Distinguished Alumni

ed-headshot-low-resolution-150x150Ed Herendeen founded the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in 1991 with the mission to produce and develop new American theater. Through his leadership, and operating under an AEA LORT D contract and an annual budget of over one million dollars, the Theater Festival has produced 105 new plays – including 40 world premieres and nine commissions – and has gained a reputation as one of America’s most important producers of new work. Hosted on the campus of Shepherd University, CATF sells over 13,000 tickets to its four-week rotating repertory season of five new plays and attracts a national audience from 35 states to the region. Each summer, the Festival generates a local economic impact of over $2.1 million dollars to West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.  Recently, Ed’s directing credits include The Eclectic Society by Eric Conger, a world premiere produced by the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia. Among the plays he has directed at the Contemporary American Theater Festival are the following world premieres: Whores by Lee Blessing; Miss Golden Dreams: A Play Cycle and Bad Girls by Joyce Carol Oates; Compleat Female Stage Beauty by Jeffrey Hatcher (which was commissioned by CATF and later produced as the film Stage Beauty); Carry the Tiger to the Mountain by Cherylene Lee; Octopus by Jon Klein; Jazzland by Keith Glover; Dear Sara Jane by Victor Lodato; The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by John Olive; The Occupation by Harry Newman; What Are Tuesdays Like? by Victor Bumbalo; From Prague by Kyle Bradstreet; Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams; and Still Waters and Psyche Was Here by Lynn Martin. Other CATF directing credits include: Ages of the Moon, The God of Hell, and The Late Henry Moss by Sam Shepard; Fifty Words by Michael Weller; Race by David Mamet; Farragut North by Beau Willimon; The Overwhelming and White People by J.T. Rogers; Mr. Marmalade by Noah Haidle; In A Forest, Dark and Deep and Wrecks by Neil LaBute; Blessing’s Thief River; and Below the BeltGun-Shy, and Something in the Air by Richard Dresser.  Ed has also worked at The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Missouri Repertory Theatre, The Old Globe, The Lyceum Theatre, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. In 1999, CATF was presented with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and, in 2012, the Governor’s Award for Leadership in the Arts. Ed was honored with the College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Award in Theater from Ohio University (from which he received his MA in Directing) and has served on the Admissions Committee for New Dramatists and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 2011, he has served on the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for American theaters.

dipankar-headshot-webDipankar Mukherjee is the founding artistic director of Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  A professional director originally from Calcutta, India, Dipankar brings with him international experience and intensive training in both classical literature and directing. He was one of the founding members of a professional theater company in Madras, India and has administrative experience in both India and the United States. In India, he has directed plays in English, Hindi, Bengali and other Indian languages and taken his work to the streets of India to create socially relevant work. He is the Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater. Dipankar is on several non-profit boards such as the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, Center for Arts Criticism and the Irwin Andrew and Porter Foundation and Partners for Womens Equality He also serves on the National Steering Committee of the Asian American Theater Project, and South Asian Thater Arts Movement. Dipankar has been on multiple panels for the National Endowment of the Arts Panel, Minnesota State Arts Board Presentation grants as well as on think tanks convened by the Ford Foundation and Theater Communications Group. His credits include Procession, The Birthday Party, Twelfth Night, The Millionairess, Look Back in Anger, Five Finger Exercise, The Glass Menagerie, and The Little Clay Cart. At the Young Vic in London, he worked in the production of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. In the United States, he worked with the South African playwright, Athol Fugard in his production of Playland at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.  In 1992 he was invited to be the Resident Director at the Guthrie Theater where he worked in the productions of Nagamandala, Othello, A Woman of No Importance, The Rover, The Broken Jug and K- Impressions of the Trial. He has directed Mother Courage at the Guthrie Theater and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun produced by the Nevada Arts Council. In the Twin Cities, he has directed at Theater Mu, Teatro Latino, Teatro del Pueblo, Mizna, Katha Dance Theater, Theater and worked with many independent performance -art artists. He was invited to New World Theater to direct Nagamandala in 1999 and returned there to direct in their 2050 program. Dipankar has worked extensively with dancers to create cross-cultural work using his knowledge of Kalaripayattu, an Indian martial arts form as well as a director. He creates movement based theater performances in Pangea World Theater, bringing together text and movement in plays such as Osiris, Ajax, Rashomon, The Inner World and Conference of the Birds. Dipankar has worked extensively with Praxis International in Duluth and Advocates of Human Rights to create performances and workshops on domestic violence that are created to impact systems change in the legislation in the U.S. He has been the recipient of many research and study grants that have aided in his study of movement, martial arts and choreography techniques. Dipankar has been awarded the Twin Cities International Citizens Award in 2001 by the Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul for contributions in the area of human rights and international co-operation as well as an Excellence for the Arts Award by the Council of Asian Pacific Minnesotans in. He was honored by the Indian Association of Minnesota with an Arts Achievement Award and was a keynote speaker at their event. Dipankar recently received the Bush Leadership award to train with non-violence and peace methodologies at the local, national and international level. He was nominated and invited to speak at the Salzburg Global Seminar, an international forum for Arts activism and human rights.

122-2227_IMG.35223203Robert Ross Parker is the co-artistic director of the Obie winning Vampire Cowboys with Qui Nguyen.  For Vampire Cowboys he has directed Vampire Cowboy Trilogy, A Beginner’s Guide to Deicide, Living Dead in Denmark, Men of Steel, Fight Girl/Battle World, Soul Samurai, Alice in Slasherland, and The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G. For the VC Saturday Night Saloon series he wrote Jimmy Starshooter Must Get Laid, and Radio Monster Theatre: The Further Adventures of Henry and Victor. Other recent directing credits include How to be a New Yorker (CRC productions) She Kills Monsters (The Flea) Goodbye Cruel World (also adapter, Roundtable Ensemble) Hamlet{solo} (Edinburgh Fringe and Solo Nova at PS 122), and numerous projects for Ensemble Studio Theatre where he is a member.  As an actor, Robert played the title role in The Flying Machine’s Frankenstein at Soho Rep, and on tour, and played the March Hare in their production of Alice in Wonderland. He is the former editor of The Dramatist, the Journal of the Dramatists Guild of America.  Ohio University Directing Credits:  The Seagull (Realism Project); Hamlet (Style Project); Tagged (Seabury Quinn Jr. Playwrights Festival); Vampire Cowboy Trilogy; A Beginner’s Guide to Deicide; As You Like It (Main Stage Thesis).