Guest Artist Biographies
Sarah Benson became Artistic Director of the OBIE-award winning Soho Rep in fall 2006. She moved to New York from London on a Fulbright for Theater Direction. Sarah directed Arion Theatre, who performed in London, Oxford, Edinburgh and Rome, often creating site-specific works. New York credits include: NY Premiere Blasted (Soho Rep); Erin Courtney?s Quiver & Twitch (New York Stage & Film); The Lottery (HERE Arts Center); Jonathan Bernstein?s Gregory Must Sweat! (Bric Studio); Jason Grote?s The Island (Sanctuary). The majority of prime essays on the topic of Arion Theatre can be found at our main page.
At Soho Rep she has commissioned/produced new works by artists including: Annie Baker, Thomas Bradshaw, John Jesurun, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Jenny Schwartz, Theater of the Two Headed Calf & Anne Washburn. She co-curated the PRELUDE Festival at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center for two seasons.
Richard Berentsen is a production designer/art director based in Los Angeles. His work includes television: the Grammy Awards, Talk Soup and Saturday Night Live; film; commercials: Nike, Chrysler and Yamaha; and music videos: Brill, John McLaughin, and Michael Bubl?.
Louis Bonham received his undergraduate and law degrees at UT Austin (BA (Plan II) 1983; JD 1986), and practices law with the irm of Osha Liang, L.L.P. He is a frequent speaker on intellectual property law, and has been interviewed as a commentator by major media outlets such as Bloomberg, Agency France Presse, the National Law Journal, and USA Today.
David Bjurstrom, widely recognized as one of the country?s foremost artists in graphite pencil, is perhaps less known but no less respected for his passion for photography that has spanned over 20 years.
His commercial photographic work has appeared in numerous national publications and, for 12 years, he was Senior Photographer for the Harry & David and Jackson & Perkins catalogs where his images consistently received high praise in national catalog reviews and competitions. In 2003, his book Photographing Your Garden (Sterling Publishing, New York) was released to wide acclaim. He has photographed other books including, of interest to the UT Theatre & Dance Department, Associate Chair Susan Mickey?s book Country Chic Table Settings.
Through his corporate commercial work, David has wide-ranging experience in photographing events from intimate individual portraits to large meetings and events. He has also gathered extensive experience in live music performance and theatrical photography which, most recently, included two UT Theatre & Dance productions in the Fall of 2008: Still Life with Iris and A Midsummer Night?s Dream.
David?s current explorations in photography have led him to the use of digital manipulation, creating images that cross the boundary between photographs and paintings, leading to some exciting new horizons.
Victoria Brown, Ph.D. A professor of Theatre Arts at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. for twenty years, Victoria founded (in 2002) and is the director of Lucy School: an Arts-Based School and Teacher Training Center in Middletown, MD. She conducts artist and teacher training workshops nationwide and currently partners with schools to facilitate transition to an arts integration program. Victoria is co-author with Sarah Pleydell of the award winning book, The Dramatic Difference: Drama in the Preschool and Kindergarten Classroom (Heinemann).
David M. Conte is the co-author of Theatre Management: Producing and Managing the Performing Arts, and he is the manager of the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre on Broadway. He also teaches Theatre Management at Gateway College in Manhattan.
Early in his career, he worked for several seasons in summer stock theatres in New England. Following graduate school, he spent four years at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in the 1970s as a production manager. Mr. Conte has toured as company manager with musicals such as A Chorus Line, Annie, and the Pirates of Penzance. He has managed the US tours of the Bolshoi Opera, Bolshoi Ballet and The Joffrey Ballet. Mr. Conte holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Administration from the Yale School of Drama.
Wendy is the Artistic Director of the National Playwrights Conference at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Having re-established the conference as a national leader in the field, in the 07-08 season, the O?Neill celebrated nine world premiere productions of projects developed at the Conference during Wendy?s tenure.
Wendy?s directing credits include: Durango (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Doubt (co/pro Actors Theater of Louisville/Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Third, Living Out, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball and The Clean House (Denver Center), The Chosen (Actors Theatre of Louisville) and world premieres productions of Deathbed (Mc/Ginn Cazale-NYC), False Creeds (Alliance Theatre), and A Marriage Minuet (Florida Stage). She also served as a creative advisor on the musicals Rock of Ages and the upcoming In Transit (Off Broadway for Richard Frankel Productions).
