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Ron Russell

RON RUSSELL is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of New York City’s Epic Theatre Ensemble.  The threads of professional directing and producing, community activism, and education have run throughout Ron’s career and intertwine completely in the work of Epic.  After graduating as a Neuroscience major (yes, seriously) from Oberlin College in 1992, Ron acted as Founding Artistic Director of the nationally acclaimed Summer Theatre Enrichment Program at El Centro de Servicios in Lorain, Ohio, an annual summer program that exists in a constituent-led capacity to this day.  While receiving his MFA in Directing under the RSC’s Barry Kyle from Louisiana State University, he co-founded Swine Palace Theatre (the state theatre of Louisiana) and brought several plays on tour across the state, while also assistant directing Kyle at Theatre for a New Audience in NYC and Actor’s Theatre of Louisville.  While in San Diego from 1995-96, Ron founded UBI Rep Theatre and directed at San Diego Repertory Theatre, while extending his activism (forged with ACT/UP in the 80’s and early 90’s) at an organization called Voter Revolt.

Ron came to New York City as Education Director at Theatre for a New Audience, where from 1996-2001 he administered one of the nation’s most exciting and in-depth programs for introducing NYC Public School students to Shakespeare, creating new programming including the Playwriting Program at Project Renewal, an assisted living facility for formerly homeless men.  His classroom experience includes over 50 educational sites, and his work as an educator in NYC has been recognized by citations from the Municipal Arts Society and Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg.  

He has directed extensively regionally and in NYC, including 12 Off-Broadway productions (highlights including J.B. Priestley’s Time and the Conways, Kate Fodor’s Hannah and Martin, Vern Thiessen’s Einstein’s Gift and A More Perfect Union, George Bernard Shaw’s Widowers’ Houses in a new adaptation he co-wrote with Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr.) and countless “Journeys” culminations at schools across the city.  He has also acted as dramaturg and sound designer on many other notable Epic productions, including award-winning shows like Nilaja Sun’s No Child… (which he developed as a producer and director) and Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End.

Epic Theatre Ensemble has won 2 OBIES, among many other awards and nominations for our Off-Broadway work and new play development, and received the 2009 Coming Up Taller Award for after school programming at the White House.  He is married to Melissa Friedman, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Epic and the smartest, funniest person he’s ever known – a distinction threatened only by their extremely cute 5-year old daughter Imogen.

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