Board of Creative Development

Jennie Brick is the Senior Administration and Accounting Consultant and CFO for Pacific Training and Resources (PTR). PTR provides Human Resources, Financial and Administrative consulting services for Bay Area nonprofits. Having worked in the nonprofit sector for over thirty years, Jennie works to empower non-profit teams in the areas of budgeting, general fiscal operations, and office administration. As the Nonprofit Finance Instructor for Cal State East Bay’s Nonprofit Certificate Program, Jennie finds fulfillment in shedding light on the complicated and sometimes convoluted world of nonprofit finance to her (oftentimes less than eager!) students. Additionally, Jennie is a voice, on-camera, and TBA Award nominated stage actor. Jennie has served as a board member for TheatreFIRST under all 3 of T1’s Artistic Directors.

Christina Chan has long been involved with theatre both backstage and in the front of house. As a University of Washington graduate of Drama and American Ethnic Studies, she is thrilled to apply both disciplines into one venture. Along with working in the animal rescue field and at various event venues in the Bay Area, she plans to delve into playwrighting and cultivating new audiences into the love of theatre. She has volunteered for TheatreFIRST since 2009 and is excited to be a part of the new mission.

Nelle Engoron has served both businesses and non-profits as a communications professional for over 30 years. She is currently a Communications Strategist at the University of California Office of the President. Her freelance articles have appeared in national and international publications, and one is featured in a college textbook as a model for media writing. She has published one book, has two others in progress, and recently completed her first play. A volunteer at Cal Performances since 2008, Nelle has previously served at the Zen Hospice Project, Women’s Cancer Resource Center, and the UC Berkeley Re-Entry Student Center. She holds a B.A. in English and Film from UC Santa Barbara and an M.A. in English from UC Berkeley.

Stephanie Anne Johnson is a second-generation theater practitioner. She has been a lighting designer working locally, nationally, and internationally for over forty years. Locally, she has worked with Cultural Odyssey, Afro Solo, Ubuntu Theatre, and many other groups. Johnson is also a visual artist who has had two one-person shows in San Francisco. She has also written and performed a one-person show entitled Every Twenty One Days: Cancer, Yoga, and Me. Dr. Johnson is a professor and founding faculty member of the Visual and Public Art Department at Cal State University, Monterey Bay. Johnson is a new member of the TheatreFirst Board of Directors. She is very happy to be working on this timely and important play. Her work can be seen online at www.lightessencedesign.com.

Jeunée Simon’s selected Bay Area Theatres include Breadbox (‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore), Bay Area Children’s Theatre Company (Bad Kitty), Aluminous (H2O), Ragged Wing Ensemble (Fierce Play), and Killing My Lobster. Jeunée is a company member of Custom Made Theatre Company and was seen there earlier this year in Lucas Hnath’s ‘Isaac’s Eye’.

ADVISORY BOARD

Stephanie Prentice is a Bay Area native, and a proud member of Actors’ Equity. She is a graduate of the Santa Clara University Theatre and Dance program, and has been a member of the Santa Clara University voice faculty since 2005. Performing credits include: San Francisco Playhouse, 42nd Street Moon, Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire, Shakespeare at Stinson, and PlayGround where she is also a company member. Stephanie has also served as chief soloist for All Saints Catholic church in Hayward since 2010, and is the current head of the Condolence Music Ministry. Stephanie lives in Danville with her husband and two young children.

Jerry Thompson traveled cross-country on Greyhound for a year before settling in the Bay Area. He is an accomplished violinist, playwright and poet. His works have appeared in Zyzzyva, James White Review, and Freedom in this Village: Twenty-Five Years of Black Gay Men’s Writing (edited by E. Lynn Harris, 2005). He is also co-author of Black Artists in Oakland (Arcadia Publishing). Thompson was the owner of Black Spring Books, an independent full-service bookstore that closed in 2001. He is the creator and organizer of the original Sister Circle Reading Series in San Francisco. He is also a photographer, organizing events and promotions for fitness bodybuilders and models. His other various anthologies include Voices Rising, published by Redbone Press. My Brothers Keeper, edited by Michael Datcher. Thompson’s plays have been produced in NY and NJ. He is currently working on a new play about the prison system, a memoir, and a collection of his poems produced as introductions for over 250 authors he’s hosted over the years in a book entitled, Music for the Missing People:  Poems, Parts of Stories and Conversations. His new book, Oakland Noir, is forthcoming from Akashic Books.

Michael Torres is a founding member of Campo Santo where he has acted for eighteen years, originating roles for the country’s greatest writers including Richard Montoya, Christopher Chen, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Dave Eggers, Jessica Hagedorn, Denis Johnson, Jose Rivera, Greg Sarris, and Octavio Solis. Michael received Back Stage West and San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Outstanding Performance awards, and eleven Best Ensemble awards in his twenty seven year old career. Michael has played at Shotgun Theater, The San Francisco Playhouse, Word for Word, Thick Description, Encore, Berkeley Repertory, B St Theater, Teatro Campesino, California Shakespeare Festival, The Eureka, The Magic, Teatro De La Esperanza, and in France, Spain, and Germany and throughout the United States via a couple of tour gigs. Michael directed Donald Lacy’s hit show Colorstruck, whose national tour included the Congressional Black Caucus and National Black Theater Festival. He is on the board of directors for The Shotgun Players and the up and coming Ubuntu Theatre Project. Recently, Michael recreated the role of Crow for the movie The Other Barrio co-written and starring Richard Montoya (in post production). Presently, you can see him as Po in the film About Cherry written and directed by Stephen Elliot and starring James Franco. Michael was also the deputy coroner on the T.V series Trauma. Torres is Chair and Director of Laney College’s Theater Department where he founded The Fusion Theatre Project. He holds a BA from SF State University and MFA from UC San Diego.

Noelle Viñas is a Bay Area theatre-maker. Prior to joining Vendini, she was the theatre teacher and program director at Annandale High School, and ran an award-winning theater program that also incorporated the NEA-sponsored Theatre Without Borders in creating classic works with recent immigrant students enrolled in ESOL programs. An actor-director-playwright by trade, Her recent acting credits include a sold out run and remount of R + J Starcross’d Death Match (Mercutio), awarded best drama in DC Fringe; the Source Festival; Fautline Theater’s Dead Dog’s Bone (Juniper); and Grapes of Wrath with Ubuntu Theater Project (Rose of Sharon). She is an Emerson College alum and was HowlRound’s first staff assistant in their inaugural year in Boston. She’s worked as a Creative Producer for ArtsEmerson, in Arena Stage’s Community Engagement department as part of the Allen Lee Hughes program and teaching artist, the GALA Hispanic Theatre, The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Aurora Theatre Company, and as an ambassador for the Dramatists Guild. A TITAN Award Finalist, her science-fiction play, Apocalypse, Please has been workshopped with The Inkwell in DC and is currently in further development with collaborators in the Bay Area to bring non-traditional artists to theatre as creators and audiences.