Founder, CEO, and Artistic Director
Hanna Bondarewska is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Ambassador Theater and was recently seen in Lady, a one woman show based on Shakespeare's Macbeth and in They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay! by Dario Fo as Antonia, Smartphones as Maria, Protest as Stankova, Death of Tintagiles as Ygraine and in Summer at Nohant as George Sand. “For Hanna Bondarewska, the path to world peace not only exists, she is walking it — one artistic endeavor at a time.” – The Washington Diplomat.
Hanna Bondarewska is a native of Warsaw, Poland and was trained in the Polish and American schools of drama. She founded the Ambassador Theater because she believes in the power of theater to change the world for the better through collaboration and artistry. By bringing together theater and diplomacy she hopes to give us all a new perspective as global citizens, which will lead to deeper cultural understanding.
In June 2008, Hanna organized a life-changing trip to Poland for students from D.C. Public Schools as part of an educational program about Poland. The program was done in collaboration with Mrs. Hanna Reiter, wife of the former Ambassador of Poland to USA, the Embassy of Poland, Embassy Adoption Program, D.C. Public Schools and WPAS. She worked with over 60 students, teaching them about Poland, its history, culture, and traditions through theater designed to help them better retain learnt material, improve their reading comprehension, posture, and speaking skills, increase their imagination, and energize their drive for life.
The program developed into a performance, "Poland the Beautiful, an Imaginary ." Students performed the piece at their schools and at the Embassy of Poland, and then took it on the road for the First Lady of Poland, Mrs. Maria Kaczynska, at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw and in many other places around Poland last June.
Hanna’s acting credits are extensive and include the role of Antonia in They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay! by Dario Fo, George Sand in Summer at Nohant, Young Helena Modjeska in Farewell to Arden, Helena—the Emigrant Queen; Mother in Sunflowers, Wife in Square Minus One; A Genie Named Khatab; Snow Queen; Anouilh’s Antigone; Gogol’s The Marriage; and Goldoni’s Mirandolina and many others.
Ms. Bondarewska has recently directed Lady, The Trap, Happily Ever After, The Visitor, The Third Breast, The Madman and the Nun, Death of Tintagiles, Miracle of Saint Anthony, Summer at Nohant, Farewell to Arden, Forefathers, and Out at Sea.
Her one-woman show, Lenya Cum Weill, won recognition at the Kennedy Center Performing Arts Festival. Hanna performed at the Washington Shakespeare Theatre, Spectrum Theatre, Classika-Synetic Theatre, The New York Polish Theater, Hippodrome State Theatre, and Acrosstown Theater in Florida, where she also directed The Tao of Pooh, based on the book by B. Hoffman, and S. Mrożek’s Tango. Her Polish theater credits are extensive and include work in Warsaw, Bialystok, Olsztyn, Torun, Katowice, and Wroclaw with many luminaries of the Polish stage.
Hanna received her Master of Fine Arts in Classical Acting at the Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University and Shakespeare Theatre. She graduated magna cum laude from the Mount Vernon College of The George Washington University and also earned her Acting Diploma in Poland. For over 15 years she served as Executive Director of the Institute for Education and Membership Chairman of the ABC XXI Child Awareness Program for Poland, which supports the emotional health and rights of children and adolescents through reading programs, awareness, education, and action.
Recently, her one-woman show of Lady was invited to perform at several international theater festivals around the world.
Ms. Bondarewska has received various honors, including 2015 and 2014 DC Metro Theater Arts Best Director, Best Play Award, 2013 Helen Hayes Canadian Partnership Award, the St. Cyril and Methodius Award of excellence in promoting the Bulgarian Culture, Julia Heflin Performing Arts Award, recognition by Who's Who Among Students in American Universities, identification as a National Dean's List Scholar, and others.
Shawn W. Lyles
Shawn W. Lyles (Assistant Artistic Director) is a graduate of Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts. With a concentration in Cinematography and Editing, he completed his Digital Filmmaking professional program at the Washington, DC Campus."What does this have to do with theater?" you may ask. Filmmaking was the bridge that connected Shawn to Hanna and the Ambassador Theater. Upon hearing about the work of the theater and the production of 'Rage', Shawn's contribution came in the form of a trailer for the play, as well as a feature segment with the director Joe Banno.This led to ideas of a more day to day involvement with the theater, but his association with drama didn't start there.
Shawn, a native of Rochester, NY, theater background began at Syracuse University where he studied under Arthur Storch and performed (as Chino) in Syracuse Stage's production of West Side Story. Having caught the acting bug, Shawn set his sites for the regional houses in the area and was cast In Geva Theatre's A Raisin in the Sun (George Murchison) and The Member of the Wedding (Honey Camden Brown).
At the urging of his director Woodie King Jr., Shawn made the move to NYC and split time between theatre work (which included an East Coast tour with The Shoestring Players), daytime television (ABC's 'One Life to Live') and a Manhattan based cable-access music show called 'Make It or Break It' where he worked as the videographer-on-the-street.
After developing an appreciation for creating and producing segments, and learning the realities of 'run and gun' filming, Shawn broadened his skill set, and while employed as a Video Editing Specialist at Sachs Insights, he honed his video story telling working with focus groups and research projects.
He also was able to transition into directing theater by founding the 'Black Expressions Theater Group' where he co-produced and directed "I See Rivers" and "Denmark Vesey Revolts" at Geva Theatre and The Village Gate Theater.
