WENDY ARONS: Wendy Arons is Associate Professor in the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests include performance and ecology, 18th- and 19th-century theatre history, feminist theatre, and performance and ethnography. She is author of Performance and Femininity in Eighteenth-Century German Woman’s Writing: The Impossible Act (Palgrave MacMillan 2006), and has published articles in Theatre Topics, The German Quarterly, Communications from the International Brecht Society, 1650-1850, Text and Presentation, and Theatre Journal, as well as chapters in a number of anthologies. She has worked as a professional dramaturg with a number of leading directors, including Anne Bogart and Robert Falls, and has translated a number of plays from German into English, including The Good Person of Sezuan in collaboration with Tony Kushner. She guest edited a special issue of Theatre Topics on “Performance and Ecology,” and is currently co-editing an anthology, with Dr. Theresa May, entitled Readings in Performance and Ecology. She is Director of the Performance and Ecology Public Art Project at CMU, and the writer of a blog on local theatre and culture called “The Pittsburgh Tatler.“ Prof. Arons is a member of Hiawatha Project’s Advisory Board and is working as dramaturg on Camino.
KYLE BOSTIAN: Kyle Bostian, MFA/PhD, is a Professorial Lecturer in Theatre at American University. He previously served on the faculties of Point Park University and the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, where he taught theatre history, dramatic literature, playwriting, dramaturgy, and more. He’s presented academic papers at various national conferences. In addition to his endeavors as an educator and scholar, Kyle is a practicing theatre artist, primarily as a director and dramaturg, with an emphasis on new plays. He’s helped develop works by internationally known playwrights Arthur Kopit (Tony nominee and Pulitzer finalist) and Lucy Alibar (Oscar nominee), local writers Mark Clayton Southers (for Pittsburgh Playwrights), Mary Lipple (for NEW stAGE), and Philip Real (for 12 Peers), and many others. He’s held artistic staff positions at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, the Horizon Theatre in Atlanta, and the Pittsburgh Playhouse. He’s also independently produced and directed collaboratively created work through Pittsburgh PACT (Public Action Communitarian Theatre). He joins the Hiawatha Project Advisory Board after participating as dramaturg and workshop performer on JH: Mechanics of a Legend.
ELIZABETH BRADLEY: Elizabeth Bradley is an educator, theatrical producer, festival curator, presenter, and international cultural consultant. She came to the Tisch School of the Arts as Chair of Drama after seven years leading the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. Her appointment at Carnegie Mellon followed a wide-ranging career of almost thirty years in the professional performing arts in her native Canada. Bradley was CEO of the Hummingbird Centre (now Sony Centre) for the Performing Arts in Toronto, a fourteen million dollar organization that presents multi-disciplinary attractions from around the world, including many of the major artists of the last two decades. Her theatrical producing credits include Tony-nominated Broadway productions, Edinburgh Festival premieres and extensive tours to major houses such as the Kennedy Center and New York’s City Center. She has worked directly for artists as manager and agent, and occupied a senior management position for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Gold Medal for outstanding contribution to the arts in Canada. A past Chair of the International Society for the Performing Arts, an organization that links leaders in the arts from 51 countries, Bradley was instrumental in the creation of the Inaugural International Arts Forum in Beijing, China in 2001. She was the Founding Artistic Director of the first edition of the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts held in October of 2004. The Festival brought nine US premieres of cutting edge multi disciplinary performance work to Pittsburgh to complement the visual arts showcased in the Carnegie International. Currently, Bradley is the Chair of the American board of the National Theatre of Scotland and is Senior Artistic Associate for the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Canada under the Artistic Directorship of Des McAnuff.
EDDA FIELDS-BLACK: Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black is an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (Department of History). Fields-Black is the author of Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora (2008, 2014). With Francesca Bray, Peter Coclanis, and Dagmar Schaeffer, Fields-Black co-edited Rice: Global Networks and New Histories (2015, 2017), which won Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2015. She is currently writing Combee: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and the Civil War Transformation of Gullah Geechee Identity, which chronicles an important microcosm of creolization using the experiences of Blacks enslaved on Combahee River rice plantations and freed in the 1863 raid to create a model of cultural change among New World African cultures and their complicated and nuanced relationships to pre-colonial Western Africa, their environments, and the plantation economies in which they were enslaved. For her research on the Gullah Geechee, Fields-Black was awarded a Smithsonian Senior Fellowship at the in the Spring semester of 2013, an Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellowship for the 2013-2014 academic year, and a Senior Ford Foundation Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year.
In addition, Fields-Black is currently collaborating with filmmaker Julie Dash and composer Dr. Trevor Weston to produce Casop: A Requiem for Rice, a lamentation for the repose of the souls of the dead who were enslaved, exploited, and brutalized on Lowcountry South Carolina and Georgia’s rice plantations and who remain unburied, unmourned, and unmarked. Fields-Black is writing the libretto on which Casop is based. Opening February 13, 2019, this musical production for symphony orchestra, choir, and West African drummers and dancers will memorialize the sufferings and sacrifices of Africans enslaved on Lowcountry South Carolina and Georgia Rice plantations and celebrate the critical role their ingenuity, technology, and industry played in the economy of the US South.
