Company Members

Staff

Brian Isaac Phillips

Producing Artistic Director & Ensemble, Eighteenth Season

Mr. Phillips just celebrated his 13th season of artistic leadership of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. He was named Producing Artistic Director in 2010 after being Artistic Director since 2003. Prior to these responsibilities, he served with the organization as Associate Artistic Director for one season, as well as four seasons as a member of the acting company. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association and the Stage Director’s and Choreographer’s Society.

Mr. Phillips, originally from Pittsburgh, PA, is a graduate of Morehead State University and has been a resident of Cincinnati for 18 years. In that time he has worked with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, The Children’s Theatre, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, New Stage Collective, Diogenes Theatre Company, as well as over 100 productions with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. He also has worked regionally at theatres in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Northern Ohio. Most recent CSC directing credits include Antony and Cleopatra, Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 1, Death of a Salesman, Cyrano de Bergerac, One Man, Two Guvnors, Henry V, Waiting for Godot, The Birds, and The Great Gatsby.

Mr. Phillips was nominated for the 2016 SDCF Zelda Fichandler Award. This award honors an outstanding director or choreographer making an exceptional contribution to the national arts landscape through theatre work in a particular region. Also in 2016, Brian was selected as a finalist for the Business Courier’s 2016 C-Suite Awards for Chief Executive Officer. These are the 2nd annual C-Suite Awards, honoring top executives whose leadership and skills have helped shape their companies in the Greater Cincinnati community. Mr. Phillips is also currently serving on the Executive Committee of the Shakespeare Theatre Association, an international organization comprised of theatres dedicated to the production of Shakespeare’s works around the globe.

On May 3, 2013, Brian was recognized by Mayor Mark Mallory and the City of Cincinnati for his decade of achievement and service at CSC. He was also selected for the 2014 Class of Forty Under Forty and a finalist for the Ohio Governors’ Arts Awards. In 2016, Mr. Phillips graduated from Cincinnati USA Chamber’s 39th Class of Leadership Cincinnati.

Mr. Phillips is thrilled to be helping the company realize a long term dream of operating a world-class facility with the new construction of a $17MM home for CSC, The Otto M. Budig Theater at the corner of 12th and Elm Streets in OTR. Mr. Phillips is honored that CSC was named as a four time finalist for the Cincinnati USA Chamber’s Non-Profit of the Year award. He is pleased to have led CSC to becoming one of the first five theatres in the United States to have produced Shakespeare’s complete 38 play canon and to have personally completed the canon as well. Brian is the lucky husband of one of the most amazing actresses in town and the proud father of Holden (7) and Annabel (4).

Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States

Jay Woffington

Executive Director, Fifth Season

Jay is entering his fifth season at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company as Executive Director, after having been on the Board of Trustees for 6 years prior. Jay is focused on the design, construction and financing of the new $17MM home for CSC, The Otto M. Budig Theater at the corner of 12th and Elm Streets in OTR.

In his first four years, Jay oversaw tremendous company growth in attendance, outreach, support from the donor community and overall financial performance. In recognition of these achievements, Jay won a C-Suite Award as COO of the Year in 2015. Additionally, the Company became one of the first five theaters in the US to “complete the canon” by producing all 38 of Shakespeare’s plays. CSC was named a four-time finalist for the Non-Profit of the Year (by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce), was recognized as a Best Place to Work in Cincinnati (by the Cincinnati Business Courier), and received an Award of Excellence by the Ohio Association of Non-Profit Organizations for its education program.

Prior to taking the helm at CSC, Jay was the Global President of Possible Worldwide/CEO of Bridge Worldwide. Jay led the rapid expansion of the digital marketing agency, growing the company from 30 people and $5MM net revenue to 1,000 people and $100MM net revenue in less than 10 years. In 2005, Jay initiated and completed the sale of the agency to WPP. Under Jay’s leadership the agency won coveted industry creative awards such as two Gold Lions at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity and developed an organizational culture recognized as one of the Top 25 Best Places to Work in America for five consecutive years. Jay’s theatre passion is credited to his father, a high school drama teacher in Pittsburgh. Jay is married to a 2012 Cincinnati Woman to Watch, Jodi Woffington and together they have four children, Wendy (12), Jack (9), Brett (9), and Reese (7), and an Irish Red and White Setter named Radley (as in Boo from To Kill A Mockingbird). Jay holds his masters from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and his undergraduate degree from Duke University.

Douglas J Borntrager

Resident Sound Designer, Sixth Season

Having recently retired as Operations Director at the Know Theatre of Cincinnati to become a stay at home dad, Doug is happy to return as Resident Sound Designer at CSC, the Know, and Diogenes Theatre Company. Doug has received numerous accolades for his designs, including two Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Outstanding Lighting, Sound, or Special Effects for Hamlet & Eurydice, an LCT award for Sound Design for When the Rain Stops Falling and The Birds, and an LCT award for Video Design for Gruesome Playground Injuries. Previously Doug has worked with such theaters as the Oak Park Shakespeare Festival, CATCO, and The Vineyard Theatre. Douglas holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Lettie Van Hemert

Managing Director, Tenth Season

Lettie is looking forward to moving to CSC’s new corner in OTR, but in the meantime is excited to celebrate the Race Street space with one last grand season. In addition to her current role as Managing Director, Lettie has been the Box Office Manager and Director of Operations for the company. She is from Lincoln, NE, and holds a BFA in Theatre from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Lettie has found careers both on and off the stage. She has performed with Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Flatwater Shakespeare Company, The Angels Theatre Company, and The Crooked Codpiece Company. As an arts administrator, Lettie has worked for the Lincoln Community Playhouse and Lux Center for the Arts in Lincoln, NE. She also has fond memories of time spent behind the information counter at Joseph Beth Booksellers. Lettie is proud to be married to the most versatile actor she knows.

