Benchmark Theatre's Company
Producing Artistic Director
Having attended both Florida State University and the University of Colorado at Denver's Departments of Theatre, and a multiple award-winning actress, a director, a playwright and an active member of the thriving Colorado theatre community, Haley has been involved in the Denver theatre scene for over a decade and has watched the community expand, contract, thrive, falter and re-energize itself time and time again. As a player both on and off stage, she has been a contributing factor to the health and livelihood of the artistic community for years starring in roles such as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Harper Pitt in Angels in America, Becca in Rabbit Hole, Jessie in 'Night, Mother, Jacqueline in Don’t Dress for Dinner, Maggie in The Shadow Box, Sam in Some Girl(s), Lottie in Enchanted April, the Marquise de Mertuil in Dangerous Liasions and Beth in A Lie of the Mind to name only a few. Working with companies spanning the metro including Vintage Theatre, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, the Edge Theatre, square product, Miners Alley Playhouse, the Avenue Theatre, Spotlight Theatre Company, the Evergreen Players, Longmont Theatre Company and more, Haley has infused her brand of dramatic realism in all of her work. She is proud to be a part of the next step forward in Colorado's artistic landscape!
It enrages. It comforts. Uplifts and ignites. It breaks down walls and opens eyes. It pushes boundaries and changes perspectives. It relaxes. Educates. Soothes. It envelops both the artist and the audience in a singular experience that can span every emotion imaginable. And it can never, never be duplicated exactly the same way twice. These and so many more reasons, are why I love the theatre...
Executive Artistic Director
Rachel has been working in professional theatre for 15 years, the last eight of which have been in the Colorado community. During that time, she has had the honor of directing, acting and stage managing at a number of theatre companies including: Backstage Theatre, Creede Repertory Theatre, Cherry Creek Theatre, Curious Theatre Company, The Edge Theater Company, Miners Alley Playhouse, Spotlight Theatre Company, Starkey Productions, and Vintage Theater Productions. Prior to moving to Colorado, she worked as a director, stage manager, and actor in Chicago, IL. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi with Honors.
"Why does this story need to be told?" The answer may be simple or complex, but it is a question that deserves asking. The human desire to share our stories with each other is our unique quality, and with each of these offerings, we all contribute to the growth of our fellow man's consciousness and empathy. Driven by art's power to move humanity, I believe in the importance of the theatre experience. Theatre, to me, is the most influential and profound medium because it alone fully possesses the ability to incorporate all art forms into an ephemeral, visceral, and shared experience that is, quite frankly, like none other.
Director of Literary Management
Jeff is an award-winning playwright whose work has been performed at theaters and festivals across the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. His plays have been produced by Emerging Artists Theatre Company, Edge Theater Company, Edinburgh Fringe, FUSION Theatre Company and the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival, among many others. His first publication, Modern Goddesses: Two Short Plays of Mythic Proportions, is available for licensing and performance from JAC Publishing & Promotions. Jeffrey is a 2012 Heideman Award Finalist, cofounder of Colorado’s Rough Draught Playwrights and an active member of the Dramatists Guild of America. More information about his plays and playwriting career can be found at www.theaterbyjeff.com.
In addition to his work as a playwright, Jeffrey has worked as a dramaturg for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Athena Project Festival and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He is an accredited academic who has presented professional papers on various topics in musical theater history for the Association for Theater in Higher Education, the American Alliance of Theatre Education, and the American Music Research Center. In 2009, his original research was acknowledged in and used as source material for the book Kander and Ebb, an installment in the Yale University Press Broadway Masters series.
What draws me to performing arts and theater, in particular, is that it is all about creating a shared experience. No other art form invites real people into a real space to watch other real people in real time. And, what happens when all those ‘real’ forces come together is singular. Literally. A singular, unique and irreproducible experience that can transform, educate, move or simply delight.
