About Us

 

Artistic Director

Heather Benjamin

Managing Director

Robert Ashby

Director of Education and Outreach

Renae Erichsen-Teal

Director of Development and Events

Jacqui Kobily

Board of Directors

Robert Ashby
Heather Benjamin
Laura Berry
Jeff McDermott
David Rich
Willona Sloan

 

Robert Ashby

maanBob is a veteran of local theater in a variety of capacities: actor, director, techie, dramaturg, and reviewer. A lawyer specializing in transportation-related civil rights programs, his other activities include softball umpiring (a nice combination of law and theater) and appearing as a vocalist with a volunteer music group that performs in assisted living facilities.

 

 

Heather Benjamin

Heather Benjamin Heather Benjamin received her B.A. in theatre from the University of Louisville. In her 15 years in the D.C. area, she has performed as an actor with many local theaters, as well as on film projects. She has worked with the American Century Theater, Quotidian Theatre, Adventure Theatre, the Capital Fringe Festival, Silver Spring Stage, and many other local theaters. Directing projects include the 2012 Fringe Festival with Triptych Productions, The Confines of Flattery. The show was chosen as one of DCMTA’s “Picks of the Fringe” that year. In 2013, Heather directed Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen for Rockville Little Theatre. In 2014, she founded Perisphere Theater. Heather has extensive experience in project management, organization, and communications through various editorial positions in the nonprofit sector.

 

Laura Berry

lberry_webLaura Berry is the Founder and CEO of Cogberry Creative, a content strategy firm specializing in approaches to assessing market impact, building brand equity, engaging targeted audiences, and developing powerful messaging. Laura guides mission-oriented organizations through the process of growing their ideas to full fruition. Her goal is to bring her passion for language to organizations serving a purpose. She has more than 12 years of experience working as a communications expert at associations and nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C. Organizations with which Laura has worked include the Society for Personality & Social Psychology, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Wellness Coaches USA, the University of Virginia, the National School Boards Association, and Clear Message Media for the National Science Teachers Association.

 

Renae Erichsen-Teal

Renae Erichsen-TealRenae Erichsen-Teal received her B.A. in Acting and B.M. in Vocal Performance from Christopher Newport University. Since graduation, Renae has worked professionally in education and outreach at several nonprofits in the D.C. metro area. In 2012, she taught Shakespeare and assistant-directed for Traveling Players Ensemble, an NEA-selected Summer School in the Arts. In fall 2015, she interned at Constellation Theatre Company, where she researched outreach and ran marketing and fundraising events. Currently she works for the Artistic Director of The In Series, a local opera company. Her responsibilities include researching grants and providing administrative support for marketing and outreach.

 

 

Jacqui Kobily

Jacqui Kobily received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She has performed in theatres both in Pittsburgh and in Washington, D.C. Before joining Perisphere, she worked in administration and accounting for The Food Research and Action Center in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

 

Jeff McDermott

Jeff McDermott Jeff McDermott has been an attorney with the federal government for 14 years, currently serving as investigative counsel to the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of State. He is also the President of the Capitol Hill Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, having previously served as its Treasurer and Secretary. He was a member of the editorial board of the monthly periodical The Federal Lawyer from 1999 to 2010. Jeff has produced, directed, and acted for several theatres in the Washington area. He has been a member of the Rockville Little Theatre Board of Directors since 2012 and currently serves as its Treasurer. Jeff received his B.A. from the College of William and Mary and his J.D. from Georgetown University.

 

David Rich

David Rich David Rich has worked as a forensic historian at the U.S. Department of Justice for 18 years. His Ph.D. is in Russian and East European History (Georgetown University). His output includes one book and a dozen academic articles on the history of Russia and on the Holocaust in eastern Europe. His prior lives encompassed flying for the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, three years in Italy, and a one-year deployment to Central Asia in 2001. He is married, lives in the District, and has a daughter in Los Angeles.

 

 

Willona M. Sloan

Willona SloanWillona M. Sloan is a writer and a native Washingtonian. Willona has published nonfiction, fiction and poetry in various publications. She is also the founder of the Writing with Willona series of workshops, networking events and literary happenings. Willona is a proud alum of the Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA) workshop for writers of color. She has received an Artist Fellowship award from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and two Literary Arts residencies at Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada. She continually seeks opportunities to use literature and creative writing as a means of bridging cultures and experiencing the world.

 

 

© 2015 Perisphere Theater LLC