Adena Varner is the new Director of Education at Baltimore Center Stage. She has accepted this new role of leadership after serving as Program Coordinator for the 2017/18 Season. Mrs. Varner is a Baltimore native who graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts Theater Department in 2004. She earned her BA in Theater at The University of Maryland College Park in 2008. There she was in several productions including The Colored Museum, The Amen Corner, and Filthy Rich. In 2009, she was in The Girls Inside which debuted in the Capital Fringe Festival. In 2010, she wrote and directed her first play Prepare the Way and since has written and directed several plays for the Shiloh Players including Job Under Grace, The Live Nativity Scene, Life: The Gospel According to Us, and Virtue. She is a graduate at The Catholic University in Washington DC where she is earning her MA in Theater Education. Along with her position at Center Stage, she serves the community as a teaching artist and director and she continues to advocate for arts integration into the public schools systems of Maryland.
Dani Turner is an administrator, director, producer, and dramaturg originally from Baltimore. For the past two seasons, she has served as the Artistic Assistant at Baltimore Center Stage. This season, she is taking on a new role as Education Coordinator. In a myriad of artistic, production, and administrative capacities, Dani has worked with Ars Nova, Black Lab Productions, Classic Stage Company, Dixon Place, Lesser America, New York Stage and Film, and Encores! Off-Center at New York City Center in New York, the Tristan Bates Theatre in London, and Everyman Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare Factory, and Job Hunters in Baltimore. She is the co-founder of both Potluck: Young Playwrights and Directors Collective and Paper Kraine Productions at the Kraine Theater in New York. Dani is also a former Creative Team member at Idina Menzel’s A BroaderWay Foundation.
Victoria is a director, educator, and teaching artist from Western Kentucky. She recently graduated with a BS in Theater from Murray State University. Her most recent accomplishment was directing for colored girls who have considered/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange and having the first predominately Black cast and crew at Murray State University. Victoria’s drive for social change in theater pushes her to create artistic content that strives for diversity. Her directing credits also include RACE by David Mamet and Tale of the Mouse by Anita Gustafson at Murray State University. She is looking forward to expanding her knowledge and growing more as an artist at Baltimore Center Stage
Jacob Zabawa is an actor and theater educator. Over the past four years he has worked at Baltimore Center Stage as a Teaching Artist and as a general overhire in the Scene Shop, Prop Shop, and Company Management before accepting the position of Learning and Social Accountability Associate. Recent acting performance credits include BCS: Antigone (Guard, Messenger), The Christians (Community Choir); Submersive Productions (Collective Member): Mass/Rabble (Large Ensemble); Mercury Theater: Timon of Athens (Painter, Cupid, Senator, Flaminius); Feral Woman: In Threes (Ray, Sherwin, Mom). He is a graduate of the Goucher College Theater and Peace Studies programs.
