Tara Mallen, Artistic Director and Founder

Tara Mallen 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 was won the 2018 Jeff Award for “Actor 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 world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking. Tara appeared in the Steppenwolf for Young Audience’s production of How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. One of Rivendell’s founding members, Tara has now produced and acted in over thirty productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress” for work 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. Screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion; Empire (Fox); Boss (Starz); Chicago Fire (NBC); Doubt (CBS/Sony Pictures pilot); Chicago P.D. (NBC); Sense8 (Netflix) and the independent feature FOOLS. Tara co-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; Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (co-production with Stageworks/ Hudson); 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.




Tanya Ward, Marketing Director

Tanya Ward has more than 15 years in grassroots and traditional marketing engagement, and 
8+ years in social media content marketing. Within the advertising and marketing landscape she has supported brands such as: McDonald’s USA, Coca-Cola, Toyota, Verizon, Proctor & Gamble’s My Black Is Beautiful, Creme of Nature and Congo Square Theatre Company, among others.  She is also a founding member of the Englewood Arts Collective which was formed to to help produce artists, events and interactions that reflect the Englewood community of Chicago in a positive way.



Kristen Osborn, Artistic Associate & Outreach Coordinator

Kristen Osborn is a Chicago-based director and theatre maker who is passionate about sparking compassion through storytelling. Currently, Kristen serves as Artistic Associate and Outreach Coordinator at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, and the Literary and Casting Associate at Northlight Theatre. She is the founder and producing artistic director of JoyistLA. Directing credits include Eugene O’Neill’s Fog, JoyistLA’s First Embrace, and an original adaptation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth, Lift. Assistant directing credits include Henry IV, (dir. Daniel Sullivan, Shakespeare Center LA,) The Scene (dir. Kimberly Senior, Writers Theatre,) Sex With Strangers (dir. Kimberly Senior, Geffen Playhouse,) Relativity (dir. BJ Jones, Northlight Theatre,) The Cake (dir. Lauren Shouse, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble,) Choir Boy (dir. Trip Cullman, Geffen Playhouse), Fighting Shadows (dir. Robert Egan, Inner-City Arts.) Kristen’s previous work with the Ojai Playwrights Conference, serving as Artistic Associate and Associate Director, has ignited in her an insatiable appetite for new play development processes. She is a graduate of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.

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


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