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
Teresa Eyring, Executive Director/CEO
Snehal Desai, Vice Chair
Eileen J. Morris, Vice Chair
John Fontillas, Vice Chair
Angela Gieras, Treasurer
Lisa Portes, Secretary
May Adrales, Theater Director, New York, NY
Raymond Bobgan, Executive Artistic Director; Cleveland Public Theatre, Cleveland, OH
Ralph Bryan, Managing Director-Investments, Bryan-Billauer-Kozo Wealth Management Group of Wells
Fargo Advisors, La Jolla, CA
Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director; 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; David Geffen School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre, New Haven, CT
Teresa Eyring, Executive Director/CEO; Theatre Communications Group, New York, NY
John Fontillas, Planner, Architect, Partner; H3, New York, NY
Cynthia Fuhrman, Managing Director, Portland Center Stage at the Armory, Portland, OR
Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
Hanay Geiogamah, Professor of Theater/Professor of American Indian Studies, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, UCLA American Indian Studies University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA and Artistic Director, The American Indian Dance Theater, Los Angeles, California
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
Merrique Jenson, Director of SocialScope Productions, Director of Transformations Youth Organization, Kansas City, MO
Jamie Herlich McIalwain
, Director of Development; Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, WA
Laurie McCants, Co-Founder; Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Bloomsburg, PA
Eileen J. Morris, Artistic Director; The Ensemble Theatre, Houston, TX
Lisa Portes, Head of Directing; The Theatre School at DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Anthony Rodriguez, Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director; Aurora Theatre, Lawrenceville, GA
Ellen Richard, Executive Director; Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, CA
, Actress, Playwright, Educator, and Arts Advocate; Bloomfield, NJ
Hana S. Sharif, Artistic Director; Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Harold Steward, Executive Director and Cultural Strategist; The Theater Offensive, Boston, MA
May Adrales(she/her/hers) 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 currently serves as the Artistic Director of The Lark; previously served as an Associate Artistic Director for 4 years 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 (he/they) 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, South Korea Turkey, The United Kingdom and Canada. Under his leadership since 2006, 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, social justice, a bold aesthetic vision, and CPT’s educational and engagement programs.. For CPT, Raymond initiated Teatro Público de Cleveland Cleveland’s first Latinx theatre group and Masrah Cleveland Al Arabi مسرح كليفلاند العربي one the nation’s only theatre groups focused on Arabic-speaking communities. Raymond was the first theatre artist to receive a Cleveland Arts Prize in 2014. Raymond also received Equality Ohio’s Ally Award and Cleveland’s Transgender Day of Remembrance’s Illumination Award for Cisgender Ally of the Year. He is also a recipient of the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. He is a former President of the Board of National New Play Network and is Board Chair of The Gordon Square Arts District.
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Ralph Bryan (he/him/his) has been with Wells Fargo Advisors (and its predecessor firms) since 1991, holding the titles of Managing Director - Investments and Senior PIM Portfolio Manager. Ralph’s team manages over $1 billion of high net worth personal and endowment assets. In addition to driving the team’s “top-down” market and strategy discussions, Ralph is deeply versed in issues related to concentrated stock and fixed income analysis. Ralph has been a continuous member of the Premier Advisors for the last 20 years and was recognized by Forbes magazine in 2019 as one of the Top 50 Financial Advisors in California.
Ralph is the former Chairman of the Board of La Jolla Playhouse. Finishing in 2020, he successfully chaired the Playhouse’s $50 million Endowment Capital Campaign. During his prior leadership tenure at La Jolla Playhouse, Ralph helped successfully complete the organization’s five year, $45 million capital campaign to build a new theater, and helped restructure the organization to create a well capitalized organization including the first major working cash reserve.Ralph is a graduate of University of California, San Diego. He has been married to Gail for 29 years.
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Jeremy B. Cohen (he/him/his) is in his 12th season as Producing Artistic Director at Playwrights’ Center, having previously served as Associate Artistic Director 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 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.
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Will Davis (he/him/his) 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: The Swindlers (Baltimore Center Stage);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.
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Snehal Desai (he/him/his) is the Producing Artistic Director of East West Players (EWP). Snehal found a home at East West Players because he found it to uniquely stand at the intersection of artistry and social justice. As an artistic leader, he has sought to raise awareness on social issues that affect Angelenos by personalizing them through storytelling. Recent directorial 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.
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Kelvin Dinkins Jr. (he/him/his) is the Assistant Dean, General Manager, and Lecturer in Theater Management for David Geffen 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.
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Teresa Eyring (she/her/hers) joined TCG as executive director in March 2007, having served as a theatre leader for nearly 25 years. Immediately prior to joining TCG, she spent eight years as managing director of the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) in Minneapolis. Other key positions have included director of development for the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, D.C., assistant executive director of the Guthrie Theater, and managing director of the Wilma Theater. She has extensive experience in strategic planning, capital campaigns, building projects, government advocacy, union negotiations, and organizational culture development. As a producer, she has commissioned numerous plays and engaged in years of collaborative season-planning and audience development. Under her leadership, TCG has been a beacon for the theatre field through crisis periods such as the economic crash of 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic. TCG’s 2012 strategic plan prioritized addressing the systemic crisis of racism within our country and theatre field, and the 2021 strategic plan restated TCG’s mission: “to lead for a just and thriving theatre ecology.” Through her leadership, TCG co-founded the Global Theatre Initiative, a partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics. She currently serves on the Executive Council of the International Theatre Institute Worldwide and is ITI Vice President for the Americas. She holds a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and an MFA in Theater Administration from the Yale School of Drama. She currently serves on the boards of the Performing Arts Alliance and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, as well the Human Services Committee of the Actors Fund. Her vision, in summary, is: A better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre.
