Kate Tarker (Playwright)
Kate Tarker’s plays include THUNDERBODIES (Soho Rep., NYTimes Unforgettable Theater Moments of 2018), Dionysus Was Such a Nice Man (The Wilma), and Laura and the Sea (2016 Kilroys list; finalist: 2016 L. Arnold Weissberger Award, Princess Grace Award, and Relentless Award). Her works have been developed at The Lark, The Vineyard, Rattlestick, The Wilma, Ars Nova, NYTW, Magic Theatre, Cutting Ball, the Playwrights’ Center, Theatre503, and The O’Neill, among others. She is the recipient of a Jerome Fellowship, The Vineyard’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the National Science Playwriting Award, Theater Masters’ Visionary Playwright Award, a PWCenter/NET Ensemble Collaboration Grant, and she has been featured twice on the Kilroys List. Residencies: Tofte Lake Center, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and two-time MacDowell Colony Fellow. Alum of Ars Nova Play Group, New Georges Jam, and Playwrights’ Center Core Writer. Tarker has also collaborated with Pig Iron and SITI Company Conservatory, and currently holds commissions from Theater Masters, Soho Rep., and Playwrights Horizons. MFA Yale. Teaching: Wesleyan, University of the Arts, PlayPenn, and Playwrights’ Center. M.F.A. Yale. Kate lives in Brooklyn.
Devon de Mayo (Director)
Devon de Mayo directed the world premiere of The Scientific Method by Jenny Connell Davis for Rivendell Theatre. Other Directing credits include: If I Forget (Victory Gardens Theatre); First Love is the Revolution (Steep Theatre); Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theatre Wit); The Burn (Steppenwolf Theatre), Harvey (Court Theatre), Sycamore (Raven Theatre), You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Animals Out of Paper (Shattered Globe Theatre), You Can’t Take it With You, and Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre), Jet Black Chevrolet (side project); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, and Clouds (Dog & Pony). Directing and devising credits: Don’t Look Back/Must Look Back (Pivot Arts); Guerra: A Clown Play (La Piara, Mexico); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony). She received her MFA from Middlesex University in London and did further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in
Skyler Gray (Dramaturg) is thrilled to return to Rivendell after working on The Cake. Gray is the Director of New Play Development at Victory Gardens Theater. Before joining Victory Gardens, he was the Literary Manager at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX. Gray has developed new work with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, South Coast Repertory, Alley Theatre, Chance Theater, Rogue Artists Ensemble, UC Irvine, Columbia University, Children’s Musical Theaterworks, WildWind Lab, Echo Theater Company, Artists at Play, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. He has also worked in the literary departments at South Coast Repertory, Williamstown Theatre Festival and William Morris Endeavor in New York City, as well as serving as the Artistic Director of Children’s Musical Theaterworks and The Underground @ CMT in Fresno, CA. Gray holds a BA in Theater from the University of California, Irvine with Honors in Directing and Stage Management.
Courtney O’Neill (Scenic Design) is a Chicago-based Scenic Designer who works nationally as well as locally. She is the recipient of the 2017 Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award, the 2013 USITT Scene Design Award, and her designs were featured in the 2011 Prague Quadrennial United States Student Exhibition. Courtney won a Jeff Award for Mud (The Hypocrites) and has received multiple nominations. Her work has been featured in Live Design, American Theatre, and Washingtonian magazines. She holds an MFA from Northwestern University, a BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University, and currently teaches part-time at both institutions.
Heather Sparling (Lighting Design) is grateful to be working with Rivendell again after Scientific Method. Recent design credits include The Fly Honey Show (The Inconvenience), Empower Youth! (Lyric Unlimited); The Burn (Steppenwolf ); Twelfth Night and The Heart of Robin Hood (Door Shakespeare), Yardbird (Hackney Empire, London), La Havana Madrid (Teatro Vista), Longer! Louder! Wagner! (Lyric Opera of Chicago), The Way She Spoke (Greenhouse Theater). Heather is a proud alum of Boston University. For more information on her work, visit www.sparlingdesigns.com).
Anthony Churchill (Projections Design) collaborates on media for theatre, events, and installations. Recent projections and media with Q Brothers, Marriott Theatre, The Cher Show, Porchlight Music Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Theatre Wit, Stage Left, Museum of Broadcast Communications, Big Noise Theatre, 16th Street Theatre—Berwyn, and BoHo Theatre—which he is a proud company member of. Tony has been nominated for three Jeff Awards for Projections, winning one in 2017 for Body of An American. When not working on plays, he enjoys sculpting tiny astronauts in peril, and playing projections with his band, Grape Juice Plus. www.artlabchicago.com
Catherine Allen (Production Manager) is thrilled to return to Rivendell where she previously production managed Scientific Method, The Cake and Cal in Camo. Recent production management credits include Significant Other (About Face Theater), Violet and Ragtime (Griffin Theatre), Invisible Hand, Hookman, and Bobbie Clearly (Steep Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened… (Route 66 Theatre Company), and many circuses with Actors Gymnasium where she is the staff Production Manager. She has also worked with Congo Square Theatre, Pegasus Theatre Chicago, Haven Theatre, Chimera Ensemble, and Step Up Productions where she was an Artistic Associate. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she received a BFA in Acting.
Tara Mallen (Rivendell Artistic Director / Producer) is an actor, director, and the Producing Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She is the 2017 3Arts William Franklin Grisham Awardee and the 2014 Volunteers of America Silver Star Awardee. Most recently Mallen was seen onstage in The Cake for which she won the 2018 Jeff Award for Performer in a Principal Role. In 2016 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 Steppenwolf’s 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’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 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 (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 (Rivendell Managing Director / Producer) is an arts manager, producer, and educator based in Chicago. She was thrilled to join Rivendell Theatre Ensemble as the Managing Director in March 2014. Jackie is also the Membership and Development Associate at Arts Alliance Illinois, and the Co-Producer for Theatricum Botanicum. Previously 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 regionally where she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of performing arts including opera, ballet, modern dance, improv, and theatre. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, has a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Production and Business Management from Bradley University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Producing from the California Institute of the Arts.