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Chaya Gordon-Bland, Founding Artistic Director

Chaya Gordon-Bland is a co-founder of the South Dakota Shakespeare Festival and an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of South Dakota. Chaya holds an MFA in Performance Pedagogy from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional background includes work as an actor, teaching artist, dramaturg, director, and fight director at theatre companies across the country, including the American Shakespeare Center, New England Shakespeare Festival, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, American Globe Theatre, Inwood Shakespeare Festival, Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, Black Hills Playhouse, and Native Voices at the Autry. Chaya is a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), the Association of Theatre Movement Educators (ATME), the Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA) and the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD). In 2018 she was  honored with the Belbas-Larson Excellence in Teaching Award, in the tenured category, at the University of South Dakota. 

Rebecca Bailey, Executive Artistic Director

Rebecca Bailey spent the past four years serving as Asst. Professor of Theatre at The University of the Ozarks.  In July, she began a full-time position serving as the Education Program Director for the Arkansas Coalition Against Sexual Assault where she uses theatrical techniques in training Victim Advocates and other first responders. In 2021, she received a Visionary Voice Award for her work with ACASA. She studied Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin University, finishing her MFA in Directing in Dec of 2016 at University of South Dakota.  Having served as a freelance director, Wine with Will performer, and South Dakota Shakespeare Festival board member, Rebecca was thrilled to accept the Interim Artistic Director position with SDSF in the fall of 2021, Rebecca has served as a director for Prairie Repertory Theatre, North Dakota Shakespeare Festival, and South Dakota Shakespeare Festival. Favorite productions directed include Comedy of Errors (South Dakota Shakespeare Festival), Venus in Fur (University of South Dakota), The Diary of Anne Frank (University of the Ozarks), The Little Mermaid (Prairie Repertory Theatre), and Extremities (University of the Ozarks).  Rebecca served as the Arkansas State Chair for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VI.  She now freelances as a director and movement/ intimacy coach teaching classes focused on Acting, Directing, Shakespeare, Movement and Voice.  In 2021, she directed a devised production, For Hurting Hands which received two national awards from KCACTF including a Citizen’s Artist Award.  She directed this production devised by seven students approaching their perspectives on equality and diversity.  Rebecca is passionate about using theatre as a means to energize, entertain, and bring forth conversations about the world around us.

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Music Director....................................Mike Lee

Cultural Consultation......Chaya Gordon-Bland

Education Director..................Joe Stollenwerk

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