E. Bonnie Lewis and Ken Gilbert, the Co-Artistic directors of DramaDogs, have been active in the local arts community for the past 11 years. Our mission continues to bring diverse material and provide cutting edge theatrical experiences to our community.
E. Bonnie Lewis
E. Bonnie Lewis has experienced a broad and varied background in the performing arts and education for over 30 years. Her love of dance led her to study, and eventually teach in the High Schools, Modern Dance and Improvisation. She has studied with such wonderful Master Teachers as Jan Day, Jamie Nichols, Charles and Phillip Fuller, as well as original company members from Jose Limons', Doris Humphreys', Martha Grahams' and Bella Lewitskys' dance companies. She has performed in Los Angeles at Dance Kaleidoscope, at Royce hall as a "Member of the Community" in Bill T. Jones work, Uncle Toms Cabin/The Last Supper, and has graced many of the college and university stages in Southern California.
Theater also beckoned and E. Bonnie expanded her studies and experiences to include participation in South Coast Reps Acting Conservatory, workshops in Commedia Del Arte in Paris, France and the opportunity to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.
Since moving to Santa Barbara, E. Bonnie has been active in the theatre and dance communities. She has been the recipient of an Artist in Residence grant from the Santa Barbara Foundation as well as a California Arts Council which enabled her to work at Santa Barbara High School and with Santa Barbara Youth Theatre. E. Bonnie and her husband, Ken Gilbert are currently the co-Artistic directors of DramaDogs. This Theater couple touches the hearts of the community. Theatergoers have experienced their original and diverse style of theater at Center Stage Theater. Cave of My Heart, If It's a Boy, and Why Mud Flaps Ionesco's The Chairs and Stoop... 4 one-acts on women were a few of the works conceived, created, and performed by this couple.
Ken received his MA in Dramatic Arts at U.C. Davis. During a seventeen-year hiatus from theatre, Ken pursued and developed his teaching style and capabilities. He is known for his ingenuity in integrating material from various fields and creating dynamic presentations and sentient experiences.
Ken Gilbert of DramaDogs, a Theater Company, along with E. Bonnie Lewis, co-founded DramaDogs in 1999, formerly Slightly Askew Players. Ken directed Joyce Carol Oates' "I Stand Before You Naked" which received a 'Garland " from Backstage West citing the production as "bold, innovative theatre," filled with "strong, compelling performances." Ken also acted, produced and co-directed "Taut Wires: three by Lanford Wilson" which garnered him an Independent Theatre Award for his performance.
Interested in pursuing issues with depth and vision, he revels in the art of collaboration. The theatre brings into focus the integration of intelligent and creative presentation. It is the medium that allows him to find new ways to understand himself and the people in his life.
Ken, a Nia Black Belt & Trainer, Senior Facilitator of the Ron Fletcher Work, invites his health and fitness students to make the connections of the mind into the body; to connect their breath with sensation, feeling, and imagination. He challenges the athletes, dancer, and pedestrian to diversify their movement to become more integrated and balanced in their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual potential. More information can be found at http://www.nia-nia.com and http://www.ronfletcherwork.com.
Erica S. Connell
Erica S. Connell received a B.A. in Dramatic Arts with an emphasis in Direction from UC Santa Barbara in 1994. She first appeared onstage at age 5, and yearly thereafter until first pursuing Directing in high school. She received her first award for direction of Arsenic and Old Lace, one of the first productions the high school presented ‘in the round’. She also began a long lasting love affair with Stage Makeup, eventually teaching class at the high school level, and designing makeup for musical productions such as Alice in Wonderland and Mary Poppins. She regularly directed original material such as Shards in college, collaborating with a student composer for an original score. She finds the Art of theater compounded and expanded through the collaboration process, and prefers to work in that dynamic creative environment. After college, she met and began working with Slightly Askew Players, and was drawn to the collaborative and physically based work. She enjoys a kinesthetic approach; a deeper exploration and development of character through movement and the depth and breadth of non-verbal communication. Erica facilitated and participated in many workshops with Slightly Askew Players, but largely exercised her Stage Management skills, continuing to develop her sharp powers of observation and perfect timing. Erica has also worked with Dramatic Women and Lit Moon Theater Company as well as New Bard Productions, all based in Santa Barbara, both in stage management and directing capacities. In 1999, Erica co-founded DramaDogs, A Theater Company, and has actively participated in the development of original and scripted works. She co-wrote and directed Infinite Notion, produced by DramaDogs at Center Stage Theater, and has appeared onstage with DramaDogs as well. Erica loves to create, and to teach and assist others in finding, developing and expressing their creative voice. To that end, she recently worked as an Artist in Residence at the Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education, directing young people onstage in formal production as well as staged readings as part of DramaDogs’ Educational Outreach Program.
Michelle A. Osborne
Michelle Osborne first appeared on stage at the age of thirteen in Northern California. For the next fifteen years she pursued her acting training by performing and studying in educational and community theatre venues. Since moving to Santa Barbara in 1982, she has developed and deepened her artistic skills as actor, director, producer, stage manager, playwright and singer/songwriter. She is a graduate of UCSB’s Directing program and has directed, acted, produced, stage managed or written for the stage in collaboration with the following local theater companies and educational institutions: DramaDogs, a Theater Company, Slightly Askew Players, Dramatic Women, New Bard Productions, Goleta Valley Jr. High School, La Colina Junior High School, Santa Barbara’s Young Playwrights’ Festival, Don’t Ask Productions, Le Petite Cabaret and Mendocino Performing Arts Co. She and her husband Scott have appeared on the Santa Barbara music scene performing original material for the last 22 years. Together they are raising their beautiful daughter, Lucy who, oddly enough, loves to perform.
Playwright Jinny Webber, PhD, is a long time college instructor in literature. Her recent historical novel, The Secret Player, (see www.ShakespeareanTrilogy.com), focuses on an actor in Shakespeare's England. Artistic director and producer for New Bard Productions, Jinny has acted in amateur Shakespeare productions, co-directed As You Like It for a Santa Barbara City College faculty production, and directed David Starkey's How Red the Fire.She wrote a ten minute play which led to Queen Undaunted, commissioned by E. Bonnie Lewis.