Rob Salas (Artistic Director)
Rob Salas is a founding Artistic Director and most recently directed 2016's Romeo and Juliet & Cyrano de Bergerac. Past DSE projects include Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, and Henry V. While establishing the Ensemble, Rob received his MFA in Directing from UC Irvine, where he helmed productions including Mary Stuart, Escape from Happiness, The House of Bernarda Alba, Rhinoceros, and Speed-the-Plow. He has assistant directed at many prestigious theaters including Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Repertory Theater, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and most recently for Berkeley Repertory & South Coast Repertory's co-production of One Man, Two Guvnors. Other directing credits include The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged at New Village Arts in San Diego, Action: Ecuador at Dramatic Adventure Theater in New York, and Harvard University’s productions of The Zoo Story, Julius Caesar, and The Tempest. Rob received his BA in English and Dramatic Art at Harvard University and is currently a Theater Arts Lecturer at Sierra College.
Gia Battista (Artistic Director)
Artistic Director Gia Battista is a founding Artistic Director and most recently performed at the Festival as Ella Peterson in 2016's Bells Are Ringing. DSE directing credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, She Loves Me, Nightingale (Best of Fringe at 2013 San Francisco Fringe Festival), Macbeth: The Radio Play, Relapse, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, and The Sonnet Project. DSE acting credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, and Romeo and Juliet. UC Davis credits include Gallethea, Measure for Measure, A Winter’s Tale, as well as Hair, Fuddy Meers, Macbeth with Studio 301. Gia received her BA in English and Dramatic Art from UC Davis and is currently pursuing an MM in Vocal Performance at Sacramento State University.
Richard Chowenhill (Associate Artistic Director)
Associate Artistic Director Richard Chowenhill, in keeping with the mission of the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble, is fiercely committed to bringing the work of Shakespeare into a modern context through the incorporation of relevant and contemporary forms of music and musical ensembles. Recent credits include original scores for the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble’s productions of Twelfth Night, The Sonnet Project, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Relapse, Henry V, Macbeth: The Radio Play, Nightingale, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and Cyrano de Bergerac, as well as sound design for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged. A graduate of UC Davis, Richard holds a degree in Music (emphases in Composition and Classical Guitar Performance), and is the recipient of the Olga Brose Valente Memorial Prize for Excellence in Musical Composition, a Departmental Citation for Outstanding Undergraduate Accomplishment in Music, and the Department of Music Faculty Award for Excellence in Musical Performance. He is currently a PhD candidate in music composition and theory at Brandeis University.
Madeline Hamaguchi (Production Manager)
Production Manager Madeline Hamaguchi is thrilled to be a part of the 2017 season. DSE credits: Wonderful Town, The Three Musketeers (Assistant Stage Manager, Production Manager). Other favorite credits include American Conservatory Theatre (Production Management Fellow); Top Girls, ACT’s Fellows Project (Production Manager); Nomads Theatre Company (Production Manager); UCSD’s The Underground New Play Festival 2015 and 2014 (Managing Director 2015, Assistant Stage Manager 2014); The Marriage of Bette and Boo, UCSD’s Department of Theatre and Dance (Stage Management P.A.); Sacramento Music Circus, 2013 Season (Stage Management Intern). Education: BA in Theatre from UC San Diego.
Sydney Schwindt (Education Director)
Sydney Schwindt is an actor, fight director, and teaching artist. She joined DSE first as an actor for their 2015 season. Her DSE acting credits include Benvolio in Romeo and Juliet, Helena Landless in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Sue in Bells Are Ringing, Jodelet in Cyrano de Bergerac, and Valentine in Twelfth Night. Fight directing credits include Romeo and Juliet (DSE & UCDavis), Cyrano de Bergerac (DSE), Hamlet (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival), Margaret of Anjou (Those Women Productions), and others. Sydney has acted all over the country as well as internationally with such companies as Hartford Stage, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Hampton Theatre Company, Berkeley Repertory, and Mirage Entertainment. She earned her BFA in Acting from The Hartt School and has also trained with the San Francisco Clown Conservatory, Academia dell’Arte (Arezzo, Italy), and the Society of American Fight Directors. She has been teaching theatre and art for over a decade, and is excited to help DSE's educational programming reach more students each year.
Ian Hopps (Marketing Director)
Ian Hopps began with DSE as an actor in the 2014 Davis Shakespeare Festival, part of the inaugural residency at the Veterans’ Memorial Center Theatre. Roles with the Ensemble include: Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet, Jeff in Bells Are Ringing, Ligniere in Cyrano de Bergerac (2016); Feste in Twelfth Night, Deputy in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (2015); Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing, Georg Nowack in She Loves Me (2014). At the end of the 2015 Festival, Ian moved to Sacramento and became a full-time member of the DSE team, assisting in Marketing, Education, and Production. He continues to work as an actor in the region with DSE, Big Idea Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, and Capital Stage.
Gabby Battista (Community Outreach Director)
Gabby Battista started working as a photographer for DSE on their very first production in 2010. She has continued to photograph their work while also teaching, acting, and working as the Community Outreach Director. Gabby’s DSE photo credits include: Romeo and Juliet (2010), Henry V, Twelfth Night (2011), Macbeth: The Radio Play, Nightingale, She Loves Me, Much Ado About Nothing, Mystery of Edwin Drood, Twelfth Night (2015), and Cryano De Bergerac. Acting credits with DSE include Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), Much Ado About Nothing (Verges/ Margaret), She Loves Me (Ensemble), and Nightingale (Ensemble). Gabby was based in the Bay Area for 7 years while pursuing her BA in Acting at SF State. Between her commutes to Davis, she spent her time teaching and performing for various companies including Z-Space (The Box), California Shakespeare Theater, (guest teaching artist), the San Francisco Neo Futurists (performer/company member) and at the Greenway Court Theater in Los Angeles (36th Street Blues). Outside of the region she has performed and taught internationally, teaching workshops in Copenhagen with the Det Andet Scenarie, and in Japan. She will continue working outside of the country with Company Ma in Tokyo, Japan in 2018.