LOU BELLAMY (DIRECTOR & PRODUCER) is the founder and artistic director of Penumbra Theatre. Under his leadership, Penumbra has produced 23 world premieres, including August Wilson's first professional production, and is proud to have produced more of Mr. Wilson's plays than any theater in the world. Mr. Bellamy is an OBIE Award-winning director, an accomplished actor, and sought-after scholar. He has been a member of the University of Minnesota's faculty for 32 years and is currently appointed to the rank of associate professor in the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. Recent directing credits include Black Pearl Sings!, Radio Golf, Fences and The Piano Lesson at Penumbra, A Raisin in the Sun and Gem of the Ocean, Penumbra productions staged at the Guthrie, Two Trains Running at the Signature Theatre in New York, Jitney at Kansas City Repertory Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company, and the staged reading of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at the Kennedy Center.
DOMINIC TAYLOR (ASSOCIATE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR) is a director, playwright and the head of Penumbra's OKRA New Play Development Program. Most recently, Mr. Taylor directed Black Nativity: A Season for Change at Penumbra. Other select directing credits include the new opera Fresh Faust at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Negroes Burial Ground at the Kitchen, N.Y.C., Uppa Creek at Dixon Place, and Ride The Rhythm in the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival. He is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota where he has directed The Wiz, Night Train To Bolina and this spring will direct Execution of Justice. Mr. Taylor has worked with Crossroads Theater, Rites and Reasons Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, and Ensemble Studio Theatre, among others. He is an alumni member of New Dramatists and holds a Bachelor's and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Brown University.
SARAH BELLAMY (EDUCATION DIRECTOR) is the principal scholar and editor for Penumbra Theatre. Her work includes the research and composition of the contextual essays to accompany Penumbra's main-stage productions. Ms. Bellamy also oversees the creation of standardized, original curricula for educators to engage culturally specific arts in their classrooms. She has designed several programs that engage patrons of the theatre in critical thinking, dialogue and action around issues of race and social justice. Among the most renowned are the "RACE Workshop: Meet Your Metaphor," curated to accompany the Science Museum of Minnesota's exhibit RACE: Are We So Different?, and Penumbra Theatres Summer Institute, an intensive theatre-training program for youth to practice socially responsible art and civic engagement. Ms. Bellamy is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, and holds an M.A. from The University of Chicago. She is currently working toward her doctorate in Comparative Studies and Discourse in Society at the University of Minnesota.
MARY K. WINCHELL
MARY K. WINCHELL (STAGE MANAGER) is a longtime Penumbra Theatre company member. Most recently, she stage managed Penumbra's Black Pearl Sings!, Black Nativity: A Season for Change, Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean. Other Penumbra credits include The Piano Lesson, Get Ready, Black Nativity: Twenty Years of Holiday Cheer!, Seven Guitars, Jitney, Two Trains Running, King Hedley II and Dinah Was. She has stage managed at the Orpheum Theatre, State Theatre, Pantages Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Jungle Theater and the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami. She has lent her talents to Macy's Glamorama and served as production stage manager for Dorothy Hamill’s Nutcracker on Ice, Aveda's 20th Anniversary Celebration at Radio City Music Hall, and Super Bowl xxvi Winter Magic.
TERRY BELLAMY (STERLING JOHNSON) is a founding member of Penumbra Theatre Company. He began acting at the age of six and has been on stage professionally for over 30 years. He has worked at numerous theatres including Chimera, Mixed Blood Theatre, American History Theatre, The Hennepin Center for the Arts, Park Square Theatre, Minneapolis Car Garage, Illusion Theatre Company, Guthrie Theater, The Goodman Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville and many others. He has been a dramaturge at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, taught advanced acting at the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis and he taught Black Drama at Penumbra Theatre Company in 1990, 1991 and 1994.
JAMES CRAVEN (ABE) is a long-time Penumbra Theatre company member. Select credits at Penumbra include Fences, The Piano Lesson, Penumbra's production of Gem of the Ocean presented at the Guthrie Theater, Get Ready, Zooman and the Sign, Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers and REDSHIRTS, co-produced with Round House Theatre. He also performed at Kansas City Repertory Theater and Arizona Theater Company in their joint production of Jitney. James is a 2005 recipient of the Spenser Cherashore Fund and was awarded a 2007 McKnight Fellowship.
AUSTENE VAN (MAME WILKS) recently performed in Penumbra's production of Gem of the Ocean, staged at the Guthrie Theater. Other select Penumbra credits include performances in Zooman and the Sign, Dinah Was, The Trial of One Short Sighted Black Woman vs. Mammy Louise & Safreeta Mae and Blues for an Alabama Sky, and she directed Black Nativity-Hear Again the Christmas Story! and Black Nativity: Twenty Years of Holiday Cheer! She has performed at Children's Theatre Company, Mixed Blood Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, Pantages and the Saint Louis Repertory Theatre. Television credits include Vernie and The Shakedown. Musical endeavors include writing and co-producing her own album.