Social Media Director
Lauren has been immersed in the theatre world ever since the age of six when she ditched gymnastics to take an acting class instead. Since then, she performed extensively in her home state of Arizona before making her way to the University of Northern Colorado, from which she holds a BA in Theatre Arts, Acting Emphasis. Lauren then gained a massive amount of experience (both theatre and life) in New York City for five years. There, she worked primarily as a founder of Wide Eyed Productions, a company focused on performing new works to this day, and trained in the art of longform improvisation with Upright Citizens Brigade. After awhile, the Colorado mountains beckoned, and she came to Denver in 2009. In her time here, Lauren has had the good fortune of working with companies such as BETC, Curious Theatre, The Edge, Lone Tree Arts Center, and Town Hall Arts Center, as well as with her two lady improv duo BAUS (two years strong).
For me, theatre is the outlet with which to speak the truth, tell timeless stories about what it means to be alive and human, and reach an audience on a personal level. It's truly a medium that cannot be experienced any other way, and keeping it alive and vital is incredibly important. So, that's why I'm still around and playing on stages, 30+ years after that first acting class.
Marc is incredibly honored to be a part of a company of talented and like-minded theatre artists. A 1994 graduate of the University of Central Missouri, Marc carved out an existence as a professional actor in Kansas City, Missouri for five years, doing everything from dinner theatre and improv to more serious fare such as The Waiting Room and Love! Valour! Compassion! at the Unicorn Theatre, Prelude To A Kiss at Northland Actor’s Ensemble, and Beyond The Miracle at the Coterie. After a 14 year hiatus from acting, Marc returned to the stage in late 2012, this time appearing in Denver-area productions of The Laramie Project in Evergreen, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, The Shadowbox, and Jerusalem at The Edge Theatre, and Lobby Hero and most recently Rabbit Hole at Vintage Theatre.
Having once been without theatre for a period of my life, I now have a greater appreciation for the opportunity to do something I truly love. Why am I so passionate about theatre? I love it that theatre, as with any great art form, has the ability to shape who we are. It can challenge held perceptions - it can pose difficult questions and compel us to find answers. It can confront us with ourselves, our relationships, and the world around us. It can force us to entertain conflicting ideas and then leave us to reconcile things on our own. It can make us feel emotions we don’t normally feel, provide broad insights to the human condition, or touch us on a uniquely personal level. Not only are these things interesting to explore, doing so makes our lives richer, and contributes to our growth and evolution as thinking and feeling beings. It’s a wonderfully important responsibility that all artists have. It’s fascinating and exhilarating and rewarding.
Digital Media Director
Susannah has been involved in theatre for as long as she can remember. With a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre from the University of Miami, Susannah has performed in theatres around the country. Colorado work includes I Am Alive, The Wedding Singer at the Aurora Fox, South Pacific in Concert at Lone Tree Arts Center and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Creede Repertory Theatre.
As another way to fulfill her need to tell stories, she is also an avid photographer and filmmaker. She co-created, produced, and hosted the travel webseries Sus & Chlo on the Go and worked for several years as Video Production Manager at Denver's Open Media Foundation. She has recently launched her own photography/videography business, McLeod9 Creative.
Why do I do theatre? For fun. For art. Escape. Release. Joy. To be a part of something greater than myself. I do it for the almost tangible connection you can feel between actors on stage and an audience... all sharing an experience. I do it to meet new people and learn new things. I do theatre because I believe that it's critical to take time to turn off our cell phones and experience something face-to-face with our fellow human beings.
Director of Community Response
Kate received her B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis summa cum laude in theatre and, in addition to directing at theatres across Denver, she is a facilitator at Denver School of the Arts. Select directing credits include: A Christmas Carol, The Wind in the Willows, and Fiddler on the Roof, Jr. (New Stage Theatre), The Whipping Man (Curious Theatre Company) , The Few (Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company), Exit Strategies (The Edge Theatre)and 5210 Main Street, which she also wrote with the Kaiser Permanente Educational Touring Company. Formerly she served as Education Director at New Stage Theatre and Associate Artistic Director at Curious Theatre Company and you can often find her teaching young people at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts or the Mizel Center for Arts and Culture.
I began making theatre as a child because I was scared of it and I continue today because of the way that it plows through fears and boundaries, because of the way that it brings people together reminding us that we have more things in common than are different, and because of the conversations that it begins. I believe that art is most often the catalyst and the tool for enacting social change as well as being a lot of fun!