Michelle has lived in the Ditmars area for the past 5 years. She has worked with several Queens companies to develop new plays including “Sweating Bullets” with the Ophelia Theater Group, and “Kit and Dabney” with the Secret Theatre. Other directing credits include “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” “The Pawn,” and “Radical.”
She has also been the assistant director for “Suddenly Last Summer” with White Horse Theatre Company, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” with 5th Floor Theatre Company, and for the Off-Broadway production of “Alphabetical Order” with the Keen Company.
She is currently starting to jump into the film world by developing and directing a new web series.
Julie Congress is a founding member/Co-Artistic Director of No.11 Productions and is an actor, director and voiceover artist. Selected acting credits: “Quest for the West: Adventures on the Oregon Trail!” (Kentucky Repertory Theatre, FringeNYC, FRIGID New York, Capital Fringe), “The Eyes of Orbach” (FRIGID New York), “Coosje” (FRIGID New York, Fringe Wilmington), “A Christmas Carol” (Kentucky Repertory Theater), “Medea” (FRIGID New York), “Lysistrata” (FringeNYC, SaratogaArtsFest), “MythUnderstood” (educational touring), “Jet of Blood” (FRIGID New York). Directing credits include: “Survived By” (Columbia University/3LD), “Greatest Place on Earth” (NYU), “The Acharnians” (Assistant Director, Stella Adler Studio of Acting), “Places” (Under St. Marks), “The Elephant Man – the Musical” (Capital Fringe). Julie holds a BS in theatre from Skidmore College, studied at the Moscow Art Theatre School and is the co-chapter director of the New York Thespian Society.
Paul has been a playwright, AEA actor, and director in New York City for eight years. His one act, The Dark Land of the Sun, was produced at the National Comedy Theatre and the Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Summerfest 08’. His full-length, The Landlord, had a successful reading produced by The Drilling Company (directed by John Gould Rubin). Another of his full-length plays, The Land of Snow and Ghosts, was workshopped by The Dramatic Question Theatre Company (NYC) as part of their “Fresh Faces 2012/2013” and has been published online by Independent Playwrights.
Paul’s play Smallpox in the Blankets has been produced as part of Variations Theatre Group’s “Harvest Theatre Festival,” where it advanced to the “finals.” Smallpox was also performed this summer in Toronto, Canada as part of Newborn Theatre’s “Odds and Ends Festival.” His play The Horses in Central Park was produced as part of AND Theatre Company’s “Eclectic Evening of Shorts” and Emerging Artists Theatre’s (EAT) 10th Annual New Work Series.
Paul is excited to be working with Variations Theatre Group and Theatre Southwest on two new projects this fall. Paul is a Eugene O’Neill Award Semi-Finalist, and a 2011 participant of the prestigious Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He is a proud graduate of Webster University where he received a BFA in Theatrical Performance. Follow him on Twitter at @PaulHufker.
Christopher Diercksen specializes in developing and directing new plays. Directing Credits include: By Rights We Should Be Giants, by Nadia Sepsenwol and Tim Van Dyck; Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull translated by Graham Schmidt; The Henchmen by Bryce Norbitz; MASTODON JUAN by Katharine Sherman; Crawl For It by Joshua Conkel; Parabolas by Kelley Girod. As Literary Manager for Lunar Energy Productions, he runs MOONSHINE: a quarterly play development reading series: Seymour by Allison Volk, In Antarctica, Where It Is Very Warm by Jona Tarlin; Dreams Of The Penny Gods by Callie Kimball. Christopher trained at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and is a graduate of Albright College.
I believe that the act of telling a story is a sacred event. Though mediums and technology may change, sharing a space and bearing witness to one another is one of the last touchstones that connect us to our primeval selves. I consider the directing of a piece to be a very specific charge – that of the “custodian of the narrative”. I strive to deliver stories to the audience as purely as possible, as innovatively yet elegantly; whether that means with sweeping special effects or merely the tools of the human body. Whether small or grand, every moment is precious – and my aim is for a short while, for everyone in the space to feel it to be viscerally so. I want to tell epic tales with the subtlety of a motion and a glance. In a word, “big stories told simply.”
Off-Broadway: The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, Come Back to Me (Cherry Lane). FringeNYC: Savage International, Choke City. Other NY credits include Caligula Maximus (La MaMa), Ghosts and Civil Sex (Hudson Guild), A Hatful of Rain (Chuch), Polaroid Stories (Orpheus), Man on the Street and Testiculations (New Media Rep), Antony & Cleopatra (Antony) and Pericles (Antiochus) at Aaron Davis Hall. David is a co-founder of The Seven Collective and member of AEA. He is grateful for those who contribute to the process.
Directing credits: Closer by Patrick Marber (The Seven Collective, Theaterlab), Gluttony by Ed Cardona Jr. (7 Days of Play Theatre Festival), Springtime by Maria Irene Fornes (CG Studio), Thunder in the Index by Phillip Hayes Dean (Staged reading, Theaterlab).
JORDANA WILLIAMS is a theater director. Her latest project is THE PARTICULARS by Matthew MacKenzie at FringeNYC 2012. She most frequently directs plays by Mac Rogers, including SOVEREIGN, BLAST RADIUS, ADVANCE MAN, VIRAL (FringeNYC 2009 Outstanding Production of a Play, FringeNYC Encore Series, 2010 ITBA Oustanding Off-Off Broadway Show), HAIL SATAN (FringeNYC 2007), and three seaons with Vampire Cowboys’ episodic, genre-bending Saturday Night Saloon. Jordana has directed a number of strange and wonderful projects for such companies as Flux Theatre Ensemble, Boomerang Theatre Company, Piper McKenzie, GroundUP Productions, kef Productions, Impetuous Theater Group, The Brick Theater, The 24-Hour Plays and The One-Minute Play Festival. She is the lyricist of the musicals FLEET WEEK (Outstanding Musical- FringeNYC 2005), AIR GUITAR (FringeNYC 2006) and The First Annual St. Ignatius Chanukah Pageant (which she also directed), and a founding member of Gideon Productions.
