Derek is Artistic Director of The Comrades and Associate Artistic Director for AstonRep Theatre Company. Chicago directing credits include Mary-Kate Olsen Is In Love, Prelude To A Kiss, co-director for BOB: A Life In Five Acts (The Comrades), Design for Living (Jeff Award Winner for Best Costume Design, Pride Films & Plays), The Children’s Hour (Jeff Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress, Pride Films & Plays), The Lyons, The Laramie Project, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Wit, Doubt, Next Fall, co-director for Eleemosynary (AstonRep Theatre), God of Carnage, The Dinner Party (BrightSide Theatre), You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Wilmette Park District) and Number the Stars (GreatWorks). Assistant directing credits include RACE (Goodman Theatre), Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Bailiwick Chicago) and Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage). Regional credits: Love, Sex & the IRS, Red Herring, Boeing-Boeing, Rumors, Monty Python’s Spamalot (Timber Lake Playhouse), The Wizard of Oz (Shawnee Summer Theatre) and Brighton Beach Memoirs (Festival 56).
Angela Horn (Director of Audience Engagement)
Angela is an actor and arts administrator whose previous Chicago stage credits include work with Chicago Dramatists, Pride Films & Plays, AstonRep, and Something Marvelous. She most recently performed in a co-production of The Homeless Monologues at the Goodman Theatre with LPCS, and as Squeaky Fromme in the solo show Squeaky! at The Greenhouse, to be workshopped and remounted this fall as part of Jackalope’s Frontier Series. She is a company member and Director of Audience Engagement with Jackalope Theatre Company, and was featured as Mary-Kate Olsen in The Comrades' inaugural production, Mary-Kate Olsen Is In Love. Before relocating to Chicago, Angela performed in the 60-city national tour of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs with Dallas Children’s Theater and worked Off-West End as General Manager of London’s Finborough Theatre.
Mike Newquist (Director of Communications)
Mike is a Chicago based actor and improviser. Notable credits include: Prelude to a Kiss, Mary-Kate Olsen Is In Love (The Comrades), Design for Living (Pride Films & Plays), The Brig (Mary-Arrchie). He has also performed alongside Polarity Ensemble, Prop Theatre, Commedia Beauregard, Theatre-Hikes, Robot vs Dinosaur, Strawdog and Jackalope Theatre. Commercial: Illinois Tourism. New Media credits: The Dreamers, Dudes, Coffee Talk, POST, Pilgrim, Ashtray, The Heat of the Moment. An alumni of The Second City’s Comedy Studies Program (’09) and Columbia College Chicago (’10), Mike teaches improv for St. James Common’s Congregational Wellness Advocacy Training Program and performs with his sketch group, Awkward Silence. He also performed with 360’s Peter Pan in their preshow swords demonstration as Mike the Pirate. Along many of Chicago’s finest actors, Mike performs in an annual holiday staged reading of The Muppet’s Christmas Carol as Bunsen Honeydew and Peter Frog (most recently performed at SoHo House). Mike is a freelance cartoonist, follow him on Instagram @newqcartoons.
Alison Plott (Casting Director)
A native Californian, Alison moved to Chicago in 2013. Favorite projects include; Chicago: Amy/In the Wake (The Comrades); Beth/Through the Elevated Line (Silk Road Rising); Susie/Wit (AstonRep, Chicago); Beatrice/Much Ado About Nothing (The Arc, Chicago); U/S The Woman/The Vandal (Steep); Hamlet/The Hamlet Project (Los Angeles and Chicago companies); Sabine/Unbearable Lightness of Being (Creative Wellness). Regional: Maria/Or What You Will (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Adriana/Comedy of Errors (New Swan Shakespeare Festival, CA); Belize/The Learned Ladies and Celia/As You Like It (Texas Shakespeare Festival), Ellen/Little Dog Laughed (Theatre Out, Los Angeles), Julia/The Wedding Singer (SRT Rep, CA). She is a certified instructor in the Loui Movement Technique and teaches with Creative Wellness, a mobile fitness company (www.createlivewell.com). Alison holds an MFA in Acting from the University of California, Irvine and a BA in Theatre from the University of California, Riverside.
Cydney Moody (Company Member)
Cydney joined The Comrades in May 2016, and is represented by Stewart Talent! Select theatre credits are: The Wolves (Goodman Theatre), Mary Kate Olsen is in Love and Prelude to a Kiss (The Comrades), Two Gentlemen of Verona, Chekhov’s Seven Farces (The Little Things Theatre), and she was involved in the Mary Page Marlowe workshop at Steppenwolf. Film and TV work include: Chicago Med Ep.2 (NBC), Out of the Heart (Feature Film), Tied Up (Ghosts of Vaudeville). She has also been a Movement Director for Bob: A Life in Five Acts (The Comrades) and the staged reading of Black Cat Lost (Runaways Lab Theatre). She has a Bachelors of Science from Illinois State University.
David Coupe (Company Member)
David is a native New Englander who has been a Chicago based actor/writer since 2006. He was most recently seen in Row After Row (The Comrades), Deadpool Andronicus (New Millennium), Low-Hanging Fruit (Fearless Fiction), The Incredible Hank (New Millennium), and Prelude to a Kiss (The Comrades). He also played major roles in the feature film 2 Jennifer (LA Horror Productions) and the web-series Contacts. In addition to acting, David wrote & directed the web-series Post. David studied improvisation at Second City, received his A.A. from Dean College, and his B.F.A. from Columbia College Chicago.
