Board of Directors
TARA BROOKE WATKINS is a theatre director, educator, and playwright. She leads the Theatre for Social Justice program at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA, and recently directed Sleeping Weazel’s premiere of The Audacity: Women Speakat Boston Center for the Arts. Founder and board president of Pariah Theatre Company, whose mission is to present lesser heard voices in lesser seen ways, Tara also owns South Shore School of Theatre for students ages 7-19 in Quincy. A PhD candidate in Theatre and Performance Studies at Tufts University, Tara’s dissertation research focuses on the intervention of theatre in cultural trauma as studied through her ethnography of North Tulsa and the impact of the 1921 Black Wall Street Massacre. Her play Tulsa ’21, based on her research and residents’ true stories, premiered in Tulsa last June and now tours schools. Her most well-known play, The Bible Women’s Project, was an official selection of the New York International Fringe Festival (2016) and is presently on tour throughout the country. Tara’s focus in her scholarship and on stage is community engagement and activism. She practices story circles to heal as well as foster environments in which participants can feel empowered to share their stories. In addition to her theatre work, Tara co-facilitates, with Reverend Gloria White-Hammond, a ministry called Shatter the Silence, which addresses sexual violence and victimization within a church context (at Bethel AME Church in Boston). She holds an MA in Theatre Education from Emerson College and a BA in Communication Arts from Eastern Nazarene College.
HEIDI R. BEAN is an Assistant Professor of English, specializing in modern and contemporary drama, at Bridgewater State University. Her research focuses on twentieth-century American poet’s theater, a passion that began when she noticed that so many of her favorite poets had written for, and often also performed on, the stage. What is it about the stage that has attracted so many self-identified poets to it time and time again? Heidi is particularly interested in rethinking the relationship between drama, theater, and performance, and so she’s especially pleased to be part of such a forward-thinking theater like Sleeping Weazel, which challenges conventional boundaries of genre. Heidi joined the board of Sleeping Weazel in 2014. As a teacher and mentor, she is active with several student and faculty groups to promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice on her campus and in the local community, and she’s thrilled to be part of a theater that puts these same issues at the heart of its artistic vision.
GRACE GELLER is the Senior Manager of Digital Marketing and Communications for the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning, managing marketing and communications efforts for VPAL and Harvard University’s centralized catalog of online courses. Previously, Grace was the Director of Marketing and Communications at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University. She worked with the A.R.T. for ten years and was responsible for managing advertising, social media, websites, graphic design, public relations, and digital and print communications. Grace holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Wheaton College, MA, where she majored in Classical Civilizations with a minor in Theatre.
DENNIS JEN is a software developer, potter, and pianist. He’s worked in a variety of domains, including neuroimaging, genetics, and most recently education, and his specialty is data visualization. Few things excite him more than bringing meaning to massive datasets. He minored in piano performance and enjoys playing and attending concerts, often favoring piano concertos. In his ceramic works, he focuses on asymmetric functional forms with carved surface textures. Dennis joined the Sleeping Weazel board in 2016 and is delighted to work closely with a theatre that he’s admired for many years. He is excited about the whimsy and experimentation stemming from Sleeping Weazel’s mission of “making different possible.”
Joyce Van Dyke is a playwright who has been a fan of Sleeping Weazel since its inception, thanks to its joyous devotion to experimental form, social justice issues, brilliant writing, and women’s artistic leadership. She joined the Board in 2016. Her plays, which include Daybreak, The Oil Thief, and A Girl’s War, have received numerous productions and awards including a MacDowell Colony Fellowship, Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellowship, Gassner Award, Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding New Script, Ensemble Studio Theatre / Sloan Project Commission, Boston Globe “Top Ten” plays of the year, and two Massachusetts Cultural Council grants. She has a BA from Stanford University, PhD from the University of Virginia, and MA in playwriting from BU. She teaches playwriting and Shakespeare at Harvard and Northeastern.
HOWARD WISEMAN serves as President and CEO of Mercury International Trading Corporation, a multinational footwear firm providing supply chain solutions to global brands and retailers. Howard attended New York University School of Law and practice corporate law before moving onto business management. As an undergraduate at Brandeis University, Howard majored in English and American Literature, ultimately writing his senior thesis on Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow for which he was awarded highest departmental honors. “I began reading avant-garde and absurdist literature during high school and always enjoyed the challenges posed by difficult texts. When Charlotte offered me a position on Sleeping Weazel’s Board of Directors, I happily accepted,” says Howard. “Mainstream art has no difficulty finding acceptance from the public and the academies. Experimentalists labor with little funding and recognition, yet represent the most important creative engine for the long-term future of the arts. I am proud to be affiliated with Sleeping Weazel’s mission of ‘making different possible.’” Howard lives in Sharon, Massachusetts, with his wife Veronica, a professional actress, and their children.
Board of Advisors
Bonnie Marranca | Reverend Billy & Savitri Durkee