A move to Washington, DC translated into a variety of new experiences including the opportunity to act once again in "A Mid-Summer Nights Dream" & "Much Ado About Nothing" with The Shakespeare Theater Company and the founding of B-Roll Film Productions where he produced and directed a promotional video for the non-profit organization 'Bread for the City', produced a recruitment video for the national for-purpose 501(c)3 organization 'Back on My Feet', and served as Co-Producer/Editor on the 'One World Education 2014 Student Ambassadors' video. He also served as videographer for 13-time Emmy Award winner Elisabeth Leamy's keynote speech to 2014 Association Media and Publishing and produced a mini-documentary on Washington, DC native, musician, David Marsh. Shawn would like to thank Hanna for her ongoing mission of bringing diversity and cultural awareness in the arts to the community, and for the opportunity to contribute to the Ambassador Theater.
Joe Banno - Director
Over the last 25 years, Joe Banno – who recently established a new residence in Los Angeles – has distinguished himself as an innovative, critically acclaimed director. In work that has been called “joltingly powerful”, “audacious” and “engagingly freewheeling”, he has brought his unique, directorial vision to well over 100 productions spanning classical and contemporary theatre, opera, musicals, video and film. He has also, in a successful second career, established himself as a fresh voice in classical music, opera and film criticism, with hundreds of his pieces published in newspapers across the country.
Since 1988, Banno’s productions at theatres in the Washington DC-area have been nominated for 32 prestigious Helen Hayes Awards, and have won 8 of them, including one for Outstanding Direction. Banno is also the recipient of the Mary Goldwater Award and the Bud Yorkin Award, both for excellence in directing.
With a theatre background that includes degrees from Georgetown and Carnegie-Mellon Universities and further studies at NYU and the British-American Drama Academy, film training from NYC’s School of Visual Arts, The New School for Social Research and Global Village Video Center, and long experience in the classical music world, Banno brings a uniquely wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary perspective to his work.
His directing has been seen across the US – from a co-production between NYC’s Blue Heron Theatre and the US Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, to the inaugural production of LA’s Mutineer Theatre, to hybrid stage-works incorporating text, dance, music and visual arts for experimental companies like Musica Aperta and The In Series. He has created stagings of new and classic works for the Folger Theatre and Theatre J (DC), Rep Stage and Adventure Theatre (MD), Milwaukee’s Renaissance Theatreworks (WI), Wolf Trap Opera and the American Shakespeare Center (VA), Opera Northeast (NYC), and San Francisco’s Marin Opera (CA), among many other companies. For a decade, Banno was the artistic director of DC’s groundbreaking Source Theatre Company.
Among the many hats he has worn throughout his eclectic career, Banno has written on classical music for the Washington Post, directed an independent feature film and a web series, worked as general manager at radio station WFUV-FM in New York City, headed–up a new-works funding initiative at Opera America and, for two years, was the on-camera co-host for the official U.S. live-broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards to the Arab world on Alhurra television. He has frequently served as an acting coach, conference panelist, competition judge and theatre consultant. Banno has interviewed conductor James Conlon before a live audience at the Folger Theatre, and director John Pascoe on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage. In 2010, and again in 2012, he guest-lectured in Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tim Page’s arts-criticism seminar at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism, as well as recently guest-lecturing in theatre classes and workshops at Pepperdine University, Catholic University, St Mary’s College of Maryland and The Shakespeare Theatre (in Washington, DC).
Currently, Banno is in discussions with theatres in LA and in the DC-area for productions in the upcoming season. He is working as director and co-screenwriter on an independent feature-film project in development, as well as on two other films and a web-series also in development. In 2013, he began contributing concert reviews to the Los Angeles Times.
Banno’s career has seen him direct over 60 contemporary plays – including dozens of new scripts – at a host of theatres. From 1997 through 2006, Banno served as artistic director of Washington DC’s creatively audacious Source Theatre Company, where he nurtured the development of burgeoning writers through the annual Washington Theatre Festival of New Plays, and produced and directed works by a who’s-who of contemporary American playwrights, including a multi-year cycle of plays by David Mamet. Under his creative leadership, Source expanded its mission – producing late-night theatre; offering seasons of music ranging from intimate cabaret to rock festivals to chamber music series and opera workshops; hosting shows of gallery art and photography; and forging partnerships, artistic residencies and co-productions with other DC theatre companies – resulting in Source’s growth into a bustling, multi-disciplinary arts center.
Celebrated for his culturally relevant updating of classic plays (like his American-set deconstructions of “Tartuffe”, “The Cherry Orchard” and “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Source), Banno has been particularly noted for his work in Shakespeare. He has directed eight Shakespeare productions, including “Hamlet”, “The Merchant of Venice”, and a notably popular staging of “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Folger Theatre (where his production of “Romeo and Juliet” won several Helen Hayes Awards, including one for Outstanding Direction). His Shakespeare directing has also been seen at Washington Shakespeare Company/AvantBard (seven productions including the rarely-produced “Cymbeline”, “Pericles”, “Troilus and Cressida” and “Edward the Third”), and in the historically-recreated Blackfriars Theatre at the American Shakespeare Center (for a twice-extended, year-long run of “King Lear”).
