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Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Panel BIOS

Tamarie Cooper has been performing her entire life. She is Associate Director of The Catastrophic Theatre, which she co-founded in 2007 with longtime collaborator and friend, Jason Nodler. Originally trained in dance, she began working in theatre at HSPVA and helped to found the Infernal Bridegroom company in 1993 where she worked for fourteen years. She is a seasoned actor, director, designer, choreographer and occasional writer, best known for her original musicals, which enjoy highly successful runs and a cult-like following in Houston. This November she will be reprising the role of “Marie” in Marie and Bruce, followed by “Winnie” in Happy Days, (February 2014). Tamarie is already hard at work creating her 17th original musical to be performed next summer. Tamarie has been featured in national trade magazine, Stage Directions, and has received various "Best of Houston" awards from The Houston Press for her performances and original work. Favorite roles/productions include: The Tamarie Cooper Shows, Twenty Love Songs, Miss Ivah/Hidetown, Medea/Medea, Rhinoceros, Andrea/A Soap Opera, We Have Some Planes, Hester/Fucking A, Winnie/Happy Days, Marie/Marie and Bruce, Adelaide/Guys and Dolls. Tamarie is married to Zach Elkins, a custom furniture designer. They are the proud parents of Rose, the most wonderful little girl in the whole wide world.

Rebecca Greene Udden was a founding member of the Main Street Theater Company in 1975 and became Artistic Director of the organization three years later when it evolved from a collective to a more conventional non-profit. Since that time she has directed over 120 productions, including the Houston premieres of works by Wendy Wasserstein, Tom Stoppard and Tony Kushner. Her work for the company includes acting, costume design, and literary adaptation. Under her direction, the theater has championed the work of women playwrights, both classic and contemporary, including Susannah Centlivre, Frances Burney, Aphra Behn, Susan Glaspell, Zona Gale, Sylvia Regan, Lillian Hellmann and Clare Boothe as well as over twenty-five contemporary playwrights such as Caryl Churchill, Rosellen Brown, Denise Chavez, Marsha Norman, Y York, Talaya Delaney, Susanne Bradbeer, Liz Duffy Adams, and Kathleen Tolan. Ms. Udden has taken a leadership role in the Houston Arts Community, serving on grants panels, various ad hoc committees and the Board of Directors for the Cultural Arts Council of Houston. She is currently a member of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Board of Directors. She is a member of American Leadership Forum/Houston’s Class XVII. Ms. Udden is married to Dr. Mark Udden, Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. They have two daughters.

Eileen J. Morris is artistic director of The Ensemble Theatre where she worked closely with the founder, George W. Hawkins, and is in her 24th year. She has served on several boards and panels during her 30 + years as an artist and has held the offices of president, immediate past president, vice-president and secretary with the national organization, Black Theatre Network from 1994–2004. She currently serves as secretary on the board of The Midtown Management District and chairs the marketing committee. She has served on panels with the Cultural Arts Council of Houston, Harris County; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; the Heinz Foundation; the Multi-Cultural Arts Council of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh Foundation High School Arts Scholarship Committee; ProArts; the National Endowment for the Arts, Shakespeare in American Communities for Arts Midwest and the NEA and Theatre Communications Group.

As artistic director, she has produced over 84 productions, which include four world premieres and 57 regional premieres. In September 2013, The Ensemble Theatre was named Best Season by the Houston Press. Eileen, along with Audrey Lawson, president emeritus, was instrumental in initiating the Young Performers’ program, an educational training program for youth ages 6 to 17 that addresses the collaboration of art and life skills. Some of her Ensemble Theatre directing credits include Immediate Family, The Nacirema Society, Broke-ology, King Hedley II, Cuttin’ Up, Lotto: Experience the Dream, Jitney, The Waiting Room, Stick Fly (named one of the top 2010 plays – Houston Chronicle), American Menu (2010 Giorgee Award winner for Best Ensemble and named one of the top 2010 plays - Houston Chronicle), Seven Guitars (Named one of the top 2009 plays - Houston Chronicle) The Man Who Saved New Orleans, Radio Golf, Ashes to Africa, Christmas is Comin’ Uptown, Sty of the Blind Pig (Giorgee Award winner for Best Production in 2008) and Blue. She directed the Alley Theatre and The Ensemble Theatre touring production of I, Barbara Jordan by Celeste Bedford Walker. She was featured in the Women In Theatre Magazine (December 2011 Issue). She was a 2011 conversationalist with Table Talk through the University of Houston’s Women’s Studies Department and was honored at the National Black Theatre Festival with the 2011 Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award. Eileen holds the distinct privilege of being the only woman in the world to have directed eight plays of the August Wilson 10 play cycle. She views her art as her ministry and stands firm in this August Wilson quote: “Art does not change the world; it changes people. People change the world.”

Nancy Wozny (Moderator) has been covering the arts scene in Houston for the past 15 years, first at Artshouston, now as editor in chief of Arts + Culture Texas. She is a contributing editor at Dance Magazine in New York City, and also contributes to Culturemap along with several other local and national publications. She has been a scholar in residence at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival since 2010.