Who We Are

Red Tape Theatre is committed to the creation of new and experimental work through collaborations with our ensemble, playwrights, musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Red Tape’s plays invite our audiences to re-imagine their world and serve a vital purpose in our community: to arrest attention and create empathy.

Artistic & Administrative Staff

Artistic Director – Max Truax
Managing Director – Anthony Guerrero
Marketing Director – Casey Chapman
Producer – Kyle Land
Director of Individual Giving and Member Relations – Amber Gensterblum
Communications and Audience Development Manager – Emily Nichelson
Grants Manager – Kelsey Shipley
Literary Manager – Casey Wright 
Associate Producer – Stephanie Shum
Graphic Designer – Bridget Schultz
Photographer – Austin D Oie

Company Member Biographies

DVBDerek Van Barham, a member of the ensemble at Red Tape, is the Artistic Director of The Ruckus and an Artistic Associate with Pride Films & Plays. Directing: Miracle! (Hell in a Handbag), Angry Fags (PFP/Steppenwolf Garage), Some Men (with David Zak), Kill Your Boyfriends (an original piece), and Songs from an Unmade Bed (Jeff nomination). Movement: Coraline the Musical (Black Button Eyes), La Chingada (Inappropriate Theatre), Matawan (The Ruckus), and pieces for Salonathon. Acting: The Skriker, Stadium Devildare, The Life & Death of Madame Barker (Red Tape Theatre), Hauptmann (Boho Theatre), and Wallace Shawn’s The Fever (The Island Theatre). This year, Derek was named one of Windy City Times’ 30 Under 30, honoring individuals from Chicago’s LGBTQIA communities. He currently improvises at The Annoyance with the team Baby Wine. MFA: CCPA/Roosevelt University.


Casey Chapman serves as Red Tape’s Marketing Director. Casey is a Chicago-based actor who has worked for over 11 years in the marketing department at the Goodman Theatre. He is a company member with Trap Door Theatre where he supports social media marketing initiatives. Chapman has worked extensively in film the past 5 years winning the best actor award at the New York City Independent Film Festival and International Film Awards Berlin festival for his role in the independent film Mothers Milk. He is a part of the artistic collective and film distribution company Esemplastic LLC, created by local screenwriter and filmmaker Edward Pionke.

amanda-thumbAmanda Drinkall serves on the ensemble at Red Tape, where her credits include hamlet is dead. no gravity, Lear, The Skriker, Brand, The Love of the Nightingale, and Pullman, WA.  Her Chicago credits include Measure for Measure (Goodman Theatre), Pride & Prejudice (Lifeline Theatre), understudy roles at Victory Gardens Theatre as well as About Face Theatre, and Othello, Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Winter’s Tale, Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream all with Back Room Shakespeare Project.  Regional credits; Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s Comedy of Errors and Romeo & Juliet, and North Carolina Shakespeare Festival’s King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing. Amanda holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is represented by Paonessa Talent.

DSC_5981 BWAmber Gensterblum is a post-show moderator with Writers Theatre and a manager at Spin, a ping pong social club. In the past Amber has worked as a director at Abbie Fest and The Dictionary Project and front of house for Strawdog Theater. She’s been an assistant director to Kimberly Senior (Marjorie Prime, Writers), Max Truax (Quiz Show, Strawdog), James Bohnen (Both Your Houses, Remy Bumppo) and Joanie Schultz (Venus in Fur, Goodman). She graduated from Columbia College Chicago.


