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! and currently serves on the board of Forum for Equality.


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.


Jenny headshot crop website
Jenny Windstrup
Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships

Windstrup joined Southern Rep in 2015 after six seasons as Director of Development for New Orleans Opera Association. Prior to moving to New Orleans in 2007, she worked in the production department of Washington National Opera. A graduate of St. John’s College, Maryland, she is an active volunteer for New Orleans-based chamber music ensemble New Resonance Orchestra and serves on the board of New Orleans Friends of Music.


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.

 cropped alex headshot
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.


Jessica Podewell
Literary Manager

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.


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.


Colleen Gowland, Sea Level Design
Graphic Designer

Site design & development

Chris Rubino
Southern Rep Logo and Brand Artwork