Travis Preston is an internationally celebrated director of theater and opera. His groundbreaking production of King Lear inaugurated the CalArts Center for New Performance. Staged in six locations within the massive factory spaces of the Brewery Arts Complex in downtown Los Angeles, Preston’s Lear challenged traditional interpretations of the play by employing a staging area of environmental proportions, unconventional uses of technology, an all-female cast, and a gripping post-modern aesthetic. Other projects include Bell Solaris with David Rosenboom, Macbeth starring Stephen Dillane (subsequently performed at the Almeida Theatre in London and at the Sydney and Adelaide Festivals in Australia), Ah! Opera, Brewsie and Willie with the Poor Dog Group, Prometheus Bound starring Ron Cephas Jones (in partnership with the Getty Villa), Fantomas: Revenge of the Image – which had its world premiere at the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in China in 2017, and Augustine Machine ou Encore une Nuit d’Insomnie.
Other professional credits include The Master Builder at the Almeida Theater in London (with Stephen Dillane and Gemma Arterton), Boris Godounov, and a highly controversial production of Luigi Nono’s Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore (both at the Hamburg State Opera), as well as directing the opening gala performance at the Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin. Last year, Preston directed Sam Shepard’s Buried Child for the 40th anniversary season of the Hong Kong Repertory Theater. He was awarded Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture for “contributions to the arts in France and throughout the world.”
His work in the United States includes the world premiere of Democracy in America at the Yale Repertory Theater; the American premiere of Buero-Vallejo’s The Sleep of Reason at Center Stage; the world premiere of Ted Tally’s Terra Nova at the Yale Repertory Theater; and the American Premiere of Roberto Zucco by Bernard-Marie Koltès. In collaboration with The Private Theater, Travis Preston created The Last American in Paris. He has been a Resident Director at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, as well as an Associate Artist at the Yale Repertory Theatre and Center Stage.
Travis is Dean and Head of Directing at the CalArts School of Theater.
Rachel has been working in performance and public programming as a producer, curator, and administrator for more than a decade. She most recently served as Managing Director of Los Angeles Performance Practice, in addition to six years as part of the producing team for the annual Los Angeles Exchange (LAX) Festival.
From 2016-2018, she directed the City of Redondo Beach’s Cultural Arts Division, overseeing its performing arts center, municipal public art program. She fundraised and produced for the Music Center between 2010-2016, helping to launch LA’s Grand Park. Her dance, theater, and new music producing credits include Ragnar Kjartansson’s BLISS, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association’s Fluxus Festival, L.A. Contemporary Dance Company’s The Only Constant and FAM, Okwui Okpokwasili’s Poor People’s TV Room, Milka Djordevich’s ANTHEM, The Wilderness’ The Day Shall Declare It, Descanso Garden’s SILENCE, and many more. She has produced site-specific opera, notably The Industry’s widely-acclaimed Invisible Cities and HOPSCOTCH in more than 20 various sites in and around Los Angeles.
She holds a B.A. in Public Relations and Advertising from the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University, an M.A. in Performance Curation from Wesleyan University, and is the recipient of the 2018 Sam Miller Prize for Best Thesis for her writing about alternative feminist practices in performance.
Marissa Chibás is a writer, performer, filmmaker, and recipient of the TCG Fox Fellowship in Distinguished Achievement. For CNP/Duende CalArts, Marissa’s solo show Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary premiered at REDCAT, and has toured the U.S., Europe, and Mexico. The script is included in the Routledge Press second edition of Contemporary Plays by Women of Color. She conceived and wrote Shelter, which premiered in April 2016 in Lincoln Park, performed at the Kennedy Center, and in Fall 2018 was presented in Mexico City as part of an international theater conference. Shelter was subsequently published by NoPassport Press.
She directed the documentary film version of the play, titled Finding Shelter, which screened at the 2019 Segal Center International Film Festival in NYC as well as the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Marissa co-adapted the award winning CNP/Poor Dog Group production of Brewsie and Willie, which was presented at the 2011 RADAR LA Festival. She also played Edgar in CNP’s inaugural production of King Lear, which premiered at the Brewery in Downtown Los Angeles, and was subsequently presented in France.