Known as well for his work in musical theatre, Banno’s production of “Evita” – a collaborative project between Open Circle Theatre’s company of artists-with-disabilities and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange – was a critical and popular success. His work in musical theatre extends from classics like “Carousel” (a national tour with Opera Northeast) and “Fiddler on the Roof” (a hit production at Connecticut’s Downtown Cabaret Theatre) to lesser-known works, such as William Finn’s early “In Trousers” (at Source Theatre Company) and the DC premiere of “Six Women With Brain Death” (Razor’s Edge Theatre). Banno’s world-premiere staging of “Executive Leverage” at Source Theatre Company received a Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding Production of a Musical.
As an opera director with over 40 productions to his credit, Banno has had his most recent successes with “The Marriage of Figaro”, “The Magic Flute” and “Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci” at Opera Delaware. His modernist stagings of “Otello” for Washington Summer Opera, “Sweeney Todd” with Wolf Trap Opera, and “La Tragedie de Carmen” and a Bernstein double-bill at the Alba Music Festival (in northern Italy) – together with his emerging-singer workshops of “The Coronation of Poppea” and “Das Rheingold”, and his experimental stagings of non-theatrical musical works (most notably his “Winterreise” for DC’s innovative music-theatre-dance collective, The In Series, and his theatre/chamber-music/haute-cuisine event, “Re:New”, with renowned Chef Jose Andres and the ensemble Musica Aperta) – have reconfirmed him as a challenging and original interpreter of the art-form.
FILM & VIDEO
Banno has recently begun directing film, and his first independent feature, “Sleeping and Waking”, was released in 2009. Boasting a wide-ranging knowledge of film, television and related media, and trained in film production, single- and multi-camera video production, cinema history and film semiotics, he has been involved in the world of visual media in a wide range of positions – film critic, projectionist, indie-cinema manager, co-director of live-theatre telecasts for Virginia cable television, and creative consultant on the multiple festival-award-winning 1995 film, “Bigger Fish” (Second-Hand Smoke Prods). In 2012, he completed a two-year project directing a video web-series featuring nutritionist Janis Jibrin, for fitness guru Bob Green’s website TheBestLife.com, ranging from interviews and exercise videos to cooking demos and on-site restaurant features. He currently has several independent film and web-based projects in development.
MUSIC & FILM CRITICISM
As a critic with twenty-five years-worth of published work to his credit, he has contributed reviews and articles on music and film to a number of publications, including Opera Monthly, Yankee Magazine, and DC’s alternative weekly, Washington City Paper, where he was the opera critic, as well as a film reviewer, from 1989 to 2008. He was a classical music critic at The Washington Post between 1993 and 2012, and reviewed classical recordings and videos for the website TheClassicalReview.com from 2009 through 2012. Last year, he began contributing concert reviews to the Los Angeles Times.
The last few seasons have seen Banno developing and directing a number of stage works: the plays “Elvis Blossom” and “Dear Abe” (at Virginia’s newest incubator for original scripts, Studio Roanoke), the dark-comedy “Ngala Muti” and the punk-rock musical “Requiem” (for the graduate playwriting program at Catholic University’s School of Drama, in Washington, DC), the American premiere – in a freshly revised and newly orchestrated version – of the British theatre-for-youth musical, “Spot’s Birthday Party” (at Maryland’s Adventure Theatre), the new Irish play, “Elvis’s Toenail” (at Sidewalk Studio Theatre in LA) and the film-adapted, one-man show, “Wonderful Life” (at LA’s Theatre Asylum).
In his first production for Northern Virginia’s American Century Theatre, his audience-interactive staging of Durang’s “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You” was enthusiastically received, as was his second production for the company, a rare revival of the stage-version of “Judgment at Nuremberg”. In recent seasons, Banno staged a double-bill of Leoncavallo’s opera “Pagliacci” and Ernesto Lecuona’s Cuban zarzuela “Maria La O” (set, respectively, in 1950s Little Italy and Havana), as well as developing and directing a new musical-revue of songs from the 1930s and ‘40s by émigré Hollywood composers, “From Berlin to Sunset” – both productions for The In Series, the DC-based company where he had previously staged a cycle of Mozart’s operas in modern-dress.
JERZY SATANOWSKI (Composer)
Born August 23, 1947 in Warsaw. Composer, arranger and director of musical performances. A graduate of Department of Polish Studies at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. Selfeducated in music. A rock band vocalist and guitarist during his high school years. Debuted as a theatrical composer in 1972 at the Boguslawski Theater in Kalisz with the music for “Trucizna, milosc i spiew”, based on texts by E. Stachura. Since then has composed music for over three hundred plays performed at Polish and European theaters. Cooperated with almost every theatre in Poland, including Polish TV, and wrote music for overseas productions in Vienna (Burg
Theater), Zurich (Schauspielhaus), Helsinki (National Theater), Leningrad (Towstonogow Theater), Bonn, Geneva, Kassel, Graz, Dusseldorf, Wiesbaden, Krajina and Teheran.
As a theatrical composer worked with the following artists, amongst others: Erwinem Akserem, Maciejem Prusem, Izabelą Cywińską, Janem Englertem, Maciejem Englertem, Adamem Hanuszkiewiczem, Gustawem Holoubkiem, Krzysztofem Zaleskim, Agnieszką Holland, Laco Adamikiem, Tadeuszem Łomnickim.
Jerzy wrote music for all performances directed by Janusz Wisniewski who was the recipient of the following awards: Grand Prix at BITEF Festival in Belgrade in 1983 for „Ponopticum à la Madame Tissau” and „Koniec Europy”; Grand Prixfor Panopticum à la Madame Tissau and Koniec Europy at Theatre of the Nations Festival in Nancy in 1984; Fringe First for Koniec Europy in 1985 and Fringe First for Modlitwy chorego przed nocą in 1986 at Edinburgh Theatre Festival.
