Pay Attention to [Those] [Wo]men Behind the Curtain
Today is International Women’s Day and I would like to spotlight some of the amazing women that I have had the chance to work with behind the curtain. (Did you catch that Wizard of Oz reference in the title?) Bios are provided by either their workplace profiles or their own websites (links included).
Shelley Graham: https://tma.byu.edu/team/graham-shelley/
Shelley Graham has a BA in theatre education and an MA in theatre history and theory from Brigham Young University. She has worked as a dramaturg and education director for a number of institutions, including Pioneer Theatre Company, American West Heritage Center, and Utah Lyric Opera. She was the resident dramaturg at the Covey Center for the Arts in Provo for a number of years before taking her current position at BYU. She serves as the performing arts chair for the Mormon Arts Foundation and as Dramaturgy Co-Chair for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region VIII. She is currently Dramaturgy Supervisor in the Theatre and Media Arts department at BYU.
Chelsea Hickman: http://chelseachickman.com/
Chelsea Hickman is a playwright, actor, director, theatre professor, and literary manager for An Other Theatre Company in Provo, Utah. Two of her plays, THE SHOELACE and MERCY MEAL, were selected as national semi-finalists for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, in 2013 and 2017, respectively. Her play, SAFE, will have its world premiere with An Other Theatre Company January-February 2020. Her work has been performed at festivals, university stages and community theaters across Utah Valley. As an actor, she has been recently seen in Bank Holiday (The Hive Collaborative); The Moors (An Other Theatre Company); Page to Stage Festival (Wasatch Theatre Company); and The Rapture Happens at Midnight (An Other Theatre Company). When not writing or acting, she is very busy teaching both for Utah Valley University’s theatre department and as an elementary school theatre teacher with Studio Kids Productions in Draper, Utah. She is married to her best friend and partner in crime, Zac Hickman. She has three cats: Luka, Zoey, and Ampersand. She loves running, weightlifting, Mexican food, and watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.
MFA: Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from University of California, Riverside. BA: Theatre Arts Studies from Brigham Young University.
Megan Sanborn Jones: https://tma.byu.edu/team/jones-megan-sanborn/
Megan’s work has been published in Theatre Journal, Theatre History Studies, Theatre Topics, and Ecumenica. Her first book, Performing American Identity in Anti-Mormon Melodrama from Routledge Press won the Mormon History Association Smith-Pettit Best First Book Award (2010) and her second book, Contemporary Mormon Pageantry: Seeking After Our Dead from the University of Michigan Press was published in October 2018. Megan is an author and an editor, currently serving on the editorial boards of Mormon Studies Review and Ecumenica. Megan is active in the American Society of Theatre Researchers (ASTR), the Association of Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), the American Theatre and Drama Society (ATDS) and the Mormon History Association (MHA). Megan is also a director/choreographer whose credits at BYU include Crazy for You, Arabian Nights, Young Company’s Twelfth Night, Princess Academy, Travesties and Much Ado About Nothing.
Susan Kupferer: https://susankupferer.com/
Susan Kupferer was born and raised in Irvine, California and is the oldest of two children. Her love for theatre began as a child, when her grandparents would bring her to see the national tours that came through the area, such as The Lion King and Wicked. Years later while in her freshman year of high school, Susan was encouraged by a peer to join the technical crew for her school’s fall play. After observing the stage manager on that show, she knew it was something she wanted to work towards. Susan began to work professionally as a stage manager during her senior year of high school before leaving sunny California to attend her first year of college at Brigham Young University-Idaho. After that year, she served a mission for 18 months in Buenos Aires, Argentina before transferring to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah to continue working toward her degree. Susan graduated from BYU with a degree in stage management in 2019. Susan is currently the Stage Management Team Lead, a production stage manager and calling stage manager at Hale Centre Theatre. Her recent credits include: Production Assistant of Into the Woods at the Hollywood Bowl, Production Stage Manager of Bright Star and Murder on the Orient Express at Hale Centre Theatre, BYU’s Wonderland, Single Wide, and Christmas Around the World and Utah Vocal Arts Academy’s Don Giovanni during their summer opera festival. She was also recently the Assistant Stage Manager of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, Sundance Summer Theatre’s Oklahoma! and BYU’s China Spectacular tour. Susan has received national awards at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in stage management and lighting design. When not in the theatre, Susan enjoys rock climbing and hiking with her husband, exploring national parks, reading a good book and spending time near the ocean.
Here’s to Strong Women: May We Know Them, May We Be Them, May We Raise Them.