Board of Directors

DANA SIMPSON – Board President

Dana was raised in Santa Barbara and spent summers volunteering at many of our nonprofit agencies, including Direct Relief International, Legal Aid Society, Unity Shoppe, and Adventures in Caring. She attended Bryn Mawr College. Majoring in history and biology, her undergraduate thesis explored community development and historic preservation through the lens of Santa Barbara’s reconstruction after the 1925 earthquake.

Dana attended the Harvard School of Design where she earned a masters degree in urban planning. Through her studies, she examined how the places we live—both the built and natural environment—affect our perceptions, stir our imagination, and engage civic discourse. Fascinated with the visual arts, Dana continued her graduate studies at Columbia University where she earned a masters degree in modern art and curatorial studies. She has worked at the Orange County Museum of Art, Arts Fund Santa Barbara, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

Dana is the co-author of Journeys: Healing through Nature’s Wisdom and is currently editing and supervising the publication of a book on education. She also works for the City of Santa Barbara as liaison to the Santa Barbara County Arts and Crafts Show.

R. MICHAEL GROS  Co-Artistic Director, Board Vice-President, 

Michael served as Artistic Director for six seasons (2000 – 2006) with PCPA Theaterfest, where he produced and/or directed 70 Equity productions, including multiple world and west coast premieres, as well as, commissioning new works and producing numerous regional educational outreach tours.

Michael is a member of the professional theatre directors union (SSDC) and served as a resident faculty director at Kansas State University.

In 2005, Michael was selected to receive a residency fellowship in non-profit arts leadership at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Center for Social Innovation. He earned his MFA in directing from the University of California at Irvine, and earned his BA in theatre, Magna Cum Laude, at the University of California Los Angeles. He earned an AA degree from El Camino College where he studied with Howard Banks (Colorado Shakespeare Festival), William Buck and Charles Turner.

Michael is also an arts consultant, most recently serving as an advisor to the Board of Directors and interim Executive Director for the Clark Center for the Performing Arts in Arroyo Grande, CA. Michael has presented numerous seminars on leadership and arts management through the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Leadership Academy. He was an invited participant in Theatre Communication Group’s New Artistic Leaders Institute and New Works, New Ways Forum.

Michael has worked professionally at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, South Coast Repertory Theatre and the Center Theatre Group.

Michael is currently a member of the Santa Barbara City College faculty.

TOM GAREY – Board Treasurer

Tom is a Scenic and Lighting Designer and Educator who has worked in live theatre for over fifty years. He has designed more than 150 productions both professionally and in academic venues and has performed in technical direction, production management, and business management capacities on many more. Tom taught in the Theatre Arts program at Santa Barbara City College for thirty-six years, twenty of which he served as Academic Chair for the department. He has a B.A. in Theatre Production & Design from the University of Maryland, College Park; an M.A. in Theatre Design and Dramatic Art from U.C. Barbara, and has done post-graduate study in theatre history, dramatic literature and criticism at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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AMANDA KRAMER –  Board Secretary

Amanda Kramer is an 8th generation Californian, born and raised in San Diego and graduated from University of California, Irvine and University of Notre Dame. Ms. Kramer currently works as a clinical trainee at Community Counseling & Education Center in Santa Barbara, CA.

Ms. Kramer has had 20 years of theater experience as an actor, singer, teacher and director. She has had over 20 leading roles, most recently as Peggy Day in The Women at the Tony Award winning Old Globe Theatre, and as Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera at San Diego Repertory Theatre. Other favorite roles include Guenevere in Camelot, Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors, Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, and Fiona in Brigadoon. As a singer, Ms. Kramer, most recently, performed as a guest soloist with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and as a guest artist with the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Kramer was the Executive Coordinator for the San Diego State University’s Writers Conference for six years and Assistant Director for American Rose theatre of San Diego. She was also Associate Executive Director for the San Diego State University’s Actors Conference. 

JEFFREY MEEK-  Co-Artistic Director

Jeff has been acting, writing and teaching professionally for over thirty years and is the founder of Jeffrey Meek Studio, a workshop dedicated to creating an environment for beginning and professional actors to have the freedom and support to reveal their true potential.

Jeff’s’ film acting includes starring opposite, Academy Award winner Denzel Washington and Bob Hoskins in “Heart Condition”, with Academy Award winners Mickey Rourke, Morgan Freeman and Forrest Whittaker in “Johnny Handsome”, and opposite Kurt Russell and Kelly McGillis in “Winter People”.