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John Fontillas (he/him/his) 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.
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Cynthia Fuhrman (she/her/hers) As Managing Director, Cynthia leads the teams responsible for the theater’s operations, finance, fundraising, human resources, patron services and marketing efforts, and works closely with the artistic director and the board of trustees on the overall strategic direction for the company. After earning her M.A. in English, Cynthia started her theater career at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1982, working in PR, marketing and education. When OSF agreed to open a branch theater in Portland in 1988, Cynthia was among the OSF staff members who relocated to help open the new company, OSF Portland, which became Portland Center Stage when it spun off to an independent organization in 1994. Cynthia remained with the company until 1998, leaving to become COO at the Portland/San Francisco-based digital marketing company, eyescream interactive. In 2003, she moved to Seattle to become the Director of Marketing and Communications at Seattle Repertory Theatre. She returned toNataki Garrett (She/ Her/ Hers) is the Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the largest theater-producing organizations in the U.S., and is widely recognized as an innovative and influential arts leader. She has led the 85-year-old OSF through one of the most cataclysmic periods in its history, raising $19 million while mobilizing federal support for the non-profit theater industry during the pandemic. At the start of her tenure, in 2019, she conceived an interactive and immersive digital platform, O!, which became all the more vital in live theater’s absence as a source of groundbreaking performance, art, and discussion Portland in 2007 as Director of Communications at the City of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development, but by the summer of 2008 had returned to Portland Center Stage as Director of Marketing and Communications. She became Chief Operating Officer in 2014, and Managing Director in 2017.
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Nataki Garrett (she/hers/her) is the Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the largest theater-producing organizations in the U.S., and is widely recognized as an innovative and influential arts leader. She has led the 85-year-old OSF through one of the most cataclysmic periods in its history, raising $19 million while mobilizing federal support for the non-profit theater industry during the pandemic. At the start of her tenure, in 2019, she conceived an interactive and immersive digital platform, O!, which became all the more vital in live theater’s absence as a source of groundbreaking performance, art, and discussion.
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Hanay Geiogamah (he/him/his) has been active in American Indian theater for nearly 40 years. With Ellen Stewart, he co-founded the first professional tribal theater, the American Indian Theater Ensemble at La Mama in New York in the 1970s. Hanay has been a professor of theater in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television since the early 1990s and headed the UCLA American Indian Studies Center for eight years. Professor Geiogamah is currently guiding the American Indian Dance Theater out of hiatus and its return to performances and touring. The company's new full-length dance drama, Ceremony For Mother Earth: A Healing, will be staged in a development workshop in late summer/early fall of this year. Mr. Geiogamah's publications include Ceremony, Spirituality and Ritual in Native American Performance; New Native American Drama: Three Plays; and Stories of Our Way, an anthology. He is a member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, and he has worked extensively in the theater and also film and television. He is completing work on a new play, The Grandmothers, which tells the story of his paternal grandfather's conversion to Christianity in the early 20th Century.
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Angela Lee Gieras (she/her/hers) 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. Prior to KCRep she held leadership team positions at the Dallas Theater Center, Florida Theatre and the Warehouse Theatre.
In 2018, she launched Inspired Arts Management, LLC and 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 2021. She is inspired by 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 is a past co-chair of 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.
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Derek Goldman (he/him/his) is Founding Director of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University 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. His current production, Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski (director and co-author) starring David Strathairn will be seen this season at Shakespeare Theater Company in DC, Chicago Shakespeare Company, and other venues around the world. In 2016 he received the prestigious President's Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers. He received his Ph. D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University.
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Jamie Herlich McIalwain (she/her) 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. 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). More recently, she is leading Act I of the Campaign for Seattle Rep, a $17.5M comprehensive campaign to expand organizational capacity and increase long-term sustainability. Jamie is a key member of the senior leadership team at Seattle Rep, respected and valued by fellow staff, board members and donors alike. Jamie’s prior 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.
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Merrique Jenson (she/her/hers) is a transgender, queer, second-generation multiracial woman of color who is of White and Mexican heritage. She is the Director of SocialScope Productions focused on multimedia artistic programs, equity development, and intersectional professional development coaching. Merrique’s multimedia projects have been nationally recognized and she has served as an advisor on LGBTQ and racial equity intersectional issues for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, The Coterie Theatre, Mid-America Arts Alliance, and About Face Theatre. She also serves as the Director for Transformations, a trans and gender-expansive youth organization based in Kansas City. She has been working in the fields of harm reduction and anti-violence advocacy and helped create multiple LGBTQ youth drop-in programs in the Midwest. Merrique is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker, published author, and contributing blogger for The Advocate, Out Magazine & HuffPost. Her artistic work has been recognized by the Association for Queer Anthropology. Merrique is a Kansas City Rocket Grants full-project award winner, has delivered keynotes for Yale University, Southern Oregon University, Northwestern University, headlined Seattle Pride and Houston Pride, and has been featured as a guest on The Oprah Show.
