Staff

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Toby Leavitt Executive Director

Toby oversees all aspects of the Shakespeare Festival's programs. She did her undergraduate work at the University of Chicago, and received her Masters from the University of Chicago Business School in 1997. Prior to joining the Festival in 1998, she served as General Manager for Chicago's Court Theatre. She oversaw their financial growth from a $1.6 million to $2.8 million annual budget, guided the theatre in developing a 5-year strategic plan to become the National Center for Classic Theatre, and managed the ensuing strategic growth of the organization. Prior to her four years with the Court, she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago as Senior Editor and Director of Marketing Communications. Her accomplishments in audience development have been recognized by the Arts Marketing Center of Chicago and the Marshall Fields Foundation. She has served as a management consultant for Chicago Opera Theater, the Piven Theater Workshop, and Roadworks Theater Company, and has served as a panelist for the San Francisco Art Commission's Cultural Equity Initiatives Grant program.

Rebecca Ennals

Rebecca J. Ennals Artistic Director

Rebecca (she/her) has been on the staff of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival since 2002 and Artistic Director since 2012. She holds a BA in English and Theatre from Scripps College and an MFA in performance from U.C. Davis. She has taught and written curriculum at the elementary through college levels. As a director and teaching artist, she has worked locally with Marin Theatre Company, PlayGround, Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival, Pear Theatre, Napa Valley Repertory Theatre, Peninsula Youth Theatre, Los Altos Youth Theatre and Shakespeare At Stinson. Ms. Ennals has directed eight productions for the Festival's Shakespeare On Tour in-school touring program, six productions for the Civic Arts Stage Company program in Pleasanton, and four productions for Free Shakespeare in the Park. She also regularly writes the Festival’s Green Shows and conceived and executed the 2012 pop-up Shakespeare project "30 Days of Free Shakespeare in the Parklet" and the 2017 project “35 Famous Speeches in 35 Famous Places.” She  developed a new musical of As You Like It with The Kilbanes and Phil Wong, which was produced in Summer 2019.

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John Western Marketing Director

John has been a fan of Free Shakespeare in the Park since its inception in 1983 with The Tempest. He is responsible for the marketing and advertising of all Festival programs. He received his B.A. from Cleveland State University and continuing education credits from the advertising program at the University of California at Berkeley's School of Extended Learning. Mr. Western has been on the Festival staff since 1998, and has ten years of experience in theater advertising and promotion, plus two years of management experience in the public relations field.

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Neal Ormond Technical Director

Neal joined SF Shakes in 2017 as our first full-time technical director and manages all things tech, including set design, graphic design, fabrication, paint, transportation, and installation for SF Shakes and several of our partner organizations. He also dabbles in lighting and sound and coordinates the infrastructure of our outdoor shows. Prior to this he spent 4 years in the advertising world as Manager of Art & Technology at Publicis, though the majority of his career has been spent as an independent designer/builder, recklessly pursuing and combining the realms of mobile architecture, pyrotechnics, electric vehicles, lighting and sound design, robotics, and graphic and web design. He holds a B.A. in Design from Stanford University. Recent intelligence suggests that he may currently be developing an autonomous, 50-foot-tall, fire-breathing, disco-dancing likeness of William Shakespeare . . .

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Meredith Eldred Development Associate

A graduate of San Francisco State University, Meredith is a long time member of the San Francisco arts community who has worked extensively with EXIT Theater and the SF Fringe festival as a director and producer, was a founding member of Misery/Loves Co. and has staged works at Theater Rhino, Mission Cultural Center and Brava. Through her work as an Arts and Parent Engagement Coordinator at SFUSD she guided innovative partnerships between arts organizations, school staff and families to strengthen relationships and support student achievement. In her role as Development Associate she is able to continue her work in supporting equitable arts access in the Bay Area.

Pratiksha Shah

Pratiksha Shah Production Manager

Pratiksha Shah fell in love with San Francisco Shakespeare Festival while working on a joint production of the Ramayana. She has since joined the company as production manager. She holds a Bachelors in Electronics Engineering, but her true calling has always been theater; so, she did an intense two-year theater program at Foothill Theater Conservatory. Pratiksha is a production manager, director, actor, light designer and theater teacher. She has worked with San Jose Rep, City lights, NDNU,EnActe Arts, Rungmunch and many other local theater companies. She is excited for her first Free Shakespeare in the Park season and is thrilled to be part of the team.

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Maryssa Wanlass*+ Engagement Director

Maryssa is an actor, director, and educator, with an emphasis on social justice and classical theatre. A long-time Resident Artist at SF Shakes, Wanlass has appeared on the mainstage in multiple shows and taught in nearly every program. Notable roles with SF Shakes include Jaques in As You Like It, Horatio in Hamlet, and Hermione in Winter's Tale. Other Bay Area stage appearances include CalShakes (As You Like It), San Jose Stage (Persuasion), Livermore Shakespeare Festival (As You Like It, Hamlet, Merry Wives of Windsor), Center REPertory Company (Enchanted April, Witness for the Prosecution), Woman’s Will (Much Ado About Nothing, Good Person of Szechuan). She has directed locally for Utopia Theatre Project, PlayGroundSF, Shotz, and regionally for Advice to the Players. Wanlass' social justice work includes directing at-risk young adults in Shakespeare plays via SF Shakes' Midnight Shakespeare program, and working with Red Ladder Theatre to deliver improv workshops in California's correctional system. As Engagement Director for SF Shakes, they are spearheading a new curriculum that encourages participants to share their own creative storytelling with inspiration from William Shakespeare.