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Jennifer Sunshine Appointed New Development Director of The Drama League

The Drama League announced today that Jennifer Sunshine has been appointed the company's new Development Director, beginning July 11th, 2016. Ms. Sunshine is the final new addition to The Drama League's leadership, three of whom were announced last month: Associate Producer Travis LeMont Ballenger, Program Director Sherri Eden Barber, and Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, whose position was expanded to Executive Artistic Director. The announcement caps a transformative season for The Drama League, in which the organization broke fundraising records, served over 3,000 artists, and celebrated its 100th anniversary.

"Jennifer Sunshine is the final addition to our new leadership team, and we may have saved the best for last," said Mr. Stelian-Shanks. "The Drama League is, first and foremost, a thriving community of professional artists and arts lovers. Ms. Sunshine will be at the forefront of our community-building activities, working with government agencies, funders, and advocates across the country to ensure that our award-winning programs have the resources to grow and prosper."

Ms. Sunshine comes to The Drama League from Second Stage Theatre, where she was the Manager of Major Gifts. She built her career at such lauded institutions as the Metropolitan Opera, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and New York City Opera. While studying vocal performance and opera studies at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, she developed a passion for and commitment to serving artists and the New York community she has always called home. Ms. Sunshine will oversee the entire Development Department in a wide range of fundraising and outreach initiatives.

"I am thrilled to be joining the Drama League, a vital and cutting-edge organization that has a tradition of advocating for the professional, personal and creative development of artists," said Ms. Sunshine. "I am honored to be a part of their rich history and I look forward to growing with the company as they enter their second century."

Travis LeMont Ballenger, who assumes the newly created position of Associate Producer, was most recently the Associate Producer for Dallas Theater Center. Over his career, Mr. Ballenger has produced a wealth of playwrights during his tenures at Arena Stage, Market Road Films, and The Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Mr. Ballenger served as an Associate Producer for Market Road Films (for National Geographic) and field producer on Lynn Nottage's The Reading Project with the Labyrinth Theatre. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.

Sherri Eden Barber, named the new Program Director, is a New York-based theatre director and Artistic Associate at Rattlestick Theater. Recent credits include Happily After Ever (59E59, Edinburgh Fringe), Gordy Crashes(Ricochet Collective), Mr. Landing Takes A Fall (The Flea), Herman Kline's Midlife Crisis (The Beckett), The Lightning Thief (Theatreworks USA), 24 Hour Plays on Broadway (American Airlines Theatre), Latrell: Live Tonight! (Joe's Pub). Ms. Barber has developed new works with Rattlestick, Orchard Project, The Flea, Culture Project, and Old Vic. Selected Associate/Assistant directing credits include Daphne's Dive (Signature Theatre), Faust: The Concert with Randy Newman (Encores! New York City Center), Family Furniture (The Flea), The Village Bike (MCC), Side Effects(MCC), and These Girls (Glamour Magazine). She is the Core Company Director for The Orchard Project, a Drama League Directing Fellow, recipient of the US/UK Exchange Award, and holds an MFA from The New School for Drama.

Gabriel Stelian-Shanks, who has been with The Drama League since 2001, will take on the newly expanded role of Executive Artistic Director. One of the directors of the Obie-winning Village Fragments for Peculiar Works Project, he most recently conceived and led the promenade performance piece Imagining America: A Walk Through the American Avant-Garde at both the Varna International Theatre Festival (2014) and its restaging at New Bulgarian University (2015). His productions have been seen at HERE Arts Center, the New Ohio, The Bushwick Starr, Ars Nova, Dixon Place, CAP21, Abingdon Theatre, Bank Street Theatre, Peculiar Works Project, New Georges and at Judson House (NYC); A Contemporary Theatre/ACT (Seattle); Theatre Project,14 Karat Cabaret, and AXIS Theatre (Baltimore); Arena Stage, Source Theatre Company, Theatre Conspiracy, DCAC, Tavern Stage and the Corcoran Gallery (Washington,DC); OutProud Theatre, 14th Street Playhouse, and Seven Stages (Atlanta); and venues in Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, Sofia and Budapest, among others. He is currently directing Peter Handke's Self-Accusation for a five-city European tour in 2017.

It was previously announced that longtime Artistic Director, Roger T. Danforth, would retire from the company to pursue other artistic opportunities. He is currently in his twenty-first season as the director of The Drama League's award-winning fellowship and residency programs, collectively known as The Drama League Directors Project.

The Drama League of New York, since 1916, has been at the forefront of the American Theatre community, providing talent, audiences, and prosperous support. It is one of the nation's oldest continuously-operating, not-for-profit arts advocacy and education organizations. Through its programs, initiatives and events, The Drama League serves over 3,000 artists and 15,000 audience members each season with over 150 events and programs.

Resolution Life is the proud Lead Season Sponsor of The Drama League.

For additional information, please visit the website at www.dramaleague.org.


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