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Laurie McCants (she/her/hers) co-founded the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble (BTE) in 1978, where she co-created HARD COAL, OUR SHADOWS (a bilingual puppet play with Egypt’s Wamda), and SUSQUEHANNA: MIGHTY, MUDDY, CROOKED RIVER OF THE LONG REACH. In 1991, she performed with BTE in a US State Department-sponsored tour of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana, and Namibia. In 2010, she 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). She served as Board President of the national Network of Ensemble Theaters, and she serves as a Trustee on the Board of the national Theatre Communications Group. She was composer Julia Wolfe’s "coal region consultant” for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner, ANTHRACITE FIELDS. In 2016, she accepted BTE’s “Outstanding Theatre” award from the National Theatre Conference. Her solo show INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS was presented at the Ko Festival of Performance in Amherst, Massachusetts in 2018, and at BTE in 2019. She is currently researching her new solo show, for which she received a Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a Virtual Exploration Grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters. Because of her work at Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska, she is an adopted Kiks.ádi Tlingit, Frog Clan, Raven Moiety. Her Tlingit name is Khaachguun.
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Eileen J. Morris (she/ her) is the Artistic Director of Houston’s The Ensemble Theatre, one of the largest African American theatres in the world that owns its facility. A native of Chicago, Illinois, she attended Northern Illinois University 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 90 productions including 10 world premieres, 66 regional premieres, and has directed over 84 productions throughout her career. She received the 2021 Broadway World 'Director of the Decade' award for August Wilson 'Fences' and the 2020 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. 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 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 Ensemble Theatre directing credits include: Pretty Fire, I, Too Am America, 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 (she/her/hers) 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. Portes serves on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers society, the Director’s Circle of the Drama League, and the Advisory Committee for the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC), for which she is a co-founder and champion of the LTC Carnaval of New Latinx Work (2015, 2018). In 2016, she was honored with the SDC Zelda Fichandler Award for Directors. Previous honors include the inaugural TCG SPARK Leadership Fellowship, the NEA/TCG Career Development grant for Directors, Drama League Directing Fellowship program and the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Portes received her MFA in Directing from the University of California-San Diego and lives in Chicago with her husband, playwright, Carlos Murillo and their two teenagers, Eva Rose and Carlos Alejandro. lisaportes.com
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Anthony Rodriguez (he/him/his) 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. Mr. Rodriguez’s greatest accomplishment to date was the successful negotiation to relocate Aurora Theatre to downtown Lawrenceville Georgia where it serves as the cornerstone for their revitalization. This nearly $7.5 million complex houses 2 theatres, rehearsal space and offices and opened in the spring of 2007. This successful Partneship with the City of Lawrenceville has led to the upcoming opening of the $40 million Lawrenceville Arts Center campus expansion. Aurora’s accomplishments include: Learning Library an educational theatre program, Aurora’s Apprenticeship for recent college graduates, Aurora Academy and Conservatory where students learn about theatre from working professionals, Aurora’s Musicals by Moonlight an annual outdoor summer concert, Cabaret and Comedy Series musical and stand-up comedy evenings between mainstage events, and Teatro Aurora a professional Spanish-language theatre company that was created to highlight Latino cultural heritage and to help build social bridges in our community. Anthony is a Past Chair of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce (2016), he was the first Latino and Arts leader to serve in that position and is also past Chair of Partnership Gwinnett. Mr. Rodriguez is a member of Screen Actor’s Guild, Theatre Communications Group (Board Member), National Alliance for Musical Theatre (Vice-President) , and serves on the national steering committee for the Latinx Theatre Commons. Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Marist High School, the University of Georgia with a BFA in theatre, the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures’ Leadership Institute and Advocacy Institute. Mr. Rodriguez is a Cancer Survivor and has been cancer free for over 30 years.
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Ellen Richard (she, her, hers) 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 initiative 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.
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Nikkole Salter (she/her/hers) 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, 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 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, a Lily 'Go Work in Theatre' Award, 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
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Hana S. Sharif (she/her/hers) 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 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 Sprott Foundation and Community School in St. Louis.
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Harold Steward (they/them/theirs, he/him/his) is a cultural organizer and arts administrator from Dallas, TX. They joined The Theater Offensive in Boston as the Managing Director in June of 2017 and currently serve as Executive Director and Cultural Strategist, overseeing fund development, communications, and operations throughout the organization. Harold most recently served as Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center, a division of 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 celebrated, displayed, and produced 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, Theater Communications Group, 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 and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Theater Studies at Emerson College. Steward’s current research interests include The Queer Trap Aesthetic in American Theatre and Identity Reclamation—the process in which oppressed individuals reclaim agency over their identity through cultural production.
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