Our People

Aimée Hayes

Producing Artistic Director


Since being named Producing Artistic Director in 2007, Hayes has focused on new play development, producing many writers during her tenure, including Andrew Hinderaker, John Biguenet, Eric Coble, Zayd Dohrn, Catherine Filloux, Jim Fitzmorris, Ross Maxwell, Tarell McCraney, Peter McElligott, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Joe Sutton, and Steve Yockey. As a member of the National New Play Network, Hayes has served on the Showcase of New Plays panel and directed in their MFA Playwright Showcase at the Kennedy Center. She has also overseen the incorporation of a new slate of new play development programs into Southern Rep’s Lagniappe Series including 6×6, a new play slam, 3×3: THE ONE ACTS, New Orleans’ only live, ongoing soap opera, DEBAUCHERY!, and THE NEW PLAY BACCHANAL, an annual two-day new play festival that includes honoring a new play by a female playwright of color with The Ruby Prize.

Hayes has often appeared on the stage, most recently as She in Southern Rep’s STAGE KISS, Hannah Jelkes in THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA, and Blanche Dubois in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE. In 2014, New Orleans Magazine named Hayes a Top Female Achiever, and in 2012 she was named Gambit Weekly’s Theatre Person of the Year, and one of New Orleans Magazine’s 2008 People to Watch. In 2016, she was a finalist for the prestigious Zelda Fichandler Award presented by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. Hayes has served as the Chair of the Governance Committee and at-large Board Member for the Theatre Communications Group (TCG).


Charlotte D’Ooge

Director of Philanthropy


Charlotte D’Ooge has held various leadership positions in the non-profit sector before joining Southern Rep as the Director of Philanthropy in 2017. She has served as the Development Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana as well as the Development & Communications Director at the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL). Prior to joining JJPL she worked for the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane University. Charlotte began her career in fundraising in Washington, D.C. as a Major Gifts Associate at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Originally from D.C., Charlotte is proud to have called New Orleans home for over fifteen years. She holds a MA from the University of Manchester and a BA from Tulane University. She is also a founding board member of BreakOUT!, has served on the board of Forum for Equality, and currently serves on the board of Parkway Partners.

Helen Jaksch

Director of Arts Education / National New Play Network Producer in Residence


Helen Jaksch considers both El Paso, TX and New Orleans, LA home. She is working on her Doctorate of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale where she is studying Youth-Created Theatre in America. Her writings on theatre and performance have been featured in TDR, Theater, Performing Fiction and the NOLA Defender. She has produced and served as dramaturg for new plays, devised performances, and youth playmaking programs in New York, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Texas. A passionate advocate for young voices and community artists, she is excited to be joining Southern Rep as the company’s NNPN Producer in Residence.


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Jenny Windstrup

Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships


An arts administrator with over ten years of varied non-profit experience, Jenny Windstrup joined Southern Rep in 2015 as the company’s Managing Director. Prior to moving to New Orleans in 2007, she worked in the production department of Washington National Opera and then spent six seasons with New Orleans Opera Association as Director of Development. A graduate of St. John’s College, Maryland, she is an active volunteer for New Orleans-based chamber music ensemble New Resonance Orchestra and has served on the board of New Orleans Friends of Music since 2011.


Lauren Turner

Producer of Artistic and Community Engagement


Lauren E. Turner is a freelance actor, director, producer, and playwright. She is artistically “at home” when creating theatre that engages diverse communities and sparks discourse. Lauren is in residence at Southern Rep Theatre as Producer of Artistic and Community Engagement thanks to the Leadership U: One-on-One program, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group. She also serves as adjunct faculty at Dillard University in the Theatre Department, where she teaches Dramaturgy and Audition Preparation. Lauren received her MFA in Theatre Performance at the University of Southern Mississippi. No Dream Deferred is the culturally specific production company she co-founded here in New Orleans.


Jessica Podewell

Literary Manager literary@southernrep.com

Originally from New Orleans, Podewell received her BFA from Webster University, and her MFA in Acting and New Works at the Ohio State University. She has worked professionally in theatres throughout Austin, Chicago, and New York, as well as New Orleans, and was most recently seen on stage in Southern Rep’s DETROIT. She is a proud founding member of the children’s theatre The Patchwork Players, and currently serves as Professor of Practice in Tulane University’s Department of Theatre and Dance.


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Alex Smith

Technical Director


Alex is a theatrical jack-of-all-trades and can be happily found behind, above, below, in front of, or on the stage. He holds a degree in Performance and a degree in Technical Theatre from Whitworth University. He is also professionally trained in Mime, Stage Combat, and Youth Theatre Education.


Kaylene Torregrossa

Patron Services Coordinator


Kaylene hails from Tucson, Arizona and received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Arizona, focusing on dramaturgy, directing, and grassroots theatre. Before moving to New Orleans, she spent six years in sunny Sarasota, Florida, serving the audiences of Florida Studio Theatre and reading plays on the beach. Passionate about facilitating good art and making theatre accessible for all, Kaylene is excited to be joining the Southern Rep team as the company’s Patron Services Coordinator for 2017-18.


Bari Bellard

Production Stage Manager


Bari James Bellard is very excited to join the Southern Rep Team. He is a recent graduate of Loyola University New Orleans and has served in stage management for theatre, ballet, and live events around the New Orleans area. His recent stage management credits include CAROLINE, OR CHANGE, SPAMALOT, THE HOUSE THAT WILL NOT STAND, and HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES.

Sarah Zoghbi

Director, Care for Creatives


Sarah has been a professional theatre maker since 2002 and has degrees in theatre studies, psychology, and is currently pursuing her degree and licensure in clinical mental health counseling at Loyola University. She joined Southern Rep Theatre in 2007 and has since worked in roles such as production stage manager, director, designer, arts education director, marketing and front of house manager. She then followed her passion for the healing arts and moved to Hawaii to work as a naturopathic physician’s assistant, creativity-therapist and eco-therapist. Her curiosity led her to Berlin, Germany where she spent three years studying psychology and psychotherapy, psycho-aromatherapy, autogenic hypnosis relaxation training, shamanism, and working as a life coach, aromatherapist and meditation journey guide. Sarah is an active mental health advocate with New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic You Got This program task force and volunteer for Jewish Family Services’ Teen Life Counts program. She is happy to have returned home where she delights in combining her passions of psychological counseling and the arts in honor of healing for the creative population of New Orleans.

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