accommodate the needs of Gwinnett County, the most diverse county in the Southeast. Under Mr. Rodriguez’s leadership, the theatre has grown from 120 season subscribers to an impressive 5,000+. Anthony serves on various boards in the community, including Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Citizens Advisory Board for Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful, the National Steering Committee for Latinx Theatre Commons, the Advisory Board for Public Broadcasting Atlanta which includes the NPR station WABE and PBS station PBA30, and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. Anthony was inducted into the Georgia Theatre Conference Hall of Fame in 2017 and named one of the 50 Most Influential Latinos in Georgia by the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2018. Anthony graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. Anthony is excited and inspired to now serve on the Theatre Communications Group Board of Directors. He resides in Duluth with his partner in life, Ann-Carol Pence. Back to top
Ellen Richard is the Executive Director of the Laguna Playhouse where she oversees all Artistic and Management functions of this LORT C Theatre Company. Prior to the Playhouse she served as Executive Director of The American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco where she was responsible for overseeing the acquisition, design and construction of The Strand Theatre. She created a black box Theatre for A.C.T - The Costume Shop, and envisioned and created a space sharing initiate that allowed smaller nonprofit groups to use the space at no cost. To support A.C.T.’s MFA program, she conceptualized the San Francisco Semester, an accredited program for undergraduates studying away from their home universities. Ellen previously served as the Executive Director of New York’s Second Stage Theatre, where she was responsible for the purchase of the Helen Hayes Theatre. From 1983 to 2005. Richard enjoyed a varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had been transformed from a small nonprofit in bankruptcy to one of the country’s most successful theatre companies of its kind. Producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she is the recipient of six Tony Awards, for Cabaret, A View from the Bridge, Side Man, Nine, Assassins and Glengarry Glen Ross. She also oversaw the redesign and construction of three Roundabout stages - Studio 54, The American Airlines Theatre, and the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Prior to Roundabout, Richard served in management positions at Westport Country Playhouse, Stamford Center for the Arts, The Hartman Theatre and Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant. Back to top
Nikkole Salter is an actress, playwright, educator and arts advocate best known as the co-author and co-star (with Danai Gurira) of the Pulitzer Prize nominated play, IN THE CONTINUUM (ITC). As an actress, Ms. Salter has performed in the regions and Off-Broadway, doing work with such renowned directors as Lisel tommy, Kenny Leon, Robert O'Hara and Tina Landau among many. As a dramatist, Ms. Salter has had work produced in 20 Off-Broadway and regional theatres, received has been published in 12 international publications, is the recipient of a 2014 MAP Fund Grant and a 2017 National New Play Network commission among others. The Crossroads Theatre Company production of her play REPAIRING A NATION was featured in the second season of the PBS show "Theatre: Close Up," hosted by Sigourney Weaver. Ms. Salter is also the co-founder (with NSangou Njikam) and Executive Director of THE CONTINUUM PROJECT, INC., a non-profit organization that creates engaging arts programming for community empowerment. The CP received two Brooklyn Arts Council Regrant Awards (Local Arts), in support of their initiative The Legacy Program and the program was featured on the nationally broadcast PBS series, “Finding Your Roots,” hosted by Harvard Professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. www.thecontinuumproejct.org. Ms. Salter is a recipient of an OBIE Award, and the NY Outer Critics Circle's John Gassner Award, a Helen Hayes award, a Seldes-Kanin Fellowship from the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Global Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations. She received her BFA from Howard University and her MFA from New York University's Graduate Acting Program. www.nikkolesalter.com Back to top
David Schmitz is the incoming Executive Director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the outgoing Executive Director of Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company where he worked for 15 years. As Executive Director of Steppenwolf, Schmitz led a staff of 140 full and part-time folxs, and was responsible at the executive level for strategy and execution of all fundraising, marketing, producing and business-related activities. His work ensured the ensemble of Steppenwolf has the resources and institutional support to achieve their creative ambitions in the present and the future. 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 a board member of the Arts Alliance Illinois and the League of Chicago Theatres, and is a former Vice President of the Board for The House Theatre of Chicago and board member for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Schmitz is a founding member of Enrich Chicago, a cohort of arts organizations working to end racism in Chicago arts. He 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, a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Roosevelt University, and completed the Chicago Management Institute, an executive education program through the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. Back to top
Hana S. Sharif is a director, playwright, producer and the Artistic Director of The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. She has served as Associate Artistic Director at Baltimore Center Stage; Associate Artistic Director, Director of New Play Development, and Artistic Producer at Hartford Stage; Program Manager of the ArtsEmerson Ambassador Program; and as Developmental Producer/Tour Manager of Progress Theatre’s musical The Burnin’. Hana also served as co-founder and Artistic Director of Nasir Productions, which brings theatre to underserved communities. Her regional directing credits include: The Who & The What, Fun Home, Sense & Sensibility, The Christians, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Pride & Prejudice (DCArts: Best Director/Best New Play), The Whipping Man, Gem of the Ocean (six CCC nominations), Gee’s Bend (CCC Award Best Ensemble, two nominations), Next Stop Africa, Cassie, The Drum, and IFdentity. Hana has directed numerous developmental workshops during her twenty years of championing New American plays and playwrights.
Her plays include All the Women I Used to Be, The Rise and Fall of Day, and The Sprott Cycle Trilogy. Hana is the recipient of the 2009–10 Aetna New Voices Fellowship and Theatre Communications Group (TCG) New Generations Fellowship. She serves on the board of directors for the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance and the Sprott Foundation. Back to top
Harold Steward is a cultural organizer and arts administrator from Dallas, TX. He joined The Theater Offensive in Boston as the Managing Director in June of 2017 and oversees fund development, communications, and operations throughout the organization. Harold most recently served as Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center, a division the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, which provides instruction and enrichment in the arts with an emphasis on the African contribution to world culture. Harold also founded Fahari Arts Institute in Dallas in 2009 after recognizing a gap in the landscape for local LGBTQ artists of color in Dallas. Fahari Arts Institute celebrates, displays, and produces the work of queer artists from the African Diaspora. Harold is a proud member of Alternate ROOTS, the Board of Directors for the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network and Steering Committee of the Black Theater Commons. Harold is a founding member of NextGen National Arts Network and Founding Partner of Steward Cultural Development Group. As well as a Cultural Equity facilitator with Equity Quotient. Back to top