Jerzy Satanowski composed music for films, working with Stanisław Różewicz, Filip Bajon, Marek Koterski, Andrzej Domalik, Janusz Zaorski, Robert Gliński, Andrzej Kondratiuk, Januszem Kondratiuk, Maciej Wojtyszka, Jerzy Domaradzki. He directed over a dozen original musical performances: „Decadanse”, „ List do Pozostałych”, ”Wszystkie babskie środki przeciwko śmierci”, „Mr B” at „Teatrze Nowym” in Poznan; „Śpiewniczek upiornych kantyczek”, ”Rodzina Dreptaków”, „Domofon” at „Teatr na Woli” in Warsaw; „Nie żałuje”, „Zanim będziesz u brzegu” , „AntySzanty”, ”Stop Klatka” at „Teatr Atelier” in Sopot”; Ulica Szarlatanów”, Konie Narowiste” at “Spiewajmy Poezje” (Lets Sing Poetry) at Olsztyn Castle; „ Zabawki Pana Boga”, „Tuwim dla dorosłych”, Całujcie mnie wszyscy w odbiornik” at “Teatr Roma” in Warsaw; „ Biała Lokomotywa” at Teatr Ateneum in Warsaw.
Composed music for the following vocalists: Krystynę Jandę, Marylę Rodowicz, Katarzynę Nosowską, Edytę Geppert, Magdę Umer, Stanisławę Celińską, Justynę Steczkowską, Ewe Błaszczyk, Edytę Jungowską, Hannę
Śleszyńska, Annę Dereszowską, Katarzynę Groniec, Hannę Banaszak, Krystynę Tkacz,Piotra Fronczewskiego, Ryszarda Rynkowskiego, Mirosława Czyżykiewicza, Zbigniewa Zamachowskiego, Mariana Opanie, Jana Peszka, Michała Bajora, Mirosława Bakę, Piotra Machalicę. He received music awards for the following: „Noc listopadowa” Theater Festival in Opole 1979; „Operetka” in Wrocław 1980; „Judasz z Kariothu” Theater
Festival in Kaliszu 1981 and in Opole 1982; „Wesele”, „Dziady” and „NieBoska komedia” Theater Festivals in Opole between 198283; for musical "Miłość, czyli życie, śmierć i zmartwychwstanie” Theater Festival in Wrocław
1985; Grand Prix at the Opole Song Contest in 1986 for „To nic, że to sen”; for”Skarpetki opus 116” at Festival of Two Theaters in Sopot. Awarded for film soundtracks to „Schodami w górę, schodami w dół” and „Wrzeciono czasu” at Film Festival in Gdańsk; nominated for “Polskie Orly” for „Dzien Świra”.
Other awards: Director of Radio and TV Board Award, 1980; The Order of Polonia Restituta Krzyż Kawalerski Orderu Odrodzenia Polski and Silver Medal of Merit for the Polish Culture Zasłużony Kulturze Gloria Artis.
Currently, Jerzy Satanowski holds a position of an artistic supervisor at the Roma Musical Theater in Warsaw and is an Artistic Director of the “Pamietajmy o Osieckiej” (Lets Remember Osiecka) Song Contest.
ATICC Board Member, Resident Director
Lilia Slavova is Audience Choice Award winner for directing “The Snow Queen” and the recipient of the St. Cyril and St. Methodius Award for the artistic achievements and promoting the Bulgarian culture. She received her MFA Degree in Dramatic arts from the renowned Higher Institute of Dramatic arts in Sofia, Bulgaria. She has over 30 years of acting, directing, choreography and teaching experience in Europe and the United States. She has been directing puppet shows for the last 12 years with Classika, now Synetic theatre and has also been Director of the studio and Director of education. Among many of the successful shows she directed are: The Nutcracker, Wondrous White Winter, Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, The Story of a Lost Sock and others. A Member of all the unions she has been acting but mostly enjoying what she loves the MOST-Teaching. A well-recognized acting coach and talent scout Mrs. Slavova is happy to see her students on the screen, Broadway and theaters through the Washington Metro area. Previous directorial contributions with Ambassador Theater include the Little Prince and the original Hopa Tropa, which gained national attention and was featured on Fox News and in the Kids Euro Festival 2009.
Stephen Shetler (Associate Artistic Director and Technical Director) studied acting at The Catholic University of America and at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Mr. Shetler has performed more than 60 roles in the past 20 years. He spent five years as resident company actor and associate director at Classika Theatre before joining Ambassador Theater. He has directed at Classika Theatre, Synetic Theater, Northern Virginia Community College. Recently he directed Dyskolos by Menander.
ATICC Resident Director and Artistic Advisor
David Willinger was born and raised on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. After attending the High School of Music and Art, he went to Lehman College and received his Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center in Theatre. He also studied acting at HB Studio with William Hickey, at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and with Joseph Chaikin and Meredith Monk. He has been involved in theatre since the age of 10, and acted at such theatres as the Mahopac Playhouse, the Provincetown Playhouse, Theatre East, the Dorset Playhouse, and the Mercer Arts Center. At the age of 23, he changed focus and became a director and playwright.
