Participants Announced for Midsommer Flight's Inaugural DIRECTORS FLIGHT Professional Development Program
Midsommer Flight has announced the five theater professionals who will participate in the inaugural session of the company's new "Directors Flight" initiative. Announced in fall 2019, Directors Flight is a program with the goal of promoting, cultivating, and inspiring classical directing talent in Chicago. The announcement last fall included a call for applications to participate. Instead of a tuition-based model, Midsommer Flight has opted to pay each selected director a small fellowship stipend for their participation.From January to April 2020, Directors Flight will offer one-on-one mentorship, along with various workshops led by Founding Artistic Director Beth Wolf, company members, and guest artists. Workshops will include abridging text for performance, rehearsal strategies, working with fight/intimacy and music directors, casting processes, and more. The program will culminate in three workshop performances of Shakespeare's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, to be presented April 2-4, 2020, at 7:30 PM each night at a venue to be announced. Each of the five directors will direct one act of the comedy, giving them the chance to gain hands-on rehearsal experience, as well as the chance to invite industry leaders to see their work. Admission to the workshop performances is free but ticket reservations will be available online in February and donations are gratefully accepted. Wolf announced the selected participants today.
Iris Sowlat, whose credits include JOAN OF ARC and UNDERWORLD ANTHEM (RhinoFest), THE DAYS ARE SHORTER (Pride Films & Plays), ABCD (Piven Theatre's Lab), THE BEAR (Accidental Shakespeare Co), NARRATIVES OF
ACHROMATOPSIA (Chicago Fringe Festival), INTO THE BREECHES! (Assistant Director, Northlight), as well as work with About Face Theatre, Otherworld Theatre, NoPassport Theatre Alliance, Chicago Theatre Marathon, and others.
Stephanie Mattos, an actor and director in Chicago who recently assistant directed WOMEN OF 4G (Babes with Blades Theatre Company). Mattos's other directing credits include THE LATTICE CRASHES and A BILLION TUESDAY MORNINGS (Otherworld Theatre).
Julia Farrell Diefenbach, the Associate Artistic Director and Dramaturg for the Halogen Company, an immersive theatre company in Los Angeles, CA. Diefenbach's upcoming projects include A SEA OF ODDS (The Halogen Co.). Diefenbach's past credits include YULE, an immersive holiday celebration and the sold out production of ONE EXIT (The Halogen Co.) THE BLOOD LINE (Gorilla Tango) THE END OF THE WORLD BATHROOM PLAY (BYOT Productions), KINGDOM, (Assistant Stage Manager, Broken Nose Theatre) AS YOU LIKE IT (Assistant Director, Citadel Theatre).
Bex Ehrmann, whose directing projects include CHARRED (the Frontier), A WRINKLE IN TIME and ALCHEMY OF DESIRE/DEAD-MAN'S BLUES (Northwestern), HERLAND (assistant director, Redtwist Theatre), and work with the New Colony, Chicago Dramatists, the Arc Theatre, Otherworld Theatre, and Whiskey Radio Hour.
Kate Leslie, a playwright, director, and teaching artist based in Chicago. Kate is currently an MFA candidate as a member of the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University, where she has had readings of her plays 78 MILES TO GRACELAND, THE LOVE CODE, and PUCK IS DEAD. Her short play ASHES TO DUST was recently honored at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in April of 2019. In the Spring of 2020, Kate will direct her play ZIP, BLOOM, ZOOM, a commission from Filament Theatre.
Wolf explains her inspiration for the program. "Looking around Chicago, I recognized that there are few opportunities outside of MFA training for directors to hone their craft. Acting classes are everywhere, but directing classes are few and far between. There are also limited opportunities for directors to work on Shakespeare plays -- as ubiquitous as Shakespeare seems to be, the reality is that only a few storefront theatres produce Shakespeare regularly, and so there are few chances for emerging directors to gain the skills and experience to do it really well. Midsommer Flight is uniquely positioned to share all that we have learned since our founding in 2012. I'm so excited to find both emerging and established directors who are passionate to learn more about Shakespeare."Those interested in supporting this exciting new initiative can make an individual donation at https://midsommerflight.com/get-involved/donate/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for sponsorship opportunities. Midsommer Flight is a theatre company dedicated to presenting high quality, accessible productions of Shakespeare's plays in Chicago communities. After the company's well-received inaugural production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM in 2012, the Chicago City Council honored Midsommer Flight with a resolution praising "the Midsommer Flight theater troupe on their dedication to bringing the arts to underserved communities." The company incorporated as a not-for-profit in the state of Illinois in early 2013 and has since produced ROMEO AND JULIET (2013), MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (2014), MACBETH (2015), TWELFTH NIGHT (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) AS YOU LIKE IT (2016), HAMLET (2017), TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (2018) and THE TEMPEST (2019). The company was nominated in 2019 for the third time for the League of Chicago Theatres "Emerging Theatre Award."