Melanie Kulas (Company Member)
Melanie is a native Wisconsinite and has been in Chicago since 2015. Chicago stage management credits include Grace (Interrobang Theatre Project), Row After Row (The Comrades), Bob: A Life in Five Acts (The Comrades), Time Stands Still (AstonRep), Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre), Prelude To A Kiss (The Comrades), Oh, Coward! (DWTC),In a Word (Strawdog), Design for Living (Pride Films & Plays), and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (AstonRep). Before moving to Chicago, Melanie lived in NYC, stage management credits include Republic (JACK), Beckett Solos (Hoi Polloi), and The Lady in Red Converses with Diablo (In the Basement). Each year, Melanie returns to her alma mater of University of Wisconsin-Madison to join the stage management team for the Varsity Band Spring Concert. Other notable Madison credits in stage management include The Pleasure of His Company: Our Love Affair With William Shakespeare (UW-Madison Arts Institute) and the production team for Panel Discussions with His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama in 2013 and 2016.
Raymond Jacquet (Artistic Associate)
Raymond is excited to be an Artistic Associate with The Comrades. He was most recently seen in Prelude To A Kiss in the role of Tom. He is graduate of University of Maryland-College Park and the Act One Conservatory. Recent Acting credits include Butcher Boggle (Dozu) and The Subject (Garth).
Alex Nolen (Artistic Associate)
Hailing from Phoenix Arizona, Alex came to Chicago in 2012 to complete her BA in theatre at Loyola Chicago University. After graduation in May 2016, Alex has begun immersing herself within the theatre community. Recent credits include ensemble in Prelude To A Kiss with the Comrades and Giant Human Female Fetus Baby in Elizabeth Archer’s Troll at Trap Door Theatre. She loves spending time with friends at music festivals as well as cooking delicious vegan grub!
Taylor Wisham (Artistic Associate)
Taylor is an Artistic Associate with the Comrades. She hails from south suburban Chicagoland, and is glad she can "officially" call herself a true blue Chicagoan, since relocating to the city limits in 2015. Recent credits include: The Dictionary Project (at The Frontier), Absolutely Unbelievable (Otherworld Theatre Company), a staged reading of Tiresias (at The Greenhouse Theatre), and Mary-Kate Olsen Is In Love (The Comrades). Upcoming projects include: The Festivities (w/ Little Things Theatre), and web-series Post (w/ Whiskey Delta Films). She holds a B.S. in Acting from Illinois State University.
Nicholas Coso (Artistic Associate)
Nicholas is excited to be an Artistic Associate with The Comrades. His most recent work was as Lighting Designer for The Comrades’ most recent show; Prelude To A Kiss. Other notable works include Almost Maine (Lighting Designer/Technical Director), Little Shop of Horrors (Master Electrician), Rumors (Lighting Designer), Jekyll and Hyde (Lighting Designer), and Twelfth Night (Lighting Designer). Additionally, he worked as an Assistant Stage Manager for The Shuler Awards. Prior to moving to Chicago in 2016, Nicholas was a school teacher in Atlanta, GA. He received his B.A. in Theater from Florida Southern College.
Becca Venable (Artistic Associate)
Becca Venable is a Texas native now living in Chicago where she is the assistant technical director at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a company member with Red Theater Chicago and The Comrades. In May 2018 she was the recipient of the Michael Merritt Emerging Technical Collaborator Award. Becca also works as a freelance technical director, lighting designer, and sound designer around the city. Some of Becca’s credits include A Year with Frog and Toad (Chicago Children’s Theatre), The Nutcracker (Ballet Lubbock), Dying City (The Comrades), American Hero (First Floor Theater), and The Good Fight (Babes with Blades) .
Carol Ann Tan (Artistic Associate)
Carol Ann Tan is a Singapore-born, Chicago-based director, writer, and dramaturg. Her work focuses on issues surrounding race and immigration, particularly those involving the Asian diaspora. She is a 2017/18 Directors Inclusion Initiate with Victory Gardens, the resident dramaturg at Silk Road Rising, and an artistic associate with The Comrades. Directing/writing: Domestic Departure for the Director's Haven 2016 (Haven Theatre), Apartment Complex, Domestic Departure (University of Chicago). Domestic Departure was awarded second place for the 2015 Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize in playwriting. Assistant directing: Mies Julie (Victory Gardens), You for Me for You (Sideshow Theatre). Dramaturgy: Wild Boar (Silk Road Rising), Two Mile Hollow, peerless (First Floor Theater), In the Wake (The Comrades), and assisting on The Audience (TimeLine Theatre). www.carolanntan.com
Sydney Achler (Artistic Associate)
Syd is thrilled to be joining The Comrades after designing their productions of Row After Row and Warrior Class! She is a Chicago-based scenic designer and painter and an ensemble member with (re)discover theatre. Recent designs include Godspell, She Loves Me, Middletown, A Chris Smith Carol, Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged), Stones in his Pockets, Our Town, DalekoArts; Clearing, Commission Theatre; For One, (re)discover theatre; Punk, The New Colony; Big Love, Apple Valley HS; Hamtown Races, Planet Ant Theatre. She received her BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University.
Kamren Smith (Artistic Associate)
Kamren is a stage manager and actor who hails from Southeast Missouri (Misery, Misseruh, The Bootheel) and moved to Chicago in 2014 to study Theatre Performance at North Park University. Since moving to Chicago, Kamren has interned with Adventure Stage Chicago, learned that soda is indeed called “pop,” and worked with companies such as Adventure Stage Chicago, InGen Productions, Akvavit Theatre, Haven Theatre, The Ruffians, and Timeline Theatre. His recent stage managing credits include Warrior Class (The Comrades), Bangarang! A Neverland Reunion (InGen Productions), and In the Wake (The Comrades).