Our forum speakers list continues...
Kim Peter Kovac
Kim Peter Kovac has worked at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, since 1983 and is presently Producing Director of Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences, which commissions, produces, tours, and presents performances for young people and families.His work at the Center has included serving as producer of over fifty new plays, operas and dances for young audiences and co-founding director of the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices program, which has assisted in the development of 80 new plays, musicals, and operas from 72 playwrights and32 composers working with 51 US and 7 international theater companies. The program has been honored by both the American Alliance for Theater in Education and the Children’s Theater Foundation for outstanding service to the field.
He has worked as a producer, director, designer, and playwright for theater, opera, and dance, has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and TCG and taught seminars on ‘The Business of New Play Development’ and ‘International TYA’ for graduate students at the University of Central Florida, where he is a Graduate Faculty Scholar. He is has been on the governing board since 2002 and is currently serving his second term as vice president of ASSITEJ, the international association of theaters for young people and families, with national centers in over 80 countries. Since 1998, he has been on the board of Theater for Young Audiences/USA, and was president from 2004-2008. He has been a member of the board of IPAY, International Performing Arts for Youth, since 2010.In May 2011 he co-founded ‘Write Local. Play Global’, an international network for playwrights for young audiences, which presently has over 375 members in 52 countries. In 2008, both International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) and American Alliance for Theater in Education (AATE) honored him for long-time distinguished service to the field. He has an MFA in directing from the University of Texas at Austin.
Deirdre Kelly Lavrakas
Deirdre Kelly Lavrakas is presently Production Operations Manager and a teaching artist with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. With a MFA in acting from George Washington University, Ms. Lavrakas founded and directed the Theater Training Program for Young People at the Kennedy Center, and is co-founding director of New Visions/New Voices, the Center’s award-winning new play development program which has assisted in the development of 80 new plays, musicals, and operas from 72 playwrights and 32 composers working with 51 U.S. and 7 international theater companies. Teaching highlights include residencies in Israel, Palestine, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, and she adapted her Kennedy Center theater training curriculum to help create the only theater training program for children and young people in the Arab Middle East, at the Performing Arts Center in Amman. In May 2011, she co-founded Write Local. Play Global, an international network for theater for young audiences playwrights, which currently has 375 members in 52 countries.
Directing highlights include: A Broadway Songbook and Fascinating Rhythms, commissioned for a seven-week US State Department tour of six South Asian countries,and Michael Nyman’s opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Favorite Kennedy Center projects include the conception, development, and direction of Walking the Winds: American Tales and Walking the Winds: Arabian Tales, (a co-production
with the Performing Arts Center of Amman, Jordan), both of which used folktales and traditional songsShe recently directed the rock opera Grotesque Arabesque and Echo and Dorian by Diane Samuels for the New Plays for Young Audiences program at the Provincetown Playhouse at New York University, where she will direct D.W. Gregory’s Salvation Road in June. In March 2012 she travelled to Manama, Bahrain, as Tour General Manager for the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, where she also, as coordinated with the Ministry of Education, taught children, high school teachers, and students and faculty at the University of Bahrain.