Founder & Executive Director
An M.F.A. graduate from the American Conservatory Theatre; and former Commissioner for the San Francisco Art Commission proudly serving for Mayor Gavin Newsom, Young founded The African-American Shakespeare in 1993 and has been its Executive Director since. She has directed sixteen productions, produced and executed four programs for the organization and speaks at various colleges, universities, and conferences across the nation. Young manages the approximately 60 company members and volunteers for the organization’s programs. Some career highlights includes the creation of the company’s signature holiday performance Cinderella, effectively building and stabilizing the organization over the past five years, increase audience attendance by 30%, and increase new funding support by foundations and individual donors within the past two years.
L. PETER CALLENDER is a native of Trinidad, West Indies, and has worked professionally as an actor for over thirty years, more recently as a director and writer. He received his formal training in the theater at the Juilliard School in New York City; Webber/Douglas Academy in London, England; Mask Technique with Julie Taymor, and The Suzuki Technique with The Tadashi Suzuki Company in Toga-mura Japan. He has appeared on Broadway, off-Broadway, in regional theaters across the US, and has performed internationally in Japan, England and France. His New York Credits include: Tom/Jamaican Waiter in Prelude to a Kiss (Circle Rep. and at the Helen Hayes Theater on Broadway directed by Norman Rene); Off-Broadway; Roscoe in Black Eagles (directed by Ricardo Kahn at Manhattan Theater Club), Casbeque in The Caucasian Chalk Circle (directed by George C. Wolfe at the Public Theater); Caliban in The Tempest (directed by Julie Taymor at Classic Stage Company); Curio/Ensemble in Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theater directed by Harold Guskin).
Currently, Mr. Callender is an associate artist at the California Shakespeare Theater– now in his 20th season. Some roles at CalShakes include: The title roles in Julius Caesar and Cymbeline, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Orsino in Twelfth Night, Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing, Polixenes in A Winter’s Tale, Navarre in Love’s Labor’s Lost, Bolingbroke in Richard II, Duke Solinus in Comedy of Errors, Laertes in Hamlet, Dukes Frederick and Senior in As You Like It, La Feu in All’s Well That ends Well, Dr. Chasuable in The Importance of Being Earnest, Vincent Crummels in Nickolas Nickleby, and Roebuck Ramsden in Man and Superman. He also teaches Acting Shakespeare Level One — for adults — each fall for CalShakes.
Arts Education Manager
Dia Penning has over 15 years of experience in the arts, integrated and arts education, and administration. She has developed an arts education program for adults with developmental disabilities, programmed a multi-use arts building for the City of Chicago, expanded and managed Oakland’s 100 Families, designed a city-wide graffiti awareness program for San Francisco, delivered countless faculty trainings and produced collaborative international artist residencies for Columbia College Chicago. Her work is inclusive, reflective, challenging, and engaging.
Dia sits at the intersection of government, higher education, non-profit, activist and community organizations. In each arena she uses best practices and a person-centered approach, developing the programs to suit the needs of each unique population. Often integrating the arts and mindfulness training she “uses the form to teach the form.” This means taking faculty through the process of merging ideas before delving into integrated curriculum or guiding MFA students through visualization to develop new work. She is a teacher as well as a program developer, placing creativity and critical thinking at the center of each endeavor.
Her evaluation is integrated with training. She uses her time with faculty and teachers to develop a seamless approach to collecting data, using strategies from Project Zero’s “Making Learning Visible” supporting documentation and the collection of participant response as it is happening. Much like the approach in Reggio Emilia, Dia coaches teachers and faculty to reflect on the student experience in relationship to curricular outcomes, encouraging them to make adjustments as needed to ensure the most fulfilling experience. Using teacher documentation with a series of pre and post questionnaires, she is able to provide clients and funders with a broad picture of what developed in the program, its effectiveness, and suggestions for future iterations.
Lighting Designer/Technical Director
Kevin Myrick has been lighting theatrical events since 1968, working for dance and theatre companies in Chicago, Atlanta and here in the Bay Area. Mr. Myrick studied theatrical design at San Francisco State University, and has designed shows for the Oakland Ensemble Theatre Company, A Black Box Theatre Company, United Projects, Berkeley Black Repertory Theatre Company, Go Productions, SEW Productions, Dimensions Dance Theatre, Wajumbe Cultural Ensemble, the Alliance Theatre Company and Just Us Theatre Company in Atlanta, African-American Shakespeare Company, Cultural Odyssey, AfroSolo Theatre Company; and many other community and professional arts organizations.
Prior to launching Rising Moon, Carr spent over ten years as Director of Communications for PKF Consulting, a national hospitality and real estate consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco. At PKF, he was responsible for all internal and external publications, including annual reports, newsletters, web content, and press releases. He was in charge of media relations and the organization of press conferences, golf tournaments, and trade show appearances.
