Bekah Brunstetter (Playwright) hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and currently lives in Los Angeles. Her plays include The Cake (Ojai Playwrights Conference), Going to a Place where you already are (South Coast Repertory), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage Fall 2016, O’Neill Playwrights Conference; Flying V) Cutie and Bear (Roundabout commission), A Long and Happy Life (Naked Angels commission), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova, Collaboraction, The Old Globe), Oohrah! (Atlantic Theater, Steppenwolf Garage, Finborough Theater/London), Nothing is the end of the World (except for the end of the world) (Waterwell Productions), House of Home (Williamstown Theater Festival) and Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Ice Factory Festival). She is an alumna of the CTG Writers Group, Primary Stages Writers Group, Ars Nova Play Group, The Playwright’s Realm, and the Women’s Project Lab. She is currently a member of the Echo Theater¹s Playwright’s Group. She has previously written for MTV (Underemployed; I Just Want My Pants Back,) ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and Starz’s American Gods. She is currently a Co-Producer on NBC’s This Is Us. She received her B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill and her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the New School for Drama.
Lauren Shouse (Director) is a director, dramaturg and teacher. She is currently the Artistic Associate and Literary Manager at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre. Her recent directing credits include: The Legend of Georgia McBride at Northlight Theatre, Nice Girl and Betrayal at Raven Theatre, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts, and A Christmas Story at Nashville Repertory Theatre, the world premiere of Long Way Down with 3Ps productions (nominated for American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award 2011); the world premiere of Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company; the world premiere of Rear Widow at Chaffin’s Barn Theatre, and Sylvia Plath’s 3 Women. As Artistic Associate at Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival, which developed new works by John Patrick Shanley, David Auburn, Steven Dietz and Victoria Stewart. Lauren also co-founded Ten Minute Playhouse, a company that produces short plays by local playwrights. Before moving to Nashville, Lauren lived in London, UK and worked with Producer/Director Hugh Wooldridge. Her work abroad includes: Production Executive for The Night of 1000 Voices (celebrating John Kander and Fred Ebb and starring Joel Grey with Avenue Q) at The Royal Albert Hall; Production Executive of An Evening with Michael Parkinson at The Theatre Royal – Windsor, Children’s Director/Assistant to the Director of A Gift of Music, and Assistant Director of The Night of 1000 Voices at The Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland. Lauren holds an MA in Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill where she adapted and directed The Time Traveler’s Wife. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University where she directed Stop Kiss, Eurydice and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play. In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left Theatre.
Jenniffer Thusing (Stage Manager) happily returns to Rivendell. She previously stage managed Cal in Camo, Alias Grace, Grizzly Mama and Winter. Jenniffer has stage managed for SoloChicago, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Commercial Collective, Noble Fool, Nuns for Fun, Emerald City and Light Opera Works. Her work as a set designer with her partner Robert Groth has been seen at Irish Theatre of Chicago, Mary Arrchie, The Royal George, Metropolis Performing Arts, The Broadway Playhouse, The Apollo Theater, and Emerald City’s Little Theater. Jenniffer is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.
Janice Pytel (Costume Design) has been a Rivendell ensemble member since 2010 and also serves on Rivendell’s literary committee. Throughout her 20-year career as a costume designer, she has had a special interest in new play development, and has designed costumes for numerous world premiers by noted playwrights such as Bruce Norris, Moises Kauffman, as well as the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright. With Rivendell, she has designed costumes for the world premiers of Psalms of a Questionable Nature, WOMEN AT WAR (core artist), Look, we are breathing, Body Courage, and Alias Grace. Additional Rivendell credits include Mary’s Wedding; Precious Little; Falling: A Wake; Crooked; The Electric Baby; How the World Began, Dry Land, and Grizzly Mama. Recent costume design credits include The Book of Will (Northlight Theatre); Booty Candy (Windy City Playhouse); Queen, Hand to God, Hillary and Clinton, Cocked and Never the Sinner (Victory Gardens) and Song from the Uproar (Chicago Fringe Opera). In Chicago, Janice has worked with Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Writers’ Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Next Theater, About Face Theater, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, Silk Road Rising, Piven, and others. Her Broadway credits are 33 Variations and I Am My Own Wife. Regionally she has worked with The Alley Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Madison Rep, Alliance Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Centerstage, Arena Stage, Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse and others. She has designed costumes for opera, dance, film, and performance art, and her work has been seen in numerous cities across five continents. Janice also works as a personal wardrobe consultant with her company Wardrobe Solutions, Inc.
Catherine Allen (Production Manager) is thrilled to be working with RTE for the first time! Recent production management credits include Significant Other (About Face Theatre), 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.
Robert Groth (Technical Director) is excited to return to RTE where he recently worked on Alias Grace. He has been a freelance technical director, scenic carpenter and designer for over 15 years. Robert has also worked as a scenic designer for several theater companies with his partner Jenniffer Thusing including Mary Arrchie, Pinebox, Emerald City and most recently Chicago Theatre Workshop’s production of Little Miss Sunshine. Their design work was recognized in 2011 with a nomination for an Equity Wing Jeff for Best Scenic Design—Midsized Theater.
Jackie Banks-Mahlum (Rivendell Managing Director / Producer) is an arts manager, producer, and educator based in Chicago. She was thrilled to join the 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.