Willinger has directed over 40 professional productions, among them classics by such playwrights as Molière, Strindberg, Beckett, Ghelderode, Turgenev, and John Ford. He has also directed plays by such distinguished living playwrights as Eduardo Machado (Don Juan in NYC), Adrienne Kennedy (Solo Voyages and Diary of Lights), and Jean-Claude Van Itallie (his adaptation ofMaster and Margarita). His own works include the celebrated Andrea’s Got Two Boyfriends (about his own sister, who is retarded), which he first directed at LaMama ETC in New York, and which was subsequently produced in Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Yale Cabaret, and many other locales; his adaptation of Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Malcolm’s Time, Friday Diego, and Caprichos.
His most recent productions are his own adaptation of Paul Willems’ The Wound and The Trail of Tears: A Drama from the Historical Record, which he wrote with his wife, Peggie Dean. The Open Gate, based on Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Manor, is his first musical to be produced, although he has also written one based on Thomas Hardy's The Mayor of Casterbridge and an opera based on Hugo Claus's The Life and Works of Leopold II.
Professor Willinger has been teaching since the age of 20, and is committed to being a teacher above all his other activities. He has been teaching at City College for 20 years, concurrently on the faculty of the Theatre Program at the CUNY Graduate Center for 14 years, and has been Director of the CCNY Theatre Program for the past 6 years. He has directed at least one play a year at City College, most recently well-received versions of the musicals The Wiz and Little Shop of Horrors. Of all his accomplishments at City College, he is most proud of a global reform of the theatre curriculum and the creation of the two studio theatres in Compton-Goethals.
In addition to this creative work, he has written numerous articles for professional journals and translated over 50 plays from French and Dutch. His 1987 book, Theatrical Gestures from Belgian Modernism is slated to be republished in a revamped version later this year. Of his many awards, he is most proud of the coveted Prize for the Dissemination of Belgian Literature, bestowed by the Belgian Service des Lettres.
Isabel H. Jasinowski
ATICC Board Member
Vice President, government relations and a corporate officer since April 2001.
She had been vice president, government relations and head of Goodyear's Washington, D.C., office since 1995. Jasinowski serves as the company's senior registered lobbyist. Having started her career as director of local issues for Gov. Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign, she has more than 25 years of government relations and Capitol Hill experience.
Prior to her 1995 promotion, Jasinowski had been director of federal legislative affairs for Goodyear and previously served the company as Washington representative focusing her attention on international trade and federal tax matters before the U.S. Congress. Since joining Goodyear in 1981, she has represented the company's public policy positions on a host of global issues with direct strategic business implications.
Gaining most of her international trade and business experience at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Jasinowski set up and ran the Office of Business Liaison, reporting to the Secretary of Commerce. Her duties included serving as ombudsman for companies and trade associations seeking assistance from the agency and fostering business' significant issues for deliberation at the highest levels of government.
Jasinowski was born on February 11, 1949, in New York City to a family with a long tradition of transatlantic business and government involvement. Her maternal grandfather was a Senator in France and Jasinowski spent much of her formative years traveling between France and the United States. She speaks French fluently. She was graduated cum laude with honors from Barnard College in 1972, holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She completed her master's degree at Columbia University in 1975.
ATICC International Artistic Advisor
Director, scholar, writer, playwright, educator.
Born June 29, 1936 in Mokrsko Dolne, Province of Kielce, Poland. MA in Literature at Poznań University, 1958; MFA in Directing at Theater Academy, Warsaw, 1962; Ph. D. in Philosophy at Poznań University, 1971; Ph. D. in Humanities (in Poland "habilitacja"), Wroclaw University, 1975; Ph.D. in Directing (in Poland "habilitacja") Theatre Academy, Warsaw, 1988; Professor, Polish State Title, 1992. From 1961 he was director in professional theaters and television in Poland. Artistic Director and General Manager of the Osterwa Theater in Lublin, 1967-1974, and Artistic Director and General Manager of The Contemporary Theater in Wroclaw, 1975-1984. Associate professor at Wroclaw University and at School of Drama Kraków/Wroclaw, 1975-1985. Since 1985, he has taught acting, directing, theater history, world civilizations history, and other subjects in the USA at New York University, Swarthmore College, University of California Santa Cruz, and University at Buffalo; there, he was Head of Acting Program in 1986-89 and in 1989 was appointed full professor with tenure.
He directed more than 140 productions in theater and television, in Poland, Ireland, Germany, Canada, and the USA in The Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, The Odyssey Theater, Los Angeles, McCarther Theater, Princeton, The Kavinoky Theater and the Irish Classical Theater in Buffalo, and others.
He published more then 30 books on theater history (mostly the 20th Century), numerous literary works (plays, novels, short stories,) and more than 300 scholarly articles and reviews in Polish, English, French, and Italian. He was recipient of artistic and scholarly awards at the international theater festivals in Poland, Spain, Germany; Japanese Foundation Award, 1981; the Guggenhein Foundation Award, 1990; outstanding production Artie Award, 1996; Canadian Literary Aurum Award, 2000; the Fulbright Foundation Award, 2001, The Turzański Foundation Award, 2003, and others.
He is member of the International PEN Club, International Theater Institute, International Federation for Theater Research, Polish Writers Association, and Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America.
