Sideshow Theatre Company is welcoming eleven new company members, six ensemble members and five artistic associates, respectively.
Ensemble members include Wardell Julius Clark, Greg Geffrard, Arti Ishak, Krystal Ortiz, Gabrielle Randle-Bent and Netta Walker. Artistic Associates include Patrick Agada, J. Nicole Brooks, Brynne Frauenhoffer, Jyreika Guest and Sarah Price.
These new additions to the company are predominantly BIPOC artists. This influx of representation marks a fresh and necessary wave of diversification in theatre.
“This chapter of Sideshow has been about where the ensemble will take the company, and we have chosen a fresh and exciting direction, as is our prerogative. As a Black, trans leader of color, I always wondered if diversification of an ensemble was as hard as the leaders of our predominantly white field said it would be. It’s not. This list of innovators, game changers, and all around really talented artists represent the type of cohort building we need to move the theatre industry into the future. Sideshow is truly grateful to have these remarkable artists join our ensemble and associate family, and we can’t wait to see what this impressive team of artists is going to create.” – Artistic Director, Regina Victor (they/them/theirs)
Ensemble Member Biographies
Wardell Julius Clark is an award-winning Actor, Director, Producer, and Activist who hails from Fairfield, Alabama but now calls Chicago home. He earned his BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University. His directing credits include include: Michael Jackson and the Devil’s Book (Jackalope Theatre) – in development; Kill Move Paradise (TimeLine Theatre); Sheepdog (Shattered Globe); Hoodoo Love (Raven Theatre); His Shadow (16th Street); The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Dutch Masters (Jackalope Theatre); The Shipment (Red Tape); Insurrection: Holding History (Stage Left); and Surely Goodness and Mercy (Redtwist). Chicago acting credits include Flyin’ West (American Blues); Suddenly Last Summer (Raven); Silent Sky (First Folio); Apartment 3A (Windy City Playhouse); Regional credits include Othello, Macbeth and The Learned Ladies (Theater at Monmouth); The Whipping Man (Cardinal Stage); Cymbeline (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival); and Fences (Carver Theatre). His television and film credits include Proven Innocent, Shameless and Chicago Fire seasons 1 & 4.
Greg Geffrard is an educator, actor, director and spoken word artist, last seen onstage at Sideshow in Tilikum. He has been dedicated to decolonizing spaces of art creation and has championed those willing to engage in the immediate conversation about what equity looks like within our institutions since moving to Chicago in 2012. He has been a teacher with Steppenwolf since 2015 and a Sexual Assault Prevention Educator since 2016. He has partnered with the Chicago Inclusion Project, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Old Town School of Folk Music and Chicago Arts Partnership in Education to facilitate challenging conversations, create curriculum and formulate initiatives to aid in the creation of brave spaces for art to be cultivated. He is currently the Lead Facilitator of Professional Development for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, workshopping Antiracist workshops with the Poetry Center and an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago. His work broadly speaking focuses on the empowerment of historically dehumanized populations and being self-generators of radical joy.
Arti Ishak is a multidisciplinary artist and community organizer originally from Detroit. Recent acting credits include Kiss (Haven), Witch and Buried Child (Writers Theatre), Men on Boats (American Theater Company), Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre), Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno (Second City) and A Story Told in Seven Fights (Neo-Futurists). TV credits Chicago Med (NBC). As a filmmaker, Arti wrote and directed the short film Shukran Bas, a satire about Arab American representation. Arti has served on the board of the Muslim Writers Collective’s Chicago chapter and is currently a staff member with The Chicago Inclusion Project. She is one of the founding organizers with MENASA MidWest, an action network and advocacy group for Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian American artists working in theater, film and television. She is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.
Krystal Ortiz is a Cuban-American actor, singer and playwright originally from Miami, Florida. She has performed all over Chicago at theaters such as Victory Gardens, Teatro Vista, The House, Sideshow Theatre Company, and several others. Krystal enjoys many types of performance whether it is as a vocalist in a band, a dancer in The Fly Honey Show, or the occasional dalliance with clowning. As a playwright, Krystal is developing LOS FRIKIS – a historical musical centering the Cuban punk rock community in the ‘80s & ‘90s. Krystal is an alumnus of New World School of the Arts and The Theatre School at DePaul University, and is represented by Stewart Talent.
Gabrielle Randle-Bent is a scholar, director and dramaturg. She has a dual BA degree in drama and sociology from Stanford University and an MA degree in Performance as Public Practice at The University of Texas at Austin. Her recent collaborations include co-directing We are Proud to Present a Presentation… by Jackie Sibblies Drury at Steppenwolf for Young Adults. She served as the dramaturg and AD for Court Theatre’s production of Oedipus Rex directed by Charles Newell and dramaturg For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf directed by Seret Scott. In Chicago, she has dramaturged and directed for Sideshow Theatre, Victory Gardens, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight and the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. Gabrielle is an active member of the Black Theatre Association Focus Group for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and has served two terms as its graduate representative. She was featured in American Theatre Magazine’s Role Call: People to Watch. She is a 5th year PhD candidate at Northwestern University. Her ongoing dissertation project is titled “On the Possibility of Blackness and the Inevitability of Revolution: How Black Feeling Changed the World.” In September 2020, she completed a fellowship year at the University of Chicago where she was the inaugural Court Theatre Research Fellow.
