Kokandy Productions Names New Producing Artistic Director; Artistic Associates

Kokandy Productions Names New Producing Artistic Director; Artistic Associates

Kokandy Productions is pleased to announce the appointment of Derek Van Barham as the company's new Producing Artistic Director, succeeding Allison Hendrix, who served in the position since Kokandy was founded in 2010. Barham is joined by three new Artistic Associates: Adrian Abel Azevedo, Leda Hoffmann and Nik Whitcomb. The new artistic team is supported by Kokandy's Board of Directors, which includes: Preston Cropp, Allison Hendrix, Gitta Jacobs, Scot Kokandy and Katie Svaicer.

Comments Board President Scot Kokandy, "There have been a number of changes over the last several months that I am excited about. First, I am excited to welcome our new artistic team. All four members are amazing people and wonderful artists and I am thankful they are now a part of

Kokandy Productions. Second, I want to thank my fellow board members, both returning and new, who continue to guide and support Kokandy Productions. The board and I feel the new structure will best support and grow the organization over the next several years."

Comments Derek Van Barham, "I have long appreciated Kokandy's reputation for excellence, both on stage and behind the scenes. It is an absolute privilege to join this company, and to lead the organization into its next stage of growth and development. To say I'm excited is an understatement. One of the most exciting aspects of this position is the opportunity to create a team - more voices in the room, more points of view. The Artistic Associates will be such an important part of Kokandy's growth. In addition to having an artistic investment and being part of programming decisions, the Associates will have a hand in developing other areas of the company, including the New Works Initiative. To the Kokandy board, to the new Artistic Associates, to future Kokandy collaborators, to other artistic directors and musical producers, to the Chicago theatre community and all our audiences - I am thrilled to step into this world and honored to stand in this circle with you. Let's make magic!"


Derek Van Barham (Producing Artistic Director) is a member of the Red Tape Theatre ensemble. He previously served as Artistic Director of The Ruckus and Associate Artistic Director of Pride Films & Plays. For PFP, he has directed HOMOS, or Everyone in America, Perfect Arrangement, Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage Repertory), Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination: Best Director of a Musical or Revue), PRISCILLA, Queen of the Desert: The Musical and Terrence McNally's Some Men. He also wrote, directed and choreographed BITE: A Pucking Queer Cabaret and Kill Your Boyfriends. Other directing credits include The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre), Three Days of Rain (Boho), Miracle! by Dan Savage and Skooby Don't (Hell in a Handbag), Trash and HOT PINK, or Ready to Blow (New American Folk Theatre) and From These Fatal Loins (The Ruckus). He has performed with BoHo Theatre (Hauptmann), Red Tape Theatre (The Skriker, Stadium Devildare, The Life & Death of Madame Barker) and The Island Theatre (Wallace Shawn's The Fever). He has choreographed for Black Button Eyes (Coraline the Musical, Goblin Market, Amour, Shockheaded Peter, Nevermore), Permoveo (Albert Cashier), The Plagiarists, Inappropriate Theatre, Brain Surgeon Theatre and Salonathon. He was named one of Windy City Times 30 Under 30, recognizing individuals from Chicago's LGBTQ community. MFA: Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Adrian Abel Azevedo (Artistic Associate), originally from Southern California, is a freelance director, producer and teaching artist in the city. He has worked with Chicago theatre companies including Goodman Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Steep Theatre, and Teatro Vista creatively and administratively. Adrian is a full-time staff member for Goodman Theatre in the Education and Engagement Department. He is a Columbia College Chicago graduate with a degree in Theatre - Directing concentration.

Leda Hoffmann (Artistic Associate) is a Chicago based director who has directed across the Midwest at Milwaukee Rep, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Mudlark Theater, Milwaukee Chamber Theater, Renaissance Theatreworks, Door Shakespeare, the Alchemist Theater, Max & Louie Productions and Riverside Theater (Iowa City). In addition to her directing work, Leda is a teaching artist with Mudlark Theater and Skyline Studios. Before moving to Chicago, Leda spent six years on Milwaukee Rep's Artistic staff and served as Milwaukee Rep's founding Director of Community Engagement. Leda is a proud graduate of Grinnell College, a former Milwaukee Rep directing intern, SDCF Observer, and a member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Upcoming: A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Rep), The Amish Project (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center), Joan of Lowell (Mudlark Theater). www.ledahoffmann.com

Nik Whitcomb (Artistic Associate) has worked in Chicago as an actor, director, producer and casting director. He is a native of Omaha, NE where he worked on and off stage at almost every local theatre and ended his time as the Education Coordinator at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Nik spent time in the Twin Cities at the Old Log Theatre and the Guthrie before relocating to Chicago to become the first Artistic/Casting Apprentice at Goodman Theatre. Nik is thrilled to join the Kokandy team and continue to provide quality musical theatre in Chicago storefront theatre!

About Kokandy Productions

Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago's non-Equity musical theater community.

For additional information, visit www.kokandyproductions.com.

PHOTO CREDIT: (left to right) Kokandy Productions' new Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham, with Artistic Associates Adrian Abel Azevedo, Leda Hoffmann and Nik Whitcomb.


Arts Orgs

Related Articles View More Chicago Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You