Sarah Bills, Marketing, PR and Audiences Services director
New England born, but raised in the South, Sarah came to Portland by way of New York, London and Wellington, New Zealand. After fifteen years of various marketing and communication roles in the corporate world, in 2014 she made her love of storytelling of all sorts a priority and upped her commitment to the Playhouse as a volunteer and member of the Development Committee. She is proud to be the working for the place that made Portland feel like home and looks forward to bringing her two kiddos up with a love for the wondrous world of live theatre.
LA' TEVIN ALEXANDER ELLIS, FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER
La' Tevin Alexander Ellis is a native of Perry, Fla. The acting bug caught him during the 12th grade and it has been with him ever since. He then enrolled at Florida A&M University to study Theatre. After meeting Nikki Weaver at the Southeastern Theatre Conference, he decided to bring his talents to the Portland Playhouse Acting Apprenticeship. Now he happily remains a member of the Playhouse family as its Front of House Manager. Outside of the Playhouse, La' Tevin Alexander writes plays and short stories (he is the founder of Confrontation Theatre), freestyles and beat-boxes and is teaching himself to play the piano. La' Tevin will in return use his art and influence to end the oppression of oppressed people globally.
Corinne Gaucher, assistant education director
Corinne was born and raised on the New England coast and quickly fell in love with the power of theatre and entwining it with education. Grateful for her own experiences making theatre as a child, she co-founded the Summer On Stage Program at the historic Garde Arts Center in Southeastern Connecticut which continues annually to this day. She received her BA in Theatre from UNC Charlotte in North Carolina where she was an actor, director, producer, and dabbled in education outreach. After graduating, Corinne moved to Portland to be a part of the 2014-2015 Apprenticeship Company and knew she had found her creative home. In addition to being an actor around town and making her own work, she can often be found singing karaoke, and making friends with neighborhood cats. Corinne is thrilled to be a part of the Portland Playhouse family and looks forward to creating even more magic with this staff for years to come.
Charles grant, Company and audience services Manager
Charles grew up in sunny California, where he pursued a BFA in Acting and a minor in Black Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A few months after he graduated, he joined the 2016-2017 Apprentice Company. Portland Playhouse credits include A Christmas Carol (Ghost of Christmas Present), pen/man/ship (Ship Crew) and How I Learned What I Learned (August Wilson understudy). He also teaches theatre in Portland area schools, directs in the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, and performs a one-man show about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. (directed by Nikki Weaver) for young audiences. He is grateful to share the magic of theatre with this city through his work on and offstage. He has found a home here in Portland, and is happy to be a part of the staff/family here at the Playhouse! thecharlesgrant.com
THYRA HARTSHORN, PRODUCTION MANAGER
Thyra Hartshorn is a production manager, stage manager and technical director. Her training includes an MFA in production and design with a concentration in stage management from the University of California, Irvine, as well as almost two decades in ballet production. Thyra has toured and worked with companies around the world including San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet. Locally she’s also worked with Oregon Ballet Theatre, Profile Theatre, White Bird, Portland Taiko and Northwest Dance Project. Thyra has taught high school stagecraft as well as college-level stage management locally.
ELENA HEIN, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Elena has over a dozen years of professional experience in the non-profit arena. She is responsible for the development and implementation of the agency’s overall fundraising strategies, the coordination of fundraising events and campaigns, and the preparation of proposals and grant applications. As a volunteer for several organizations, she values community involvement and is excited about bringing equity to the arts at Portland Playhouse. Elena holds a Masters in Public Administration degree from Portland State University and is a part-time jewelry designer.
ALIX KOLAR, Finance and HR Manager
Alix has worked in arts- and youth-focused nonprofits and organizations for more than 15 years in the Northwest, including helping to run a national queer arts and music festival. In their time working with nonprofits, Alix started bookkeeping five years ago as a way to support the small organizations they value. Alix is a believer in social justice and radical politics, has a deep love of photography, speaks French and is an (ex-) Midwesterner who likes to spout facts about Ohio.
