Pushing the Boundaries in live theatre and thriving outside of your comfort zone
Cast and Creative Staff
Grounded Cast and Creative Staff
JOAN SMITH (nee CROKER)
Joan became an Annapolis resident in 2007 when she matriculated into the Graduate Institute at St. John’s College. To her studies she brought a genuine affection for, and a professional background in, theatre. Specifically, live performance. She holds a BFA in Acting from Florida State University, a Masters in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College and a theological studies degree from University of the South. Before arriving in Annapolis, she had a career as a professional actor. Centered in her original hometown of Atlanta, Joan spent more than 20 years as an actor in regional theatre, and also appeared in network television roles, major motion picture roles, and a professional world premiere production in Europe. Such professional productions include the title role in Amy’s View, Jesus Hopped the A-Train (Mary Jane), The Importance of Being Ernest (Cecily), Bash (Medea), The Woods (Ruth), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Titania), Measure for Measure (Isabelle), Raised in Captivity (Bernadette), and Twelfth Night (Viola). In addition, she was honored to star in the world premieres of several productions in Atlanta, including The Harvey Milk Show, You Belong to Me, Rain, Some Fish No Elephants, The Cockfighter and Tirade for Three/Virtuosity – which also premiered in Munich, Germany.
JESSICA PHELPS WEST
Jessica Phelps West is a professional theatrical artist, with specialties in Directing, Acting, and Education. Ms. West began her career in Atlanta after receiving her B.A. in Speech and Theatre Arts from Western Carolina University and M.F.A. in Acting from the University of Georgia. She became an artistic leader for the city, forging strong reputations, first as an actor with a long list of memorable roles that includes The Angel in Alliance Theatre’s Angels in America, four separate turns as Queen Elizabeth I in four separate titles, the conniving Regina in The Little Foxes, Maureen in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a striking Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, and a solo command performance of Hungarian Medea for the President of Hungary. Later she distinguished herself as one of Atlanta’s premier theatrical directors. For many years she served as Assistant Artistic Director for the renowned Theatre in the Square, located just north of Atlanta. Ms. West’s acting and directing work has received critical acclaim, including several nominations and wins for the Suzi Bass Award, Atlanta’s top theatrical accolade. Ms. West has also worked as a guest artist in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Texas, and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers unions. Ms. West heads the MFA directing program in the School of Theatre at Florida State University.
Michael Keck is a composer, playwright, and performer whose music has been featured at the Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Alliance Theater, Milwaukee Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Portland Center Stage, and many other American theaters. International credits include the National Theater of Croatia, the Barbican Theatre Center, and Bristol Old Vic. As an actor, Keck has performed in productions at the McCarter Theater, Berkeley Rep, La MAMA, primary Stages in NYC, and others. He is co-author, composer, and host of the Holidays for Children video series, and frequently tours his solo performance of Voices in the Rain . A teaching artist, he designs and facilitates creative writing and performance workshops in universities, community centers, schools, and correctional facilities.
Molly Shayna Cohen is a multi-hyphenate film and theatre artist from Baltimore. Since moving to New York last spring, they have worked at En Garde Arts, Mabou Mines, Theaterlab, Queens Theatre, and more. Their interactive interview-based multimedia installation Weaving a New Narrative was the recipient of the Maryland Humanities Major Grant Award and traveled across the state. Molly is the Associate Artistic Director of Theatre of the Electric Mouth, founding member of film collective Lux Daze Media, and company member of the award-winning experimental theatre group The Acme Corporation. She was the recipient of the Best Actor of Baltimore Award in 2020. Current MFA in Directing candidate from Brooklyn College. mollyshaynacohen.com
Cameron (they/them) is a Baltimore based stage manager and theatre technician. Their goal is to foster safe, inclusive working environments everywhere they work and empower others to do the same. Recent credits include Trouble In Mind (University of Maryland Baltimore County) and Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Fells Point Corner Theatre).
Renata Taylor-Smith (she/her) is a senior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County studying Theatre Design and Production with a concentration in Lighting Design. She is a lighting designer, programmer, and lighting technician. Her theatrical journey began as an actor in her middle school drama class and continued throughout high school, where she explored light and sound board operation, scenic painting, prop making, and stage management. Her love for Lighting was discovered during college where she took a lighting design class and fell in love with the craft. Past roles include co-designing the lights for the UMBC’s Theatre department’s production of You Can See Me In The Dark (2022), assistant lighting designing The Grown Up (2023) at UMBC, Blue Door (2022) at Silver Spring Black Box Theatre, and The Amish Project (2023), which was performed in Munich Germany with the Munich Film Academie. She looks forward to lighting designing UMBC’sl Black Box Show Shout: The Queer Theatre Project this upcoming fall.
