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).
Jaron Caldwell honed his skills in the entertainment industry as a public relations executive for film and theater. After leading PR campaigns for on and off-Broadway shows, including Sleep No More, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, After Midnight and The Visit at leading theatrical PR firm DKC/O&M (formerly O&M Co.), he created and headed an events division at the company where he managed PR, design and logistics for countless opening nights and galas. He recently helped reopen San Francisco’s world-famous Curran theater as in-house Public Relations Officer. Among the events he organized and executed at the Curran were the West Coast premiere of the Academy Award-nominated film FENCES, and its entire first season of programming. In tune with his adventurous spirit, he followed his heart to New Orleans where he has found a new home at Southern Rep Theatre.
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.
Originally from Pensacola, Florida, Gwendolyn has briefly lived in Nashville, California and the Greater New Orleans area for the past 15 years where she has spent much of her time in the service industry bartending and enhancing her customer service skills. She is also a massage therapist and is currently finishing a BA in Health and Wellness at Tulane University. Gwendolyn joins Southern Rep Theatre for the 2019-20 season, running the beverage program and serving as lead bartender.
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Hannah first joined Southern Rep during last season’s production of AND TELL SAD STORIES OF THE DEATH OF QUEENS as Assistant Stage Manager. She is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans where she studied performance, stage management, and multiple areas of design for theatre. Recently, Hannah has served as Assistant Stage Manager for the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane for their productions of THE TEMPEST, ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL, and MACBETH.
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 previousy served as Southern Rep’s NNPN Producer in Residence and Director of Arts Education.
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 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.
Eduardo Ramírez Kortright joins Southern Rep Theatre for its 2018-2019 season. Eduardo is a recent graduate of Loyola University New Orleans, where he received his BA in Theatre Arts. You can find him all around town hanging lights, building sets and occasionally performing on stage. Some of his recent Technical Direction credits include MEN ON BOATS at The NOLA Project and CAROLINE, OR CHANGE at Loyola University / JPAS.
Penny Roberts, Ph.D., MT-BC, holds degrees in piano pedagogy and music therapy, and earned her Ph.D. in aging at Tulane University. She brings over 10 years of experience to our program. She is the coauthor of the Individualized Music Therapy Assessment Profile (IMTAP) and has authored book chapters and published several papers on the role of music in alternative medicine interventions. Dr. Roberts currently partners with a variety of cultural institutions in the New Orleans area to provide cultural engagement opportunities for older adults, those with special needs, and disenfranchised groups.
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 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 joined the Southern Rep team as the company’s Patron Services Coordinator in 2017.
An arts administrator with over 15 years of varied non-profit experience, Jenny Windstrup joined Southern Rep in 2015. Previous professional credits include three years in the production department of Washington National Opera and six seasons with New Orleans Opera Association as Director of Development. She is an active volunteer for New Orleans-based chamber music ensemble New Resonance Orchestra and is the incoming President of the Board of Directors of New Orleans Friends of Music, with which she has been involved since 2011. Ms. Windstrup is a graduate of St. John’s College, Annapolis.
Cara Zajac is a social worker focused on community wellness and the creative arts. She recently received her Masters degree in Social Work from Southern University at New Orleans and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and History from Tulane. She was a recipient of the Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholarship from the National Association for Social Work, the Council on Social Work Education, and the New York Community Trust. She specializes in outreach with diverse populations, culturally competent direct service and creating welcoming environments for holistic health programming. She has received multiple grants for her research on reducing health disparities in minority populations. Around New Orleans, she performs as an actress, musician and balloon artist.
Sarah has been a professional theatre maker for sixteen years and holds degrees in theatre studies and psychology. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science degree and licensure in clinical mental health counseling at Loyola University. Sarah also serves as the Co-Founding Director of Program Development for the Loyola Center for Counseling and Education, a new sliding-scale mental health clinic. 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 part of a research group for community mental health interventions.