Daniel Charles Gerould
ATICC International Artistic Advisor
Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, University of Chicago. Major publications include: Theatre/Theory: Theory/Theatre (ed. Applause, 1999); Guillotine: Its Legend and Lore (Blast Books, 1992); The Witkiewicz Reader (ed. and trans. Northwestern University Press, 1992); Doubles, Demons, and Dreamers: An International Collection of Symbolist Drama (editor. Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1983); and American Melodrama (editor. Performing Arts Journal Publications, 1982). He is also the series editor of “Polish and Eastern European Archives” (Harwood) and editor ofSlavic and East European Performance. Specializations: Modern European Drama and Theatre
Associate Artistic Director, ATICC Board Member
Magda Pinkowska received her degree from the University of Virginia (Drama and Art History) where she focused on directing and playwriting. She worked with the former Heritage Repertory Theater in Charlottesville, VA. Credits include Sweeny Todd (assistant Costume Designer), Curse of the Starving Class (Assistant Director) and Out at Sea (Director). She is the Member of the Arts League and Del Rays Artisans. Her photography was part of The Our Town Art in City Hall exhibit in Alexandria. Incidentally, her next writing projects include Punch Me in the Face and The Fourth Season, a play cycle about artistic expression, family and frustration. Magda is the key person in developing the artistic vision of the Ambassador Theater and all its programs and developing the artistic and graphic design of the website and all programs, brochures and posters.
Christopher G. Caine
ATICC, Chairman of the Board
Christopher G. Caine was named Vice President, Governmental Programs, of International Business Machines Corporation in November 1996. He has responsibility for a multi-million dollar globally integrated function that comprises approximately 125 government relations, public policy and trade compliance professionals across 33 countries. He is a member of the IBM senior management team.
Mr. Caine previously served as director, human resources and environmental policy for IBM, responsible for public policy issues such as health-care reform, labor, personnel, health and safety, environment, and energy. Prior to that, he was manager of federal government relations for IBM and, from 1984 to 1987, he was regional manager of the company's state government relations programs.
Prior to joining IBM in 1984, Mr. Caine worked for the Coca-Cola Company, the Eaton Corporation, and the Electronic Industries Association in government relations capacities.
Born in Rochester, New York, Mr. Caine received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and a master's degree in American Government from Georgetown University.
Mr. Caine has traveled to over 40 countries. He has represented IBM Corporation on policy and economic development trends, innovation, global electronic commerce, privacy, and new security challenges before a variety of public fora including: United States Congress; 2004 National Intelligence Council Conference convened by the Center for Strategic and International Studies: An Open and Trusted Model in Information Technology; 2003 World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Korea: Government in an Era of Rapid Innovation; the 2003 World Economic Forum: Improving Public-Private Cooperation to Address New Security Challenges; Virginia 2020 Conference: The Next Big Thing; Penn State University: Accelerating Global Commerce Through Technology and Policy; the Shanghai International Forum: Globalizing Electronic Commerce; the Progress & Freedom Foundation Aspen Summit; the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; the New York Technology Forum: Transforming Government for the 21st Century; the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs in Sydney, Australia; and the Privacy & American Business National Conference.
Mr. Caine is a board member of the Information Technology Industry Council; the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; the European-American Business Council; the Washington International Business Council; the Economic Club of Washington and a member of Department of State Advisory Committees on International Economic Policy, and International Communication and Information Policy. Mr. Caine was appointed by former Virginia Governor Mark Warner to serve on the Virginia Information Technology Investment Board. He also serves on the advisory boards of the following Washington, DC, organizations: The Global Strategy Institute; Ford’s Theatre; the Institute for Education; the Constitution Project and Brainfood.
Mr. Caine has been a guest lecturer at Lafayette College and Georgetown University. In the Spring of 2008, he created the Caine Scholar’s Award for Global Leadership, Business and Policy at Lafayette College. It is designed to help develop the next generation of U.S. leaders for the globally integrated economy. He and his wife Betsy have a daughter and son and live in Bethesda, Maryland.
Artist, Master Puppeteer, Puppet Designer, Mime and Puppet Coach. Julia Tasheva holds a Master’s degree in puppetry from the National Academy of Film and Theater Art in Sofia, Bulgaria. She is an award-winning puppeteer, having won best actress in the Bulgarian National Puppetry Awards for her role as Pinocchio. Ms. Tasheva is also an accomplished mime, having toured Europe with the Theatre for New Forms and Balagan Mime Theatre. She is also an award-winning visual artist. She has extensive experience with a wide variety of puppet systems as well as acting, pantomime, teaching ,coaching and designing throughout the Washington Metro Area with shows such as: The Princess and the Pea, The Moonflower, Sleeping Beauty, Ugly Duckling, Cinderella, A Wondrous White Winter, The Three Little Pigs, The Nutcracker, The Snow Child and Mother Goose at Classika Theatre in puppeteer/leading roles and as puppet coach, puppet designer, and live actor. She designed puppets and sets for Kashtanka and Beauty and the Beast at Northern Virginia Community College and for Alice in Wonderland, Matsukaze, The Snow Child, The Story of the Lost Sock, The Penguin Story and Mother Goose at Classika Theater, and for Hopa Tropa and Hopa Tropa:Kukerica at Ambassador Theater. In addition, she designed and starred in several one-person touring puppet and mime shows including The Snow Child, Spooky Boo House, and The Forgotten Birthday.
