Director Dialogues is a virtual Speaker Series which brings two directors together at a time for in-depth discussion centered around Shakespeare and theatre.

All the Dialogues will occur over Zoom.

Registration is free, and donations are gratefully accepted.


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February 2, 2021, 7:00 PM CST:
The Art of Adaptation

Featuring Monty Cole and Beth Wolf
Moderated by Flight Ensemble Member Stephanie Mattos

February 9, 2021, 7:00 PM CST:
Getting Close: Fight and Intimacy post-COVID

Featuring Stephanie Mattos and Maureen Yasko
Moderated by Flight Ensemble Member Chris Smith

February 16, 2021, 5:00 PM CST:
Why Shakespeare?

Featuring Lavina Jadhwani and Madeline Sayet
Moderated by Flight Ensemble Member LaKecia Harris

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Midsommer Flight is partially supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, by The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; and by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Speakers and Moderators

Monty Cole (The Art of Adaptation speaker) is an award-winning theatre and film writer-director from Oak Park, IL. He has directed for Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Victory Gardens Theater, the Center for New Performance, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Alley Theatre and others. His plays include American Teenager (a commission from the Goodman Theatre) and Black Like Me, an adaptation of the 1961 novel currently in development with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. He recently finished his residency as one of four writers in the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit.  He is currently an Artist in Residence at the Center for New Performance. Monty has a BA in Theatre Studies from Emerson College and an MFA Directing degree from the California Institute of the Arts. He is represented by William Morris

LaKecia Harris  (Why Shakespeare? moderator) is a Chicago native who attended Ball State University. When she left Muncie she returned to Chicago to start her career as an actor. She has been fortunate to work with A Red Orchid Theatre (Fulfillment Center), Babes With Blades (Women of 4G), and of course Midsommer Flight (Twelfth Night, Two Gentlemen of Verona). LaKecia became a company member with Midsommer Flight in 2018 and is so happy to moderate this dialogue.

Lavina Jadhwani (Why Shakespeare? speaker) is a theatre director, adaptor, and activist. Recent directing credits include As You Like It at the Guthrie Theatre, Peter and the Starcatcher at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Roe and The Cake at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Directing fellowships include the Phil Killian Directing Fellowship at OSF, the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship at Shakespeare & Company, and the National Directors Fellowship (O’Neill/NNPN/SDC/Kennedy Center). Lavina lives in Chicago, where she was recently named “One of the Top Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago” by NewCity; in 2013 she was TimeOut Chicago’s “Best Next Generation Stage Director.” BFA/MA, Carnegie Mellon University; MFA, The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Stephanie Mattos (Getting Close speaker & The Art of Adaptation moderator) is a Chicago-based actor, director, and combatant from a multitude of places. As a director, she believes that Black lives contain multitudes, and is driven to show all facets of the Black experience, in all its highs and lows. She has directed for Otherworld Theatre Company, assistant directed for Babes With Blades Theatre Company, and was part of the inaugural class of Midsommer Flight’s Director’s Flight fellowship program. More information can be found at

Madeline Sayet (Why Shakespeare? speaker) is a citizen of the Mohegan Tribe and the Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (YIPAP). For her work as a director, writer, and performer she has been honored as a Forbes 30 Under 30 in Hollywood & Entertainment, TED Fellow, MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, National Directing Fellow, Drama League Director-In-Residence, NCAIED Native American 40 Under 40, and a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama. She is known throughout the field for her work promoting indigenous voices and decolonizing systems. Her solo performance piece Where We Belong premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe, and will have its US Premiere in DC as part of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s coming season. Recent directing work includes: A Tlingit Christmas Carol (Perseverance Theatre), Staged at Home: a Virtual Benefit Concert (Long Wharf Theatre), Midsummer Night’s Dream (South Dakota Shakespeare), Henry IV (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), Whale Song (Perseverance Theatre), She Kills Monsters (Connecticut Repertory Theatre), As You Like It (Delaware Shakespeare), The Winter’s Tale (Amerinda/HERE Arts), Poppea (Krannert Center, Illinois), The Magic Flute (Glimmerglass), Macbeth (NYC Parks), Miss Lead (59e59).

Chris Smith (Getting Close moderator) is a Actor and Fight Choreographer who was born and raised in Chicago. Chris majored in Acting with a focus in Stage Combat at Illinois State University. He is an Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, and a company member and Resident Fight Director with Midsommer Flight Theatre Company. Chris had the pleasure to be involved with last year’s inaugural Director’s Flight, and is thrilled to be involved with the Director Dialogues.

Beth Wolf (she/her) (The Art of Adaptation speaker) is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Midsommer Flight, where she has directed nine Shakespeare plays in Chicago parks since the company’s founding in 2012, including critically acclaimed productions of The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet, among others. Other recent credits include The Suffrage Plays at Artemisia, The Roommate at Citadel Theatre (Jeff Recommended), and Non-Player Character at Red Theater (2020 Jeff nomination for Projection Design). Other Chicago credits include LIAR!, which won first place in the City Lit Art of Adaptation Festival; Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Bury the Dead, and The Fantasticks (Promethean Theatre Ensemble, where she was formerly the Artistic Director and co-founder); and various staged readings and assistant directing credits with Remy Bumppo, Idle Muse, City Lit Theater, and more. Beth is a proud Northwestern University graduate with a double major in Theatre and Gender Studies. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their two young children.

Maureen Yasko (she/her) (Getting Close speaker) is an actor, musician, teaching artist, and movement director specializing in fights and intimacy. Resident Intimacy Director and Associate Fight Director of Midsommer Flight, she has appeared onstage in Macbeth (Lady) & Twelfth Night (Fabian, Malvolio); and directed Fights and/or Intimacy in As You Like It, Hamlet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night. A Jeff Nominated Fight Director, she is an Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors who has also trained with Stage Combat Deutschland, with Intimacy Directors International, and with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators. Maureen holds a BA in Theatre, Music Minor from AASU in Savannah, GA; is a certified Yoga Instructor; and is also an ensemble member of Babes With Blades Theatre Company, A Crew of Patches Theatre Company, and The Conspirators.

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The Genesis of Director Dialogues

In 2019, Midsommer Flight launched Directors Flight, a fellowship opportunity for early career classical directors to gather together, attend workshops and work as a cohort to stage a full show. Our inaugural Directors Flight production, Much Ado About Nothing, is currently postponed due to COVID-19.

Midsommer Flight still hopes to honor the work of our first directing cohort by potentially bringing Much Ado back in the Spring/Summer of 2021. In the meantime, we’ve had to ask ourselves whether inviting a new cohort into this program would be an equitable experience compared to what we originally envisioned.

After careful consideration, Midsommer Flight has decided not to open applications to our Directors Flight program for 2020-2021. Instead, we have planned Director Dialogues, a speaker series aimed to bring directors together to chat about Shakespeare, adaptation, and theatre in general.

While we cannot facilitate the creation of a small directing cohort for 2020-2021, we are excited by the opportunity to bring together professional directors in conversation with one another, and to create a larger directing community through streaming the Director Dialogues online.