Grant Hockenbrough | Artistic Associate
Founding Block St member Grant Hockenbrough, from Dallas, TX, is currently a Third Year MFA Acting candidate at the University of Arkansas. Regional acting credits include Steven K Stone in Living History (Artist's Laboratory Theatre), Connor O'Shee in Transatlantic as a part of the Arkansas New Play Fest, Frasier in The Champion (TheatreSquared) And Johnson in The Jefferson Bottles (Block Street Theatre Co.). University Theatre credits include As You Like It (Duke Frederick), Tribes (Daniel), Kin (Gideon), Hay Fever (Richard), Hedda Gabbler (Judge Brack), Lysistrata (Harold), The Metal Children (Tobin), Killshot (Ethan), and V is for Violin (Kevin). Directing credits include Nothing is the End of the World (Broken Branch Theatre Co.) and Love's Labour's Lost (The Crude Mechanicals).
Jason Shipman | Artistic Director
A founding member of the company, Jason has been a driving force behind Block St productions in virtually every capacity -- including director, actor, and producer. He is so looking forward to the upcoming Chicago presentation of Flamingo & Decatur. Other Block St credits include directing both Krapp's Last Tape and The Jefferson Bottles and acting in Butte. Regional credits include the World Premiere of Windfall, director Jason Alexander, and Peter and the Starcatcher (Arkansas Repertory Theatre); Intimate Apparel, Peter and the Starcatcher, Hamlet, The History Show and the Arkansas New Play Festival (TheatreSquared); The 39 Steps, Metamorphoses, Stones in His Pockets, The Elephant Man, Cloud Nine, Reckless, Almost Maine and Hamlet (Warehouse Theatre); Taming of the Shrew (Distracted Globe); Venus in Fur, World Premiere of Gems of Brazil (Arkansas Staged); The 39 Steps, Miracle on South Division St, Kitchen Witches - 2016 BroadwayWorld 'Best Actor' Award Nominee, and Cards on the Table (Cortland Repertory Theatre); Charlotte’s Web (Trike Theatre) among others. Jason is also a founding member and an Artistic Associate of Spectrum Theatre Ensemble, a neuro-diverse company comprised of performers on the Autism Spectrum and neuro-typical performers, based out of Providence, RI and in association with Trinity Repertory Company. STE had its inaugural production, Identity Spectrum, premiere in August followed by taking their second production, The Hotel Plays, to the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival. Originally from the DC area, Jason has worked as a teaching artist for Trinity Repertory Company, The Warehouse Theatre (NEA Shakespeare in American Communities program), The Classical Edge (Brown Chair, English Department at The University of Arkansas), South Carolina Children's Theatre, and the Palmetto Dramatic Association. He holds a BA in Fine Arts from University of South Carolina Aiken and an MFA in Drama from the University of Arkansas.
Todd Taylor | Executive Director
As a playwright/producer and founding member of Block St, Todd has spearheaded the company's focus on bringing original, new work to the stage. Block St productions of his plays include: Flamingo & Decatur, a dramatic comedy delving into the lives of Vegas gamblers, The Jefferson Bottles, a black comedy inspired by the Koch Brother wine swindle, and Butte, a historical drama based on the rise and fall of copper baron Augustus F. Heinze. Other full-length plays include Calculation, a historical drama based on the calculus priority dispute between Newton and Leibniz, and The Gravedigger's Art, a comedy about finding vocational identity. Originally from the Raleigh area, before coming to dramatic writing Todd worked as a sportswriter for several newspapers, taught community college English, and played poker professionally in Las Vegas. He holds a BA in English from Duke University, an MA in English from UNC Greensboro, and an MFA in Drama from the University of Arkansas.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Oh, the majestic Block St Theatre! Towering above the town square with its impressive turn-of-the-century brickwork facade and its understated -- Wait, wait, OK, there is no actual physical theatre space on Block St (at least not yet anyway). But we chose that name because it represents the metaphorical heart of Fayetteville, Arkansas where Block St Theatre Co was born.
Like a lot of college towns (it's home to the University of Arkansas), Fayetteville supports a thriving community of artists--musicians, visual artists, writers, and of course, theatre artists. Founded by a handful of grads from the UofA's theatre MFA program, Block St aims to provide a venue where some of Fayetteville's bounty of theatre talent can find its expression.
With a little imagination, we've been turning the absence of a permanent physical space from a limitation into an advantage. From a downtown art gallery to a speakeasy bar nestled in the theatre district to a black box on the UofA campus, there's no location in Fayetteville that's off limits to our brand of theatre. And this season, that perform-anywhere attitude is taking us all the way to Chicago!
We're about producing plays -- both acclaimed classics and world premieres -- that are going to keep you riveted in you seat and make you feel and make you think and give you something to talk about after the show. We're about delivering every penny's worth for your entertainment dollar. We're about theatre for theatre's sake. We are Block St Theatre Co.
Kevin Christopher Fox | Artistic Associate
Originally from Asheville, NC, Kevin is an actor and director based in Chicago for the past 25 years. Chicago directing highlights: Bakersfield Mist and Widowers' Houses (TimeLine); the world premiere of Assassination Theater by Hillel Levin (Russell Lane, LLC), the world premieres of Graveyard of Empires by Elaine Romero and The Gun Show by EM Lewis, and Pull of the Moon, Accidental Rapture, & The Book Club Play (16th Street Theater), Lay Me Down Softly and Hughie (Irish Theatre of Chicago), St. Crispin's Day (Strawdog), Arms and the Man and Betrayal (Oak Park Festival), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Gift), and his debut, Buicks (Precious Mettle). Regional highlights: world premieres of The Actuary by Steven Peterson (Peninsula Players), The Spiritualist by Robert Ford and Sundown Town by Kevin Cohea (TheatreSquared) and The Study by EM Lewis (Inge Festival). He has directed numerous new play development workshops for Chicago Dramatists, Inge Festival, TimeLine, and the Arkansas New Play Festival.
Kholoud Sawaf | Artistic Associate
Kholoud is a Syrian director from Damascus and frequent Block St collaborator -- including directing the Butte at Fayetteville Underground. Currently an Artist in Residence with TheatreSquared, she has worked as a theatre and documentary maker in Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. In collaboration of TheatreSquared, she’s adapting and directing R&J Damascus, a recipient of a $250,000 grant through Doris Duke Foundation’s Building Bridges Program. Some of her directing work includes: Vietgone (TheatreSquared, 2018). The Chairs (U of A), Merci Maurer (devised) with ArkansasStaged, Butte (workshop of a new play) with Block St. Theatre Co, and The Bake Off Reading Series with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Assistant directing credits include: Vietgone (Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Manhattan Theatre Club) with director May Adrales, Cymbeline (Shakespeare & Company) with director Tina Packer, General from America (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival) with director Penny Metropulos. Kholoud is Drama League Fellow and a member of Nhna Cultural Group in Damascus. She holds a BA from in Mass Communication from American University of Shajrah and an MFA in directing from the University of Arkansas.