Marissa has acted in over 50 productions on and off Broadway, including The Keening by Umberto Dorado (ART in Boston), Two Sisters and a Piano by Nilo Cruz (McCarter), The House of Bernarda Alba and Eduardo Machado’s The Floating Island Plays (Mark Taper Forum) and Robert Wilson’s Danton’s Death (Alley Theater). On Broadway, she performed in Abe Lincoln in Illinois and Brighton Beach Memoirs, and has a number of additional Off-Broadway and regional credits.
Marissa is on the Acting faculty at the CalArts School of Theater.
Daniel Alexander Jones exemplifies the artist as energy worker. Daniel’s wildflower body of original work includes plays, performance pieces, recorded music, concerts, music theatre events, essays, and long-form improvisations. His roots reach deep into Black American and Queer Performance traditions, and his work explores ideas of the Afromystical. Over more than two decades of professional practice, he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to civic healing through vulnerable presence, truth telling, and collective critical engagement.
His ongoing CNP project ALTAREDSTATES uses our solar system as both metaphor and method for an immersive journey through the celestial, within and without.
Jones’s critically-acclaimed plays and performance pieces include Black Light (Public Theater, Greenwich House Theatre); Duat (Soho Rep); An Integrator’s Manual (La MaMa, etc. and Fusebox Festival); and Radiate (Soho Rep and National Tour). Jones has recorded five albums of original songs as his alter-ego, Jomama Jones.
Daniel’s numerous awards include an Alpert Award in the Arts, a TED Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Doris Duke Artist Award, a USA Artist Fellowship, the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, an inaugural Creative Capital Grant, and a NEA/TCG Playwriting Residency.
Daniel did his undergraduate study at Vassar College in Africana Studies with a focus on literature and the arts, and graduate study at Brown University. Beyond CalArts, he has been in residence at colleges and universities across the country, with faculty positions at Goddard College, the University of Texas at Austin, and currently at Fordham University.
Amanda Shank is an artist and educator based in Los Angeles, California. With an experimental practice rooted in the interplay between text, image and performance, her work frequently explores themes of women’s identity and sexuality while also dismantling traditional notions of form, genre, chronology, and performativity.
Amanda has developed projects with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National New Play Network, the Henson Foundation, Circle X Theatre, The Industry, the Prototype Festival, CalArts Center for New Performance, Los Angeles Performance Practice’s LAX Festival, and many more. She has presented work at venues such as the Ace Hotel DTLA, the Hammer Museum, Z Below, and Automata Arts. As a playwright, her work has been published in the U.S. and translated internationally.
Recent CNP projects include Augustine Machine ou Encore une Nuit d’Insomnie; Travis Preston and Tom Gunning’s Fantômas: Revenge of the Image, which had its world premiere at the Wuzhen Theatre Festival; and Nightwalk in the Chinese Garden, writer-director Stan Lai’s site-specific collaboration with CNP and The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Amanda received her BFA in Writing, Literature & Publishing from Emerson College and her MFA in Writing for Performance from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Amanda is on the faculty and serves as Associate Dean at the CalArts School of Theater.
Chi-wang Yang is a Los Angeles-based theater director and interdisciplinary artist. His work spans storytelling platforms (plays, concerts, installation, etc.) to expand notions of identity and explore the unstable intersections of body, narrative, and technology.
His CNP credits include directing Vineland Staele (composed by Sandeep Bhagwati), co-curator for TEDxCalArts, company director for What to Wear (directed by Richard Foreman), and an Artist In Residence workshop.
Chi-wang is a founding member and co-artistic director of video performance collective Cloud Eye Control. His work has been presented at theaters, museums, and festivals internationally, including at REDCAT, SFMOMA, Fusebox Festival, Time-Based Arts Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, EXIT Festival (France), Santiago a Mil (Chile), Manipulate (Scotland), Havana Film Festival, and the Edinburgh Fringe.
Chi-wang received his MFA in Theater Directing and Integrated Media at CalArts, and his BA from Brown University. Chi-wang is on the Performance faculty and serves as Assistant Dean at the CalArts School of Theater. mysteriously.org
Paul Turbiak is an actor, writer, teaching artist, communicator, and arts administrator. He has worked with CalArts Center for New Performance since 2012, supporting its artists and administrative team, and helping facilitate communication across the many people, projects, and platforms.