Burgess Byrd

Ensemble, Debut

Burgess is beyond thrilled to make her debut performance with CSC this season. Raised in Louisville, KY she has had the great pleasure of finding her theatrical home in Cincinnati. She has worked on many local stages including Human Race Theatre, New Stage Collective, Ovation Theatre Company, Performance Gallery, among others. Recent credits: Detroit ‘67 at Ensemble Theatre, Silence, The Musical at Falcon Theatre, a staged reading of KJ Sanchez’s Cincinnati King: King Records with Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park and Harry and The Thief at Know Theatre Cincinnati. Thank you to the never ending support from family and friends.

Liz Carman

Marketing Associate, Debut

Liz holds an associate’s degree from Cuyahoga Community College and currently attends Miami University majoring in English Literature with a minor in Arts Management, earning her Bachelors in December of 2016. She also holds a Grande Diplome in Classic Pastry Arts from the International Culinary Center. Liz has been an intern with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company in previous seasons and has assisted with PROJECT38 and the company’s data and impact measurement work. As a lifelong lover of Shakespeare, she is very pleased to be working with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

Actors

Geoffrey Warren Barnes II

Ensemble, Third Season

Geoffrey is thrilled to be joining CSC for a third season. Recent projects include: Antony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, Henry VI: Part I (Charles, the Dauphin), with the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Other credits include Saint Joan with Diogones Theatre Company and Hands on a Hardbody (Ronald McCowan) with Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Seattle Children’s Theatre, the ZACH Theatre in Austin, Texas, American Globe Theatre in NYC, and the Labyrinth Theater Company in NYC. Geoffrey holds a BFA in Musical Theater from Webster University as well as an MFA in acting from the University of Texas at Austin. He is an alumnus of the Cincinnati School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He would like to thank his family and friends for all of their love and support!

Productions
All the Great Books (Abridged)*
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
Cyrano de Bergerac
Henry V
Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 1
Julius Caesar
Much Ado About Nothing
One Man, Two Guvnors
The Complete History of America (Abridged)*
The Elephant Man
The Taming of the Shrew

Darnell Pierre Benjamin

Ensemble, Seventh Season

Darnell is looking forward to another season with his CSC family—favorite roles include Aaron in Titus Andronicus, Tom in To Kill a Mockingbird, and most recently, the title role of Henry VI. His favorite shows with other regional theaters are The Taming of the Shrew with Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Detroit ’67 with Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Cock and Angels in America with Know Theatre Cincinnati, Othello with Human Race, and Romeo and Juliet and A Raisin in the Sun with Hope Summer Repertory. In 2014, Darnell won Michigan’s Oscar Wilde Award for Best of the Bard. Darnell is also a proud member of Actor’s Equity, Queen City Queer Theatre Collective and Pones, Inc.

Productions
Antony and Cleopatra
Cyrano de Bergerac
Hamlet
Henry IV: Part 1 & 2
Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 1
Oliver Twist
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Kyle Brumley

Ensemble and Tour Manager, Second Season

Kyle is very excited to be joining CSC for another season! You may remember Kyle from last season as Frank Churchill (Emma), Valvert (Cyrano), and Octavius Caesar (Julius Caesar, Antony and Cleopatra). Before coming to Cincinnati last year, Kyle performed for many theatres in Atlanta, GA. Favorite past projects include The Whale, Equus (Alan Strang), and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Actor’s Express, Camelot (Mordred) and My Fair Lady (Freddy) at Georgia Ensemble Theatre, and The Navigator with 7 Stages. Kyle performed with Georgia Shakespeare’s summer repertory for three seasons prior to graduating from Oglethorpe University in 2012. He spent his first post-graduate year as an intern at Actor’s Express, and later became a teaching artist for The Alliance Theatre.

Productions
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death of a Salesman
Emma
FREE Shakespeare in the Park
Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 1
Julius Caesar
Much Ado About Nothing
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Elephant Man

Brandon Joseph Burton

Ensemble, Debut

Brandon has returned home to Cincinnati and is honored to be working with Cincinnati’s best. Recently he has worked with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati and Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre. A favorite role he has recently performed is Crooks in GHCT’s Of Mice and Men. If Brandon is not on the stage he is probably hiking in the forest, thinking of being back on stage.

Productions
FREE Shakespeare in the Park
Much Ado About Nothing
The Elephant Man

Billy Chace

Ensemble, Tenth Season

Billy was born and raised in Northern Virginia where he fell in love with theatre seeing plays in the Washington D.C. area and studying at George Mason University. Since 2007 he proudly calls CSC his artistic home where he has been awarded such roles as Enobarbus in Antony & Cleopatra, Suffolk in Henry VI, Touchstone in As You Like It, Ragueneau in Cyrano de Bergerac, Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Clown 1 in The 39 Steps, Lucio in Measure For Measure, Berowne in Love’s Labor’s Lost, Renfield in Dracula, and King John. He is thrilled to be playing Richard III in Season 23, the company’s last season in its beloved home on Race St.

Productions
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death of a Salesman
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) 2013—2016
Hamlet
Henry IV: Part 1 & 2
Henry V
Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 1
Julius Caesar
Much Ado About Nothing
Oliver Twist
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
The 39 Steps
The Comedy of Errors
The Crucible
The Diary of Anne Frank
The Elephant Man
The Great Gatsby
The Taming of the Shrew
The Two Noble Kinsmen
Twelfth Night