Sarah Grant previously served as the Development and Community Engagement Director for Red Tape Theatre since 2012. Most recently, she appeared as Thea Elvstead in A Hedda Gabler. Other Red Tape Credits include Hamlet is Dead: No Gravity, Church/Pullman, WA. Chicago credits include: A Very Merry Madrigal (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre), Cleave (The Inconvenience), Sleeping Beauty and Godspell (Provision Theatre), Ephemera (Polarity Ensemble Theatre), Bah, Humbug! (Piccolo Theatre) and understudy roles at The House Theatre. She holds an M.A. in the humanities from the University of Chicago.

bwAlex-GrelleAlex Grelle, a Red Tape ensemble member, has been a Chicago based performer since 2009. He has been seen in Red Tape Theatre Company’s productions of The Life and Death of Madam Barker and Taylor Mac’s The Walk Across America For Mother Earth which was one of the 2015 Steppenwolf Garage Repertory productions. Recent work includes his own show: Shelley Duvall’s Women Under the Influence Theatre that was a part of an artist residency at University of Chicago through Salonathon. Alex has also been seen in Hell in a Handbag’s productions of: SCARRIEL’imitiation of LifeThe BirdsTROGG and Sexy Baby.

Anthony BWAnthony Guerrero
has worked as an actor, director, writer and producer in the performing arts for nearly 30 years. Most recently known for his work as Executive Director of Chicago Dancers United, he took Dance for Life, an annual event that raises money and awareness to support the health and well-being of the Chicago dance community, to the next level as a new nonprofit organization. It was here where he fell in love with the idea and the importance of artists supporting each other. Anthony Co-Founded Hubris Productions (2005-2010), where he directed, produced, and performed in multiple projects. He holds a BA in Performance and Performance Studies from New York University and an MBA in Non-Profit Management.


Izumi Inaba has designed costumes for A Hedda Gabler, hamlet is dead. no gravity, Obscura,Tragedy: a tragedy, Elephant’s Graveyard, and The Skriker. Earlier this season she was invited to be invited to be Red Tape’s resident costume designer. Chicago credits include works with A Red Orchid, Porchlight, Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago Dramatists and About Face, Griffin, Steep, Building Stage, The Hypocrites, Side Show, Mary-Arrchie, etc. She is a recipient of Jeff Award 2011 for makeup design of Cats (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre). MFA in Stage Design, Northwestern University.


Emma Ladji, a member of the Red Tape ensemble, has worked with several theater companies in Chicago. Favorites include Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Red Theater and, of course, Red Tape, where she appeared in Mnemonic. After graduating from Columbia College, Emma and a group of fellow alums formed the experimental performance collective Room 916, which has staged performances at the Chicago Home Theater Festival and the New Now Festival in Amsterdam. Emma can currently be seen in Red Theater’s production of Year of the Rooster. She is represented by Shirely Hamilton Talent.


 Steve Labedz is a sound designer and composer working in and around Chicago. He loves working on experimental theatre as he feels it gives him room to fully express his medium. Steve is also a managing partner with Bread & Roses Productions and the projection designer for the band Celine Neon.

KyleKyle Land, Red Tape’s producer, is a freelance Director, Designer, Technical Director, Carpenter/Welder/Scenic Painter, and Stagehand. He has been a member of Red Tape Theatre Company since Technical Directing and Lighting Designing Enemy of the People, and has since served as Lighting Designer for Mouse in a Jar, Obscura, Church/Pullman Wa. and Tragedy: A Tragedy, as well as Assistant Directing for The Love of the Nightingale. Area credits include various work with Steppenwolf, Adventure Stage, Fillament, Last Match, Theo Ubique, Metropolis, New World Rep, Side Project, House, and Timeline; along with technical directing for the National High School Institute “Cherubs” Program for the last three years. Kyle came to Chicago by way of Emporia State University where he received a BFA in Theatre Arts and a BA in English, then stayed on to serve as Technical Director for four years after graduation. Back in Kansas, Kyle co-founded both L.I.T.E. and IF Theatre, and directed the inaugural shows for both companies: How I Learned to Drive andFool for Love. He also directed several shows at ESU including A Bright Room Called Day, The Woman in Black, and My Left Breast, as well as, scenic and/or lighting designing numerous productions including Waiting for Godot, Cabaret, and Urinetown.


