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Meet the Plenary Speakers

Posted By Katharine Chin, Saturday, April 12, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
The 2014 Theatre Bay Area Annual Conference is fast approaching! Prep yourself for the big day by reading up on our most excellent plenary speakers. This year our plenary session topic is "What is the Ideal Theatre Community?" Share your two cents on the ideal theatre community on Twitter by using the hashtag #tbacon14.

Plenary Speakers:

Desdemona Chiang is a stage director based in the San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle. Cofounder of Azeotrope. Directing credits include Playmakers Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Azeotrope, Impact Theatre, FringeNYC, Playwrights Foundation, Golden Thread Productions, Washington Ensemble Theatre, SF One- Minute Play Festival, Unicycle Collective, SIS Productions, Ohio Northern University, University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts, among others.

New play development and assisting credits include: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Intiman Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Arizona Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Magic Theatre, Theatreworks, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, among others. Intersection for the Arts Triangle Lab Artist-Investigator.

Alumnus: SDC Sir John Gielgud Directing Fellow, Drama League Directing Fellow, TCG Young Leader of Color, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. 2012 Gregory Award Recipient for Outstanding Direction.

Member: Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). BA, Integrative Biology and Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies: University of California at Berkeley. MFA Directing: University of Washington.

Desdemona in the news: 
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Heather Kitchen
has more than 36 years of professional experience in performing arts management, planning, financial analysis, education, fundraising, board development, advocacy, policy formulation, union negotiations and program planning.

Prior to joining Dallas Theater Center in 2011, Ms. Kitchen served as executive director of American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco for 14 seasons where she grew the organization from an operating budget of $11 million to more than $19 million. Ms. Kitchen successfully led ACT's first endowment campaign of $31 million. She served as General Manager of The Citadel Theatre in Alberta, Canada, Production Manager at Theatre New Brunswick, and worked as a stage manager at many major regional theaters across Canada including: The Stratford Shakespearean Festival, The Neptune Theatre, and Canadian Stage Company.

Ms. Kitchen holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Waterloo and a Masters of Business Administration from The University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business. She has been an active community leader, serving on the board of directors of Big Brothers and Sisters of San Francisco and the Peninsula, the Commonwealth Club of California and on the San Francisco leadership board of the American Red Cross.

Heather in the news: 
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Meredith McDonough is associate artistic director at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she has directed brownsville song (b side for tray), Noises Off, The Whipping Man, and The Delling Shore

Previously, Ms. McDonough was the Director of New Works at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, CA, where she directed the world premieres of Laura Schellhardt's Upright Grand and Auctioning the Ainsleys, as well as Silent Sky, Now Circa Then[title of show], and Opus (Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards: Best Director and Best Production).

Other San Francisco credits include A Steady Rain at Marin Theatre Company,The Lily's Revenge and the premiere of Anna Ziegler's Another Way Home at the Magic Theatre. Regionally, favorites include Fair Use (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Eurydice (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Hazard County (Actor's Express), and the Washington, D.C. premiere of the musical Summer of '42 (Roundhouse).  

In New York City, Ms. McDonough has developed work with Roundabout Theatre Company, Atlantic Theater Company, Keen Company, and Ars Nova. She was the associate director of The Orchard Project and was the new works director for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, a Drama League Fellow, an alum of The Women's Project Director's Lab, and a Kesselring Award Panelist.

Ms. McDonough received her BS from Northwestern and her MFA in directing from the University of California, San Diego.

Meredith in the news: 

Rob Melrose is the artistic director and cofounder of the Cutting Ball Theater and works nationally as a freelance director. He has directed at The Guthrie Theater (Happy Days, Freud's Last Session, Pen, Julius Caesarwith the Acting Company); The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Troilus and Cressidain association with the Public Theater), Magic Theatre (An Accident, World Premiere); PlayMakers Rep (Happy Days); Black Box Theatre (The Creature, World Premiere, BATCC Award for direction), as well as Actors' Collective, The Gamm Theatre and Crowded Fire Theater, among others.

His directing credits at Cutting Ball include Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night (world premiere), Strindberg Cycle: The Chamber Plays in Rep, Pelleas & Melisande, the Bay Area Premiere of Will Eno's Lady Grey (in ever lower light), The Tempest, The Bald Soprano, Victims of Duty, Bone to Pick and Diadem (world premiere), Endgame, Krapp's Last Tape, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Hamletmachine, As You Like It, The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World among others.

His translations of Woyzeck, Ubu Roi, and Pelleas & Melisande have been published by EXIT Press.  He has taught at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, USF, the University of Rhode Island and Marin Academy.

Rob in the news:


Reggie D. White is an actor/singer/teaching artist. Reggie grew up in Southern California and attended California State University, East Bay where he studied Theatre and Political Science. He has worked all over the San Francisco Bay Area with with Marin Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, TheatreWorks, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Crowded Fire Theater Company, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Intersection for the Arts, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and others.

In addition to his acting work, he also works as a teaching artist
teaching everything from acting to theatre-based literacyand has worked with Berkeley Rep, California Shakespeare Theatre and StageWrite. 

Reggie is also a Theatre Bay Area Titan Award winner, and the current recipient of the 2014 RHE Foundation's Artistic Fellowship. In addition to all of his artistic and education work, he hosts a comedy podcast, called "What's The Tea?"

Reggie in the news:

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Ben Yalom is the founder and co-artistic director of foolsFury Theater Company, a dynamic ensemble based in San Francisco. He has directed many foolsFury productions, including the world premiere of Sheila Callaghan's collaboration with foolsFuryPort Out, Starboard Home (Z Space and La Mama), Doug Dorst's Monster in the Dark, the US premiere of Fabrice Melquiot's The Devil on All Sides (which he also translated), Don DeLillo's Valparaiso, the West Coast premiere of Martin Crimp's seminal avant-garde work Attempts on Her Life and others.

With Inverse Theater he directed the controversial musical Bangers' Flopera in the New York Fringe Festival ("One of the top three musical of the NY Fringe" American Theater Web; "Outstanding New Musical" Talkin Broadway). With Traveling Jewish Theatre he directed Naomi Newman's award-winning one-woman show Fall Down Get Up. Ben has also worked with A.C.T., the Playwrights Foundation, the Magic Theatre, Playground, the Aurora Theatre, and Encore Theatre (San Francisco), The Cell (New York), and Théâtre Ange Magnétique (Paris).

Ben has taught playwriting, directing and physical performance at many colleges and universities throughout the country, most recently at UC Riverside. He has also taught at the Lee Strasberg Institute (NYU/Tisch), the La Mama Umbria Director's Symposium, Stanford University, the National Theater Institute, Brown University, Connecticut College, Vassar College, and the Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre.

Ben holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. His fiction, essays and translations of plays have appeared in magazines nationwide. He was recently elected to the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters
. Ben is the proud servant of a bouncing baby boy.

Ben in the news:

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Tags:  #tbacon14  Annual Conference 

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