Chaya Gordon-Bland, Managing 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. 

Laura Vidler, Photographer

Laura Vidler is a scholar of early modern Spanish drama as well as Professor of Spanish and photography student at USD. Her photos have been exhibited in juried student exhibitions in both New York and South Dakota, and have earned recognition at local and national levels. In 2016 she was a finalist in Photographer’s Forum magazine’s College Photography Competition. Laura has a special interest in documenting production and performance processes, and has been shooting for SDSF since 2015.

Brian Smallwood, Director of Operations and Production

Brian Smallwood has project managed as a Technical Director and Production Manager for dozens of Off and Off-Off Broadway companies. He co-founded a production company called No Time for Love Productions, with clients like the Ma-Yi Theater Company, New York Musical Festival, New York Photo Festival, and Second Stage. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 2013 with an MFA in Technical Design and Production. Brian is currently an Associate Professor and Production Manager for James Madison University’s School of Theatre and Dance. Brian’s research interests include structural engineering for production and increasing productivity through employee wellness. Watch for Brian’s book: Productivity Through Wellness for the Live Entertainment and Theatre Technician: Increasing Productivity, Avoiding Burnout, and Maximizing the Value of An Hour slated for release in May 2020.



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