The Aurora Theatre Staff is a unique group of human beings. We often refer to our motley group as “The Island of Misfit Toys.” Although we are each enigmatic, together we manage to produce 300 events and entertain 50,000 patrons each season. So how do we do it? We dream big. We think fast. We work hard. We take blame. We share credit. We collaborate fully. And above all, we hold each other high.
“Out of the exhaustion of argument, what I call the third idea arises between us, the idea that serves the great god above us, which is Story.”—noted director, screenwriter and producer Baz Luhrmann
Anthony Rodriguez (Producing Artistic Director) has been with the Aurora Theatre since 1996, Aurora’s inaugural season. One year later, he was asked to serve as managing director. In March of 1999, he was named Producing Artistic Director and established Aurora Theatre, Inc. as a non-profit organization. Under his leadership, the theatre grew from 120 season subscribers to the 3,200 subscribers Aurora Theatre currently boasts. His success led to an ABBY Award nomination in 2002 for Arts Professional of the Year. Mr. Rodriguez’s greatest accomplishment to date was his successful negotiation to relocate Aurora Theatre to downtown Lawrenceville, Georgia where it serves as the cornerstone for their revitalization. This $7 million complex houses 2 theatres, rehearsal space and offices and opened in the spring of 2007. As an actor, his theatre credits include: Georgia Shakespeare, Theatre in the Square, Horizon Theatre, Actor’s Express, Center for Puppetry Arts, Chicago Light Opera Works, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Theatre Company and a wide range of characters at Aurora Theatre. Mr. Rodriguez serves on the board of directors of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Atlanta Arts and Culture Coalition and Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. Mr. Rodriguez is a member of Screen Actor’s Guild, Duluth Rotary Club, and the Atlanta Coalition for Performing Arts. Mr. Rodriguez has held management positions with the Ritz-Carlton (Atlanta) and Millennium Events (Chicago). This blend of art, business, and customer service helps to ensure that each Aurora patron’s theatrical experience is a memorable one. Mr. Rodriguez is a graduate of Marist High School and the University of Georgia with a BFA in Theatre. He dedicates his work to the memory of his parents Lucy and Jose who always encouraged him to “do what you love.”
Ann-Carol Pence (Co-Founder/Associate Producer) is an artistic leader of Aurora Theatre. As a musician, she arranged the music for Aurora’s first season’s Christmas Canteen in 1996 before being hired full-time in September of 1998. An education major at James Madison University, she used her background to partner with State Representative Brooks Coleman. Together, they developed Learning Library (or L2), an educational language-arts program highlighting Academic Knowledge Skills (Gwinnett County’s standards of learning). As a musician, she created Aurora’s Musicals by Moonlight, a summer concert, and Aurora’s New Musical Initiative that provides a place for further development and production of new musicals. She has performed as pianist and/or music director both nationally (Goodspeed Opera House, Pasadena Playhouse, The Koger Center, The Cleveland Playhouse, The Majestic, The Kennedy Center) and locally (The Alliance, Theatrical Outfit, Actor’s Express, Horizon, etc.). Career highlights include: Vocal Supervisor for Ellis Island Entertainment, producing in-house reviews for Holland America Cruise Lines, vocal direction for the gala celebrating Andrew Lloyd Webber’s honorary doctorate, assistance in music direction for Heartstrings: An Evening of Hope for the Healing of Aids and music direction of several productions of Heartbeats (where she appears on the recording as well). As a proud citizen of Gwinnett, she and her partner Anthony Rodriguez are most proud of Aurora Theatre winning the first ever Pinnacle Award for Large Non-Profit. This goes well with Ann-Carol’s nomination for a Women’s Legacy Award in 2006, her 3 Suzi Bass Awards for Les Misérables, Clyde ‘n Bonnie: A Folktale and A Catered Affair (both part of Aurora’s New Musical Initiative) and her multiple nominations for A Chorus Line, A Year with Frog & Toad, Annie Get Your Gun and Godspell.
Justin Anderson (Associate Artistic Director) has worked as a freelance professional director whose work has earned him both popular and critical praise. Theatre critic Brad Rudy says Anderson’s work is “a quickly-becoming-overwhelming list of successful stagings” (AtlantaTheatreBuzz, April 15, 2012). And he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. The current Atlanta professional theatre season has Justin running the gamut from new works to classics, plays to musicals, holiday shows to family-friendly fare. Mr. Anderson also serves as the casting director for Theatrical Outfit, the third oldest professional theatre company in Atlanta, Georgia. Artistic associations include Theatrical Outfit, Synchronicity Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse and Pinch ‘N’ Ouch Theatre. While studying directing at Rutgers University, Justin had the privilege to work with Amy Saltz, Pam Berlin, William Carden, and Deborah Headwall. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Campbell University. His work has been seen at regional theatres in the Atlanta area including Alliance Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre, Actor’s Express, 7 Stages, Synchronicity Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse, Dad’s Garage, Pinch ‘N’ Ouch Theatre, Stage Door Players and Working Title Playwrights. Justin is also a faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw Stage University.
