The House Theatre of Chicago Announces New Company Members

The House Theatre of Chicago is proud to announce the addition of seven new artists to the critically-acclaimed and award-winning company. The new Company Members include Kara Davidson, Elana Elyce, Ben Hertel, Derek Matson, Matthew Muñiz, Ericka Ratcliff and Vanessa Stalling.
The House is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded and led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago's next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.

The House was founded in 2001 by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 66 Joseph Jefferson Awards (23 wins), became the

first recipient of Broadway in Chicago's Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a
2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 15th anniversary year of original work is underway and The House continues it mission to unite Chicago in the spirit of Community through amazing feats of Storytelling.

"The House is so happy to welcome these seven wonderful friends to our family. Over years of working and growing alongside these artists we have come to know them as leaders of our work and good stewards of our company culture. We are so grateful for their contributions to our mission, and are honored to serve in their company. Vanessa, Derek, Kara, Ericka, Elana, Ben, and Matt, welcome to The House," said The House Theatre of Chicago's Artistic Director Nathan Allen.
In addition to the previously mentioned artists, The House Theatre of Chicago's Company Members include: Nathan Allen, Abu Ansari, Johnny Arena, Debbie Baer, Brenda Barrie, Molly Brennan, Chris Burnham, Cliff Chamberlain, Paige Collins, Carolyn Defrin, Brian DesGranges, Michael Griggs, Matt Hawkins, Paige Hoffman, Joshua Horvath, Lee Kennan, Chad Kenward, Phillip Klapperich, Ana Kuzmanic, Ben Lobpries, Marika Mashburn, Ele Matelan, Chris Mathews, Maria McCullough, Kat McDonnell, Lucas Merino, Jake Minton, Kevin O'Donnell, Christine Mayland Perkins, Shawn Pfautch, Collette Pollard, Tommy Rapley, Brandon Ruiter, Michael E. Smith, Trista Smith, Kevin Strangler, Joey Steakley, Stacy Stoltz, Stephen Taylor, Melissa Torchia, Dixie Uffelman, Lauren Vitz, Dennis Watkins and Ben Wilhelm.

Kara Davidson is an actor/performer and writer living in Chicago. Previous productions performing with The House Theatre of Chicago include Death & Harry Houdini, The Hammer Trinity and Rose and the Rime. She has also worked with Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Manual Cinema and The Plagiarists. Regionally she has performed with Actors Theatre of Louisville, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Aporia Theatre (NYC), Project Y (NYC) and Nightpath Theatre (MN). Her writing credits with The House include A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch. Her other original scripts have been produced and performed in Nebraska and The Twin Cities, and her work is regularly featured in The Plagiarists Salon Series. Davidson holds degrees in Theatre Performance and French from the University of Nebraska.

Elana Elyce is originally from Detroit, having moved to Chicago in 2007. While researching theatres whose work she might be interested in, The House was in her top five. In 2010 she performed in Wilson Wants It All, her first House production, and she also performed as part of the Jeff-Award winning ensemble for United Flight 232, and will be seen in this season's Diamond Dogs. Between those life altering productions, some memorable projects include Principal Principle by Joe Zarrow, with Stage Left and Theatre Seven; Milk Like Sugar, with The Raven and The Yard and Mud, River, Stone with Eclipse Theatre, which is the first full length production for which she successfully maintained an accent. Elyce also writes, directs and coaches. She's found herself increasingly asked to tell stories at live lit events. She is also a company member with Interrobang Theatre Project, an artistic associate with Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre (Evanston) and is the business manager of The Chicago Inclusion Project.