Dr. Gail Humphries Mardirosian
Dr. Mardirosian (Associate Director) is an arts administrator, professor, and director focusing on the arts in the international arena. She is currently a professor at American University in Washington, DC, teaching in the Department of Performing Arts, the University College and the University Honors Program. At American, Dr. Mardirosian has received the University’s Award for Outstanding Service, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Alpha Chi Omega Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Arts. She was recently elected into The College of Fellows of the American Theatre with investiture scheduled in spring 2013 at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
As an arts administrator for over 25 years, she has consulted for multiple nonprofit arts and education organizations in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Community service includes participation on panels and commissions for numerous local, regional and state funding organizations for the arts. With a particular interest in international forums that allow for meaningful and substantive artistic exchange and interaction, Dr. Mardirosian has taught and directed in multiple countries including Greece, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the Czech Republic, where she was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague. In spring 2012, for the second time, she toured a production to the St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy in Russia. She has also hosted State Department visits with administrators, artists and teachers from various countries including Bulgaria, China, Egypt, India, Israel, Korea, Pakistan, Romania and Serbia.
Directing credits comprise over 130 productions that range from serious drama, musicals, children’s theatre, and the classics to new works. A directing project which began in the Czech Republic in 2009 continued in Washington, DC, at the University of New Hampshire and the Florida Holocaust Museum - VOICES OF TEREZIN, the arts as a strategy for survival. It is on-going with presentations that included the Czech- American Fulbright Celebration at Bohemia Hall in New York City in 2011 and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education National Conference, summer 2012. Dr. Mardirosian has chronicled the project in a chapter within a book recently published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) entitled THE POWER OF WITNESSING: Reflections, Reverberations and Traces of the Holocaust. Other current projects include: writing a docudrama about the life of a survivor of the Holocaust (entitled AND SMILE WITH EYES STILL SMARTING); creating a tribute to Vaclav Havel, internationally acclaimed playwright and founder of the Czech human rights movement (sponsored by the Embassy of the Czech Republic); and hosting 5 Russian directors at American University (fall 2012), in conjunction with the prestigious Synetic Theatre, under the auspices of a grant awarded from the Open World Leadership Program of the Library of Congress.
Dr. Mardirosian is also the team leader for an arts integration research project entitled Imagination Quest (IQ), a collaborative effort between Imagination Stage and American University professors. The project has received funding for over a decade from foundations, corporations, school districts and national education agencies to investigate the potency of arts integration in the process of education. Her publications about the impact of the use of the arts across the curriculum for enhanced teacher effectiveness and increased student achievement have appeared in multiple journals including: The Chronicle of Higher Education, The International Journal of Teaching and Learning, Current Issues in Education and Teaching Artist Journal She is currently co-authoring a book entitled Arts Integration in Education: Teachers as Agents of Change.
Dr. Marvin Carlson
Marvin A. Carlson, (ATICC' s Literary Adviser) Distinguished Professor (Graduate Center), has a Ph.D. in Drama and Theatre from Cornell University. The Sidney E. Cohn Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature, his research and teaching interests include dramatic theory and Western European theatre history and dramatic literature, especially of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. He has been awarded the ATHE Career Achievement Award, the George Jean Nathan Prize, the Bernard Hewitt prize, the George Freedley Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been a Walker-Ames Professor at the University of Washington, a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Indiana University, a Visiting Professor at the Freie Universitat of Berlin, and a Fellow of the American Theatre. His best-known book, Theories of the Theatre (Cornell University Press, 1993), has been translated into seven languages. His 2001 book, The Haunted Stage won the Calloway Prize. His newest book, Performance: A Critical Introduction, appeared in a second, revised edition in 2002.
Paul A. Oehlers
Paul A. Oehlers is most recognized for his “extraordinarily evocative” film scores. (Variety) Films incorporating his music have screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, the Indiefest Film Festival of Chicago, and the Hamptons International Film Festival, where the film Paul scored, Most High, captured the Golden Starfish, the largest independent film award in the United States. The film has gone on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Atlanta International Film Festival and the Prism Award for Outstanding DVD of the Year. Paul A. Oehlers’ compositions have been performed in the United States and abroad including performances at the Society for Electro-acoustic Music in the United States national conferences, the International Computer Music Conferences, the Gamper New Music Festival, the Seoul International Electroacoustic Music Festival, the Institut für Neue Musik und Musikerziehung in Darmstadt, Germany, and the VII Annual Brazilian Electronic Music Festival, as well as a 1987 command performance for former United States President Ronald Reagan. Paul was named the Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow by the MacDowell Colony for the year 2006. He is currently Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Audio Technology at American University in Washington, DC.
Sylvia Daneel was born in Warsaw Poland. She attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England. Later she received a scholarship to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio obtaining a BA in two years and then at Iowa State University where she received a Master of Fine Arts degree. Ms. Daneel became an American citizen by a special act of Congress. She first appeared on Broadway in ‘The Girl on Via Flaminia“, directed by Jose Quintero. Ms Daneel received the Daniel Blum Award as one of the most promising personalities on Broadway for her part in “The Tunnel of Love” with Tom Ewell, having been selected from over 200 actresses. She directed and starred in “The Fourposter” at the Charles Street Playhouse in Boston. Another hit play followed on Broadway “Romanoff and Juliet” with Peter Ustinov. She then had a starring role on Broadway in a new play by Pearl S. Buck “A Desert Incident.” She toured from coast to coast with Claudette Colbert in “A Community of Two” by Jerome Chodorov, including a two week engagement at the National Theater in Washington DC.
Ms. Daneel has appeared in numerous TV shows and films. While living in Rome, Italy she appeared in Italian films and TV. She became the Theatre Guild Representative in Italy and led many Theatre Guild tours to festivals of theater and art in Europe.