For five seasons Wendy served as Artistic Associate at Arena Stage in Washington, DC where her directing credits include, The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?, Proof, Book of Days, On the Jump, and the revival of K2 for the theater's 50th anniversary.
Marlina Gonzalez?s eclectic background and passion for multicultural pro-activism comes from her experience as curator and artist for media arts and theater.
As Programs Manager for Intermedia Arts, she has curated Words! Camera! Action! (performative responses to film documentary); Art and Healing (visual arts, dance, spoken word, dialogue); Moving Lives Speakers Bureau (sharing immigrant stories through art); The UnConvention (using digital and public art to ?unscript the political process? during the 2008 Republic National Convention).
Her performance art ranges from street theater in Asia (Philippine Educational Theater Association), politicized adaptations of absurd theater (Ionesco?s Chairs) to site-specific public happenings (Dining OUT: an examination of food, history, culture, religion). Walker Art Center) and self-reflexive media satires (In The Mirror?Pangea World Theater).
As Walker Art Center?s Film/Video Assistant Curator, she presented retrospectives and onstage dialogues with Yoko Ono, Spike Lee, Tom Hanks, Gordon Parks, Liv Ullman. She has a BA in Broadcast Communications (University of the Philippines) and MA in Radio/TV/Film (University of North Texas).
The Museum of Modern Art cites Amy Greenfield as having "developed a new form of video-dance, choreographing for the video camera and television screen" and Cineaste magazine confirms her as "the most important practitioner of experimental film dance film working today." Greenfield's award-winning cine-dance films have been screened atsuch major international film and video festivals as Berlin; London; New York; Edinburgh; Houston; American Dance Festival; Dance On Camera at Lincoln Center. Her multimedia performance has garnered a 10 Best in Arts & Entertainment in The New York Times ("Magical! Unforgettable!",Jennifer Dunning).
Her experimental feature film-dance, "Antigone/Rites Of Passion" was screened in the 2004 summer Olympics pre-celebrations in Athens Greece. Her shorts have been screened in one-woman shows at such prestigious venues as the Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; American Museum of the Moving Image and broadcast on PBS; WNET; Spanish national TV; Russian national TV.
In 2007 her workwas featured in Cine Dance In America at the National Gallery of Art,Washington, DC, and she is now featured in the First Biennial of Women In the Arts. She is graduate of Harvard University and has written extensively on film and dance.
Kelly Hargraves as a choreographer from Canada who lives in Los Angeles. She has made several dance films that have been shown extensively at festivals throughout the world, the most recent entitled Cargo, which is also available on DVD. She travels annually lecturing and presenting programs of curated dance films at festivals. She is a co-founder of Dance Camera West in Los Angeles and a board member of the Silver Lake Film Festival and the Downtown Los Angels Film Festival.
An avid, indie/punk music lover, Kelly was an on-air broadcast DJ in Canada for over a decade first at the Windsor/Detroit station CJAM FM and then in Montreal at CKUT FM. She has also written dance reviews for many publications in Canada and the US. Kelly is currently working with the UCLA Live performing arts series at UCLA and with independent film distributor First Run Features as a publicist.
Linda Hartzell has been the Artistic Director of Seattle Children?s Theatre and its Education Programs since 1984. She received her BA in Education from the University of Washington. She has directed over 45 plays for SCT, over 35 of which were world premieres, including Busytown, Addy: An American Girl Story, Goodnight Moon, Peter and the Wolf, The Red Badge of Courage, Holes, Pink and Say, Still Life with Iris, The Odyssey, Afternoon of the Elves, and The Rememberer.
She recently directed The Grapes of Wrath at Intiman Theatre, and the Australian premiere of Afternoon of the Elves for Adelaide?s Windmill Performing Arts and the Sydney Theatre Company. Ms. Hartzell was formerly on the board of Theatre Communications Group, and she is a former vice president of the United States Center for the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (TYA/USA).
She was recently honored with the prestigious Gregory Falls Sustained Achievement Award, given by Theatre Puget Sound, and the Mayor?s Arts Award. She has also been inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. She was a recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from UW College of Arts and Sciences in 1994.
