Baltimore by Amy Bernstein
Jack Bellows, founding director of Saturday Ghosts in Baltimore, MD
Jack Bellows, founding director of Saturday Ghosts in Baltimore, MD
Nov 13, 2019

With a new season of theatre now in full swing, I decided to take the artistic pulse of several regional directors as a way to help local dramatists potentially discover opportunities for new collaborations and future productions. This is a fairly random sample; no endorsement of individuals or theatres is implied. If you find this useful, I’ll do another round of interviews and share them. Please let me know.

Lance Bankerd. Director and co-founder, Guerrilla Theatre Front. At Guerrilla, Lance focuses on “new and canonical work,” such as The Odd Couple performed in an apartment where Felix cleans around you. He is known to commission new work from local playwrights, including Aladrian Wetzel’s Thank You, Dad. He loves working with writers on new ideas from the very beginning. “You’ve got an idea? Let’s talk about it.” Work that is iconoclastic, actively engaging performers and audiences, gets his attention. Feel free to pitch him. Contact: lance@baltimorerockopera.org.

Jack Bellows. Founding director, Saturday Ghosts, an independent production company in Baltimore. Jack has worked with Baltimore Rock Opera Society and in a number of local “underground DIY” space. He likes site-based immersive theatre. He is especially interested in bringing new faces in for shows he develops. In the works now is a dark western musical, The Long Ride, conceived as a bar crawl through Station North. He’s also developing a show based on a concept album by the indie rock band Pedro the Lion. He’s especially interested in “the most ambitious ideas people have, especially if there’s a strong visual component.” Contact: saturdayghosts@gmail.com.

Melissa McGinley. Freelance director/choreographer. Melissa has been working with the Strand Theater, Fells Point Corner Theatre, and Spotlighters. Her approach is “very character-driven.” Her interests include re-examinations of classics (including Shakespeare) and character-driven women’s stories. “I respond strongly to people rebelling against constraints, especially in period pieces.” She is happy to be approached with new work. Contact: melissa.mcginley@gmail.com.

Erin Riley. Associate Artistic Director, Strand Theater Co. Erin is dedicated to celebrating work written by women (as reflected in the Strand’s mission). She is a “passionate advocate for theater that celebrates inclusivity, body positivity, and diversity in casting. She is particularly interested in work that promotes social justice and explores theater as a vehicle for change. Erin will consider potential projects beginning next spring. Contact: erin@strand-theater.org.

Joseph Ritsch. Producing Artistic Director, Rep Stage (Howard County). For Joe, finding projects to direct is all about relationships and connecting with local playwrights he’s met through conferences or other means. For instance, this season he’s directing Maryland playwright Bob Bartlett’s adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, called E2. They met years ago while working at Iron Crow. He’s most interested in work “that can’t be on film or TV”—heightened imagination, magical realism. He is not drawn to “the old living room drama.” To get Joe’s attention, invite him to a reading or production. Contact: jritsch@howardcc.edu.

Noah Silas. Freelance director. Noah has worked with Rapid Lemon Productions, Arena Players, Baltimore Theater Project, and the Eubie Blake Center. He’s particularly interested in plays with “authenticity,” especially plays that are unique to Baltimore. He wants to work with Baltimore writers. Next year, he’s directing Give Me Moonlight by Ariel Mitchell, produced by Rapid Lemon. He invites local playwrights to reach out to him. Contact: Nssfilms100@gmail.com.

Susan Stroupe. Freelance director/theatre maker. Susan is the artistic associate and a founding member of Submersive Productions. She seeks to “create a shared language through ensemble building with performers.” Most of the work she’s engaged in is devised, immersive pieces. “Any script with a surreal or experimental flair is right up my alley,” she says, especially those that “challenge the dominant narrative, particularly at the cross-sections of race and gender.” Classically-inspired work and mythology are also in her wheelhouse. Writers can approach Susan with new projects, especially in early winter. Contact: susan.stroupe@gmail.com.

baltimore@dramatistsguild.com

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