Tara Mallen, Artistic Director

Tara Mallen is an actor, director, and the Producing Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Most recently on stage in Rivendell’s production of Grizzly Mama. Last winter she performed in the world premiere production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat at Arena Stage. Prior to that she was in Rivendell’s Jeff nominated world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking. Tara appeared in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. She was part of the ensemble in Rivendell’s world premiere, Jeff nominated production of The Walls and played Jolene Palmer (inspired by the true-life story of Aileen Wuornos) in Rivendell’s award winning production of Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen–both productions part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Visiting Theater Initiative. For Rivendell, Tara has produced and acted in over twenty-five productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson award for Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gwenyth in WRENS as part of that production’s Jeff-winning ensemble. She was nominated the following year for Actress in a Principal Role for her work in My Simple City.

Her screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion opposite Kate Winslet , the Starz series Boss starring Kelsey Grammer, the NBC pilot of Chicago Fire, the CBS/Sony Pictures pilot Doubt,  the NBC series Chicago P.D. and the new Netflix series Sense8 directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski.

With Rivendell, Tara conceived and directed the world premiere of WOMEN AT WAR,  directed the Jeff nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby, 26 Miles (in co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting Words; Psalms of a Questionable Nature; the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson in Hudson, NY; and the brief and brilliant Shady Meadows by Lisa Dillman as part of the 2007 Chicago Humanities Festival.

Jackie Banks-Mahlum, Managing Director

Jackie Banks-Mahlum is an arts manager, producer, and educator based in Chicago. She is thrilled to be with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble as the managing director.

Prior to joining Rivendell Jackie was in the Los Angeles area where she worked with Center Theatre Group’s P.L.A.Y., the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Theatricum Botanicum. She has also freelanced throughout several regions where she has had the opportunity to work with a variety of performing arts including opera, ballet, modern dance, improv, and theatre.

Jackie is the Membership and Development Associate at Arts Alliance Illinois, and the Co-Producer for Theatricum Botanicum. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, has a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Production from Bradley University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Producing from the California Institute of the Arts.

Trisha Hooper, Business Manager

Trisha has been involved with Rivendell since graduating from Loyola University Chicago in 2007. She started as a volunteer and went on to become the Business and Box Office Manager. In addition to her work with Rivendell, Trisha spent a summer with American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin where she was a management intern. Trisha also made vegan pastries at Metropolis Coffee Company.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Theatre: 5779 N. Ridge Avenue
Office: 5775 N. Ridge Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660


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