Ben Hertel moved to Chicago in 2011, following his graduation from Hope College with a B.A. in Theatre. It was at Hope where he first came into contact with The House, serving as a production assistant for the remount of Rose and the Rime for the American College Theatre festival. Since then, Hertel has appeared in Death & Harry Houdini, The Hammer Trinity, The Crownless King, The Iron Stag King, and a promo photo for The Last Defender. He understudied A Tragical Comedy for Mister Punch, and will next appear in The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz in 2017. His work with other Chicago companies includes Letters Home (Griffin Theatre, national tour), Ghost Bike (Buzz22 Chicago),City of Dreadful Night (The Den Theatre) and The Sandman (Oracle Theatre). He is an ensemble member of Hobo Junction, a group dedicated to the production of original comedies. Hertel has also studied improv and comedy at iO Training Center and The Second City Conservatory program. He is represented by Big Mouth Talent and appeared on "Chicago Fire" (NBC), as well as various national and regional commercials.

Derek Matson is a dramaturg and translator of theater and opera. For The House, Matson served as dramaturg for productions of The Hammer Trinity, Thieves Like Us, United Flight 232, and for the upcoming world premiere of Diamond Dogs. His dramaturgical work has included productions, readings and development workshops for Steppenwolf Theatre Company, the Metropolitan Opera, Lookingglass Theatre, the Hypocrites, American Theater Company, TimeLine Theatre Company, About Face Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, the Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Vanguard, DePaul University and Northwestern University. Matson studied acting at the Cours Florent in Paris and holds a lectureship in Performance Studies at the University of Chicago. He's a pre-performance lecturer with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera of Chicago, as well as a post-show discussion leader at Steppenwolf. He's the language coach of French, Spanish, and Russian for the Ryan Opera Center and the French and Russian coach for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus. His translations of French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, German and Catalan have been featured on ARTE in France and at Lyric Opera of Chicago, Wolf Trap Opera, the Montreux Comedy Festival, the Eastman School of Music, and Cornell University, where he earned his M.A. in Theater and Performance Studies. Watson is a former recipient of a Fulbright Assistantship to France and a Rotary Cultural Ambassadorial Scholarship to Russia.

Matthew Muñiz is a musician, composer, songwriter and teacher. He graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2003 with a degree in music composition and has dedicated himself since to creating beautiful music and helping other artists and students create theirs. He's enjoyed music directing a number of works with The House Theatre of Chicago, including The Nutcracker (2010-2016), The Revel (2015), and their upcoming work, The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz. As a composer, his work has appeared in two short films, two plays and in one feature-length zombie horror flick. In 2013, he produced and released a full-length album of his songs with his band, The Live Debate!. He looks forward to underscoring Psychonaut Librarians for The New Colony in 2017 and continues to work on his first original musical Lucifer.

Ericka Ratcliff loves to perform, read, see plays and drink mezcal. Ratcliff's experiences with The House have been The Nutcracker, Rose and The Rime and Strawdog produced but House seduced Puntilla & His Man Matti. She has worked locally and regionally with various theaters including Mixed Blood, Milwaukee and Kansas City Rep., CENTERSTAGE, Pittsburgh Public, Steppenwolf, Second City, Chicago Shakespeare, Lookingglass, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Collaboraction and Congo Square Theatre Company where she is an ensemble member. Ratcliff is a graduate of The Theatre Conservatory at Roosevelt University and also teaches yoga.

Vanessa Stalling is a freelance director based in Chicago, IL. Most recently, Stalling adapted and directed United Flight 232 from Laurence Gonzales' Flight 232 for The House, which won Jeff Awards for Best Production - Midsize and Best Ensemble from its six nominations and is included in Chicago Tribune's "Top 10 Productions in 2016." Stalling's Chicago-area directing credits also include: Stage Left, Red Tape, Actors Gymnasium, and Redmoon Theater. While at Redmoon, she enjoyed performing, directing and serving as Associate Artistic Director. Redmoon directing credits include a remount of The Cabinet, which toured Brazil as part of the FILO Festival, Winter Pageant, Princess Club, Twilight Orchard and roaming performances for President Obama's White House Halloween Celebrations. She is the current Michael Maggio Directing Fellow at The Goodman Theatre, a recent 3Arts Award nominee, and was awarded an Outstanding University Teacher Award and Impact Award from Illinois State University. Stalling is also an instructor at Columbia College and University of Chicago.

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