AXIS STUDIO DESIGN ISABEL & MORIAH CURLEY-CLAY
Scenic and Set Design
The Curley-Clays’ theatrical work can be seen on regional stages across the U.S. Recent credits include: phenomenal Woman (North Carolina Black Rep, Ensemble theatre Houston)Network (Florida Studio Theatre), Kim’s Convenience (Aurora Theatre, Horizon theatre) Hands Up (Alliance Theatre); Two Trains Running (Triad Stage); Fannie ( True colors, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Pittsburgh City theatre), Reparations *2020 AUDELCO award best set design (Billie Holiday theatre, NYC) The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Ruby (Alabama Shakespeare); Isabel and Moriah’s designs were featured in American Theatre Magazine’s Inaugural Roll Call, 7 Theatrical People To Watch, and are both members of USA 829. axisstudiosdesign.com
Eric Nightengale is co-artistic director of Anthropological Theatricals and a founding member of Concrete Temple Theatre in New York City and The Acme Corporation in Baltimore. He served as artistic director of 78th Street Theater Lab from 1995 through 2008. New York design/tech credits include work with Keen Company, PS 21, The Flea, Playfactory Manbangzen, Masons Holdings, Penguin Rep, The Brick, 59E59, Dixon Place, Minetta Lane, LaMama, The Acting Company, Symphony Space, Cherry Lane Theatre, St. Clements, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Barrow Group, HERE, and Classic Stage Company. Chicago credits include work with Victory Gardens Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists Workshop, and Second City.
Applause Unlimited co-founder, Christopher Hudert is a versatile artist whose skills include script writing, sculpting, set and puppet construction, puppetry, clowning, stilt walking, juggling and much more. He began his career in theater at an early age, performing with The Children’s Theater of Children and Puppetfest Productions as well as other area companies. Christopher soon put his Theater Education studies on hold to attend Ringling Bros Clown College. Offered a chance to join the Circus, he accepted a clown contract which took him on tours across the United States and Japan. A 9 year veteran of Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus, Christopher has performed live for millions and appeared in TV shows, commercials, magazines and newspapers in both countries. He was Boss Clown for Ringling Bros. before leaving the show to join Master Puppeteer Terry Snyder in the creation of Applause Unlimited. He has returned to Clown College as an instructor and has given lectures and workshops on both clowning and puppetry throughout the country. Christopher is the Stage Consultant and the Youth Services Coordinator for Puppeteers of America and serves on the Board of The National Puppetry Guild.
Adrian D. Cameron is a Brooklyn-based theater/performance/media artist and technologist with over twenty years of experience in a diversity of creative fields, including media design, theater, performance art, sound design, and computational creativity. He is an alumnus of Brooklyn College’s Performance & Interactive Media Arts MFA program, and as the Founder/Bureau Chief of Irrational Robot Bureau he presented numerous original experimental theater productions in Seattle, WA. His most recent work explores the creative applications of both established and emergent technologies and their intersections with live performance, notably in the areas of video/projection/digital media design, the construction of interactive systems, and generative artwork development. adriandcameron.com
Sharon Levy is the President of Dovetail Productions, founded in 1997 to develop and produce new work. Over more than two decades, she has worked in close collaboration with Chevalier and MacArthur Fellow, Lee Breuer, whose work has been lauded for expanding the boundaries of storytelling in the theatre. These works include The Gospel at Colonus, Mabou Mines DollHouse, La Divina Caricatura, and Porco Morto, among others, which have been performed at venues in New York and across the U.S., including The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, the Apollo Theater, St Ann’s Warehouse, the Ellen Stewart Theater/La MaMa, the Spoleto Festival USA and the Kennedy Center, and have toured worldwide including to the Edinburgh Festival, The Athens Festival, the Vienna Festival, the Israel Festival, and the Brisbane Festival, among others. Ms. Levy is editor for Getting Off: Lee Breuer on Performance, published by Theater Communications Group in 2019. Born in Adelaide, Australia, Ms. Levy has a degree in theatre from the Flinders University of South Australia. She has twice received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mary has been a Lighting Designer for the better part of her life. She completed her first design at 18 in a small community theatre in Augusta GA many years ago now.. She would go on to design all manner of live performances including ballet/dance, theatre, musicals, and even the occasional rock & roll show. She has traveled up and down the east coast and into the Midwest designing and mentoring up and coming designers in many universities. Mary is also the Production Manager for Ballethnic Dance Company based in Atlanta GA. She is also a loving daughter, partner, stepmother, sister, and friend, who is deeply passionate about people and community.BA