Johannah Edwards, Executive Director
Johannah Maynard Edwards is the Executive Director of the Women’s Theatre Festival based in Raleigh, NC. Johannah began making theatre when she was 15 and co-founded her first company, p.i.e., when she was 19. She has directed, devised, and produced countless theatrical productions in NYC, Minneapolis, and the Triangle. A passionate arts educator, Johannah has been a teaching artist at Raleigh Little Theatre for the past ten years and has taught at Arts Together, Sterling Montessori, LearningSpring, NC Governor’s School, through the America Reads program in NYC public schools, and most recently as the Interim Theatre Program Director at Longleaf School of the Arts. Johannah is a Chief Rep for PAAL, the Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts and serves on the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access through the Office of Raleigh Arts. She’s an outspoken advocate and consultant for access and inclusion in theatre and has created a resource guide for presenting sensory-friendly theatre. She’s a contributor to RDU Onstage and is developing audio content for theatre practitioners and producers. Johannah is a graduate of NYU/Tisch School of the Arts/Playwrights Horizons Theatre School.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Laura Griffin, Board Chair
A published artist, Laura Griffin started volunteering in 1999; she hasn't stopped since. She was a finalist all three years she competed in the Wingate College Shakespeare Competition; the experience founded an immediate love of theatre. As an alumna of Salem Academy, an all-girls' school established in Winston-Salem, NC in 1772, she sees women fulfilling every needful aspect of theatrical production as a return to the obvious. Laura earned a Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2006, where she was one of the first members of the Slapdash Players, a freshman group. In the Raleigh area, she has appeared onstage with Raleigh Little Theatre, HiStory Stage, Bare Theatre, Garner Towne Players, and the Women's Theatre Festival. She counts Ziggie Lewis from WTF 2016's "Decision Height" as one of her favorite roles alongside Jonathan Brewster in "Arsenic and Old Lace" and Antonio from "The Tempest." She's excited to combine her two great passions of theatre and the furtherance of gender equality into service with the Women's Theatre Festival.
Rachel Kasten, Vice Chair
Rachel Kasten is an educator, theatre lover, and sometimes-performer. Rachel is the co-founder of Cutler Bay Community Theatre (cutlerbayplays.com) in South Dade (Florida) and worked as a professional background actor in Vancouver (British Columbia). She's probably been on your favorite tv show. Rachel has produced two shows for WTF and chaired WTFestival 2019. Her day job is serving as a student advocate at NC State, but she also writes performing arts reviews with her 7 year old son for Chatham Life & Style (https://chathamlifeandstyle.com/) and actively works to dismantle white supremacy.
John Honeycutt, Treasurer
John Honeycutt has been active in Triangle theatre for 30 years. Onstage, he has been seen in more than 100 plays, including Blackbird, The Caretaker, Copenhagen, and Seascape with South Stream Productions; A Number with Raleigh Ensemble Players; Tuesdays with Morrie, Dancing at Lughnasa and others with JTP. Offstage, he has served as Financial Manager of JTP and as treasurer of New World Stage and Flying Machine Theatre, and has been a board member of REP. He is a partner and co-producer with South Stream Productions.
Pamela Blizzard, Secretary
Pamela Blizzard led the founding of Research Triangle High School in 2012, and managed the finances, operations, external relations, strategic and expansion plans until 2019. She founded and developed the Contemporary Science Center in 2004, a science education non-profit that shared the discoveries of the Research Triangle with teens from across North Carolina, and which operated its own teaching lab inside the Museum of Life + Science, Durham. In 1999, Pamela led the founding team for Raleigh Charter High School, envisioning and implementing the educational and operational plans for the school. Outside of education, Pamela served as a Public Member on the NC Medical Board for five years and on the Management Committee for the US Medical Licensing Exam of the NBME in Philadelphia. She is a Board Trustee for the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, also in Philadelphia. She is a founding Board member of WTF, and also is on the Board of Burning Coal Theatre Company. Her favorite high school theater role was Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof.
Laurel Ullman, Literary Manager
Laurel studied theatre at UNC-Greensboro and spent 12 years on Triad stages performing with companies such as Touring Theatre of NC, Paper Lantern, The Broach Theater Company, and Twin City Stage. She has called the Triangle home since 2013; credits include Magnitude of the Slope at NRACT, Into the Breach with ArtsCenter Stage, Contractions and Small and Tired with Common Wealth Endeavours, The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls with Manbites Dog, and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche and Cloud 9 with Tiny Engine, the company she co-founded with Paul Sapp. She is passionate about expanding opportunities for women and non-binary folx across all theatre disciplines.
Cheryl Edson, Grant Manager
Cheryl is an educator, writer, musician, and theatre artist. She first joined the Women’s Theatre Festival in the original devised production of Licked Cupcake. A native New Yorker, she was a founding member of Admit One Productions in Cornwall, NY and performed with Second Stage at Wesleyan University as well as FET and Mimes & Mummers at Fordham University. Here in North Carolina, she has worked with Raleigh Little Theatre, Sweet Tea Shakespeare, the Community Theatre of Greensboro, and the Gilbert Theatre, among others. In addition to doing sketch comedy and improv, favorite onstage moments include Beertown, 9 to 5, Hello, Dolly!, The Rocky Horror Show, and Romeo and Juliet. She received a B.A. in Philosophy from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
Rowen Haigh, Regional Engagement Director
Rowen Haigh is a freelance director, deviser, and teaching artist. Rowen creates multidisciplinary work for the stage that is grounded in collective creation, heightened physicality, and a deep curiosity about the sensory power of live performance. An active advocate for gender parity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts, Rowen chairs the SETC Women+ in Theatre Committee and is the Director of Regional Engagement for the Women's Theatre Festival. Rowen holds an MFA in Theatre Arts/Directing from Towson University (Baltimore, MD) and a BA in Theatre from Reed College (Portland, OR). More details about Rowen and her work can be found at rowenhaigh.com.