Faculty Biographies

Brown/Trinity Rep Instructors

CURT COLUMBUS (The Arthur P. Solomon and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director, Trinity Repertory Company; Directing/ Dramaturgy) became Trinity Rep’s fifth artistic director in January 2006 after a 20-year career in Chicago Theater. His directing credits for Trinity include Beowulf: A Thousand Years
of Baggage, Middletown, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Merchant of Venice, His Girl Friday, Camelot, Cabaret, Blithe Spirit, A Christmas Carol, Cherry Orchard and the world premieres of The Completely Fictional—Utterly True—Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allen Poe and Social Creatures. Trinity has produced the world premieres of three of his plays, Paris by Night, The Dreams of Antigone, and Sparrow Grass, as well as his translations of Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard and Ivanov, Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear and Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna. Curt’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (with Marilyn Campbell) has won awards and accolades at theatres around the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. His play, Sparrow Grass, is published by Dramatists Play Service, as are his translations of Chekhov’s major plays: Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters (developed at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia) Cherry Orchard, and Ivanov. Curt lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his husband, Nate Watson.

Curt Columbus on THE WHOLE ARTIST 

ANGELA BRAZIL (Director of the M.F.A. Programs in Acting and Directing; Speech) has been a member of Trinity Rep’s resident acting company since 2000. Favorites include Scout Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird; Heidi Holland, The Heidi Chronicles; Elizabeth Proctor, The Crucible; Mathilde, The Clean House; Edward/ Victoria, Cloud Nine; Hildy Johnson, His Girl Friday; Julia, A Delicate Balance; Blues for Mister Charlie; Appropriate; House and Garden; Intimate Apparel; and the title role in Veronica Meadows. Directing credits for Trinity Rep include A Christmas Carol (co-directed with Stephen Thorne). She has been a member of the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble since 2006, where roles have included Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire and Olivia in Twelfth Night. Other theatres include Dallas Theater Center, Berkeley Rep, and The Long Wharf Theatre. She has an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. She is currently on the faculty at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, and has taught at Clark University, URI, and The ArtsLiteracy Project. She works in area public and private schools as a teaching artist, and was awarded a RISCA Education Grant in 2017 for her elementary education project, We Are Rhode Island.

                                                   Angela Brazil on DIALECTS

BRIAN McELENEY (Head of the M.F.A. Acting Program) is a longtime member of Trinity Rep’s resident acting company, where his roles have included King Lear; Richard II; Richard III; Cassius; Malvolio; Prior Walter, Angels in America; Dr. Larch, The Cider House Rules; George, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Jamie Tyrone, Long Day’s Journey Into Night; and Mozart, Amadeus. A Trinity Rep associate director, he has directed over 20 Trinity Rep productions, including To Kill a Mockingbird, Blues for Mister Charlie, The Grapes of Wrath, House and Garden, Absurd Person Singular, The Crucible, Twelfth Night, A Raisin in the Sun, All the King’s Men, Measure for Measure, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Our Town, and Hamlet (2006 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Director). A graduate of Trinity College and the Yale School of Drama, he was a member of the faculty at Princeton University from 1982–90. In addition to his work at Trinity Rep he has acted in productions in various New York theatres such as Theatre for the New City and St. Clement’s Theatre. He has been a member of the Robert Lewis Acting Company and the Bread Loaf Acting Ensemble, where he is now Director of the Theatre Program.

                                                    Brian McEleney on BEING AN ACTOR

Brian McEleney on MAKING SOMETHING NEW 

BRIAN MERTES (Head of the M.F.A. Directing Program, Director of Graduate Studies) is an Associate Director at Trinity Rep, where he directed Steel Magnolias, Clybourne Park, Crime and Punishment, A Lie of the Mind, The Glass Menagerie, and Appropriate. He has taught directing for both Columbia and NYU film programs, and has been a guest director at North Carolina School of the Arts, SUNY Purchase, NYU Grad, UT Austin, and Yale. Brian has directed many world premieres, including David Greenspan’s The Myopia for the Foundry Theater at the Atlantic, Jose Rivera’s Massacre at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in NYC, and De Profundis with Jim Findlay at Playmakers Rep. He has developed new work at Ensemble Studio Theater, Manhattan Class Company, Naked Angels, Manhattan Theater Club, The Public, PS 122, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Playwrights Center Minneapolis, New Dramatists, Ars Nova, PlayPenn, and BACA. Brian has directed numerous projects at Juilliard where he created a multimedia theatre work based on Sam Shepard’s Paris, Texas with alt-country rocker, Jim White. He has directed for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, garnering three Emmy and three DGA nominations, and an Emmy for directing. He is Co-Artistic Director of the Chekhov Project in Rockland County, NY, which is releasing a feature film, I am a Seagull. Co-directing with Julian Crouch, their production of Jedermann was performed 2013–16 for the Salzburg Festival in Austria.