Charlotte Long is a Chicago-born mover and writer, who graduated from Sarah Lawrence College where she studied Literature and Theater.  For over three years she has been touring with the award-winning animation and cinematic shadow puppet company Manual Cinema, most notably at the International Puppet Festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art and to the Noorderzon festival in the Netherlands. Credits with them include: Mementos Mori, My Soul’s Shadow, The Blow Up Bra, and The Secret Lives of Objects. Other non-puppet Chicago credits include: Social Creatures (Tympanic Theater), King Ubu, and Ulysses (The Plagiarists), Salome (Right Brain Project) as well as work with Oracle Theater, Lifeline Theater, The Factory and Whiskey Rebellion. She assistant directed for The Ruckus’ Matawan and advised on the creation of the Neo Futurist’s new series The Arrow. With her dance background, Charlotte has taken her interest in movement and applied to it devised performance training in Viewpoints and Pig Iron’s Lacoq-based physical improvisation. You can see her short dance-theater pieces at Salonathon.

bwRuth-MargraffRuth Margraff
, a member of the Red Tape ensemble, has been called a leader and one of America’s most singular and daring theater artists known for her “audaciously original” (Moscow Times) use of language that provides “layer after layer of richly textured emotion…and imminent danger” (Dallas Morning News). Best known in the US for her collaborations since 1997 with the late composer Fred Ho with whom she wrote six martial arts operas for the Apollo, Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music and several national tours, Ruth’s “Night Wind from Afghanistan” for the play SEVEN has toured all over the world, introduced by Hillary Clinton featuring Meryl Streep at the Broadway Hudson Theater (NYC). She performs regularly with her Café Antarsia Ensemble, receiving awards from Rockefeller, McKnight, Jerome, NEA, TCG, TMUNY, NYSCA, IAC, Fulbright foundations, published by Dramatists Play Service, American Theatre, Theater Forum, Performing Arts Journal, Playscripts, Inc., Backstage Books, Autonomedia, New Village Press, Innova RecordsNoPassport Press.  She performed Flower in Red Tape’s Taylor Mac play at Steppenwolf Garage, after working with Red Tape on her play Stadium Devildare in 2013. She’s currently writing Previously Blue with Dah Teatar (Belgrade) and 7Stages (Atlanta) presenting her Locket Arias with Nautilus’ Rough Cut new opera series (Mpls), etc.  She’s been a New Dramatist, a Chicago Dramatist and is Associate Professor/Chair of Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  www.RuthMargraff.com

Emily NichelsonEmily Nichelson
works directly with the Marketing Manager to ensure the campaigns are scheduled and released on time. She performs Marketing Competitive Analysis–studying the other theaters of Chicago (both those similar in structure and those wildly different from Red Tape) to chart the various marketing plans and determine where Red Tape Theatre’s could be strengthened. She is compiling research of potential business donors and creating proposals for them, as well as planning ways to engage our new and current audiences. Emily is also a Chicago-based actor and musician, most recently appearing in No Matter How Hard We Try at Trap Door Theatre, where she is a company member.


Austin D. Oie aids in creating the aesthetic of Red Tape Theatre, through documenting our performances to capturing the essence of our work through our marketing platforms. Austin has been working in many areas of artistry, including acting, photography, music, composition for over 10 years in Chicago. In addition to being a company member at Red Tape, he is also the Marketing Manager for The Forks & Hope Ensemble.

Kelsey Shipley BW

Kelsey Shipley plans and executes all grant applications, 6-7 a year. Kelsey makes contact with new donors, and prospects for new grant activities, submitting Letters of Interest to potential benefactors, and articulating the mission and goals of Red Tape Theatre within the company’s grant proposals. Kelsey recently joined the RTT team in October 2016 through Max Truax; who she has collaborated with on several productions. As a theatre-maker, Kelsey has had the pleasure of working with a variety of Chicago companies, both onstage and off as an actor, former stage manager, outreach director, and designer amongst other titles. Through awards provided by the Driehaus Foundation, she took DePaul’s grant writing course in 2017 to strengthen her skills and contribution to the company.