Our Teaching Artists
Many teaching artists have worked with Center Stage in years past. Here are the biographies of just some of these brilliant minds:
Dylan Arredondo is a theater-maker, teaching artist, and technician, new to the DC/Baltimore area. In addition to Baltimore Center Stage, he works in the education departments at Imagination Stage, Olney Theatre Center, and the Kreeger Museum. Dylan has garnered 70 acting credits at theaters in Las Vegas, New York, DC, and throughout the United States. Most notably, a repertory national tour of Othello, The Great Gatsby, and Alice in Wonderland with National Players Tour 69, which traveled to communities in 65 cities in 31 states over the course of a year. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, during which he studied acting technique at the Stella Adler Studio in New York, physical theater at the International Theatre Workshop in Amsterdam, and Shakespeare in performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In addition to drama, he also studied psychology of sexual orientation, entertainment law, and received an honors certificate in theater studies. Over the past four years, Dylan has been an affiliated artist with Blessed Unrest, Theater Mitú, INTAR’s Unit 52, the Bats at the Flea, and Shakespeare in the Square. DylanArredondo.com
Tonnia is a 25-year-old graduate from Rose Bruford College, where she majored in theater studies. She received her Associates degree (ATCL) and her LTCL for Musical Theater from Trinity College in London. She was crowned Miss Exquisite America on August 3, 2013. She has also done numerous speaking engagements, including Anacostia High School and Randallstown High School. On top of being a pageant queen, she has performed in many shows, including The Sound of Music, King and I, Music Man, Phantom of the Opera, Babes in Toyland, Annie, South Pacific, Motown, Jesus Christ Superstar, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dreamgirls, Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and The Wiz. She has also modeled Baltimore Fashion week, DC Fashion Week, Maryland Fashion Awards, Mount Vernon Fashion Show, Harrisburg Fashion Week, and Maryland Fashion Week. In the summer of 2012 she studied abroad at Cambridge College and it was there where she sung for the Queen of England and attended the 2012 Olympics. When she was just 17 years old she started her own magazine called Iceware and has recently launched her own ICEWARE brand. Iceware inspires young people to be all they can be, shows what true beauty is and showcase’s current events and the latest fashion trends. She has now recently released her first single “LoveStruck,” which she wrote. Be on the look for her full EP album.
Allison Elizabeth Brown is a Baltimore native, who has over 20 years combined experience of youth based, non-profit work, as well as working professionally in the entertainment industry. She has a deep passion for the development of minority owned businesses, and programs designed to empower minority youth. aebbusiness.com
Zipporah Brown is a working actress and teaching artist in Baltimore City. She graduated Cum Laude from Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2015 where she earned her BA in Theater. As part of her studies, she was also able to study abroad and complete a January acting intensive at the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland. Upon graduation, she returned to her home in Baltimore County and has just recently relocated to Baltimore City. During this time, Zipporah has been a teaching artist for different theaters and their programs including Center Stage’s Young Playwrights Festival and Camp Center Stage. She has also acted in several plays with various theater companies in Baltimore and surrounding areas. A few recent acting credits include the DC One Minute Play Festival at Round House Theatre, Promenade: Baltimore at Single Carrot Theatre, and Harry and the Thief at Strand Theatre. Zipporah is humbled by her past, delighted about her present, and excited for her future. She is grateful for the unique opportunity she has to help create and facilitate the space in which children express their theatrical talents and proclivities.
Carolyn Buck, a native Baltimorean, has been a theater educator for over three decades. She holds a BA in Theater and English from Mount Holyoke College. She trained as a director and stage manager at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. For 30 years she taught theater and English at the Institute of Notre Dame (IND), Baltimore’s historic high school for girls. As IND’s theater director, Carolyn directed over 40 productions. Among her favorites are Les Miserables, Hairspray, Crimes of the Heart, The Miracle Worker, Fiddler on the Roof, The Secret Garden, Pride and Prejudice, and Peter Pan. A local writer, Carolyn’s op ed articles have appeared in The Baltimore Sun. She has been a frequent member of the Broadway Teachers Workshops in NYC. Carolyn also participated in the University of Virginia Symposium on Shakespeare at Oxford University, UK in 2006.
Cori Dioquino is a Filipino American film/tv and stage actor. Her credits include Marvel/Netflix’s Daredevil, CBS’s FBI, Joseph Cabato’s short film Open House and the web series Damned.
She began training as a competitive pianist before switching her focus to theatre while in college. Cori earned her Associate of Art in Music Performance from Howard Community College and her Bachelor of Science in Theatre Studies from Towson University. In 2017, Cori received her arts integration training and certification from the Teaching Artist Institute. She continues to teach as an arts integration educator throughout Baltimore City.
Cori is also a passionate and outspoken advocate for stronger Asian and Pacific Indigenous (API) representation in the arts. In 2018, she co-founded an API-centered non-profit organization called the Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective (BAPAC) with a small group of API artists based in Maryland. The organization aims to provide much needed API representation in the Baltimore arts world by creating platforms and opportunities for API individuals and communities to tell their own stories through the arts. She continues to find ways to create and produce work, performance and otherwise, that represents the identities and experiences of folx within the immigrant and API communities.
