CHICAGO: A Red Orchid Theatre has named ensemble members Travis Knight and Sadieh Rifai as the company’s new associate artistic director and artistic development coordinator, respectively. Along with the appointments of Knight and Rifai, A Red Orchid has announced that associate artistic director Shade Murray and casting director Mierka Girten will be leaving their positions at the company. Murray and Girten will remain active with the theatre as artists and ensemble members.
“As our first AAD and only casting director, Shade and Mierka’s contributions to our foundation will be felt far into the future,” said artistic director Kirsten Fitzgerald in a statement. “Shade’s many accomplishments include establishing more effective production management strategies, artistic processes, and professional development plans, among others. Mierka’s contributions include establishing actor-friendly casting processes and nurturing relationships with agents and individual artists among others. I am incredibly grateful for their collaboration, both past and ongoing.”
Moving forward, Fitzgerald said in a statement, casting responsibilities will be shared between Rifai and Knight’s part-time positions.
“The rigor and curiosity with which Travis approaches artistic collaboration can also be found in his inspiring leadership skills,” said Fitzgerald in a statement. “His creativity, artistic vision, and goal-oriented mindset will make a dynamic addition to both the artistic and administrative teams. As an accomplished performer in many mediums and an emerging playwright, Sadieh’s passion for building lasting relationships will be a tremendous asset as we extend our artistic reach in the areas casting and literary exploration.”
Travis Knight (he/him) is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid and has appeared in Grey House and Small Mouth Sounds. Chicago credits include: The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Ah, Wilderness!, Christmas Carol, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Measure for Measure, and Camino Real (Goodman Theatre); How a Boy Falls (Northlight Theatre); and Camelot (Drury Lane). Regional credits include: The Brothers Size (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire (Uprooted Theatre); and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Forward Theatre). He also spent five seasons at American Players Theatre appearing in The Tempest, Glass Menagerie, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Richard III. TV and web series credits: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Mind Games, and Dad Man Walking. Film credits: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and Runner. Last year he completed his certification as a full-stack web developer and went on to focus on project management in the world of tech. He was also recently selected as an Impact Leader for the Baumhart Center’s Impact Leader Series.
Sadieh Rifai (she/her) is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre where she performed in Do You Feel Anger, Evening at The Talk House and Grey House. Her credits include, Short Shakes Macbeth, the world premiere of The Humans (Jeff Award nomination for Best Ensemble) at American Theatre Company along with The Amish Project, Hedwig and the Angry Inch (co-production with About Face Theatre) Columbinus and Speech and Debate (After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance). Other Chicago credits include Support Group for Men and Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), Ski Dubai (Steppenwolf First Look). Film credits include The Wise Kids, Nate and Margaret and Olympia. Television credits include Chicago Med, Netflix’s Easy, CBS The Red Line and Amazon’s Patriot in which she plays the recurring role of Mahtma El-Mashad. Rifai is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and received the Princess Grace Award in 2011.
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