Director, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Eli Simon is the Artistic Director of New Swan Shakespeare Festival. A Chancellor’s Professor of Acting in the Department of Drama, this marks Eli’s 30th year at UC Irvine, where he has served as Head of Acting, and Chair of Drama. Eli is the author of three books: The Art of Clowning, Masking Unmasked, and Power Speech. He specializes in Shakespearean productions, clowning, musicals, and original masked performances. Eli has directed over 100 productions at major Shakespearean festivals, regional theatres, and international theaters across the states and overseas. Critically acclaimed productions include his original two-part clown saga – War of the Clowns and Clown Aliens – which is currently being produced by the National Theater of Romania in Cluj. Eli’s original clown troupe, CLOWNZILLA, received rave reviews in California, Korea and Italy. His original commedia productions have enjoyed successful tours to international festivals in England, Spain, Korea, and Italy. For New Swan Shakespeare Festival, Eli has directed The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, As You Like It, and The Tempest.
Director, The Winter’s Tale
Beth Lopes is a founding company member and Associate Artistic Director of New Swan Shakespeare Festival. She received a BFA in Drama from New York University and an MFA in Directing from UC Irvine. Beth is particularly drawn to ensemble driven pieces with heightened text and a sense of the fantastical. She is a highly collaborative director who believes in the connective power of theater and its ability to alter our individual and collective futures. Beth is delighted to return to the Swan with The Taming of the Shrew after having directed previous Swan shows: The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew. For more information visit www.bethlopes.com.
THE FOLLOWING ACTORS ARE FEATURED IN OUR 2018 SEASON
Kieran is exuberantly elated to be making his debut with the New Swan family this summer! He just finished his second year in UCI’s Acting MFA program during which time you might have caught him in A Bright Room Called Day (Traum), King Lear (Edmund), She (Various), Chess (Walter), and Twelfth Night (Orsino). Before coming to UCI, Kieran studied Theater and Computer Science at Brown University, where he was a part of productions including AntigoNick (Haimon), Urinetown (Lockstock), Fuddy Meers (Millet), and Bobrauchenbergamerica (Phil). During the day, you might find Kieran building websites, exploring nature, or laughing (a little too) loudly.
Meg Evans is grateful to be joining New Swan Shakespeare festival this summer! Meg holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University and an MPhil. in Theatre and Performance from Trinity College Dublin. Other credits include Cie Willi Dorner’s Bodies in Urban Spaces (Dublin, Ireland), The Lesson, A Chorus Line (Cassie), Cabaret (Sally Bowles). Meg is currently an MFA acting candidate at UC Irvine.
Cailen Fu (Perdita/Mamillius/1st Fairy/Philostrate) is thrilled to be making her debut in the New Swan Shakespeare Festival this season! She is a recent graduate from UC Irvine’s BFA Musical Theater program. She has studied abroad at RADA, ArtsEd and Shakespeare’s Globe along with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She made her Off-Broadway debut as Rosanna King in Andrew Palermo’s Nickel Mines in the 2016 New York Musical Theater Festival. She was a featured soloist in the Jerry Herman Legacy Concert at the Segerstrom Center of the Performing Arts. Recent credits include Carousel (Julie Jordan), Avenue Q (Christmas Eve), Mrs. Packard (Mrs. Stockton), and Into the Woods (Cinderella). www.cailenfu.com. Instagram: @cailenfu
Liam Holton is grateful and delighted to return to New Swan for his second season under the stars. An Orange County local, Liam received his bachelors in Drama from UCI this past spring. Recent roles include Gremio in Taming of the Shrew and Spirit in The Tempest here at New Swan, and Doris in Clown Aliens.
Kayla is thrilled to return to New Swan this summer for this exciting season. Recent credits include: LA Premier of S/he and Me (Lily Tomlin/Jane Wagner’s Renberg Theatre) Counter-Balance Theatre Company: SHE, Longitude. New Swan Shakespeare Festival: The Tempest. UCI Drama: King Lear, Twelfth Night, Chess, A Bright Room Called Day. Kayla is an UCI M.F.A. Acting candidate (19’) and holds her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Cal State Long Beach (16’).
Crystal is fired up to be making her New Swan debut this summer! She was born in the City of Brotherly Love (and Sisterly Affection) and received her BA in Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University. She recently finished her first year in UCI’s MFA Acting program. Some of her favorite roles have been Irina in Three Sisters, Antigone in AntigoNick, Mary South in The Road Weeps, The Well Runs Dry, Cassius in Julius Caesar and Mayor in Hype Hero. Outside of the theater, you might find her chowing down on some good food in great company.