Netta Walker is a Jeff Award-winning actress and multidisciplinary artist who values collaboration in its truest form – so she is incredibly excited to be joining the Sideshow Ensemble! Seen in Chicago productions as truth and reconciliation (Sideshow), Yen (Raven Theatre, Jeff Award for Best Supporting Performer), How to Defend Yourself (Victory Gardens), Hamlet (The Gift), No Child (Definition Theatre), Continuity (Goodman), Great Expectations (Remy Bumppo/Silk Road Rising), and in various staged readings and workshops around town. TV/Film credits include The Big Leap (FOX), Chicago Fire (NBC), Come as You Are (Featured at SXSW). Represented by Paonessa Talent Agency and MRK Management. “Everything I do, I do for Tony Walker.”
Artistic Associate Biographies
Patrick Agada’s Chicago credits include: Pipeline TYA, The First Deep Breath (Victory Gardens); The Brothers Size (Steppenwolf); Something Clean – Jeff nomination, You For Me For You (Sideshow, Rivendell Theatre); Dutch Masters – Jeff Award (Jackalope Theatre); Choir Boy, The Play About My Dad (Raven Theatre); Superior Donuts (Open Door Theatre); Dunsinane, Q Brother’s Christmas Carol, Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theatre). Regional credits include Blue Man Group (Astor Place Theatre). TV credits include Chicago Fire. Patrick is represented by DDO Agency.
J. Nicole Brooks (nom de guerre Docta Slick) is an actor, author, director, educator, Taurus and gremlin born on the West Side and raised on the South Side of Chicago. An award-winning playwright, resident artist with Lookingglass Theatre company and deeply connected to theatre collectives throughout the U.S. On the screen, Brooks can be seen starring opposite Chris Rock in series 4 of Fargo, the upcoming Candyman directed by Nia DaCosta and recurring roles on several network television shows.
Brynne Frauenhoffer is a Chicago-based playwright. Her full-length production credits include Vape Naysh (First Floor Theater) and Bury Me (Dandelion Theatre). Other full-length development: Pro-Am (Sideshow Theatre; selected for The Kilroys List 2020); Synchronicity (Salt Lake Acting Company; Semi-Finalist for the 2018 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference); The Young Ones (First Floor Theater; Jackalope Playwrights Lab); Pizza Hut Heartbreaker (Commission Theatre); Age Play (The New Colony); Sh*tty Christians (Prop Thtr). She co-founded the Wampus Cat Collective with a group of fellow playwrights, has worked as a script supervisor for Rivendell Theatre and Chicago Dramatists and profiled Chicago theatremakers for Perform.ink. Her current play-in-progress is titled Faculty (or, The Opposite of Oleanna). www.brynnefrau.com
Jyreika Guest is an actor, dancer, poet and intimacy director based in Chicago. She’s also the creator of Black Queer+ Voices, a virtual open mic. Chicago credits include: Lindiwe U/S (Steppenwolf); Frankenstein (Remy Bumppo); columbinus (The Yard Theatre Company); In the Blood and I Saw Myself (Red Tape Theatre); The Fly Honey Show (The Inconvenience Project); The Wiz (Kokandy Productions); Octagon (Jackalope Theatre Company); The Adventures of Robin Hood (Filament Theatre). Intimacy direction credits: Sheepdog (Shattered Globe); Intimate Apparel (Northlight Theatre); The Tasters (Rivendell Theater Ensemble); The Children of Edgar and Nina (The Neighborhood Theatre); Hoodoo Love – Asst. (Raven Theatre); First Deep Breath – Asst. (Victory Gardens). She is proudly represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.
Sarah Price is a Chicago-based actor, voiceover artist and comedian. Chicago theatre credits include X and Mai Dang Lao (Sideshow Theatre Co.), The Wolves (Goodman Theatre), Harvey (Court Theatre), Earthquakes in London (Steep Theatre), You On The Moors Now (The Hypocrites), The Sweeter Option (Strawdog Theatre Co.), Carlyle (Goodman Theatre, New Stages), Monstrous Regiment (Lifeline Theatre), Solstice (A Red Orchid Theatre), and Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo Theatre Co.). Regional credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Indiana Repertory Theatre), With Love and a Major Organ (Boise Contemporary Theater). TV: Chicago Fire (NBC). Sarah is also a stand-up comedian, and hosts and produces The Missy, a monthly comedy show, with Helen Joo Lee. She also plays Augie Eckhardt in The Vanishing Act Podcast, and is a 2020 Audio Verse Awards Finalist for Best Leading Role in a New Audio Production. Sarah is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, the Improv Training Program at iO and Second City’s Conservatory.
About Sideshow Theatre Company
Sideshow Theatre Company: Theatre for the Curious. It is the mission of Sideshow Theatre Company to mine the collective unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audiences together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration.
Over its 13-year history, Sideshow is proud to have distinguished itself as a vital member of the Chicago theatre community. Sideshow was awarded the 2016 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theatre Award by the League of Chicago Theatres. Sideshow is a multiple Jeff Award-winning theatre and has been listed on the “Best of” lists in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2018 by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times.
Sideshow is also the producer of Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW), a wildly popular fundraiser held in benefit of Sideshow Theatre Company and other local community organizations. CLLAW has been featured in local and national press, including The Washington Post, Reuters and the Chicago Sun-Times and on WGN Morning News, ABC 7’s Windy City Live and CBS 2.
For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company, visit sideshowtheatre.org.