RAChel lewis, Front of House Manager
Rachel is a Native Floridian, House Manager, Noise-Maker and Theatre Artist. After graduating The University of West Florida with her BFA degree in Musical Theatre, she attended a program to study Massage Therapy. In 2016, Rachel joined PPH as an acting apprentice, and has stayed connected whether on stage, back stage or around the lobby.
tamera lynn, Front of House manager
Southwest Atlanta native, Tamera Lyn, is setting her sights on the boundless world of creative art as a young black woman. Graduate from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance. She works as an actor, director, and writer throughout the city, both in theatre and film. Tamera is also producing her own visual work with Sunflower Creations; a production vessel that she created while studying as an undergrad. She has produced her work independently, and continues to collaborate with artist in Portland. Tamera Lyn leads with a Humble Beginning. Humble Life. Humble Spirit. Watch her bloom at tameralyn.com
BRIAN WEAVER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Brian co-founded Portland Playhouse in 2008 with Nikki and Michael, and has directed productions of Peter and the Starcatcher, Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Radio Golf, Gem of the Ocean, Angels in America, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Dying City, Detroit, The Light in the Piazza, After Ashley, and bobrauschenbergamerica. Regional credits include Third Rail Repertory, Intiman Theatre Company, Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival, The Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and Seattle Public Theatre. Brian is also a founding member of New World Theatre and directed the U.S. premiere of the Spanish translation of Jose Rivera’s play, Marisol.
NIKKI WEAVER, EDUCATION DIRECTOR
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Sydney, Australia, Nikki moved back to the U.S. in 2005 after graduating from The Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts with a BFA in Acting. Since 2005, Nikki has created many projects, some of which include: a yoga program for 4-12 year olds, acting classes for 4-18 year olds, toured as Madame Curie in a solo show for a full year, raised over $3k to help families suffering from the Sandy Hook shooting, led international wellness retreats, and acted on stages in the U.S and in Australia. Nikki is an innovative creator and passionate communicator driven by a desire to understand other points of view. She brings a deep sense of listening, curiosity and an open heart to the team. A co-founder of Portland Playhouse, Nikki leads our extensive education programs - while standing on her head, running to find her kids and seeing as much theatre as possible. MFA: George Washington University.
HAROLD GOLDSTEIN, CHAIR
Owner and CEO of OPAD Consulting Firm (Organizational Planning, Analysis and Development) since 1981. Present Board positions: SIA Corporation, San Jose, CA; Bullen Semi-conductor, Dayton, OH. Not-for-profit Boards: Oregon Ballet Theatre, Board Vice Chair, Portland, Oregon; Children’s Trust Fund of Oregon; Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Past Board positions: Prevent Child Abuse, CA (President 14 yrs.); Magic Theatre, SF, CA (co-President 3 yrs.); California Symphony; Diablo Ballet (VP 10 yrs.); Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland Oregon. Married to Carol Streeter and moved from California to Portland in November 2008.
JILL AHLSTRAND, VICE-Chair
Jill is originally from Massachusetts and made a zig zag across the states, ultimately landing in beautiful Portland. Along that path, she earned several degrees ranging from political science and urban policy to fine arts. Jill carved her management skills working for U.S. Agency for International Development and LAIKA film studio. She's currently working with Swift, a creative agency. Jill's love of creative ventures and her interest in urban development led her right to Portland Playhouse's door. In her free time, you'll find Jill out in her garden checking on the state of the greens, in a yoga class, painting or enjoying time with her husband and their two furry daughters.
MARK WILLIAMS, Treasurer
Born and raised in Champaign, Illinois, Mark moved to Portland 11 years ago to start a new job with Washington Mutual Bank. He is currently employed by First Republic Bank as a Business Development Banker and before that he was an AVP Business Banker for JP Morgan Chase. Since relocating to Portland, Mark and his wife Sophie have added three children to the family, Zoelie, Azalea, and Windsor. Sophie is originally from Toulouse, France, and they met in Marlow, England.
Mark chose to be involved with the Portland Playhouse because he loves the arts and has personally participated in plays, dance productions, musicals and sung in swing/church choirs. In his free time he likes to spend time with his family, work out, jog, read, model and travel.