Sherry Kramer?s work has been seen at theaters across the country and abroad, including the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, InterAct Theatre, Yale Repertory Theater, Soho Rep, Ensemble Studio Theater, New York's Second Stage, The Woolly Mammoth, The Theater of the First Amendment, and in Austin at Frontera at Hyde Park, UT?s Payne Stage, and last spring at Rude Mechs in a co-production with Red Then.
She is a recipient of N E A, New York Foundation for the Arts and McKnight Fellowships, the Weissberger Playwriting Award and a New York Drama League Award (What a Man Weighs), the L A Women in Theater New Play Award (The Wall of Water), The Jane Chambers Playwriting Award (David?S Redhaired Death), and a commission from A.S.K (The Mad Master). She was the first national member of New Dramatists, and teaches playwriting at Bennington College and in the MFA programs of the Michener Center for Writers, UT Austin and the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, where she was previously head of the workshop.
Megan Monaghan is the Artistic Program Director of the Lark Play Development Center, where she oversees all of the organization?s artistic programming. Prior to that she served as the Literary Manager of South Coast Repertory Theatre, where she spearheaded the theatre?s new play commissioning and development work and served as co-director of the Pacific Playwrights Festival. She previously served as the Literary Director of the Alliance Theatre, the Director of Playwright Services at The Playwrights? Center, and the Director of New Play Development at Frontera @ Hyde Park Theatre.
Her freelance work has included the O?Neill National Playwrights Conference, the New Harmony Project, Actors Express, Horizon Theatre and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She has served on panels for the NEA, TCG and NAMT, and a guest teacher at the Iowa Writers? Workshop, the Yale School of Drama graduate programs, Brown University, UCSD, and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. In 2002 she received the Elliott Hayes Award in dramaturgy. Ms. Monaghan earned an MFA in directing from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA from Emory University.
Bruce Ostler is a co-owner of Bret Adams Ltd, which is a full service agency that represents a select list of over 200 artists including writers, directors, composers, designers and actors in all sectors of the entertainment industry. In his position as head of the literary department, Bruce has been instrumental in developing the careers of: Mary Zimmerman, Stephen Wadsworth, Sarah Ruhl, Keith Glover, Marion McClinton, Rebecca Gilman and the late great Max Roach.
Previously Bruce has worked at various agencies including the Fifi Oscard Agency and Don Buchwald Agency, and has also held positions at a number of different theatres including Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, BAM, North Light Theatre and Lincoln Center. He?s worked in all aspects of production including, general management, publicity, fundraising, and stage/company management. He was an associate producer/writer on a number of documentary films for Bayley Silleck Productions, including a film for Innovation called: Paul McCready, for PBS: Art of the Western World and various other shorts and industrials.
He was a founding member of The Practical Theatre Company in Chicago where he produced and directed a number of productions. Together with Arthur Cantor, Brad Hall and Julia Louis Dreyfus, he produced a commercial off-Broadway production of Practical Theatre?s BABALOONEY! at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York City. Together with Brad Hall he sold a pilot script to RKO pictures called The Funny Business. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.
Rub?n Polendo is artistic director of Theater Mitu; applauded as ?one of the ten top, hot companies in New York? (The New York Times). Polendo and Theater Mitu?s work has been developed and presented at A.C.T. in San Francisco; the McCarter Theater in Princeton, NJ; the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; South Coast Rep in Costa Mesa, Ca; The Alliance Theater in Atlanta, GA; The Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati; Patravadi Theater in Bangkok?Thailand; UNAM/CUT in Mexico City; Visthar in Bangalore?India; The Perseverance Theater in Alaska; and the Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, INTAR, Blue Light, The Juilliard School, New York University, NAATCO, The Skirball Center for the Performing Arts and New York Theatre Workshop.
Polendo has written, adapted and directed several works with his company. Most recently, Mitu presented Dhammashok (as developed at the Sundance Theater Lab and presented as part of The Mark Taper Forum ON STAGE series); Ahraihsak (as part of the Public Theater?s Under the Radar Festival); a radical deconstruction of the musical HAIR (at New York?s Skirball Center); and developed their new piece, DR.C (or how I learned to act in eight steps) at the Sundance Theater Laboratory and Robert Wilson?s Watermill Center and will premier it this spring at Three-Legged Dog Arts and Technology Center. Mitu also premiered two pieces in Bangkok, Thailand (A Midsummer Night?s Dream and a devised piece entitled String of Fragmentation), and presented a radical adaptation of Arthur Miller?s Death of a Salesman in New York this fall.
