Old Plays, New Faces: Meet the Panelists!

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Desdemona Chiang is a stage director based in Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area. Co-founder of Azeotrope. Directing credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, A Contemporary Theatre, Aurora Theatre Company, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, Golden Thread Productions, Washington Ensemble Theatre, among others. Intersection for the Arts Triangle Lab Artist-Investigator. Adjunct Faculty, Cornish College of the Arts. Awards/Affiliations: Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Theatre, SDC Sir John Gielgud Directing Fellowship, Drama League Directing Fellowship, TCG Young Leader of Color, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. BA: UC Berkeley. MFA Directing: University of Washington. Upcoming projects: Smart People (Long Wharf Theatre), As You Like It (Cal Shakes)

Melissa Hillman is the artistic director of Impact Theatre in Berkeley, which specializes in new plays by emerging writers and reimagined classics. She holds a PhD in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley and has taught there, at CSU East Bay, De Anza College, and Maybeck High School, as well as guest lecturing at both Georgetown and Stanford. She was the recipient of the 2015 SFBATCC Gene Price Award for her contribution to Bay Area Theatre. She has written for Huffington Post, Theatre Bay Area Magazine, Southern Theatre Magazine. Quartz, and many others, but most often writes for her own blog, Bitter Gertrude, found at bittergertrude.com.

Lisa Portes is a Cuban-American director, producer and educator who currently heads the MFA Directing Program at The Theatre School at DePaul University and serves as Artistic Director of Chicago Playworks for Young Audiences. She is a founding member of the Latina/o Theatre Commons and recently produced the nationally acclaimed LTC Carnaval of New Latina/o Plays in Chicago. Lisa has directed and developed work at numerous regional and Chicago theatres including Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Playwrights Horizons, the Public Theatre, Sundance Theatre Lab, the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, McCarter Theatre and South Coast Repertory Theatre’s Hispanic Playwrights Project. Awards include the TCG SPARK Leadership Fellowship, TCG/NEA Career Development Grant for Directors, Drama League Directors’ Fellowship, Illinois Council of the Arts Award and a Fulbright Fellowship. She lives in Chicago with her husband, playwright, Carlos Murillo and their two children, Eva Rose and Carlos Alejandro.


The panel will be moderated by Cal Shakes Artistic Director Eric Ting. For more information about this Civic Dialogue, see our previous blog post, and to RSVP, click here.

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