MARGE KAFOURY, Secretary
Marge has a Mayflower heritage. That ship was either very large or its passengers were exceptionally fertile, because Margeʼs husband Stephen and their son-in-law Nik also claim Mayflower connections. After time in Honolulu and Spokane — two very different venues — Marge moved to Portland where she has lived for over 40 years. She has been engaged in political issues for most of her adult life, as a campaign supporter, elected official, and staff professional. Marge was the City of Portlandʼs government relations director for 19 years and was an elected member of the Metro council for 6 years. Sheʼs now a government relations consultant representing clients with Oregon legislative interests. Margeʼs two major volunteer activities are Portland Playhouse and the City Club of Portland as chair of the Friday Forum Committee. She loves traveling, drinking good red wine, dear friends, and great books.
Michael is a native Californian and ordained Methodist minister (retired). He lived in New York for a number of years, working as executive director of a progressive bar association, and as development director in various social service, non-profit organizations as well as pastor of Katonah United Methodist Church. He and his wife Sandy returned West in 2002, settling in Portland to be near Sandy's extended family. Michael developed a love of live theater in New York and a commitment to social justice in the 60s--and was delighted to discover Portland Playhouse, which he feels has a similar commitment to both.
As a first generation native Oregonian since 1978, Andrew lives in the King neighborhood where the Portland Playhouse is located, so it is easy for him and his family or friends to walk over and take in a play during the season. Andrew keeps himself busy with his work, which consists of being a managing partner of Hugh Development a commercial real estate development company and Hugh Realty, a real estate brokerage company. Andrew also serves on a few committees at Concordia University that deal with strategic planning as well as their Vic Atiyeh Leadership Awards committee which is tasked with organizing an annual fundraiser at the Portland Art Museum that raises over $600,000 annually for scholarships. Andrew is involved with his community by his service on the King Neighborhood Associations Land Use Committee. Andrew lives in the neighborhood with his four children and two Parson Russell terriers.
Angela has lived in Portland for more than 20 years. She keeps herself busy with a husband, three kids and job as an elementary school principal. She worked as a teacher in Portland for six years and is currently enjoying her role in administration. In any spare time, she enjoys singing, acting, traveling, eating good food and spending quality time with friends and family.
Fred moved to Portland with his wife Cheryl to be near their two adult children. He has lived in Portland for six years. Fred works as a pain psychologist. In his spare time, he enjoys biking, hiking and spending time with family.
Joan has been working in costume shops up and down the west coast for over twenty years. She moved to Portland in 1989 after accepting a position as design assistant/wardrobe mistress with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival - Portland, which later became Portland Center Stage. Prior to her move north she spent seven seasons at the Sacramento Theatre Company and two really fun summers at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Joan took a break from the business after her daughter was born. She has spent the last decade being a professional volunteer. After spending and embarrassing number of years as a room parent, she is very excited to focus her time and energy promoting Portland Playhouse. Her daughter Natalie currently attends Central Catholic High School and her husband, Jeff Hansen, is an attorney.
President of Mentor Graphics Corporation, Oregon’s largest tech company, since 1999. In 2011 he was named Oregon’s Technology Executive of the Year. Present and past corporate board positions: S-I Bone, Inc.; Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc.; Amkor Technology, Inc.; Intermec Corporation and Super Micro Computer, Inc. Not-for-profit Boards: Claremont McKenna College, Portland Opera Association and the advisory board of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University. Education includes a B.A. in mathematics and physics from Claremont McKenna College, a M.S. in applied physics from the University of California, San Diego, and a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He studied applied mathematics as a Fulbright Fellow at Nottingham University in England in the late 1960’s and received an honorary professorship in electrical and electronic engineering from the Nottingham University of Ningbo, China in 2013. Married to Mary Chomenko Hinckley, an artist, and moved from California to Portland in 1997.