KEVIN D. WEST
KEVIN D. WEST (ROOSEVELT HICKS) is a Penumbra company member. Penumbra credits include Fences, Zooman and the Sign, Two Trains Running, Some Place Soft to Fall, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Seven Guitars, A Raisin in the Sun and Freefall. Kevin has also performed with Children's Theatre Company, Jungle Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Alchemy Theater, History Theatre, Theater Latté Da, Minnesota Jewish Theater, the Guthrie Theater and the Phoenix Theater. Film and television credits include The Death of Tommy Grime, Sweet Caroline, Kingdom Hospital, Bill's Gun Shop and Justice. Kevin serves as Artistic Associate with the Capri Theater where he teaches acting to high school students.
ABDUL SALAAM EL RAZZAC
ABDUL SALAAM EL RAZZAC (HENRY) is a founding member of Penumbra Theatre. He has also performed at the Willamstown Theatre Festival, Los Angeles Theater Center, A.C.T., Long Wharf, Mark Taper, the Guthrie Theater, South Coast Rep, Trinity Rep, Tiffany Theater, The Nate Holden Theater, The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Kansas City Rep and Arizona Theater Company. He has directed at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Zephyr, L.A.T.C. and Glaxa Theaters, as well as staged readings for the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theatre and the Mark Taper's Mentor Reading Series. Awards include the N.A.A.C.P. Image Award and the L.A. Drama Critics Award for performance, and the Los Angeles Dramalog Award for best director and the N.A.A.C.P. Image Award best director nomination. Select film and television credits include Star Trek: The Next Generation, Pretty Woman, Glory, Malcolm X, Terminator II, Frasier and Conversations with God.
VICKI M. SMITH
VICKI M. SMITH (SCENIC DESIGNER) has designed several productions at Penumbra including A Raisin in the Sun and Zooman and the Sign. She has also designed for The Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, Seattle Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Geva Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Dallas Theatre Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Children's Theatre Company, Minnesota Opera, Anchorage Opera, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, ACT Seattle, Alley Theatre and Berkeley Rep. Pierre, one of her recent designs for The Denver Center Theatre Company, was selected for the Prague Quadrennial Design Exposition 2007.
MATHEW J. LEFEBVRE
MATHEW J. LeFEBVRE (COSTUME DESIGNER) has designed costumes for several Penumbra Theatre productions including Fences, REDSHIRTS, Get Ready, Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers, On the Open Road, Black Eagles, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Jitney, and both Scenery and Costumes for Gem of the Ocean. Off Broadway credits include costumes for Two Trains Running at Signature Theatre—Lortel winner, best revival of a play, AUDELCO nominee, best costumes—and Bach at Leipzig for New York Theatre Workshop. Mr. LeFebvre has designed costumes for the Guthrie Theater, The Acting Company, The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Kansas City Rep, Arizona Theatre Company, Trinity Rep, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Geffen Playhouse, Mixed Blood Theatre and American Players Theatre.
MICHELLE HABECK (LIGHTING DESIGNER) has designed for Penumbra Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater, Baltimore's CenterStage, and Alliance Theatre, among others. She has worked as associate to Tony Award-winning designer Donald Holder on Julie Taymor's Opera Grendel; Gem of the Ocean at the Goodman Theatre and Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; and on Broadway stage plays and musicals including Movin' Out, King Hedley II and The Boy From Oz. Ms. Habeck was honored with the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Grant for 2003-04. She is on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
MARTIN GWINUP (SOUND & VIDEO DESIGNER) is an associate professor in the Theatre Arts and Dance Department at the University of Minnesota. He teaches audio and video technology, design and production. He has also worked in the Twin Cities area as a freelance sound and video designer and technician for 18 years. Martin has worked for the Frank Theatre, History Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Cricket Theatre and Eye of the Storm. Select design credits at Penumbra include REDSHIRTS, Get Ready, Blue, Black Nativity - A Celebration of Family, A Celebration for the Soul... Testify! and Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers.
KALERE A. PAYTON
KALERE A. PAYTON (COSTUME DESIGNER) designed costumes for Penumbra Theatre's The Whipping Man. Other costume design credits include The Wiz and A Bright Room Called Day for The University of Minnesota as well as The Producing House's Power Balladz and Park Square Theatre's Othello. Ms. Payton was the Assistant Costume Designer for several Penumbra productions including Get Ready, REDSHIRTS, Fences, Radio Golf and Black Nativity: A Season For Change. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts with an emphasis on Costume Design and Technology from the University of Minnesota.
SARA STRAHM (PROP MASTER) is pleased to do her first show with Penumbra Theatre. Recently she has worked on many productions at the Guthrie Theater including Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. In addition Sara has been a prop artist in Washington, D.C. at Ford's Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Discovery Channel and for Mame at the Kennedy Center.