Jalon Matthews is so grateful to make his New Swan debut this summer! He has recently been seen as Bobby Child in Crazy For You, Truffaldino in The Servant of Two Masters, Mr. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera, and Jack in Into the Woods. Jalon graduated from Pepperdine University where he received a BA in Theatre Arts and the John Raitt Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Performing Arts. He is currently a MFA acting candidate at UC Irvine. Thank you to my family, friends, and God for their love. Visit jalonmatthews.com for more information!
Roger has spent the last 25 years in NYC. A regular on The David Letterman Show he appeared as “Bruce” of Bruce and Linda a total of 72 times on the fictitious Weekend Late Night Show. A member of the Circle Rep Lab and a veteran of Off Broadway; his time was filled with numerous commercials, regional theatre and child rearing. Shakespeare has always been his first love; A member of Patrick Stewart’s Shakespeare Company, he has had the privilege to have studied with: Robert Cohen, William Needles, Ben Kingsley, Brewster Mason, among many others. Returning to the Southland for his golden years he is excited about working at the New Swan this summer. UCI MFA Acting 1984
Jesse is thrilled to return to UC Irvine! MFA – 2011. At UCI, He appeared in several productions including The Baker in Into the Woods, Abraham in Abraham & Issac in Jerusalem, Cymbeline in Cymbeline and many more! Professionally, Jesse has appeared in several national tours including The Addams Family (Gomez), Elf (Walter Hobbs), & Grease (Vince Fontaine). Regional: Pre-broadway tryout of Chasing Rainbows – Goodspeed, American premiere of Legendale – Human Race. Great Expectations, Macbeth & Merchant of Venice – Utah Shakespeare Festival. Chicago (Billy Flynn), All Shook Up (Jim Haller) – The Little Theatre on the Square. Macbeth, Peace in Our Time – Antaeus. Along with Beth Lopes, he is the co-creator of The Hamlet Project and co-artistic director of Loose Canon Collective. Love to Lexie & Chip. JesseSharp.net
Maya Smoot is a first year MFA Acting candidate at UC Irvine. As a Bay Area native, Maya graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Theatre Arts and was chosen as the department honoree. There, she played Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Maire in Brian Friel’s Translations, and Ava in Sofa Sin Casa. Other works include Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Polly. She was most recently Magdelon in Moliere’s The Precious Damsels with Troupe Theater, and Olivia in Twelfth Night at the Metropolitan Club. Maya studied abroad at the British American Drama Academy, and had an apprenticeship with Sonoma Valley Shakespeare Company. Maya is proud to make her New Swan debut!
Tristan Turner (Demetrius/Mariner/Florizel) is making his New Swan Shakespeare Festival debut this season! He has just finished his first year as a Graduate Acting student at UC Irvine and is honored to be a part of a great cast. Past credits include The Piano Lesson (Boy Willie), Clybourne Park (Kevin), Intimate Apparel (George), and The Altar Boyz (Juan). Instagram: @tristanturn
Greg is thrilled to be back at New Swan Shakespeare Festival. For the Festival, he played Prospero (Tempest), Baptista (Taming), Polonius (Hamlet), Adam/Corin (As You Like It), Dogberry (Much Ado), Macduff (Macbeth), Friar Laurence (Romeo and Juliet), and Sir Andrew Aguecheek (12th Night). Other roles include Owen (The Foreigner) and Reed (Electric Baby), Vladimir (Waiting for Godot), Serge (Art), John (Oleanna), Matt (Tally’s Folly), Gratiano (Merchant of Venice), Touchstone (As You Like It), and Cornwall (King Lear). Greg’s directing credits include Bad Jews, The Seagull, Not I, Rockaby, Circle Mirror Transformation, Proposal and Stinky Cheese Man. Greg has an MFA and PhD from the University of California, Irvine, and is an assistant professor of theatre at the University of Denver.
Returning for his third season with Swan, Thomas Varga is an LA based actor and acting teacher. Previous seasons have included Caliban (Tempest), Hortensio (Taming of the Shrew), Oliver (As You Like It), and Bernardo (Hamlet). Other theatre work: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Counter-Balance Theater, Summer Repertory Theatre, and Oregon Contemporary Theatre. Recent film credits include SMITH in the feature film, Triassic World, the leading Rusty Tin-Man in the music video for “Rusty Pipes” by Eels, and JASON in Rainbow Lights. He received his MFA in acting from the UC Irvine and teaches acting classes at the Actors Studio of Orange County, Cypress College, and private lessons. For more information, visit www.tsvarga.com and/or www.imdb.me/tsvarga
Chynna Walker is thrilled to be back at New Swan Shakespeare this summer! You might have seen her last year as Stephana in the Tempest and Bianca in Taming of the Shrew. Chynna just graduated from UCI with her masters in acting and was involved in various productions at UCI including King Lear, Chess, Clown Aliens and Our Class. She also just recently wrapped a short film called My Dinner With Werner where she played the leading role. Chynna is so excited for what this summer will bring and she hopes you enjoy the magic of New Swan!