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People

Graduate Students

Chenoa Albertson

MFA

calbertson@umass.edu

Costume Design

she/her/hers

Chenoa is a costumer, maker, and craftsperson. She has a background as a circus performer and instructor, and has performed professionally as a trapeze artist in the UK. She holds a double BA in Studio Art and Norwegian Language from St Olaf College in Minnesota. Chenoa grew up in Northern California and has lived in Minnesota, Vermont, several countries in Europe, and now Western Massachusetts. She is always working with her hands and loves the physical process of creating costumes and props.  

Behnam Alibakhshi

MFA

balibakhshi@umass.edu

Behnam Alibakhshi is an Iranian actor, director and theater teacher. He is the founder of CHAKHSHOOSH Film and Theater Group where he has produced and directed plays since 2002. He worked as a teacher in Iran's universities and performed more than 20 performances. Social issues like women's equality and discrimination in the society by religious governments are the most important subjects of his interest. Now he is excited to start earning his MFA at UMass Amherst!
Some of the best his performances are: The Silk Road (Outdoor Theater in Public Places), The Night of Disaster at #13 (Outdoor Theater in Public Places), Sahoori (based on Romi’s Poems), One Minute of SilenceBarzakh, and In Asal Shahde Gole khoonin ast 

Drishti Chauhan

MFA

dschauhan@umass.edu

Scenic Design

she/her/hers 

Drishti is an interior designer from India. She earned her B.Des in Furniture and Interior Design from Unitedworld Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Growing up, she thoroughly enjoyed the process of putting up small performances, whether she was narrating the show, or just playing a tree in it. However, she never planned to make a career in it, mostly because she was not anyhow an exceptional performer but also because her skills lie in the field of design.

She is now studying MFA in Scenic Design to learn to create spaces that help tell stories, show emotions and represent cultures.

Bianca Dillard

MFA

bidillard@umass.edu

Dramaturgy

 

Pedro Eiras

MFA

peiras@umass.edu

Dramaturgy

he/his

Pedro Eiras is a dramaturg, playwright, screenwriter, journalist and filmmaker. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Social Communication from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and an MA in literature from UMass. He is a US State Department alumni, having been a part of the 2008 Observing the US Institutions Program. He has two Certificates from the International Cinema Academy in Rio de Janeiro, one in Film Studies and another in Assistant Directing. As a screenwriter and filmmaker, he is responsible for the short films Save Ana and The Interview and the TV project/pilot Genesis (semifinalist at the 2018 Frapa Screenwriting Contest - Brazil's largest screenwriting contest). His historical fiction miniseries Savage Land was selected for the 2018 Rio Content Market Festival, for the 2018 Varilux Film Festival Screenwriting Lab, and was a finalist at the 2018 Frapa Screenwriting Contest. Pedro also loves teaching and has lectured at universities on Dramaturgy, Literature and the Portuguese Language. He is on Instagram @pedro.e.eiras.

Natasha Hawkins

MFA

nhawkins@umass.edu

Dramaturgy

she/her/hers

Natasha (Tash) Hawkins, dramaturg and actress, graduated from Salisbury University with an undergraduate degree in communication and a minor in theatre. During her time at Salisbury, she served as an assistant director/dramaturg for Salisbury’s virtual productions of Caryl Churchill's Love and Information, and Brandon Jacob-Jenkins' Everybody, for which she won the Regional Dramaturgy Award at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Hawkins has also worked as an assistant Dramaturg at the New Harmony Theatre Project in Indiana, where she helped with new play development for several productions. 
 

Percival Hornak

MFA

ahornak@umass.edu

www.percivalhornak.com

Dramaturgy

he/they

Percival Hornak is a dramaturg, playwright, and literary manager who loves theatricality, ghost stories, and plays about lesbians. He is proud to be Resident Dramaturg and Literary Manager of Team Awesome Robot, a play development collaborative based in NYC. They are also a coproducer of Dungeons and Drama Nerds, a podcast exploring the intersection between theatre and tabletop role-playing games. Percy spent two seasons as an Allen Lee Hughes Fellow in Arena Stage's Literary office, where he worked on several productions as a script supervisor and production dramaturg. Other companies Percy has worked with include Andy’s Summer Playhouse, Luna Stage, and the Theatre Communications Group. He is a proud alum of Albright College, where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English and Theatre.

Hyejung Kang

MFA

hyejungkang@umass.edu

Lighting Design

she/her/hers

Hyejung Kang is a lighting designer from the Republic of Korea. She majored in Theater directing and minored in lighting design at Chung-Ang University. After graduation, she worked for the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture as a lighting assistant supervisor for two years. 

Light is the subject and theme of her life. She is studying how light can move the human mind, and she pursues beauty through lighting design. At UMass, she plans to continue her research not only on light in the theater, but also light in nature and architecture, as well as light as an installation art.  

Emily Irene Peck

MFA

eipeck@umass.edu

emilyirenepeck.com

Costume Design

she/her

Emily is a costume designer and technician originally from Iowa and is joining UMass from Nashville, Tennessee. She received a BA in Theatre: Design and Production from the University of Northern Iowa. Design credits include Every Brilliant Thing (Nashville Repertory Theatre), Tall Tales (Woven Theatre Collective), and Holes (Street Theatre Company). Assistant design credits include Shakespeare in Love (Nashville Repertory Theatre), and Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost, and The Taming of the Shrew (American Shakespeare Center). She has also been the Rentals Manager at Nashville Repertory Theatre.

Alexandro Ramirez

MFA
Malory Rojas Grillo

MFA

mrojasgrillo@umass.edu

Costume Design

Malory Rojas Grillo is originally from San José, Costa Rica. She is a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Artist, writer, and designer, and grew up in the south of the Capital, attending a Catholic school where she discovered her vocation for art.
From the age of 13 to 17 she participated in various dance, theater, puppet and writing groups. At the age of eighteen, she entered the Dramatic Arts career at the University of Costa Rica, hoping to become a playwright. During her years at the Dramatic Arts school, she worked as an actress, writer, and dancer, and specialized in the field of scenic plastic design with an emphasis on Costume and Theater Clothing. She also belonged to the circle of Poets in 2012. She has been writing since she was 11 years old, and in 2019 she directed her first play called Náufragos ó ..., in which she launched herself to explore the theatrical style of Absurdism. Maldita Golondrina was her first published play and winner of the Dramaturgy contest 2020 in Costa Rica; it was inspired by real events.
At 30 years old, she has worked on many plays as a Costume Designer and actress as the same time. She believes  her passion is Theater no matter in which field, but that Costume Design is her love. Creating characters and developing a bond with them is what really makes her fall in love with the dramatic arts field.

Iris Sowlat

MFA

isowlat@umass.edu

www.IrisSowlat.com

Directing

she/her/hers

Iris Sowlat is a director from Chicago IL, and is excited to start earning her MFA at UMass Amherst! Her work examines socially relevant issues seen through a surprising or unexpected lens. Directing credits include: Romeo and Juliet (Accidental Shakespeare Co.), Joan of Arc and Underworld Anthem (Prop Theatre’s RhinoFest), ABCD (Piven Theatre’s Lab), The Days Are Shorter (Pride Films & Plays), Narratives of Achromatopsia (Chicago Fringe Festival), and many more! She has also worked with Northlight Theatre, About Face Theatre, American Theater Company, and NoPassport Theatre Alliance, among others. She is the co-Artistic Director of Violet Surprise Theatre.

Benjamin Stanton

MFA

bjstanton@umass.edu

Lighting Design