Brian Mertes on MAKING THEATRE 

THOM JONES (Head of Voice and Speech) has coached voice, dialects, and text extensively in theatre, film, and television. Theatres where he has coached include: Trinity Repertory Company, The Public Theater, Shakespeare In the Park, Noel Coward Theatre (London’s West End), Yale Repertory Company, Dallas Theater Center, McCarter Theatre, The Cleveland Play House, The Huntington Theatre, The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Syracuse Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Long Wharf Theatre, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Hangar Theatre. For film and television, he has done voice and dialect coaching for numerous actors, including: Nicole Kidman, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Rickman, Vanessa Redgrave, Robin Williams, Emma Watson, Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Segal, Ciaran Hinds, David Oyelowo, Amy Adams, Lily Rabe, Mel Gibson, Olivia Cooke, Tye Sheridan, Simon Peg, Mark Rylance, Sienna Miller, Brendan Gleeson, Melissa Leo, Emily Van Camp, Blythe Danner, Logan Lerman, Linda Emond, Ryan Reynolds, Sissy Spacek, and others, as well as for directors Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorcese, Lee Daniels, Ridley Scott, Ben Younger, and others.

SHURA BARYSHNIKOV (Head of Movement and Physical Theatre) is an interdisciplinary movement artist who works broadly as a dancer, actor, improvisor, and somatic movement educator. She is a co-founding Artistic Director of Doppelgänger Dance Collective, a Rhode Island-based dance company dedicated to the curation and commission of new contemporary works, and a founding member of the Contact Improvisation performance ensemble Set Go. Shura has theatrical credits which include Trinity Repertory Company and Bridge Repertory Company, among others, and she has designed movement for those companies as well as The Wilbury Theatre Group, Elemental Theatre Collective, and for many Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. productions. As a freelance dancer, Shura has performed with companies such as Lorraine Chapman the Company, Betsy Miller Dance Projects, ali kenner brodsky & co., Lostwax Multimedia Dance, Festival Ballet Providence, and Dancing Legacy, and her solo work and self-produced improvisation projects have been presented nationally and internationally. Shura is an active practitioner
of Contact Improvisation and B.J. Sullivan’s Safety Release Technique and has studied Viewpoints and Suzuki with Anne Bogart and SITI Company since 2009. Shura has instructed at Brown/Trinity Rep since 2011 and, in that time, has also taught and choreographed at MIT, Dean College, Rhode Island College, Salve Regina University, and Connecticut College.

Shura Baryshnikov on CONTACT IMPROVISATION 

Shura Baryshnikov on DISCOVERY 

STEPHEN BERENSON (Founding Director of Brown/Trinity Rep; Acting) was the program’s director at its inception in 2001, remaining in that position for 16 years. A member of Trinity Rep’s resident acting company for 29 seasons, more recent roles have included Willy Loman, Death of a Salesman; Fagin, Oliver!; Feste, Twelfth Night; Shylock, The Merchant of Venice; Sydney, Absurd Person Singular; and Scrooge, A Christmas Carol. He has performed at The Kennedy Center, BAM, New York’s Town Hall, Dallas Theater Center, on tour in the US and Canada, and for three presidents at the White House. New
York credits include William Gibson’s The Butterfingers Angel, Joe Keenan’s Close Enough for Jazz, revivals of Dead End and Men in White by Sidney Kingsley, and Bunthorne in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience. He taught acting at Roundabout Theatre Conservatory, Rosetta LeNoire’s AMAS Repertory Theatre, and The Professional Children’s School, all in New York. He holds a Tutorial appointment at Middlebury College Bread Loaf School of English, Oxford, and will return to Lincoln College in the summer of 2018 to teach a course on British Theatre. He is a recipient of The New England Theatre Conference Award, The Mayor of Providence Citation, and Ten Chimneys’ Lunt- Fontanne Fellowship.