Susan Stroupe is a theater maker who specializes in devised and non-traditional theater practices. She has worked as a performer, puppeteer, and teacher all over the country with many different communities. Now based in Baltimore, she works primarily as a director, as an Artistic Associate with Submersive Productions (Mesmeric Revelations! of Edgar Allan Poe, HT Darling's Incredible Museaum) and with many independent companies including The Strand (Harry and the Thief), Iron Crow (The Goodies), and Cohesion Theatre Company (La Llorona and Orphan Sea). She is a continuing associate of Philip Arnoult's Center for International Theatre Development. Susan received her BA from Macalester College and MFA in Theatre Arts from Towson University. She has worked with Center Stage's Education Department as a Teaching Artist since 2013.
Mari Andrea Travis
Mari Andrea Travis is a choreographer and director hailing from Baltimore, Maryland. She recently completed an artistic apprenticeship at Studio Theatre where she assistant-directed five season productions. She was seen in Soul: The Stax Musical at Baltimore Center Stage (BCS). Previous work at BCS includes choreographer for Twelfth Night; assistant director for Skeleton Crew; assistant director and dance captain for Lookingglass Alice, and camp director. Other choreography credits include Black Nativity, Miss Ever’s Boys and co-choreography for The Wiz at Morgan State University; Ain't Misbehavin at Spotligher’s Theatre; Smokey Joe's Café at Baltimore’s Arena Players; For Colored Girls who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf at Coppin State University, and The Determination of Azimuth with The Baltimore Rock Opera. Directing credits include In the Blood, Spell #7; Colorblind: The Katrina Monologues; and Fools and Madmen, a hip-hop adaptation of King Lear. Mari Andrea was a production assistant on the Broadway musical, Fela. Mari Andrea received a BA in Theatre from Morgan State University, and is a 2020 MFA Dance candidate at The University of the Arts.
Nicole Adell Johnson
Nicole Adell Johnson a Baltimore native, has worked professionally for over 15 years as a Dancer, Singer and Actress for Broadway and film. Nicole attended The Baltimore School for the Arts, University of MD Eastern Shore and is a graduate of The Alvin Ailey American School. Trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, African, Hip Hop, Classical Indian, Voice, Acting and Yoga. Nicole is currently a teaching artist of theatre, dance and integrated arts for Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center in Baltimore MD. She continues to spread her love for the Arts in the way of performance, teaching, master classes, technical support and directing to artists and communities across the United States.
Credits include: New Song Academy (Theatre, Musical Theatre and Dance Instructor), Baltimore Center Stage Antigone (Choreographer) The Lion King Broadway and National Tour (Ensemble, Swing, Principle Understudy for Nala and Shenzi), 1st National Touring Company of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Vocal Ensemble, Dance Captain), Once on This Island (Erzulie) Lula Washington Dance Company and Creative Outlet Dance Theater of Brooklyn.
Parker Matthews is an interdisciplinary theatre artist based in Baltimore, MD. As a deviser, performer, and teacher, his work has ranged from immersive multimedia experiences to street performing, from intimate Shakespearean encounters to community storytelling events in underserved communities. An ever-present theme in his work is evoking magic and transformation through simplicity and the unexpected. He holds an MFA in Devised Performance from the Pig Iron Theatre School & The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. www.parmatt.com
Devin is an actor, photographer, and teaching artist in the Baltimore area. Recently, he worked as the Digital Marketing Fellow for the Katherine Vaughns Apprentice Program before accepting the position of Learning and Social Accountability Teaching Artist. When he is not working at Baltimore Center Stage, you can find Devin performing at the Baltimore Improv Group weekly, where he also teaches teen and adult workshops. Devin is a graduate of the Theatre Studies program at UMBC.
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