Founder, CEO, and Artistic Director
Hanna Bondarewska is the Artistic Director and Founder of the Ambassador Theater and was recently seen inÂ Lady, a one woman show based on Shakespeare'sÂ Macbeth and inÂ They Don't Pay? We Won't Pay!Â by Dario Fo as Antonia,Â SmartphonesÂ as Maria,Â Protest as Stankova,Â Death of Tintagiles as Ygraine and in Summer at Nohant as George Sand. â€œFor Hanna Bondarewska, the path to world peace not only exists, she is walking it â€” one artistic endeavor at a time.â€ â€“ 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.
Hannaâ€™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, Helenaâ€”the Emigrant Queen; Mother in Sunflowers, Wife in Square Minus One; A Genie Named Khatab; Snow Queen; Anouilhâ€™s Antigone; Gogolâ€™s The Marriage; and Goldoniâ€™s Mirandolina and many others.
Ms. Bondarewska has recently directed Lady, The Trap, Happily Ever After, The Visitor,Â The Third Breast, The Madman and the Nun,Â 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. MroÅ¼ekâ€™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 Â ArtsÂ Best Director, Best Play Award,Â 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.
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.
JOE MARTIN has worked as a director, playwright, translator and author since 1982. He was for 14 years Artistic Director of the Washington Laboratory Theatre, Open Theatre/DC. He has directed and created over 50 productions and performance works. He began his work in Vancouver where he co-directed Shakespeare and Restoration Theatre productions at the Firehall Theatre. Abroad his work has included El Trato (created with Juan Tovar in Mexico at the Compañía Nacionál), in Bucharest, Jose Rivera’s Marisol; in Canada, Passion Play, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream; in Jerusalem and Bethlehem two touring Athol Fugard productions, Boesman and Lena and The Island (which in 2015 garnered best Director and Best Actor in the Darqa International Summer Festival in Jordan) and Boesman and Lena. In Washington his work has appeared at Church Street Theatre, Open Theatre/DC, Metro Stage, DCAC, Source Theatre, Georgetown Theatre, Joy of Motion, and he served as dramaturg for Peer Gynt at the Shakespeare Theatre. His productions in the D.C. area include: Parabola (A dance theatre work); Woyzeck, The Match Girl’s SNOW QUEEN (His collaboration with composer Anna Larson); Anatole’s Lover (an original play on the death penalty); The Receiver (another original script); Strindberg’s A Dream Play; two collaborations with Zeljko Djukich, The Wedding/The Chalk Cross/The Beggar by Brecht, and the US touring production of Heiner Muller’s Quartet; Rumi’s MATHNAVI (A touring production). His productions with his students at American University and Johns Hopkins have included diverse works such as Suddenly Last Summer by Tennessee Williams, The Front Page, and Sam Shepard’s Simpatico.
An author of 10 books, fiction essays, and collections of plays and translations, theatre works, he has served as both Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Specialist in Theatre. He is Senior Lecturer in Theatre at Johns Hopkins University.
Moriah Whiteman (Margherita) was recently seen as Chantall in Ambassador Theater’s production of Smartphones, A Pocket-Size Farce. She holds an MFA from The University of Southern Mississippi, where she learned to fuse her love of art with her commitment to social and political change. Since moving to DC, she has been able to work as both a theatre educator, and performing artist. Favorite past roles include Young Woman in Machinal and Elizabeth with Southern Arena Theatre’s production of Taking Steps. When she’s not working in the theatre, she’s outside playing and daydreaming or sipping coffee with a book.
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.
SigrÃÃ°ur JÃ³hannesdÃ³ttir (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.