                                                 Stephen Berenson on JOURNEY AND LIFE EXPERIENCES

BARBARA CASEY (Alexander Technique) trained and qualified as an Alexander Technique teacher at the Carrington School in London in 2010. Both of her major teachers, Walter and Dilys Carrington, were students of FM Alexander, founder of the Technique. While training she completed an internship at LAMDA, the London Academy for Dramatic Arts. Upon completing her training she was certified by STAT-UK and AmSat, the American Society for the Alexander Technique. After returning to the United States, she served on the Board of Directors of AmSat from 2010-13. She has presented frequently in the Holistic Counseling Program at Salve Regina University, Newport, Rhode Island and teaches at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts in the Computer Science Department. In 2015 Barbara completed a year long post graduate program in New York with John Nicholls. In 2016 she worked with Betsy Polatin who pioneered a four year Alexander Technique curriculum for acting conservatory students at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts in a series of workshops related to the Alexander Technique and Trauma. Prior to her Alexander Technique work Barbara enjoyed a 33 year career as a Special Education Early Childhood Educator. She holds an Ed.B and Ed.M in Education.

TYLER DOBROWSKY (Professional Development) is the associate artistic director at Trinity Rep. He has been a member of the education, community engagement and artistic teams since 2003. As the theatre’s education director, he expanded Trinity Rep’s student matinee program, Project Discovery, as well as the theatre’s in-school and after-school programs, and created the popular summer program, the Young Actors Summer Institute. As the theatre’s literary manager, he has been instrumental in pushing for the development of new work, and has commissioned a number of high-profile writers including Jackie Sibblies Drury, Charise Castro-Smith, George Brant and Lauren Yee. His directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar, A Flea in Her Ear, It’s A Wonderful Life, Love Alone (a world premiere with the playwright Deb Salem Smith), and A Christmas Carol. Last summer, in a partnership with Rhode Island Latino Arts, he founded Shakespeare en el Verano, a bilingual mobile Shakespeare unit that performs in different locations around Providence. He teaches at the Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. program, as well as in Trinity Rep’s education programs for children and adults. Tyler received his M.A. in Education Policy from Brown University, and studied history, theatre and Russian at Holy Cross.

CAROL GILL (Voice/Alexander Technique) graduated from the New College of Speech and Drama, London as a voice, speech, and drama teacher in 1973. She became a teacher of the Alexander Technique in 1984. The Alexander Technique serves as foundation and support to her voice work. She was formerly Head of the Voice Department at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and has taught in various theatre schools, including the New College of Speech and Drama in London, Dartington College of Arts in Devon, England, the Drama Studio of London in Berkeley, California, and the theatre departments at Stanford University and Oberlin College. She maintains an active private practice in voice and the Alexander Technique.

Carol Gill on FINDING FREEDOM

RAELLE MYRICK-HODGES (Directing) has worked in all aspects of performing arts/theatre including but not limited to founder of Azuka Theater, now in its 22nd year (Philadelphia), participant for national performance panels for National Endowment for the Arts & New England Foundation for the Arts, and she is currently in development with new work for a new ensemble, Elephant Room. Raelle has been directing, producing and curating for over 20 years. For the stage, Raelle has worked on productions nationally and internationally including Magic Theatre (San Francisco), Arden Theater Company (Philadelphia), PlayMakers Repertory Company (North Carolina), Theater Minnot (Beirut, Lebanon), and California Shakespeare Theater, among others. For the past three years, while re-imagining her directorial work, Raelle was Curator of Performing Arts at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans in which works she presented ranged from Denis O’Hare’s An Iliad to New England’s Double Edge Theater to the works of choreographer Kyle Abraham. From interning in small theatres to directing in large scale performance spaces, Raelle has had the opportunity to reexamine theatre performance, placing more focus on the artist’s duty as citizen.