MONTEZE FREELAND: Monteze Freeland trained at Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts. As an actor he most recently appeared in principal roles in Aida and South Pacific with Pittsburgh CLO. Additional credits include: The Piano Lesson, Congo Square: The Musical, Christmas Star (Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company), The Electric Baby (Quantum Theatre), Fahrenheit 451 and Of Mice and Men (Primestage Theater Co.), Angels in America (Throughline Theater Co.), JH: Mechanics of a Legend and Camino with The Hiawatha Project, and Radio Golf (Kuntu Rep.) to name a few.
Monteze directed the world premiere of the critically-acclaimed production of Miss Julie, Clarissa and John, Christmas Star, Poe’s Last Night (PPTCO), The Gospel Singer (The LAB Project), Is That A Gun in Your Pocket (Act Out), Reservations Cancelled (PNWF), Harriet Tubman Loved Somebody (Kuntu Rep), and Fences (CCAC- Co-director).
Monteze was commissioned by the Arena Players to write three plays and one musical for their Youth Theatre Company, original work for Tricksters and Truth Tellers, and an adaptation of Caps For Sale for ACH Clear Pathways. In addition to serving as artistic associate for Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company, he is a teaching artist for City Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival. In 2014, he acquired the position of Education Director for Quantum Theatre Company and artistic director of The LAB Project, educating students in the Pittsburgh region. In 2017, his original musical Kalopsia The Musical will premiere through the New Hazlett Theater’s Community Supported Artists (CSA) performance series.
MICHAL FRIEDMAN: Michal Friedman, a native of Israel who also spent extensive time living, studying and conducting research in Spain and Mexico, is the co-founder and director of “Jovenes sin Nombres.” JSN is a local Latino and North American community and arts-based youth program and collective focused on issues around immigration, citizenship and the border and based in the Center for the Arts in Society at Carnegie Mellon University. She is also Adjunct Professor of History at Carnegie Mellon University where she teaches courses on Spanish, Latin American and Jewish History.
Her doctoral research at Columbia University, scholarly articles, and teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Oklahoma and Columbia, in the fields of Hispanic and Jewish history and culture, focuses on the historical coexistence (or “convivencia”) of religious and ethnic minorities, the modern and contemporary recovery of this historical legacy and its relevance to debates over national and transnational identities, immigration and tolerance/intolerance in contemporary Europe and the Americas. Her work also explores discourses of otherness and cultural hybridity in the formation of Hispanic identities and the particular discourse of “Hispanidad” (or Hispanism).
Friedman’s academic background, work with immigrants at the Pittsburgh “Welcome Center for Immigrants and Internationals” NGO, and deep knowledge of Spanish and Latin American cultures and language, has facilitated her work with Jovenes sin Nombres and the issues the group addresses.
JSN is a partner of Hiawatha with which it collaborated on several local public arts projects, and its directors are advisors to the group.
TAVIA LA FOLLETTE: Tavia La Follette is a visual artist, deviser of theatre, performance artist and puppeteer. She is the Founder and Director of ArtUp, a space for artists concerned with exploring the contextual inter-relationships of theatre, visual arts, movement, media and sound. La Follette’s work has toured all over Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia. Her politically-driven work has been the subject of articles in The Economist, Rolling Stone Magazine and The New York Times. La Follette joined Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Arts in Society in the fall of 2010 as the first Artist-in-Residence. She is currently the director of The Firefly Tunnels, an exchange of ideas through the language of Performance Art between artists in Pittsburgh and Egypt.
RYAN McMILLEN: Ryan McMillen is a native of Pittsburgh, PA, having grown up in the North Hills. He attended North Allegheny High School and then graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. McMillen graduated with his degree in podiatric medicine from Temple University where he served as president of the student body. He completed his surgical residency at UPMC in 2010. During his residency, Dr. McMillen was published in the most prestigious orthopedic journal, The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, and won a “Top 10 Paper” award at the Orthopaedic Trauma Association annual meeting in 2010. He is also an author of numerous research papers, invited articles and book chapters on foot and ankle surgery. Ryan completed his orthopaedic foot and ankle fellowship at the Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center at UPMC in 2011 and is board-qualified in foot and ankle surgery. He currently lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. He and his wife are expecting their first child this winter.
ANNE MUNDELL: Anne Mundell is the Associate Professor of Scene Design and the Director of Growing Theater Outreach. Growing Theater is a program that pairs Carnegie Mellon student mentors with 5th Graders from an at-risk population as they write and produce a play over the course of eight months. As a professional Scene Designer she has designed and painted scenery for hundreds of projects throughout the United States. Anne serves on the Boards of Directors of The Murals Project (Marilyn G. Rabb Foundation) and Pittsburgh City Theater.
VANESSA ROSENBERGER CHEATHAM: Vanessa Rosenberger Cheatham is the Advancement Officer for Carnegie Mellon University and specializes in fundraising and alumni relations for the College of Fine Arts. She has worked in the non-profit sector for arts and human service organizations for the past twelve years from the grassroots level to large-scale companies. Currently she is earning her Masters in Non-profit Management from the Heinz College of Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.