Earlier positions include co-ownership of McKinnon Carr Diaz & Associates, a film and video production company in Houston, and associate manager of the writing department for National Photographic Laboratories, a Houston-based film production company. His films have appeared on PBS and commercial networks. Two of his screenplays were produced as independent features, and several of his business films have won awards, including those from the Information Film Producers of America and the International Association of Business Communicators. He has written films about offshore oil drilling, heart pacemakers, labor-management issues, cancer research, truck driver safety, the Texas prison system, garbage collection, and art in society.
A former university professor, Carr has taught a wide variety of courses in communication theory and media studies. He has published articles and stories in numerous trade and academic journals. His book, The Left Side of Paradise: The Screenwriting of John Howard Lawson, was published by UMI Press.
In San Francisco, he served for five years on the board of Theatre Bay Area, Northern California’s largest performing arts service organization. He was part of the Public Relations Advisory Committee for the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau and served on the board of the San Francisco Bay Area Publicity Club, where he wrote and edited its newsletter, eFYI.
He holds a B.A. in English from Carleton College, an M.A. in English, with emphasis in Creative Writing, from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film from The University of Texas.
As a writer in the corporate world, he has long been his firms’ and his clients’ “go-to guy.” He started Rising Moon Marketing & Public Relations because he saw a niche for a company that can solve business problems with creative strategic projects and effective writing. He is perhaps one of the few people to appear in both the Wall Street Journal and The Journal of Irreproducible Results.
This is Gregg Hood’s fourth season with the African-American Shakespeare Company. Mr. Hood’s recent Bay Area Production Management work has been with foolsFury for Port Out, Starboard Home at Z-Space and La MaMa, Mugwumpin for Future Motive Power at the Old Mint, ODC, UPT, WCT and over 150 live events. Tennessee Williams, Nilo Cruz and David Lindsay-Abaire are among Mr. Hood’s favorite playwrights. Gregg Hood is a graduate of San Francisco State University’s Theatre Arts Program and has served as the Acting Director and Theatre Arts instructor for AIM Schools in Oakland.
Angel Burgess’ has embraced her authentic voice—a voice that speaks to the heart. As a singer, actor, and musician, Ms. Burgess blends a unique fusion of classic elegance and edgy soul that resonates with her audience. Angel Burgess’ career is rich in diverse experiences. After capturing the attention of world-renowned entertainer MC Hammer, Ms. Burgess immediately joined him on tour as a featured vocalist and backup singer. Ms. Burgess has performed and been featured on a variety of nationally televised networks including BET, MTV, VH1, and Trinity Broadcasting Network. Ms. Burgess has shared the stage and recorded with artists such as Stevie Wonder and Sheryl Lee Ralph. Ms. Burgess has written music and performed vocals for major recording artists Dwele, and R. Kelly. Ms. Burgess has performed to international acclaim in Japan, Korea, and Barbados. Angel Burgess is a multifaceted performing artist.
Robert Michael Moreno is a pianist, singer, composer, and musical director. Mr. Michael has musical directed Coraline The Musical and The Fantasticks at SF Playhouse; Guys and Dolls at Berkeley Playhouse; and Spring Awakening at Saint Mary’s College. Mr. Michael is half of the songwriting team Michael and Simon who wrote Torch: A New Musical; and their forthcoming collection of music, Undiscovered: The Songs of Michael and Simon.
Cheryle Honerlah is excited for her first show with African-American Shakespeare Company. Ms. Honerlah is a graduate of California State University, East Bay with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts. Ms. Honerlah recently completed her stage management internship with California Shakespeare Theatre. Show credits include: Scroogie; Yerma; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change; Good Person of Setzuan; and the US premiere of NN12.
Stage Manager, Driving Miss Daisy
Samantha is the Managing Director of Diablo Actors’ Ensemble (DAE) and has produced over 25 productions for DAE in the last 5 years. Ms. Fryer earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Saint Mary’s College of CA in Performing Arts and Psychology. During the day, Ms. Fryer is the Director of Administration for Bay Area Community Services in Oakland, CA.
Regional: The Last Goodbye, Pygmalion, Nobody Loves You (Old Globe) Young Frankenstein (Moonlight Stage Productions) Respect: A Musical Celebration of Women (Herberger Theatre, Phoenix AZ) Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (La Jolla Playhouse) A Midsummer Night’s Dream: The Musical [Craig Noel Award Nominee](Intrepid Shakespeare Company), The Music Man, An American Christmas, miXtape, Guys and Dolls, Joe Vs. The Volcano: The Musical! (Lamb’s Players Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Cygnet Theatre Co.), Xanadu! (New Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco), 13: A New Musical (Fine Arts Network), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Temecula Valley Players). In addition to being an award winning musical director, Taylor is also an accomplished arranger, orchestrator, and composer; having written and/or arranged pieces for various universities, theatre groups, orchestras and choral ensembles around the country. Thanks to his family, friends and to God for his many blessings.