ROBERT HONEYSUCKER (Singing) is recipient of the Boston Globe’s Musician of the Year award in 1995. He has performed such roles as Count di Luna, Germont, Ford, Iago, Amonasro, Rigoletto, and Renato with companies in Boston, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Tulsa, and Fort Worth. He has also sung Don Giovanni, Figaro, Sharpless, Porgy and Jake in opera houses in Auckland, NZ, Berlin, Germany, and Linz, Austria. Orchestral performances have included Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Seji Ozawa) and with the Atlanta Symphony (Roberto Abbado); All Rise with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Kurt Mazur); Vaughn Williams’s Hodie with Salt Lake Symphony (Keith Lockhart); and Charles Ives’ General William Booth Enters into Heaven with the Pittsburgh Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas). Mr. Honeysucker is a member of Videmus, as well as a member and co-founder of the Jubilee Trio, which presents American art songs, including those of under-performed African American composers. Discography includes performances on five Videmus discs: “Music of William Grant Still” (New World), “Watch and Pray” (Koch International), “More Still” (Cambria), “Highway 1, USA” (Wm. Grant Still) released by Albany Records, and “Good News” (Videmus Records). He is also featured on a CD recently released by the Jubilee Trio titled “Let’s have a Union” (Brave Records). Mr. Honeysucker is also featured on the Centaur, Ongaku and Titanic labels. Robert Honeysucker is a member of the voice faculties at The Boston Conservatory and The Longy School of Music.

MELISSA KIEVMAN (Creative Producer) has directed and developed new plays at theatres including The La Jolla Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Soho Rep, Atlantic Theater Company, Trinity Rep, TheaterworksUSA at the Lucille Lortel, Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, Hangar Theatre, O’Neill Theater Center, The Guthrie Lab, ACT Seattle, Roadworks in Chicago, Asolo Rep, Great Lakes Theater Festival/Cleveland Public, Ars Nova, The Divadelni Ostrov Festival in Prague and the Gate Theater, London. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, an affiliated artist of New Georges, a Wingspace member, a Lincoln Center Lab alumna, a Drama League fellow, and recipient of the NEA/TCG Program for Directors. Kievman formerly served as Associate Artistic Director of New Dramatists, facilitating the development of hundreds of new plays and new music-theatre pieces. She is currently Creative Producer for Brown University Writing Is Live and co-artistic director of Chekhov at Lake Lucille, an annual retreat and performance project in Rockland County, New York. She is a member of the 2017 cohort of artEquity.

EUGENE LEE (Scene Design) originally made Providence his home because of his commitment to Trinity Repertory Company, where he has been designing since 1967. He designs frequently at Long Wharf Theatre, Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre and The Public Theater. He holds BFA degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago and Carnegie Mellon, an M.F.A. from Yale Drama School, and three honorary doctorates. He has been the production designer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live since 1974. He has won many awards including three Tony Awards, the Drama Desk Award, the Outer Critics’ Circle Award, the American Theatre Wing’s Design Award, the Lucille Lortel Award, the Pell Award, the Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, and the NCTF’s Theatre Artist Award. He has been inducted into the New York Theatre Hall of Fame. He is currently represented not only on Broadway, but also nationally and internationally, by the musical Wicked. He is a Visiting Professor at Brown University’s Oenslager Studios, which he founded. He lives with his wife Brooke in Providence, where they raised their two sons.

JUDE SANDY (Movement and Embodiment Practice), a 2009 graduate of the Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. Program in Acting, is in his second season as a resident actor with Trinity Rep. As a movement and dance artist, he has choreographed for numerous Trinity Rep productions, created works for college and high school students, and collaborated on physically-driven productions in New York City’s off-Broadway and independent theatre scenes. An alumnus of American Dance Festival, he has taught master repertory for American Dance Legacy Initiative and was a faculty member at New York State Summer Schools for the Arts (School of Dance). He was a member of the original Broadway company of War Horse at Lincoln Center Theater, has toured North America, performed regionally at the Guthrie Theater and Shakespeare Theatre Company, and served as movement and assistant director for productions at Cleveland Play House. Jude matriculated from Brown in 2005 with an A.B. in Africana Studies. He is on the theatre faculty at Connecticut College and is co-founder of Denizen Arts: a multidisciplinary, African diaspora-based creative collaboration, conceived in 2016 with dance/performance artist yon Tande.