Hyphenated Artist/Jill of all Trades
Golden Phoenix Productions, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) organization
Jade has dedicated four decades of service to the pursuit of social and human justice through the arts. She has worked on Presidential political campaigns and was a Mayoral appointee as Artistic Producer of a 1400-seat vintage RKO theater where she booked talents such as Chris Rock, George Carlin, Four Tops, Faith Hill, and Martina McBride.
Jade is a screenwriter/executive producer and has worked for ABC Daytime Drama Series “General Hospital” and “One Life to Live” as well as scripted/directed documentary films which have screened at the IFP Market, Asian American Int’l Film Festival, Sundance Producers’ Conference, and the Anthology Film Archives in New York City. She was a Disney/ABC Writing Fellow, Jerome Foundation Fellow, Film/Video Arts Fellow, BlueCat Screenplay Semi-finalist, and a PEN USA Rosenthal Emerging Voices Writing Fellowship Semi-finalist. Jade’s stage plays have had public readings at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Urban Stages, Santa Clara Experimental Theatre Festival and La Jolla Studio Stage.
She served as a New York State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant Panelist for three years and as an International Emmy Awards Juror in Drama Series and Documentaries for five years.
Prior to the film industry, Jade was Principal, Creative Director and Head Copywriter of her own 22-person advertising firm whose clientele included HBO Global, ARTNews, Ford Foundation, Chase Manhattan Bank, Bank of America, Security Pacific, and Merck Pharmaceuticals.
In the corporate arena, while as Vice President of Marketing and Communications, she was responsible for creating an in-house agency umbrella-ing Waverly, Inc.’s four domestic and international advertising and marketing divisions into what is now known as Lippincott/Waverly, a global leader in medical publishing.
In the acting arena, Jade has had recurring roles in television on NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” Warner Bros. TV’s “The Adversaries,” and ABC’s “One Life to Live.” On stage, she has worked directly along side Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in New York’s Central Park production of “Mother Courage and Her Children” written by Oscar and Tony Awardee Tony Kushner and directed by Tony award-winner George C. Wolfe. Her stage credits include working with other iconic directors: Alan Schneider, Blanka Zizka, Liv Ciulei, JoAnne Akalaitis, Gerald Gutierrez, Wendy Goldberg, Dan Wackerman, and Frances Hill, as well as award-winning writers Lucy Thurber, Chung-mi Kim, Rehana Mirza, Ruth Wolff and Lanford Wilson. She has performed roles at the Shakespeare Theatre, The Public Theatre, New York Shakespeare Theatre, Arena Stage, The Wilma Theater, Minetta Lane Theatre, Urban Stages and toured at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and Adelaide Festival in Australia. In film, she is most noted for her lead role in Michael Kang’s Sundance pedigree film, “The Motel,” along with roles in numerous major studio films directed by Tony Scott, Browen Hughes, Andrew Fleming and Spike Lee.
As an educator, Jade’s teaching background includes the Fashion Institute of Technology, University of California/San Diego, New York Film Academy, Raul Julia Institute for the Performing Arts, and private coaching. She has been a return Lecturer at Bard College on Drama in Social and Human Justice and the philosophies of Michel Foucault’s Fearless Speech in relation to dramatic text and dialogue.
She holds a BA in Drama and Literature, BS in Biochemistry and matriculated in the MFA Theatre Program at the University of California, San Diego.
Meredith Packer is a New England transplant who graduated with a BA in Theater from Wagner College in 2005. In 2006, she co-founded Amsterdam Artists, LTD with whom she helped produce & direct two successful productions before parting ways in 2008. She has also produced and directed with the Effable Arts, LTD. She has had brief stints with NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice and with the technical team at New World Stages and AML entertainment. While an artistic nomad, she has made a home in Astoria for the last 5 years.
Laura Pestronk is an actor and director born and raised in New York City. She has lived all over Manhattan and grew up on the Upper East Side. She has since enjoyed living in both Astoria and Long Island City, and now happily resides in beautiful Sunnyside, Queens.
Laura’s directing credits include Feedback by Jane Miller (Squeaky Bicycle Productions), Booze In the Boroughsby Penny Jackson (FACT), 200 Mystical Fictions by Debra Siegel (NY Fringe), Opening Night by Zach Rothman-Hicks (Where Eagles Dare), Jump! by Josh Sohn (Strawberry Festival- Best Play), Unblessed by Kari Bentley Quinn (Packawallop). Assistant directing credits include Marea(Packawallop- dir. Scott Ebersold) and Cardboard Box (Looking Glass- dir. Toby Bercovici).
Acting credits include The Tupperware Convention by Anna Governali , The Women’s Project by Mariana Newhard, Retrospective by Chris Van Strander, Notes BetweenUs by Samantha Lee Manas, Kicked by Eljon Wardally. Laura’s one woman show, Interesting Topics In Significant Similitude Starring Cindy Cinnamon performed at Downtown Art and NYU.
For the past 3 years, Laura has directed Broadway charity concerts raising money for the Humane Society and the Canned Food Drive. Both the annual Broadway Meows and Broadway Can concerts are written and composed by Seth Bisen-Hersh and perform at Don’t Tell Mama.
Laura received her BFA in Drama and Psychology from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She studied at Playwrights Horizons Theater School, concentrating in directing and acting. Laura is coordinator and member of the Pack- a collaborative group of writers, directors and actors. She is a founding member of Mission to ditMARS, a theater and arts collective based in Queens.