CHRISTOPHER MARINO, Producing Artistic Director
Formerly on faculty at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, teaching master acting classes, Christopher has taught at numerous universities and theatres in the US and England including the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Stella Adler in New York City, George Washington University, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, and Illinois State University. He has been a guest lecturer at Rose Bruford Drama School in the UK teaching classical acting technique for the past six years. As an actor, he has a career that spans twenty years working regionally and at Shakespeare festivals. Christopher is also a founding member of the Helen Hayes award winning Taffety Punk Theatre Company in Washington DC. He is the former Artistic Director of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival and the current Assistant Artistic Director at Piccolo Theatre. Christopher is a Certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. He holds two graduate degrees from the Shakespeare Theatre DC/George Washington University and Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art - London. He has a Bachelors in Drama/Dance from Bard College.
FRED GRANDY, Company Member
Fred Grandy was last seen by Wilmington audiences in Much ado About Nothing at the Lumina Festival, and Christopher Marino’s 2016 staging of Measure for Measure. He is probably best known for his portrayal of Gopher Smith on the long running TV series, The Love Boat and most recently for his recurring role as Dr. Robert Ledreau on FOX’s and Hulu’s The Mindy Project. His most recent stage appearances are JB Biggley in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying for the Connecticut Repertory Theatre and Andrew Wyke in the Surflight Theatre production of Sleuth. A former four term U.S. Congressman and CEO of Goodwill Industries he holds an MFA in Classical Acting from the Washington Shakespeare Theatre and George Washington University. Fred is lovingly known as Gopher by his millions of fans around the world who watched him became for 9 years in the 1970s hit series The Love Boat (1977). Before he joined the cast of The Love Boat (1977), Fred did guest shots on many shows, including Love, American Style (1969), Mary Tyler Moore (1970), Phyllis (1975) (with Cloris Leachman) & Welcome Back, Kotter (1975) (with John Travolta).
JESSICA GAFFNEY, Costume Designer
Earned her Master of Fine Arts in costume and scenery design at new York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at the University of Albany. Ms. Gaffney’s Off Broadway costume design credits include: Our Dad is in Atlantis written by Javier Malipica, The Secret Agenda of Trees written by Colin McKenna and Nilaja Sun’s No Child. Other NY costume design credits include: The Internationalist directed by Ken Rus Schmoll produced by 13P and the Fairfield Theatre Company; Wet directed by Kent Nicholsen produced by the Summer Play Festival; Crumble directed by Katie Pearl produced by Clubbed Thumb; and Boococks House of Baseball directed by Mary Kate Burke produced by The Flea. Ms. Gaffney was an affiliated artist with Push Productions in New York City and has designed costumes for many of their productions including: The Kracken, Shannon in Ambient Light and Marat/Sade all directed by Michael Kimmel.
Ms. Gaffney’s design work has been seen at the following Regional Theatres: ART, Woolly Mammoth, Lookingglass, Berkley Rep, Center Theatre Group, Long Wharf Theatre and Actors Theatre of Phoenix and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has served as Guest Costume Designer for the following University Theatre Departments: Duke University, UNC Wilmington, University of Rochester, Baruch College,Desalles University and Marymount College of Fordham University. Additionally Ms. Gaffney has designed costumes and scenery for several award winning film projects and recently served as Production designer and Costume designer for the short film Song of a Fifth Grade Samurai and served as costume designer for the short film Agatha. Both films were screened at the 2015 Cucalorus Film Festival here in Wilmington, NC.
Make Trouble, Workshop Leader
Amanda is the founding Artistic Director of acclaimed Los Angeles ensemble theater company Fugitive Kind, for which she won a 2014 Ovation award for Best Director. A Fulbright scholar in community-based performance, she spent two years in New Zealand working with refugees, incarcerated youth, and multi-cultural groups of all ages. She teaches at California State University Northridge, and has trained with SITI Company, DAH Teatar, and Belarus Free Theater, drawing inspiration from the integration of music, dance, and the body to tell stories. She received her MFA from UC Irvine, where she studied with and assisted Bill Rauch at both Oregon Shakespeare Festival and at Lincoln Center. Her first love is Shakespeare. Her professional career began as an actor with American Shakespeare Center, where she also served as Director of Youth Programs from 2001-2004. She is a member of Lincoln Center Director’s Lab and a proud member of SDC, the director’s union. She currently has in her company's repertoire a small ensemble production, Too Much of Water, inspired by Hamlet.
Make Trouble, Workshop Leader
Thadd McQuade-Thadd is a director, teacher, and designer whose theatrical interests range from Shakespeare to the Avant-Garde. Based in Virginia, Thadd has performed, directed, and taught for the American Shakespeare Center (1993-2005), and is the founder of the award-winning Foolery Theater (RIP) and Break Theater (ongoing!). For the last 25 years, he has led workshops in Shakespeare, movement and composition for high schools, colleges, and professional theaters in the US and abroad. Thadd has studied with Anne Bogart, Eugenio Barba, Double Edge Theater, Thomas Leabhart, Dah Teatr, and Wlodzimierz Staniewski of Poland’s Teatr Gardzienice, with a specific focus on researching training methods within ensemble work. He toured (2006-2009) with Odin Teatret’s experimental Ur-Hamlet production, with stops at the Ravenna festival in Italy, Grotowski festival in Wroclaw, and at Elsinore castle in Denmark.
ASHLEY STRAND, Company Member
Winner of the 2009 Hong Kong Comedy Festival, Ashley is also a vet of the Edinburgh, Hollywood, and DC Fringes, the Laughing Devil, Laughing Skull, and Maine Comedy Festivals, as well as the Great Canadian Laugh-Off. You've also seen him on SpikeTV, The Travel Channel, and The Biography Channel. Ashley is a graduate of The Academy for Classical Acting.
ADRIAN VARNAM, Composer
North Carolina native Adrian Varnam began studying violin at the age of 5, and has played for over 30 years, performing with such orchestras as the NC All-State Orchestra, the NC Honors Orchestra, the NC Governor’s School, and the Wilmington Symphony. In addition to orchestras, Adrian has performed and toured with various groups and rock bands up and down the East Coast. He’s also a sought-after musician and multi-instrumentalist in local theater, having performed on the stages of City Stage and historic Thalian Hall for companies such as Opera House Theater Company, City Stage, Theatre Now, Dram Tree Shakespeare, and the Thalian Association. Most recently, Adrian won the 2016 Star News Theater Award for “Best Sound Design” for his original score and performance for the Dram Tree Shakespeare production of Macbeth.
ESTHER WILLIAMSON, Company Member
Has been acting professionally since 1998, when she graduated from Seattle Pacific University. In Seattle, she worked with Seattle Shakespeare Company, Book-It Repertory Theatre, Theater Schmeater, Open Circle Theatre, Harlequin Theatre in Olympia, and others. In 2004, she was accepted into the Shakespeare Theatre Company Academy for Classical Acting in Washington DC. After earning her MFA, Esther worked with several DC-area theatres, including Ford's Theatre, Happenstance Theater, the Inkwell, Cumberland Theatre, and others. In 2010 she was invited to become a company member with Taffety Punk Theatre Company and has since been proud to call Taffety Punk, along with its sister company the Riot Grrrls, her artistic home. In 2012, Esther shifted her home base to Brooklyn, New York. She now splits her time between DC and New York.