BOARD OF CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT
Domenique Lozano (she/her/hers) – President
Ms. Lozano is a Bay Area based Director, Actress and Educator. She has been a Resident Artist with the American Conservatory Theater, (ACT), for 15 years, where she served as a core faculty member in the MFA Program, a director and teacher in the Young Conservatory and Studio ACT Programs, and as the resident director of the main stage production of A Christmas Carol.
Ms. Lozano serves on the Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies faculty at UC Berkeley, where she teaches Shakespeare Scene study, Acting Styles and Acting.
Translation work includes Schiller’s Don Carlos, which premiered in the 2018 New Strands Festival at ACT, and Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, which premiered at the American Conservatory Theater in 2010.
Ms. Lozano was an Associate Artist with the California Shakespeare Theater, where she performed leading roles in over 20 productions, most recently the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. She also served as Master Vocal Coach on numerous productions, including Hamlet, Henry IV pts 1 and 2, Othello, the Tempest, Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, and The Taming of the Shrew.
Additional Bay Area directing credits include The Drawer Boy, Welcome Home Jenny Sutter and the critically acclaimed Orlando with TheatreFirst; The Countess with Center REPertory Theatre; Two for the Seesaw with Marin Theatre Company; Inspecting Carol and the West Coast premiere of Jane Martin’s Anton in Show Business with San Jose Stage Company; and The Norman Conquests, Holiday, The Real Thing, and She Loves Me with Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, of which she was a founding member and associate artistic director. Additional acting credits include work with the American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center REPertory Company, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Ms. Lozano has taught throughout the Bay Area at such institutions as UC Davis, Saint Mary’s College, Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre, California Shakespeare Theater, Las Positas and Solano Colleges.
Geetha Reddy (she/her/hers) – Secretary
Geetha Reddy is a playwright and filmmaker working in the Bay Area. Her plays include Far, Far Better Things (TheatreFIRST, Shotgun Players), Safe House, (SF Playhouse), HeLa (TheatreFIRST) in collaboration with Lauren Gunderson and Blastosphere! (Central Works Theater) with Aaron Loeb. Me Given You, Girl in a Box, and On a Wonderverse were part of the Playwright’s Foundation’s In the Rough reading series. Her plays have also appeared in the San Francisco Fringe Festival, the Santa Rosa Quickies Festival, the Best of PlayGround Festival, the Just Theatre Lab series, and the Crowded Fire Matchbox series. Her short film Obit appeared at LA Shorts, NY Indie Fest, Bend Film Festival, the GI Film Festival, and many others. She is a five-time recipient of PlayGround’s Emerging Playwright Award and a June Anne Baker Prize winner. Geetha is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild and a former resident playwright at the Playwright’s Foundation.
Christina Chan (she/her/hers) – Member
Christina 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.
Rob Dario (he/him/his) – Member
Born in 1973 San Francisco, was instructed in language, arts, & manners by his parents Melinda Elena & Dante Pura Dario. Began his theatre arts education & love for performing after high school. A freelance artist, graphic designer, actor, playwright, & constant collaborator, his work has been seen in publications & neighborhood streets, stores & businesses, & performed in & around the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area.
His first commissioned play was Bagyó, a Filipino-Southeast Asian re-imagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest which opened the 2016-17 TheatreFIRST Season.
As a board member, Rob seeks ways to engage our company’s talent, time, & resources to tell the personal and communal stories of the justice & injustice, the triumph & tragedy of those we serve through art: the Audience, our Berkeley neighborhoods & all humans who are connected to us from further afield by word, friend, and story.
Stephanie Anne Johnson (she/her/hers) – Member
Stephanie 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.
Akash Patel (he/him/his) – Member
Akash is an actor and artist based in the Bay Area. As a student at UC Berkeley, he performed in the TDPS productions of Polaroid Stories and Heart of Spain before embarking on his professional acting career. Since then, he has performed with various theatre companies in the Bay Area, including in TheatreFIRST’s production of Participants. Beyond this, he works as a scientist conducting medicinal chemistry researchand co-founded a design and apparel company called ZenTee which creates art inspired by the Indian-American experience. He is thrilled to be on the board at TheatreFIRST with the hopes to help create a more equitable, better represented and modernized culture within the arts, and to help amplify the voices of those historically silenced.
Brendan Simon (he/him/his) – Member
Brendan Simon is an award-winning creative and performing artist. He is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association (AEA) who has dedicated over 25 years to his artistic crafts, and performed on local, regional and national stages. Brendan directed and choreographed Dreamgirls at Berkeley Playhouse, which was nominated for 4 Theatre Bay Area awards including Best Director. He returned to direct Memphis in February 2020 to critical acclaim. Since 2001, Brendan has worked for Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre (KPET) in many roles. As a director, Brendan is the recipient of Kaiser Permanente’s 2017 Community Health Innovator Award for devising the company’s Resilience Squad programming with a brilliant team of Teaching Artists. The program transformed schools throughout Northern California with mindfulness, stress management, and healthy communication curriculum. In 2018, Brendan became KPET’s Learning and Development Lead for Northern California. In this role, he co-created RISE UP, a national initiative for educators to foster resilience in school environments despite the adverse childhood experiences and traumas affecting students. In April 2020, he began working to transform Educational Theatre’s middle school programming to address racism and include messages of equity and social justice.
Brendan is a member of the inaugural class of Lincoln Center Education’s Teaching Artist Training Program and teaches best practices in arts-based education nationally. Brendan is half of Michael & Simon, a Belle Award-winning musical theatre collaborative team, which wrote, directed, and produced a dramatic reading of Torch, a full-length musical that premiered at the Ashby Stage with support from Shotgun Players. The musical received a Broadway World nomination for Best Special Event. Michael & Simon also wrote Undiscovered, an album of songs that feature musical theatre artists including Broadway star Taylor Iman Jones. Brendan believes the future of theatre exists at the intersection of joyful activism and the visibility of underrepresented communities. Art has no more important task than amplifying our painful truths, that we may begin to heal ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world. Brendan is thrilled to be on the Board of TheatreFIRST. #blacklivesmatter