D.H. Malcolm, III (General Manager) joined Aurora Theatre part-time in 2007 as the bookkeeper and business manager for the new facility. Now in charge of day to day operations, D.H. manages the $1 million Aurora Theatre budget and creates community connections by spearheading development and providing the theatre with sound business advice. His background includes graduating from Marist School with Anthony, obtaining a BS from Duke University, and later an MBA from Georgia State University. D.H. has extensive management experience in both entrepreneurial and large businesses. In his other life, he is an avid golfer, a professional club fitter for Callaway Golf and a certified Impact Zone Associate Instructor. D.H. has two wonderful children, Katie and Cam.
Jaclyn Hofmann (Director of Education) has a BFA in Theatre Performance from Jacksonville University and an MFA in Acting from Michigan State University, where she taught undergraduate acting courses for three years. She’s taught locally for Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Aurora Academy and Kennesaw State University. Jaclyn is currently an Adjunct Theatre Teacher at GGC. She is also a proud co-founder of The Weird Sisters Theatre Project. This season at Aurora, Jaclyn is excited to direct the Winter Learning Library production and the Studio production, Tamer of Horses. She is also lucky enough to be performing in The Twelve Dates of Christmas this December! Love and thanks to my family and Nick!
Al Stilo (Director of Sales & Marketing) is now in his eighth season at Aurora Theatre — Al is proud to be a part of the fastest growing theatre in the region. During his tenure, Aurora Theatre has nearly doubled the season ticket base, expanded to its new facility, received the 2009 Pinnacle Award for Large Non-Profit and was named Best Theatre Company in Atlanta in Creative Loafing’s 2010 Best of ATL. Al has received multiple professional distinctions for marketing from the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau. Al has been a professional actor for over 20 years, onstage at Aurora he has appeared in Kiss Me, Kate, Bach at Leipzig, Italian American Reconciliation, Guys & Dolls, Chicago, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and Golden Boy. Al started his arts administration career with Soul‑stice Repertory Ensemble from 1995‑2001 before serving as Sales Manager for Georgia Shakespeare from 2000‑2004. Al is a true native son, having graduated from Avondale High School and Georgia Perimeter College. All my love to my wife Holly and son Dominic.
Britt Hultgren Ramroop (Director of Community Outreach) graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington with a BFA in Technical/Design Theatre. Prior to moving to Atlanta in 2004 Ms. Ramroop worked with theatres in Olympia, WA, Washington D.C, Northglenn, CO and Cheyenne, WY. Since relocating Ms. Ramroop worked with many area theatres before calling Aurora home in 2008. Theatres include Synchronicity Performance Group, Stone Mountain Entertainment Department, Alliance Theatre, Shakespeare Tavern and Horizon Theatre. She even taught technical theatre at Salem High School in Conyers, GA. Ms. Ramroop’s relationship began with the Aurora Theatre in 2005 and she was hired full time in 2008. Since joining the Aurora family she worked one season as technical director, spent the last four years as production manager, and is now thrilled to be discovering all the challenges of a new job title.
Mark Hesselgrave (Graphic Designer/Marketing Associate) hails from Los Angeles, but spent his teenage years in the Peach State. With theatre experience from UGA and an AA in Theatre from DeKalb College, Mark completed his BA in Art with a concentration in graphic design from California State University, Northridge. Employed for most of his career in Hollywood’s advertising and marketing industry, Mark worked his way up to Art Director designing movie posters and related marketing campaigns for major studios. After two decades in California, Mark returned to Georgia and is proud to be a part of the amazing cultural asset that is Aurora Theatre.
Daniel Terry (Technical Director) is thrilled to be starting his third season as a member of the Aurora Staff, and his first in the position of Technical Director after two years as Assistant Technical Director. Daniel has worked at theaters all over Atlanta including a two year stint as Georgia Ensemble Theatre’s ATD. As a Sound Designer, his list of credits on Aurora’s main stage includes Mary Poppins and Les Misérables, for which he received a Suzi Bass Award nomination. Daniel is a proud graduate of Kennesaw State University, earning a BA in Theater & Performance Studies in the Spring of 2011. Thank you to my beautiful wife, Marsha, for all her love and support!
Katie Pelkey (Company Manager/Educational Resources Associate) has been with Aurora Theatre since 2008. She served as Resident Stage Manger from 2009–2013 before becoming Company Manager. Additionally, Katie develops educational curriculum for teachers to use in conjunction with Aurora’s TYA offerings. She has also served as Production Stage Manager for New Plays for Young Audiences for over ten seasons, a TYA summer staged reading series based at New York University. She received her BA in Educational Theatre from New York University with a minor in Dramatic Literature in 2008. Thank you to Michael for his love and support!
EB Hooyer (Box Office Manager) has been with Aurora Theatre since 2011, working as a Stage Manager and Prop Designer before settling into the Box Office, where her true passions are. She received her BS in Theatre from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2010, and loves laughing, bagels, and her husband, Jared.
Katie Chambers (Resident Stage Manager) was a proud member of Aurora’s AppCo14 and she is now overjoyed to join Aurora as Resident Stage Manager for the 2014–2015 season. Recent Aurora credits include Don’t Dress for Dinner (Stage Manager), The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown (Assistant Stage Manager), The Cat in the Hat (Stage Manager), Lombardi (Assistant Stage Manager), All Childish Things (Assistant Stage Manager), and Les Misérables (Assistant Stage Manager).