ANNE SCURRIA (Actinghas been a member of Trinity Rep’s resident acting company since 1979. Her roles have included: Amanda, The Glass Menagerie; Ma Joad, The Grapes of Wrath; The Homebody, Homebody/ Kabul; Vivian Bearing, Wit; Martha, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Mrs. Warren, Mrs. Warren’s Profession; Lady Macbeth; Titania, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; and Ebenezer Scrooge, A Christmas Carol. She has also appeared at New York’s Public Theater, Circle Rep, Arena Stage, Intiman Theater, Long Wharf Theater, American Repertory Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, Actor’s Theater of Louisville ‘s Humana Festival, Speakeasy Theater, Lyric Stage and Perseverance Theater. Her television work includes Olive Kitteridge and The Brotherhood. Anne is a graduate of the Trinity Rep Conservatory and has been a faculty member since 1992.

Anne Scurria on CONNECTING WITH A CHARACTER

DEBORAH SALEM SMITH (Playwriting) is the author of Anna K., Faithful Cheaters, Love Alone, Some Things Are Private, and Boots on the Ground. She is the playwright-in- residence at Trinity Rep, and a Huntington Theatre Playwriting Fellow. Recent awards include an Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award and a Jane Chambers Playwriting Award Honorable Mention. Love Alone was a finalist for both the National Lambda Literary Award in Drama and the IRNE Award for Best New Play. Smith has received multiple commissions, and her plays have been developed at Trinity Rep, Huntington Theatre Company, Women’s Project Theater, and PlayMakers Repertory Company. Other honors include an Emerging American Artist Fulbright for playwriting at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland’s national theatre; a National Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities; a MacDowell Colony residency; a Bray Visiting Scholar/Creative Artists Fellowship; a Major Hopwood Award; a Colby Fellowship; and awards from Princeton University. Her work is published by Dramatists Play Service.

               Deborah Salem Smith on ARTISTS AND TEACHERS

RACHAEL WARREN (Singing) started at Trinity Rep in the 1999-2000 season playing Eliza in My Fair Lady and has been a company member since 2002. Other highlights at TRC include Tilly, Melancholy Play: a chamber musical; Nancy, Oliver!; Sally, Cabaret; Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Warrior One, Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage; Betsy/ Lindsey, Clybourne Park; Ophelia, Hamlet; Rebecca, The Long Christmas Ride Home; Sabina, The Skin of Our Teeth; Mary, A Dublin Carol; Isobel, The Secret Rapture; and Mary Warren, The Crucible. Ms. Warren was a company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for two seasons playing The Baker’s Wife, Into the Woods; Eliza, My Fair Lady; and Muriel Humphrey/Pat Nixon and others in the world premiere of The Great Society. She toured nationally with The Who’s TOMMY, Chess, and Company, and has also performed at Hartford Stage, American Repertory Theatre (Bacchae, Antigone, The Doctor’s Dilemma), Williamstown Theatre Festival (Tonight at 8:30, Princess Turandot), Goodspeed Opera (Great Expectations), Wallis Annenberg Center, Virginia Stage, Cleveland Play House (Aldonza, Man of LaMancha), and Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. She has been the Voice and Acting Coordinator for Trinity Rep’s Young Actors Summer Institute since 2007 and is a graduate of the A.R.T Institute at Harvard.

PATRICIA YBARRA (Chair of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies/Dramaturgy) is the author of Performing Conquest: Five Centuries of Theater, History and Identity in Tlaxcala Mexico (University of Michigan Press, 2009) and co-editor of Theater and Neoliberalism: Performance Permutations (Palgrave, 2012). Her book, Latinx Theatre in the Times of Neoliberalism (Northwestern University Press) will be published in November 2017. She has also published articles and reviews in Modern Language Quarterly, Theatre Journal, Contemporary Theater Review, Gestos TDR, The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Latin American Theatre Review, and numerous anthologies. She dramaturged Trinity Rep’s Like Sheep to Water, or Fuente Ovejuna. She is the president of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and was the winner of the 2015 Graduate Mentoring and Advising Prize at Brown University.