Artistic & Technical Team

Silas Cooper*
Director of The Gavin Mahlie “All Things Shakespeare” Training Program

Mr. Cooper is the Chairman of the Drama Department at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and holds a MFA in Acting from the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Washington, as well as a BFA in Theatre from Tulane University. Mr. Cooper is a classically trained stage actor who has worked regionally across the country on numerous classical and contemporary productions. Additionally, he has a noteworthy career in film and television.

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Rob Clare
Director of Cymbeline

Mr. Clare was first an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company then a Staff Director at the UK’s National Theatre, before deciding to concentrate primarily on Shakespeare. With a doctorate from Oxford University, where he also taught, he is now an internationally recognized specialist whose freelance credits during the past decade include working regularly as a verse and text coach with the RSC core ensemble, and with Steppenwolf (Chicago) here in the US. He has taught and/or directed Shakespeare all over the world, including directing three Hindi productions in New Delhi, India. In the UK, he established the MA Classical Acting course at the Central School of Speech and Drama, and led it for its first three years. His US credits include recent productions at the Juilliard School, NYU Tisch (Graduate Acting), the Academy for Classical Acting in Washington DC, Kentucky Shakespeare, Marin Shakespeare Company, the American Shakespeare Center, and USC Los Angeles. He also produced and performed in an evening celebrating Shakespeare in Words and Music at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington DC, starring Andre Braugher, the Last Stand Quartet, and also Reiko Aylesworth, to whom he is married.

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Cecile Casey Covert
Costume Designer for The Importance of Being Earnest

Ms. Covert is one of New Orleans most sought-after designers and has created and executed inimitable works for SFT, Southern Rep, Dog & Pony Theatre, Le Petit Theatre, the NOLA Project and for Ricky Graham and Varla Jean Merman. She has received many accolades for her work, including several Gambit Big Easy Awards. Her theatrical career began more than a generation ago at Children’s Corner of Le Petit Theatre. Cecile is also an in-demand makeup artist for Mardi Gras families. Additionally she and her brother, Jack Casey, have owned and managed Casey’s Snowballs in Metairie for more than 40 years.

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Raul Gomez
Composer and collaborator for Incarnate

Mr. Gomez is a conductor, composer, violinist, co-founder of Compleat Stage, and a guest conductor with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. An alumni of the prestigious American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, Mr. Gomez keeps a busy guest conducting and speaking schedule in the US and Latin America. He was recently a featured speaker in Costa Rica’s TEDx PuraVida, and in 2013 he was selected by the Jazz Foundation of America (NY) to conduct Wardell Quezergue’s posthumous premiere of his “Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ,” recorded for broadcast by WWOZ. He currently serves as Head of Music Programs and Education Advisor for YOA Orchestra of the Americas (Washington D.C.) and is the recipient of a Conducting Fellowship with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. Raul holds graduate degrees from LSU: Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting and Master of Music in violin performance.

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Destany Gorham
Props Craftsman
Assistant Stage Manager for Cymbeline
Stage Manager for The Importance of Being Earnest

Ms. Gorham is an Albuquerque native and received a BFA in Scenic Design from College of Santa Fe. Destany has held positions as teaching artist, properties master, scenic designer, scenic artist and stage manager for companies in New Mexico, and the New Orleans area including PLAY Conservatory, Mother Road Theater Company, Albuquerque Little Theatre, Company, Landmark Musicals, and Santa Fe University of Art and Design, The National Dance Institute, Ballet Repertory Theatre of New Mexico, Le Petit Theatre De Vieux Carre, and Rivertown Theaters. 

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Jennifer Gillette
Costume Designer for Cymbeline and Incarnate

Ms. Gillette is currently pursuing an MFA in Costume Design from University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Recent credits include Crimes of the Heart at Triad Stage (April 2015), directed by Jane Unger; UNCSA’s production Angels in America Part One: Millennium Approaches (February 2015), directed by Jeremy Skidmore; and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for The New Orleans Shakespeare Festival, directed by Clare Moncrief (2014). Earlier credits as an installation and performance artist include The Night Garden at The Columbus Museum of Art; Town + Country Kitchen Document for Domestic Integrities at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; We’ll Meet You There for The Front in New Orleans, and Game Show! in Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Portland. Ms. Gillette holds a BFA in Painting and Drawing from The Ohio State University.

