Jenny Connell Davis’s (Playwright) plays include End of Shift, Goddess of Mercy, The Dragon Play, and Scientific Method. Her work has been produced or developed at Chance Theater, the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Playwrights’ Center, Icicle Creek Theater Festival, ACT Seattle, ATC Chicago, the Araca Group, Asolo Rep, New York Stage and Film, Ars Nova, The Gift Theatre, Shrewd Productions, ScriptWorks, NAATCO and Rivendell. Her first screenplay, Playing House, was a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship; her second, Two Truths and a Lie, was a semi-finalist. Her short with writer/director Soham Mehta, Fatakra, has screened worldwide and been recognized with more than a dozen audience awards and jury prizes. She currently has film and television projects in development with Maven Pictures/Tangerine Entertainment, Fox Animation, Astronauts Wanted/Cinestar Pictures, and Iconoclast/Anonymous Content. Jenny has an MFA from UT Austin, is a former member of Ars Nova’s Play Group, an Affiliated Writer with the Playwrights’ Center, and was the 2014-2015 Hot Seat Resident Playwright at Baltimore’s Center Stage. She is a member of Chicago’s Gift Theatre Company and a proud member of ScriptWorks and the MARTHAs, an Austin-based playwrights’ collective.
Devon de Mayo (Director) is working with Rivendell for the first time. Recent directing credits include: 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 Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali, Indonesia.
Anthony Churchill (Projections Designer) collaborates on media for theatre, events, and installations through out the country. He is so happy to be working with Rivendell on this show. Recent projections and media for Marriott Theatre, The Cher Show, Q Brothers, Chicago Children’s Choir, 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 two Jeff Awards for Projections, in 2017 for Body of An American – which he won the award for – and in 2015 for Ordinary Days. When not working on plays, Tony enjoys sculpting tiny astronauts in peril, and playing projections with his band, Grape Juice Plus. www.artlabchicago.com
Jenniffer Thusing (Stage Manager) is excited to return to Rivendell. She previously stage managed The Cake, 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.
Catherine Allen (Production Manager) is thrilled to return to Rivendell where she previously production managed The Cake and Cal in Camo. 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 Rivendell. 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.
Arianna Soloway (Assistant Director) is thrilled to be working with Rivendell for the first time. Recent directing credits include Guardians (Mary Arrchie Theatre), Carrie & Francine (Haven Theatre), and Pine in a site specific production. Recent assistant directing credits include Linda (Steep Theatre) How to Use a Knife (Shattered Globe), Pillars of the Community (Strawdog Theatre), Roz and Ray (Victory Gardens), Red Handed Otter (A Red Orchid Theatre), Seminar (Haven Theatre Company), and Intelligence (Arena Stage). Arianna has a BFA in directing from Columbia College and is an associate member of the SDC.
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. 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 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 Wallsand 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 Bossstarring 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 (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.