His television work includes starring in the CBS prime-time series, “Raven” and the CBS late-night series, “The Exile”. He also played the dual roles of Rayden and Shao Khan in the TNT series, “Mortal Kombat Conquest”. Jeff began his TV career playing Quinn McCleary on the daytime series, “Search for Tomorrow”, and, most recently, was in Bulgaria playing opposite Julie Benz in the thriller, “Taken: The Search For Sophie Parker”. He also played “Craig Montgomery” on “As the World Turns” and has starred in numerous “Movies of the Week”, mini-series, pilots, as well as, many guest star appearances on episodic TV such as “Criminal Minds”, “Castle”, “The Glades”, “Vice” and others.

Having performed in over 100 plays and musicals, Jeff has enjoyed playing such commanding roles as Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Tony Award winning South Coast Repertory Theatre, Jim Morrison in the Doors musical, “Celebration of the Lizard”, produced by Doors co-founder and keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, at The San Diego Repertory Theatre and the title role in Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus”.

Jeff also played the lead role of Markus in the west coast premier of Rob Ackerman’s dark comedy, “Table Top”, at the Laguna Playhouse, starred as Mack the Knife in San Diego Repertory’s production of “The Threepenny Opera” and, most recently, starred as Thomas Novachek in the hit, “Venus in Fur” at San Diego Rep. He has received two Dramalogue Awards.

Jeff graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from the University of California, Irvine. He’s studied acting with Ivanna Chubbuck.

Jeff has also been writing for most of his 30 year career. He co-wrote the Bobby Darin biography, “Beyond the Sea”, starring Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth.

JIM GREEN 

Jim Green has built a career in entertainment starting on the live circuit as road manager, a lighting director, and a publicist and artist relations in the feature film department at Universal Studios. He joined the ABC broadcast network working in daytime programming, late-night and the ground breaking Movie of the Week series. Green’s extensive experience made it possible to gain Independent status, producing 50 movies for all three networks with several films receiving Emmys, and a Best Picture Cable Ace Award for HBO. He lives in Santa Barbara and remains active in producing.

MARK BACINO

Mark Bacino began his career in the Entertainment business working for the well established Hollywood commercial agency, Don Schwartz and Associates while earning his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After graduating from the Business School at California State University , Northridge, Bacino was hired on at CBS Television Network where he worked on a variety of shows such as The Price is Right, Match Game and WKRP in Cincinnati to name a few. From there he went on to work as a production assistant at Embassy Television on such shows as The Facts of Life, Different Strokes and One Day at a Time. He was later chosen to become the assistant to Dabney Coleman on his critically acclaimed television series Buffalo Bill. When the show ended he met veteran film producer, Neil Maffeo, and began his career in Television Movies as an assistant to the Executive Producer. After working on a number of television movies, Bacino met the award winning and prolific producing team – Jim Green and Allen Epstein of Green/Epstein Productions and was asked to join their company in 1987. Since that time, Bacino has worked as Executive Producer of over 45 films and television shows. He was named partner of the company in 1999 and Green/Epstein/Bacino Productions was formed. In 2001, he formed with his partner, Jim Green, Walletsize Pictures and produced a number of independent films for worldwide distribution.

In addition to the many highly acclaimed films Bacino and Green have produced, they are also well known for the 10 years of partnership and multiple projects they have produced for the Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen Brand. It was this association that led Hip Hop Kidz founder, Suzy Stone to contact Bacino to help her develop her program into a nationally recognized children’s property. In 2002, Mark Bacino along with Jim Green and Suzy Stone formed HHK Entertainment, L.L.C. with the purpose of taking this regional children’s dance program and creating a national lifestyle brand of products for children based on the ever popular Hip Hop culture with the motto “No Drugs, No Violence … Just Dance! Currently, HHK Entertainment, has released it’s first CD of original Hip Hop music, has a publishing deal with Penguin Young Readers Group, have just completed a Back to School Tour with Macy’s Department Stores, appeared on the Macy’s Day Parade, the Tony Danza Show and is about to shoot it’s first nationally released Dance Instruction/Entertainment video.

E Bonnie Lewis_MG_8260E. Bonnie Lewis

E. Bonnie has experienced a broad and varied background in the performing arts and education for over 30 years. Her love of dance led her to study, and eventually teach in the High Schools, Modern Dance and Improvisation. Theater also beckoned and E. Bonnie expanded her studies and experiences to include participation in South Coast Reps Acting Conservatory, workshops in Commedia Del Arte in Paris, France and the opportunity to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

In Santa Barbara, E. Bonnie has been active in the theatre and dance communities. She has been the recipient of an Artist in Residence grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation, a California Arts Council, A-I-R, grant, and an Organizational Development Grant. She has collaborated with SBCC in their recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and created many artistic alliances with local performing arts companies, all of which enabled E. Bonnie and DramaDogs to create and educate through theater, dance, and the performing arts.

 

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