Polendo and various company members teach Mitu?s Training Methodology called Whole Theater at several institutions including NYU/Playwrights Horizons Studio, Juilliard, Bard College, Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, National University of Mexico, and CUNY- Graduate Program. The company also runs a yearly summer Intensive in Bangkok, Thailand and another in Bangalore, India where artist and company members train with various masters in classical Thai and Indian arts.
Polendo holds a Biochemistry Degree from Trinity University, an MA in non-Western theatre from Lancaster University, UK and an MFA in directing from the UCLA School of Theatre (Chair, Peter Sellars). He has trained with the Kalamandalam in Kerala, India; Mnouchkine?s Th?atre Du Soleil in Paris, France and Peter Brook?s International Centre for Theatre Creations. Ruben Polendo is Artistic Associate at New York Theater Workshop where Theater Mitu is Company-in-Residence.
Eddie Raymond has worked as a stagehand in and around San Francisco for 33 years. For 23 of those years he worked primarily for the American Conservatory Theater as a builder, flyman, master carpenter, scenic shop foreman and technical supervisor with occasional stints at Industrial Light and Magic as a mechanical effects technician and Construction Coordinator. Following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, Eddie added the job of "technical liaison" for ACT in the rebuilding of the Geary Theater, overseeing the performance technology aspects of the job to assure both design and building met the requirements of ACT in the 21st century.
He is currently Vice President and the Training Director of IATSE Local #16, assisting the Business Agent while running the training program and doing field organizing. He is a member of the Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) Board of Directors and sits on the Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) Council as co-chair of the Rigger Certification Working Group that developed the ETCP Rigging Certifications. Eddie is also the Vice President of the San Mateo County Central Labor Council of the AFL/CIO.
Mr. Seago is a professional actor, director, a master storyteller and Deaf culture consultant. He has acted, performed and conducted classes, workshops, and residencies internationally over the last 30+ years. Billy has acted in professional productions across the United States and Europe, including work with Speeltheater in Holland; Seattle Children?s Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre; Stage One, Louisville, Kentucky; Fulton Opera House, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and the National Theatre of the Deaf, Connecticut. He was a co-founder and Director of the Deaf Youth Drama Program at the Seattle Children?s Theatre. Billy has worked intensively the last 3 years with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as the sign coach for their sign language interpreted performances as well as with the Seattle-area theatres including the Repertory, 5th Avenue, Intiman, and the Paramount.
Mr Seago is the featured artist and collaborator for Sign-A-Vision Institute?s 'Stories in the Attic' series and the featured instructor/collaborator in Sign Enhancer?s 'The Bravo Family' ASL video course. He is also one of the featured instructors in Carol Padden/Tom Humphry?s "Learning ASL" I & II.
He is also a proud papa of 2 beautiful children, Ruby and Tucker. Don?t get him started on them!
Mac Wellman?s recent plays are: Bitter Bierce, at P S 122; Jennie Richee, with the Ridge Theater, at The Arts at St Ann; Anything?s Dream at Mulhenberg College; and Antigone, with Big Dance Company at Dance Theater Workshop. He has published two novels with Sun & Moon Press: The Fortuneteller and Annie Salem; Sun & Moon also published A Shelf in Woop?s Clothing, a book of poems, From the Other Side of the Century II, an anthology of plays (co-edited with Douglas Messerli), Two Plays: The Land Beyond the Forest, and Crowtet 1 and 2, the latter two volumes under the Green Integer imprint. Roof Books has recently published his Miniature, a book of poems.
He has received numerous award: NEA, NYFA, Rockefeller, McNight and Guggenheim Fellowships. In 1990 he received an Obie for Best American Play (Bad Penny, Crowbar, and Terminal Hip). In 1991 He received another Obie for Sincerity Forever. He has received a Lila Wallace-Readers? Digest Writers Award, and most recently the 2003 Obie for Lifetime Achievement. He is the Donald I. Fine Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College.
Guest Artist Ideas
Do you have thoughts about which artists from around the country (and the world) should come to work alongside our students as respondents to new work?
Don't wait! Email and include the following:
- Who you suggest as a Guest Artist (Name, Title, Affiliation)
- Why he/she would make a good Guest Artist.
- How to get in touch with the Guest Artist (if you know).