Kimberly recently joined the Corporate Social Responsibility Team at Portland General Election, heading Education Initiatives. Prior to coming to PGE Kimberly was the Trust manager of the Oregon Cultural Trust for five years, managing director at Portland’s Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center before that and education/outreach director for Artists Repertory Theatre. She has served on the board of Business for Culture and the Arts and currently represents Oregon on the Western States Arts Federation's Regional Multicultural Advisory Committee. In addition to being an arts administrator, Howard is an accomplished actress, with credits in New York, the Williamstown Theatre Festival and several Portland theaters. She has been an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre for several years and received a Drammy Award (Portland’s version of the Tony Award) for her work in its production of Tartuffe: The Visitor. Despite her busy schedule with the Cultural Trust, she continues to perform with Portland area theaters, most recently Artists Rep, Profile Theatre, Base Roots Theatre and Literary Arts’ presentation of The Moth. After attending Wellesley College, Howard received her BA from Pacific Union College, where she majored in business. She holds an MFA in acting from Columbia University and has taught theater at Walla Walla College. She lives in the South Waterfront with her dog and cat. She enjoys photography, handmade objects, and running.
Curt has an extensive background in the arts having lived in Portland for over 30 years. Aside from his involvement with Playhouse, he is President of Friends of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts and a board member for Equity Foundation and the Pearl District Business Association. He ran a successful modern design furnishing business in the Pearl for many years and prior to this was President of TVH publications and a VP at TV Guide for 25 years. He is a single parent with a 13 year old son. Curt was drawn to Playhouse because of its fundamental values to produce plays that are of the highest quality, edgy, honest and pure, and accessible to all who wish to experience intimate theatre in a neighborhood community environment.
Portland Playhouse is doing fresh new work like Scarlet and superb performances like Fences. I wanted to be involved because I love theater and I have more time now to indulge that love since I am retired. I have served on the boards of Portland Center Stage and other arts organizations in town, and now I have the chance to volunteer for an arts organization that hits all the marks of artistic excellence and community spirit. As a young person, I did not have enough talent to make a living in the arts, so I’m thrilled to be able to apply a little of the background from my many years of over-education in theater and literature to an actual working theater.
Kenneth Lewis was born in 1934 in New York, New York. He received his undergraduate degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1955, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1958. He clerked for a U.S. Federal judge in New York after graduation from Law School, and then moved to Portland, Oregon, where he practiced law. In 1963 he joined Lasco Shipping Co., which operated a fleet of ocean-going vessels carrying cargoes throughout the world.
Mr. Lewis was President of Lasco Shipping Co., from 1979 until his retirement in 1994. He served on the Board of Directors of two international marine insurance organizations: the Britannia Steam Ship Insurance Association, Ltd., of London, England (1986-1994); and the Swedish Club (of which he was Deputy Chairman) of Gothenburg, Sweden (1987-1989). He has traveled extensively in Asia, beginning in 1963 to Japan and Korea and in 1979 to the People's Republic of China, making over a hundred visits to these countries.
He previously served on the Presidential Commission on U.S.-Pacific Trade and Investment Policy (appointed by President William J. Clinton in 1996). He is past president of the Port of Portland Commission to which he was appointed by both Republican and Democratic Governors.
He serves on the Board of Trustees of Pacific University, the Board of Visitors of the University of Oregon School of Law and the Board of Directors of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He was the national Chairman of the "I Have a Dream" Foundation of New York, and was the founding Chairman of the "I Have A Dream" Foundation in Oregon. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Oregon Ballet Theatre, of which he was Chairman and President, and the Board of Directors of the World Affairs Council of Oregon, of which he was President. He previously served on the Board of the Oregon Community Foundation.
Mr. Lewis received the President's Public Service Award in 1991 from the Oregon State Bar Association, and the Equal Opportunity Award from the Urban League of Portland in 1997.
Michelle Mark owns and operates MKM Design, a graphic design studio in Portland, where she gets to be creative daily as she develops visual identities, campaigns, and websites for companies that range from startups to national brands. In 2009 she graduated with honors in Fine Arts & Marketing from the University of Southern California. As a Portland native she was drawn back to the city because of 1.) The walkability 2.) The high quality of life derived from great people, the creative energy, and of course the unparalleled food (and coffee!) Currently, Michelle lives in northwest Portland with her husband, Michael and their feisty little gray cat, Marlow and the ever-enthused border collie/retriever, Griff.
