The Yard Welcomes Resident Artists and Mentors

The Yard Welcomes Resident Artists and Mentors

Pictured: Andrew Burden Swanson. 

The Yard, a theater company that immerses students in the Chicago storefront theatre-making process, has named Jared Bellot, Maggie Fullilove-Nuggent, Will Kiley, Dina Marie Klahn, Dana Murphy, Aaron Stephenson, Andrew Burden Swanson, and John Wilson, as their first inaugural group of resident artists/mentors.

“I am very pleased to announce these talented artists and mentors joining The Yard on the playground. Each of them has contributed in enormous ways to the work on our stage, and, equally important; they have each been leaders off stage in working with and guiding our young artists,” comments Co-Artistic Director Mechelle Moe. “These new additions will not only further diversify the talents and viewpoints of our current company; they will play an important role in our ongoing artistic development and mentorship. We couldn’t be more proud to have them help us bring The Yard’s mission to life.”

About The Yard’s Resident Artists (from the press release):

JARED BELLOT is a theatre artist, dramaturg and educator whose interests lie at the intersection of storytelling, language, performance and community. He is most passionate about theatre that educates and illuminates and works to create honest and meaningful dialogue through his work. With The Yard, Jared has served as dramaturg on CARDBOARD PIANO and ECLIPSED. Other local dramaturgy credits include THE LAST WIFE, SUNSET BABY (Timeline Theatre) THIS IS MODERN ART (Steppenwolf Theatre) and SCOTSBORRO BOYS (Porchlight Theatre). Jared currently serves as Education Coordinator at Steppenwolf Theatre where he worked on a number of productions including MONSTER, THE BURIALS, THE COMPASS, 1984, THIS IS MODERN ART and ANIMAL FARM. As a teaching artist and performer, Jared has worked locally with Timeline Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, and Jackalope Theatre, and serves as Resident Dramaturg for Definition Theatre Company. Jared received a B.A. in Theatre Arts and American Studies from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

MAGGIE FULLILOVE-NUGENT has worked as a lighting designer with many Chicago theatre companies including The Goodman, The Neo-Futurists, Akvavit and The Hypocrites, where she was recently Jeff-nominated for her lighting of Endgame. Maggie is also a founding member and resident designer of The Ruffians, recently known for their holiday hit, Burning Bluebeard. Before taking on her new role as the production manager at TimeLine Theatre, Maggie taught technical theatre at North Park University, where she was also a resident designer and the production manager, as well as holding the role of Company Manager for Barrel of Monkeys since 2008.

WILL KILEY Is an actor, director and teaching artist. In Chicago, he has worked for The Yard, About Face, Griffin, Stage Left, First Floor, Raven, Northlight, Next, Collaboraction, Pegasus and Jackalope Theatre. Will traveled to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with The Lost Compass Collective and in 2011 he traveled to Kenya with The Great Globe Foundation. He serves as a teaching artist for The National High School Institute (Cherubs) Program, Youth Guidance, Play-in-a-Book, The Beverly Arts Center and Jackalope (where he has been a proud company member since 2014). He is a graduate of CCM Drama class of 2013 and represented by Big Mouth Talent

DINA MARIE KLAHN a 2010 graduate of the UIC theatre program with a BA in directing/design and is a proud ensemble member of Walkabout Theater Company. Her recent stage credits include stage managing Tall Girl and The Lightning Parade, Beach Party at the End of the World, The WILD, and Cure (Walkabout Theater), Aesop’s Fables (Raven Theatre), The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love Suicide (The Yard), STORM (Moonfool), Partners (LiveWire) and properties design Circle Machine (Oracle), Angry Fags, (Pride Films and Plays), and Partners. She can be found off the stage working Customer Relations for The Alinea Group and slinging drinks for The Den Theatre. The Yard/Resident Artist & Mentors 2

DANA MURPHY is a performer, director, choreographer, education coordinator and teaching artist in Chicago. Dana is the Education Coordinator for Raven Theatre as well as a teaching artist for Raven’s summer camps, classes, and classroom residencies and for Hamilton Elementary’s after school musical theatre program. Dana is also a proud ensemble member of Walkabout Theatre Company. Chicago performing credits include: Storm, The Wild, Beach Party at the End of the World, The Cure, Tall Girl and the Lightning Parade (Walkabout) and Animal Farm (Steppenwolf Theatre Company SYA). Directing credits include: I & You (The Yard & Jackalope Theatre-Chicago), Spring’s Awakening and Making Love Over There (LNM! Theatre- Los Angeles). Before moving to Chicago, Dana ran three theatre companies (two youth, one adult) in her hometown of Los Angeles. Dana graduated from University of California, San Diego with a BA in Theatre.

AARON STEPHENSON is a theatre artist from the Midwest. In addition to with The Yard on I & You, Milk Like Sugar and their Steppenwolf LookOut Series reading of Eclipsed, his sound design work has been featured in productions by The Hypocrites, Strawdog, Eclipse, Red Tape, Trap Door, Emerald City, and Definition. He has performed onstage with Underscore, Ex-Pats and in Oracle’s critically acclaimed Pink Milk. He works as an audio engineer for Steppenwolf Theatre Company and served as the audio supervisor for the 2015 Utah Shakespeare Festival. He serves as an artistic ensemble member with Underscore Theatre Company and a member of the Hypocrites community.

ANDREW BURDEN SWANSON is proud to be working with The Yard. He previously has designed and built sets for the inaugural season’s productions of Milk Like Sugar and I & You. He is the founder and lead designer of Cygneture Woodworks, where he makes customized furniture from recycled lumber. Come visit the showroom, located at 1210 w Thorndale Ave. He’s also the Director of Community Engagement for Edgewater-based Jackalope Theatre Company, where he acts, writes, administrates and generally works very hard. He studied Theatre Arts at Columbia College Chicago and the School at Steppenwolf. He’s worked in various capacities with Griffin Theatre, Steep Theatre, American Blues, Writers’ Theatre & Steppenwolf Theatre.

JOHN WILSON is an artist, actor, scenic designer and educator in Chicago. Since 2001 he has designed scenery for over 100 productions in Chicago and recently won the 2015 Non-Equity Jeff Award for Best Scenic Design for Byhalia, Mississippi with New Colony and Definition Theater. The production was remounted at Steppenwolf later that summer of 2016. He is a company member with Collaboraction, which focuses on theater experiences that incite change in his community and an artistic associate with WildClaw Theater. He is the founder of 3031; an outdoor proscenium theater and indoor lounge. He also is the co-creator of The Salon through his company Collaboraction that is an art gallery, performance space and New Orleans themed speakeasy located in the heart of Wicker Park. He is a graduate from the School at Steppenwolf (’08) and was born in Longview a few years back in his beloved Texas.

For more information about The Yard, visit

About author


PerformInk is Chicago's entertainment industry trade publication.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *