Who We Are
Meet the staff and visiting artists that make Upstart Crows a world-class Shakespeare experience!
Director • Caryl Farkas
Caryl worked with in youth Shakespeare in Madison, Wisconsin, for more than a decade. She directed young actors as well as adults in numerous Shakespeare productions with the Young Shakespeare Players, the Shakespeare Circle, and the Upstart Crow Productions, and was a founding board member of and performer with Fermat’s Last Theater, a Madison company taking an experimental approach with classical theater. Caryl’s Shakespeare and Madison Savoyard Gilbert-and-Sullivan outreach programs reached numerous schools, libraries, and community centers where she introduced young and old alike to the joys of Shakespeare.
Caryl currently is is directing an adult production of King Lear for the International Shakespeare Center in addition to her work with the Crows and the Youth Shakespeare Festival.
Visiting Artist • Ariana Karp
Ariana is an alumna of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) with an MA in Classical Acting for the Professional Theater. She received early theatrical training with Richard and Anne DiPrima at the Young Shakespeare Players in Madison, Wisconsin, a program that performs uncut Shakespeare with children ages 6 to 18; Ariana was a young actor in thirty-six classical productions over six years.
After receiving her BA in Literature-Theater from Reed College in Portland, Oregon, in 2011, she returned to the Young Shakespeare Players as a director. She works with Stairwell Theater Company in Brooklyn as an actor, dramaturg, and assistant director. She is a producer, director, and contributor of “Tabling: the Podcast.” Ariana is also a founding member of the Ducdame Ensemble and was the revival director for the production of Fuente Ovejuna, by Lope de Vega (1562–1635). Besides classical theater, Ariana also has a passion for playing cello, something she has enjoyed doing since the age of five.
Ariana has been a visiting director for the Upstart Crows, as well as leading acting workshops for them, recording music for their productions, and hosting them on an episode of Tabling: the Podcast: Listen here!
Founder & Artistic Director Emeritus • Anna Farkas
Anna has been performing Shakespeare since 2003. She recently took part in the Summer Shakespeare Course at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She has acted with the International Shakespeare Center and the Madison Shakespeare Company, and has directed and performed with the Young Shakespeare Players, Fourth Wall Players, The Lupercalians, Chrysostomos, and Upstart Crow Productions in Madison, Wisconsin, and Bare Bones Shakespeare in Dallas. Anna is a graduate of St. John’s College in Santa Fe.
Visiting Artist • Edward Daranyi
Associate Director of Education at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Edward has been involved with the Stratford Festival’s Education Department for more than fourteen years, teaching in the Shakespeare School, the Teaching Shakespeare Program, Shakespeare on Wheels, and other private and public workshops. He is the Festival’s resident teaching artist and holds a BFA from the University of Windsor. Edward served the Stratford Festival for seven seasons as an assistant and associate director on all four stages, as well as participating in casting and new play development.
Edward has taught classical and contemporary acting to the students of the National Theatre School, the University of Guelph, Michigan State University, Humber College, George Brown College, Cawthra Park School of the Arts, the National Ballet School, and the International Shakespeare Center Santa Fe. He was Artistic Director of Summer Stage in Boulder, Colorado; director and choreographer of Bye Bye Birdie (Meadowvale Theatre); associate director of Noye’s Fludde (CBC/Benjamin Britten Festival, Toronto); and director of Nightlight, The Day Billy Lived, and his own play Sometimes . . . (In the Blink Productions).
Edward was the visiting artist for the 2017 Youth Shakespeare Festival and has taught acting workshops for the International Shakespeare Center which Crows are encouraged to attend.
Visiting Artist • Natalie Elliot
Natalie is a faculty member at St. John’s College where she teaches cross-disciplinary courses in classics, history of science, mathematics, English literature, philosophy, and music. Natalie’s research focuses on early modern literary works that explore the cultural and philosophical significance of scientific discovery and technological change. Her past research has uncovered Francis Bacon’s mythological teaching on life-extension and explored the conflicts between classical tragedy and scientific progress. At present, she is at work on a book that explains Shakespeare’s poetic engagement with early modern science.
Natalie holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Texas, where she specialized in political theory and focused on the study of politics through literature. In addition to her appointment at St. John’s College, Natalie has held research and teaching positions at The Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions, Indiana University’s Hutton Honors College, and Southern Methodist University. She led a seminar with Crows for their production of The Tempest on the nature and identity of Prospero and participated in the Tabling episode with them.
Visiting Artist • Ambrose Ferber
Ambrose got his start in theatre as an injured boy in commedia dell’arte when he was five and has since performed in Colorado, New Mexico, and North Carolina. Some of his favorite roles are Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest, John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, John Hancock in 1776, Pablo Picasso in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Barnette Lloyd in Crimes of the Heart, and Miles in The Drawer Boy. He got to swing steel as The Douglas in 1 Henry IV and went on to serve as the fight captain, lead fighter, fight trainer, and fight director in a number of shows, including Romeo and Juliet, Les Miserables, Extremities, Cyrano, and Macbeth.
Ambrose is a certified Advanced Actor Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, and a member of Screen Actors Guild. Ambrose can be seen in the feature film Eyeborgs and in various TV shows, usually playing some kind of cop. He does stage-fighting workshops with the Upstart Crows and fight direction for some of their plays.
Visiting Artist • Will McKay
Will grew up in Vermont. He studied theater and English literature at Middlebury College and classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He is a founding member of Ducdame Ensemble, with whom he has appeared in Fuente Ovejuna at the New York Fringe Festival. Other Off-Broadway credits include Victory, Lovesong of the Electric Bear, and A Question of Mercy (Atlantic Theater PTP/NYC). Regional credits include 4000 Miles and Eurydice (VT Stage Co) and Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, and Cyrano! (Middlebury Actors Workshop). He has worked as a theater educator, teaching at summer theater camps Acting Manitou and Turtle Lane, as well as directing Shakespeare plays with children for the Middlebury Town Hall Theater and the Lake Champlain Waldorf School. Will has directed acting workshops for the Upstart Crows.
Visiting Artist • Robin Williams
Robin holds a Ph.D. from Brunel University London in the history and future of reading Shakespeare—out loud and in community. She has taught Shakespeare courses in places as disparate as cruise ships and universities both here and in London, with a special fondness for working with people who feel Shakespeare is beyond them. Currently she is working on a series of Shakespeare playbooks edited and designed specifically for groups reading the plays aloud and in discussion and is the Director of iReadShakespeare.org, a division of the ISC. She holds discussions on dramaturgy with the Upstart Crows and provides workshops on Shakespeare’s language. Whenever possible the Crows use her playbooks as scripts because of their extensive glosses and explanations. She is an active member of the board of TheatreSantaFe.org and an Advisory Board member of New Mexico Actors Lab. Robin is one of the Santa Fe Scholars of Record for the First Folio: The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare 2016 project funded by the Folger Shakespeare Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Library Association.
Board of Directors
The Crows Board is comprised of theater professionals, educators, youth community builders, and experienced non-profit managers: Kristen Hansen, President • Joseph Farkas, Treasurer • Lynne Roberts, Secretary • Caryl Farkas • Ambrose Ferber • Kathleen Phelan • Davita Ritchie • Laurie Sandman
Special advisors to the board: Anna Gallegos Reinhardt, Maria Martinez.
Our advisory board is predominantly comprised of members of the company, a couple of parents, and theater professionals: Brooke Bauer, Jackson Budoff, Margaret Beattie, Joy Farkas, Anna Hansen, Ariana Karp, Gail Marriner, Isaac Marriner, Zoe Marriner, Liam Mitchel, Tracey Mitchell, Clara West.