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Barbara Hayley
Choreographer for Incarnate

Ms. Hayley is Dance Coordinator in Tulane’s Department of Theatre & Dance. She has been a member of the Newcomb Dance Program faculty since 1985, Chair of Theatre and Dance, 2001-2007, and teaches ballet, modern dance, choreography, dance history, and courses in community engagement through the arts. In New York Ms. Hayley taught dance at Wagner College on Staten Island, danced with numerous choreographers, and directed Barbara Hayley & Dancers.  She received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in for work throughout Russia, the impetus for creative work/exchanges on the international dance scene. Ms. Hayley is active in community partnership building and concert modern dance in New Orleans, including the direction of New Orleans Dance, a modern dance company comprised of local professional dance artists. New Orleans Dance and Ms. Hayley have received awards for both original choreography and modern dance production, including the 1999 Mayor’s Arts Award.

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Kevin O’Donnell
Sound Designer for Cymbeline and Incarnate

Mr. O’Donnell is a musician, sound designer, and composer. Before moving to New Orleans he was based in Chicago, where his work in Chicago theatre earned him 20 Jefferson nominations and 10 awards. His work has been heard at Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, The Court (Chicago); A.R.T. (Cambridge, MA); The Arscht Center (Miami); Actors Theatre of Louisville; A.C.T. (San Francisco); St. Anne’s Warehouse, The Signature Theatre, 59E59, and The Cherry Lane (New York). As a composer for dance he is currently working with the choreographer Molly Shanahan, with whom he has collaborated on numerous pieces over the years. And as a musician he frequently drums with the multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird, and is on his recently re-issued Weather Systems.

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Jessica Podewell*
Director of The Importance of Being Earnest

Ms. Podewell originally hails from New Orleans and has directed and acted in theatres throughout Austin, Chicago, and New York. She recently performed as Quince in the Festival’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and directed the 2014 All Things Shakespeare Program. She currently teaches in Tulane’s Department of Theatre & Dance, and is the Literary Manager at Southern Rep Theatre. She is also a proud founding member of the children’s theatre The Patchwork Players.

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Mihai Plaiasu
Set Designer for Cymbeline and The Importance of Being Earnest
Technical Director

Mr. Plaiasu was born in Romania after the fall of Communism, which fostered his powerful curiosity and desire for everything ‘new’ and his interest in theatre with its constant change of time, place, materials and people. With a strong desire to draw and create new spaces, Mihai studied fine arts and theatre design at the main art high school in Bucharest. He continued to study set design at the National University of Theatre & Film with Viorica Petrovici, the designer for the National Opera. Mihai worked in many theatres as an assistant to Puiu Antemir, one of the greatest set designers in Romania, in the independent small theatre movement. This past summer Mihai was excited to work at the Oklahoma Shakespeare Festival and he is currently working toward his Master of Fine Arts degree at Tulane University.

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Martin Sachs
Artistic Director
Lighting Designer for Cymbeline and The Importance of Being Earnest
Sound Designer for The Importance of Being Earnest and All Things Shakespeare

Mr. Sachs has designed lighting at such theatres as the Fredericksburg Theatre Company, the Dallas Theater Company, the New Orleans Opera Association, the American Southwest Theatre Company, Tulane Summer Lyric, Le Petit Théatre de Vieux Carré, and the Contemporary Arts Center. He is the recipient of five Gambit Magazine’s Big Easy Entertainment Awards for Best Lighting Design and is a member of United Scenic Artists (lighting design). He currently serves as Chairman for Tulane’s Department of Theatre & Dance and received his BA in Theatre from Grinnell College and his MFA is Design/Technical Production from Florida State University.

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Burton Tedesco
Fight Director

Mr. Tedesco is the Director of Theatre at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT. He has directed the violence for The Festival’s recent productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and Julius Caesar. As an actor, he has played roles including Tybalt in Romeo & Juliet, Dr. Caius in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Cinna the Poet in Julius Caesar. He is a Dueling Arts International Associate Instructor of Stage Combat and Teacher Trainee of Michael Lugering’s Expressive Actor Technique.

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Chaney Tullos*
Director of Operations
Director of Incarnate
Production Stage Manager for Cymbeline

Mr. Tullos is in his fifth year with the Festival and is also an Adjunct Faculty member at Tulane. In 2012 he revived the Festival’s Shakespeare on the Road program: An intensive class for Tulane students that culminates in a touring show about Shakespeare’s life and work. In 2014 he directed the Festival’s interdisciplinary shows, in collaboration with Compleat Stage, entitled The Luna Series. As an actor and director he has worked with companies including Virginia Stage Company, The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, The American Shakespeare Center, SITI Company, Compleat Stage and Swine Palace. He also had the pleasure of performing at the reopening of Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. He holds an MFA in Acting from LSU and is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. Chaney is also a guest instructor at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

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*Denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional stage actors and stage managers.