Darren Marquardt (Giovanni) is making his Ambassador Theater debut in They Don’t Pay! We Won’t Pay; Credits: Ballet NOVA, The Nutcraker, Drosselmeyer; Charm City Fringe Fatherland, Frank Berger; ,DC Dead, Mutation, Zombie Janitor; Faction Of Fools, Fool For a Day; Our Town, Simon Stinson, Theatre Lab, Long Island Sound, Evan Lorimor;, Rockville Little Theater, The Tempest, Antonio; Synetic Theater, The Tempest (understudy); Jekyll & Hyde, Father; Upstart Crow, Six Degrees of Separation, Flynn Kitteridge; Castaways Repertory Theatre, Taming of the Shrew, Grumio; Prince William Little Theater, Baby The Musical, Alan; One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Mr. Harding; Rooftop Theater, Out of Order, Det.; Eden Productions, American Alias, John List; River Bend productions, the Quantum Suicide of Sophie Miller; American Dance Montage, founding member; George Mason University, BFA Dance
E-hui Woo (Lighting Designer)
E-hui Woo (Lighting Designer) is a Singaporean lighting designer new to the DC area and she is really excited to be working with Ambassador Theater for the second time!
Regional lighting design credits include Legally Blonde, Jr. & Alice in Wonderland, Jr. (Adventure Theatre MTC), Talley's Folly (Peter's Alley Theatre Productions), Stone Tape Party: The Re-Mix (Nu Sass Productions), A Very Pointless Holiday Spectacular (Pointless Theatre), and Shrek, The Musical (Ovations Theatre). Associate/Assistant lighting design credits include Smartphones (Ambassador Theater), Nuevas Aventuras de Don Quijote (GALA), Friendship Betrayed (WSC Avant Bard), The Daughter of the Regiment (Madison Opera), The Sound of Music, and The Matchmaker (Hope Summer Repertory Theatre). E-hui is also a regular overhire electrician at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Arena Stage and Signature Theatre.
E-hui worked in a variety of capacities back home before coming to the US, and during her study abroad semester in London, she interned with renowned dance company, Akram Khan Company, and the Finborough Theatre. She has also been part of several festivals including Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (2015), the inaugural Ithaca Fringe (2014), American Realness 2014 in NYC, and Singapore Arts Festival 2011 (now known as the Singapore International Festival of Arts).
Current & upcoming designs include The Maid's Tragedy (Brave Spirits Theatre), The Wiz (Barrie School), Seussical Jr. and Sweeney Todd (Ovations Theatre), and much more in the works!
Mitch Irzinski (Luigi) is thrilled to be working with Ambassador Theater for the first time. Mitch has been acting professionally in the Washington DC area on both the stage and screen for nearly 10 years, with such theater companies as King's Players, Georgetown Theater Company, Synetic Theater, Zemfria Stage, Firebelly Productions, and many more. Much love to this incredibly talented cast and crew.
Assistant to the Artistic Director
Daniel Rovin is a graduate of the National Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts. He first appeared with Ambassador Theater in Summer at Nohant (Rousseau). In addition to acting for stage and film, he performs original poetry throughout the DC region.
Xandra Weaver (Stage Manager) has a great love of the process of theater and the creation of art that has led her into working both behind the scenes and onstage. Her career includes working for many years providing sound and lights for professional and amateur shows as well as makeup work for a feature film called â€œFor the Gloryâ€. At college, she specialized in makeup to earn her theater degree, and discovered a love for directing and play-writing. She's also been a nominee for the WATCH awards for her makeup work with the company of "The Producers" with TAP. She would like to thank Mari Davis for being her strong center and her soulmate.
Peter Orvetti has been acting in the Washington area for the past three years. His most recent major role was in the Capital Fringe Festival hit production "Districtland". He has also appeared in two productions with Arcturus Theater Company, "3 by Samuel Beckett" and "Full Bloom". Peter has worked with Elden Street Players, SCENA, Silver Spring Stage, and Spooky Action Theater, among others. He is a member of the improv troupe Imaginary Numbers and is currently filming the web series "The B League".
Rachael Knoblauch ( Set Designer) is a graduating senior from University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she has spent the past four years studying the design and construction of scenery as well as costume. She has largely collaborated in academic theatre--working as assistant designer, costume artisan, and scenic painter, among other things, for multiple departmental productions. Most recently she completed work as scenic designer for UMBC's production of "Gum" by Karen Hartman.