We’re pleased to work with Bert van Aalsburg as our set designer and carpenter for the 2013–14 season. For the past 26 years, Mr. van Aalsburg worked with almost every company in the Bay Area, large and small. Just this past season, Mr. van Aalsburg worked on 21 productions with 11 companies. Mr. van Aalsburg designed Betrayal for Off Broadway West, Last Love at Mojo Theatre, Hairspray and My Three Angels at Moreau Catholic High School and the remount of Placas at MACLA in San Jose. Bert van Aalsburg is also a recipient of a Critics Circle award for set design and has been nominated twice in the past for sets he has designed and built. Mr. van Aalsburg has been production stage manager for the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre since 1999. And in the past year, he was stage manager for many of LHT’s play reading series. In August, he stage managed their event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “March on Washington” at the Oakland Museum which was co-produced with the Equal Justice Society of Oakland. Most recently, Bert van Aalsburg stage managed the new play First, by local playwright Evelyn Jean Pine, for PlayGround. Elsewhere, he has directed, was featured in several independent films, and painted a number of sets. He’s been busy. In the midst of all that, he has found the time to be an active member of Actors’ Equity, the union for actors and stage managers.
Set Designer/Carpenter, Driving Miss Daisy
Residing in Martinez, California, Clint Sides is a woodworker, contractor and small business owner in the East Bay. Mr. Sides brings with him a passion for theatre and all its wonders. With four years of actor’s training he is pursuing his AA in Theatre. Mr. Sides has done set design and building with The Diablo Actors Ensemble Theatre and Los Medanos College Little Theatre. His favorite roles have been Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Hank the Drifter in Roadblock Confessions; and as The Father of the Bride in Blood Wedding.
Costume Designer, Driving Miss Daisy
Hope Birdwell began her theatrical costuming career at age 52 and has costumed over 30 productions for Diablo Actors Ensemble, Contra Costa Christian Theater and Brentwood Theater since 2008. Ms. Birdwell was the assistant costumer for the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute in 2012. Hope Birdwell is a six time Shellie Award nominee and winner for “Outstanding Costuming” in 2012 for Driving Miss Daisy. None of this would be possible without the love and support of her husband and seven children to pursue her passion for costuming.
Costume Designer, Medea
Courtney Flores has been costume designing in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2003. This will be Ms. Flores’ first show designing for African American Shakespeare Company. Courtney Flores currently holds an A.A. in Fashion Design and a B.A. in Theater Arts Technical Production with an option in Costume Design. Currently, Ms. Courtney is finishing her M.F.A. studies, in Theater Arts Technical Production, with an emphasis in Costume Design at San Francisco State University. You will be able to see more of her work in the Spring production of James and The Giant Peach with The Douglas Morrison Theatre in April.
Costume Designer, Much Ado About Nothing
A recent Bay Area transplant, Mo Stone is excited to be finding her way in the world of San Francisco theater with the African-American Shakespeare Company. For Mo, costumes are a true passion, but she has also worked as a sound designer, makeup artist, and board operator for countless productions in her native Los Angeles, including collaborations with Golden Thread Productions, NeedTheater, the 68 Cent
Crew Company, and Graveyard Shift Productions. Ms. Stone is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, and currently is a fellow at the Brava Theater Center. Mo Stone would like to thank the AASC for this amazing opportunity, Michelle for the hookup, and Zac for his love and support.
Assistant Director, Cinderella
Mr./Ms. Rivas is an aspiring director and drag performer. Mr. Rivas recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with an emphasis in Directing. In Santa Barbara he produced and wrote Life is a Drag, a piece that focused on the life and artistry of drag queens. Directing credits include Can Can, Why Do You Smoke So Much, Lily? and An Awakening at UCSB Studio Theater. Mr./Ms. Rivas assistant directed for Irwin Appel’s production of Anowa. Stage Management credits include Appogiatura as part of the LaunchPad Program at UCSB, Tartuffe, Cloud Nine, Hamlet, Iphigenia 2.0, and Trojan Women in collaboration with the UCSB Theater and Dance Department, and interned for the California Shakespeare Theater Stage Management program for their 2013 Season. Mr. Rivas is thankful for this thrilling opportunity to work with Mr. L. Peter Callender and African American Shakespeare Company.
Assistant Director, Much Ado About Nothing
Donna Simone Johnson is ecstatic to be working with African American Shakespeare Company! She was last seen in James Franco’s The Magic Tower at the Edgemar in LA. Other credits include: We Are Proud to Present directed by Nataki Garrett, Po’rKnockers (Portland Center Stage), The Depth of Black Art (A.C.T. Costume Shop), Dog Sees God (Celebration Theater), The Cherry Orchard (Theatricum Botanicum), Heads or Tails (Union Square NYC), Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Baal, and Saint Joan, to name a few. She is a member of Theatricum Botanicum and Urban Theatre Movement and will receive her MFA in Acting from CalArts this May. www.donnasimonejohnson.com
Advocate for Community Engagement
762 Fulton Street, Suite 306
San Francisco, CA 94102