Ms. Daneel worked as a speaker, translator and editor in the Polish Service of the Voice of America in Washington, DC. In 1966 she produced at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall a program ”Polish Flowers” that combined the music of Frederick Chopin with poetry of Julian Tuwim. In May 1998 she produced at the George Washington University Marvin Theatre a concert ”With a Song Around the World” with the famous Polish singer and international recording star Irena Jarocka and pianist-composer Vanddi.
In 1999 she produced and directed a Polish play by Marian Hemar “Square of Minus One” at the Spectrum Theatre in Rosslyn, Arlington. She created the New Polish Theatre and in 2000 produced and directed the world premier of Slawomir Mrozek’s play “A Beautiful View” also presented at the Rosslyn Spectrum . In 2001 co-produced and co-chaired a fund- raising concert ”Franz Liszt: A Celebration” at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium with Polish virtuoso pianist Jerzy Stryjniak and world famous biographer of Liszt professor Allan Walker. She has translated a number of plays and books from Polish into English. Her last translation of a play by Ireneusz Iredynski “The Third Breast” was produced and directed by Hanna Bondarewska at her Ambassador Theater in Washington, DC.
Anna Klamczynska (Graphic Designer Associate)
I’ve started my adventure with theatre some time ago, as a singing kid, who was starring in musicals. Then it developed through voice-overing, acting, playing instruments to Academy of Fine Arts. Because of the past – I love being around the theater and creating something on the scene or behind the lights. Now I am graphic artist, working in Poland, traveling around the world and trying to be ambassador of life.
Anna Klamczyńska has received her Master of Fine Arts at the Warsaw Academy of Arts in 2013 with the focus on illustrations, graphic design, media and lithography and has been collaborating with the Ambassador Theater since 2010. Anna has produced numerous works, which were exhibited in numerous art exhibitions in Poland. She has also performed as a vocalist in many national and international festivals and received many awards. Since she was little she has performed in the theater and the movies and taught many theater and art workshops. Anna also have extensive experience in technical theatre work and has produced and stage managed many productions.
Jonathan Rushbrook (Resident Set Designer) is a British transplant who graduated from the George Washington University’s MFA Production Design program where he focused his efforts on set design and lighting. Jonathan’s passion for theatre was ignited at nine years of age when he acted in his first show. Over the years he became fascinated with the technical and design aspects of theatre production. In 2004 he was awarded a BA in drama and film studies from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, and in 2007 he completed a post-graduate teaching certificate at Middlesex University in London focusing on drama and dance education to middle and high school students. During his time at GWU he designed several main stage productions for their Theatre and Dance Department as well as local theatre companies including the Washington Stage Guild, the Olney Theatre, and the American Ensemble. His efforts culminated with his thesis production of Jane Austen’s Emma as adapted by Michael Bloom. Jonathan spends much of his time working within the events business focusing on design and production but still enjoys working closely with Ambassador Theater. This will be his second season with Ambassador Theater and he is looking forward to many more to come.
Eliza Anna Falk
Eliza Anna Falk ( Literary Director) joined the Ambassador Theatre in early 2013 as a Creative and Editorial Consultant, in time to contribute to the success of the Literary Café event at the Embassy of Austria. Soon after she assumed the role of a Literary Associate Director and provides literary support to the theater’s productions, working with the Artistic Director on research and plays’ development. Her contributions include essays and articles; press releases, play bills and programs, aticc.org blog entries, as well as editorial work and occasional translations i.e. poems by Ireneusz Iredynski. Eliza’s passion for theatre and writing is also being realized through her work as a writer/reviewer for DC Metro Theatre Arts, covering plays, musicals and concerts. Graduate of Warsaw and Sydney Universities, she holds a Bachelor of Social Work and Policy and an M.A. in British Film and TV. She is also a CELTA (Cambridge) qualified teacher of English. Her past employment encompasses work for the Australian federal government, including diplomatic postings to Moscow and Warsaw, teaching English, and interior design and styling projects. Eliza is an avid theatre and film goer and lover of arts and travel. Past resident of Warsaw, London, Moscow, Paris and Sydney, she is thrilled to be able to experience life in cosmopolitan DC and collaborate with its vibrant theatre scene.
Sigríður Jóhannesdóttir (Costume Designer)
Sigríður or Sigrid as she is called here in the United States is a native of Iceland.
She came to the United States 1988 to pursue her Masters of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Design after having taught Icelandic and History at Fjölbrautaskóli Suðurnesja, (college) in Keflavik, Iceland for several years.
One year after her graduation 1992, she started her own decorative arts company; Scene Studios, Inc., www.scenestudios.com as well as Dedua, www.dedua.com, a business focusing on fashion accessories. She still runs both companies in Alexandria, Virginia.
Through the years she has designed costumes for various theatrical productions in Washington D.C. as well as worked for the Washington Opera. She is the resident costume designer for The Washington Stage Guild and The Ambassador Theatre in DC. She has taught theatrical design at American University in Washington DC, and in Morgantown, West Virginia. Presently she is in her fourth year of serving as a costume design professor at George Washington University.
Classical philologist, interpreter, PhD student of the Faculty of “Artes Liberales” at the University of Warsaw. Currently works at the Theatre Institute (Instytut Teatralny) in Warsaw, teaches Italian and tries to find time to work on her PhD dissertation that focuses on the phenomenon of the holy foolery in films by Andrei Tarkovsky. Her hobbies include art-house films, interpreting and participating in marathon races all over the world.