As a performer, Paul has appeared onstage all over Los Angeles and beyond, including The Geffen Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Los Angeles Theatre Center, the Garry Marshall Theatre, Colony Theatre, Independent Shakespeare Company, Bootleg Theater, Rogue Artists Ensemble, Actors Co-op, A Noise Within, Sacred Fools, North Coast Repertory Theatre, East West Players, Los Angeles Performance Practice, The Speakeasy Society, Son of Semele, Theatre of NOTE, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, and REDCAT.
He has a number of film and commercial credits, and his voice work can be heard in over 30 feature films. Most recently, he appeared in the short film Evie, which has screened at multiple film festivals across the country.
Paul holds a BA in Theater from Gordon College, and an MFA in Acting from California Institute of the Arts. He is the Communications Manager/Executive Assistant to the Dean at the CalArts School of Theater.
Rui Xu is an LA-based interdisciplinary producer and a PMP® (Project Management Professional) Certification holder who is committed to supporting and raising daring voices for underrepresented groups through the facilitation of art-making.
Her CNP projects include Nightwalk in the Chinese Garden, written and directed by Stan Lai; The Carolyn Bryant Project, created by Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc; and Scene with Cranes written by Octavio Solis and directed by Chi-wang Yang.
Xu’s films have premiered at major film festivals. Hieu premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019 and won the Deuxième Prix at Cinéfondation; Finis Terrae was selected for the critics’ week at the Venice International Film Festival 2020 and won the Special Mention FEDIC for Best Short Film; and Way Out Ahead of Us was selected for competition at Festival International de Cinema de Marseille in 2022.
Xu has been serving as the co-executive director at Chinese in Entertainment, whose mission is to support Chinese inherited young professionals in the entertainment industry.
Xu holds master’s degrees in Music Technology from NYU and Producing from CalArts. Xu is a producing fellow in the Film Independent Project Involve 2022, Spotlight Dorado 2022, and the finalist of the PGA (Producers Guild of America) CREATE program.
George Lugg is a producer, curator, and consultant who has been working in the field of contemporary performance for 30 years. He currently works with independent artists Faye Driscoll and Emily Johnson.
George joined the founding team that launched the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles in 2003, and served as Associate Director of REDCAT for a decade. He oversaw seven editions of the New Original Works Festival, providing early-stage support for artists including Miwa Matreyek, Emily Mast, Lars Jan/Early Morning Opera, Kristina Wong, Poor Dog Group, Timur Bekbosunov, and many others; and was an Associate Producer for both editions of RADAR L.A., an international festival of contemporary theater (2011, 2013). As a curator, he has worked across Los Angeles institutions to present leading national artists, including Okwui Okpokwasili, Michelle Ellsworth, Miguel Gutierrez, Emily Johnson, Becca Blackwell, Jeanine Durning, d. Sabela Grimes, Milka Djordjevich, and Micaela Taylor.
He served as Hub Site Representative for New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project (2012–14), Lead Program Consultant in the Performing Arts for the Creative Capital Foundation (2012), and on the U.S. curatorial team for the National Performance Network’s Performing Arts Asia Project (2011) and Performing Americas Project (2009–10), as well as panels and juries for Creative Capital, United States Artists, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, among others.
In 2014 he was awarded a Horton Award for his service to the field, and currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Dance Camera West. He graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Dance.
Chris Swetcky has worked in production at major institutions and venues across the world.
Chris worked at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts as Associate Technical Director. While at A.R.T. Chris worked on numerous productions including Broadway hits such as Porgy and Bess, Pippin, All the Way, Finding Neverland, and Waitress. He has also engaged with various production companies including Beth Morrison Projects as the Production Manager for Home by Geoff Sobelle. Prior to CalArts, Chris worked for Penn State as an Associate Professor, Production Manager, and Technical Director for the School of Theatre.
Chris received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Fairfield University and an MFA in Technical Design and Production from Yale University’s School of Drama. He is on faculty and serves as Production Manager at the CalArts School of Theater.