Andy runs the Portland and Colorado offices of Pure Environmental Solutions. He was born in Palermo, Sicily, moving to the US at age 14. He farmed in Virginia through high school and went on to commercial fishing in Alaska. He met his future wife Christina in 1995; they moved to Oregon in 1998. Spending time with friends and family, going to the mountains, playing soccer, good food and drink – these are a few of his favorite things.
Stephen Robinson is a content strategist and media historian based in Seattle with family roots in Portland. He’s been a proud supporter of the Playhouse since seeing its production of ANGELS IN AMERICA (one of his favorite plays) in 2011. He was a executive board member of Seattle’s Book-It Repertory Theatre and was the dramaturg for its recent production of THE MALTESE FALCON at Cafe Nordo.
Pancho Savery is professor of English, humanities, and American studies at Reed College, where he teaches courses in American literature post-1850, African American literature, and modern and contemporary American and European drama. He also teaches in Reed’s freshman humanities program on the ancient Mediterranean world, focusing on Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, Persia, Palestine, and Rome. He has given theater talks at Profile Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Artists Repertory Theatre, and Portland Playhouse; directed Delve Reading Seminars through Literary Arts in Portland; and has published essays on Robert Creeley, Ezra Pound, Saunders Redding, Ralph Ellison, Cecil Brown, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Robert Farris Thompson, Albert Murray, and others. He currently also serves on the boards of PETE, Boom Arts, Profile Theatre, Coho Theatre, and the Portland Jazz Festival. Recent poems appear in Hubbub.
Natasha Terranova is a lifetime enthusiast of the arts and education, most particularly the realms of words, music and movement. She has studied around the world, including a year at Trinity College, Dublin and a Bachelor's from University of California, Santa Barbara, and is currently an avid student of singing, guitar, songwriting, yoga and swimming. She published a book of poetry, "Once About the Crescent Rising," in 2008. She runs a small editing business, primarily serving publicly traded companies. Natasha’s love for Portland Playhouse was kindled back in its second season when a friend brought her to see Fiction. Since then, that love has only deepened as she’s watched this creative nexus grow, blossom, and all the while maintain its unique blend of fearlessness, connection and honesty. Natasha has lived in North Portland for the last decade and has managed to keep a hardy succulent alive for the past year.
Jennifer Watson grew up in Portland. She currently lives in NE Portland in the King neighborhood with her family consisting of 4 children and two Parson Russel terriers. Portland Playhouse is a short walk from her house and has become a part of her family’s holiday tradition when they attend A Christmas Carol each year. Jennifer is a local top producing realtor and owns Hugh Realty located in NE Portland. Jennifer enjoys being involved in the community and has been on the Alberta Main St. board, Concordia VALE committee as well as the Alberta business development committee.
GEORGE 'BING' SHELDON (IN MEMORIUM)
Bing Sheldon (1934-2016) served on the Portland Playhouse Board from 2012-2016, and his vision, advocacy, and heart helped guide Portland Playhouse from a small arts start-up to an embedded community asset with deep roots and resilience. His wife Carolyn continues to support the Playhouse as well as serving as the President of the Northwest Children's Theatre. Bing was the loving father of three children, Jonathan ("Yon"), Graham and Lory; and five grandchildren. He was a founding principle of SERA Architects. His experience in master planning, mixed-use facilities and adaptive reuse of historic structures shaped the City of Portland since the 1970s. Bing received a Bachelor of Economics from Tufts University in 1956 and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University in 1961. Bing is a recognized authority in dealing with preservation and renovation challenges and is the recipient of a plethora of awards for community service, with local publications hailing him as a “visionary.” As former Chair of the City Planning Commission, he led the state’s largest citizen-driven planning effort to produce the Portland Downtown Plan, which encouraged density and reduced sprawl. He believed that Portlanders have a moral obligation to actively participate in the civic infrastructure which reflects our community values.