Stephanie Shum is responsible for overseeing the successful completion of Red Tape Theatre’s supplementary artistic programming, including Fresh Eyes, staged readings, late-night programming and special events. Stephanie works to ensure that everyone involved in RTT’s programming has the resources necessary to be successful in their respective roles. She sets production goals and ensures artistic excellence in all Red Tape programming. As an ensemble member, she recently appeared in Mother of Smoke. Other credits include Circle-Machine (Oracle Productions), The Realization of Emily Linder (Redtwist Theatre), reWILDing Genius (The New Colony/Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up (The New Colony), Alice (Nothing Without a Company), understudying The Hundred Flowers Project (Silk Road Rising) and Equivocation (Victory Gardens). She is also an Ensemble Member at The New Colony (where she serves as Managing Director), an Artistic Associate at Nothing Without a Company, is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf.

bwJake-SzczepaniakJake Szczepaniak
. a Red Tape ensemble member, was last seen as Draco Malfoy in Badfic Love (Den Theater). He also was in the long running Midwest premier of Mike Barlett’s Cock (Profiles Theatre). Other theatre credits include Burn This (Shattered Globe Theatre), Mnemonic (Red Tape Theatre), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Theatre Seven),  Changes of Heart (Remy Bumppo Theatre), Urinetown (Circle Theatre), and more, including work with Sideshow Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, The Hideout, (re)Discover Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Baliwick and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. A proud former member of the late Pavement Group Theatre, Jake is also a graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana Acting Program.


Max Truax brings years of experience producing and directing experimental theatre and has been hailed by TimeOut Chicago as “one of the most visually visionary directors in Chicago’s storefront scene.” His work with Red Tape includes his direction of Brand and A Hedda Gabler. Prior to joining Red Tape, Max served as Artistic Director of Oracle Productions from 2011 until 2016, where he directed No Beast So Fierce, The President, The Mother, The Sandman, Woyzeck, The Ghost Sonata and Termen Vox Machina. His production of The Mother received several Jeff Awards, including awards for Best Production and Best Ensemble. Prior to his tenure as Artistic Director of Oracle, Max served as Oracle’s Director of Outreach and as Company Manager. Max has been a Resident Director at Trap Door Theatre since 2008, where he directed several productions, including No Matter How Hard We Try, The Balcony, They Are Dying Out, Hamletmachine, A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians, and No Darkness Round My Stone. His production of A Couple of Poor Polish-Speaking Romanians performed at the Fun Underground Festival in Arad, Romania and at the Bagatela Theatre in Krakow, Poland. Other notable directing credits include A Dream Play at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (University of Illinois). Max studied visual art, performance art, and post-modern choreography at Oberlin College, and he received his MFA in Theatre Directing from California Institute of the Arts.


Johnard Washington recently moved to Chicago by way of Houston, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Methodist University studying theatre. There, he was seen in a variety of roles: La Discreta Enamorada (Hernando); The Laramie Project (Greg Pierotti, et al.);Trouble in Mind (John Nevins); Our Lady of 121st Street (Flip Johnson); An Ideal Husband (Lord Goring) and many independent projects. Mr. Washington also worked closely with Kitchen Dog Theatre and the Orchestra of New Spain under the direction of Tina Parker, Gustavo Tambascio and Grover Wilkins III. In Chicago, Mr. Washington has worked primarily with Red Tape Theatre where he has performed in A Hedda Gabler, Elephant’s Graveyard and The Skriker.

Casey Wright
maintains and develops relations with literary agencies and solicits scripts for consideration. As literary manager, Casey oversees all aspects of the script procuring process—negotiating contracts, seeing that royalty fees are paid. The literary manager’s duties also include planning the Fresh Eyes season, our new play development program which can include 1-3 scripts that are work-shopped over a period of 6 months and culminate in a free staged reading. Born and raised in Oologah, Oklahoma, Casey has experience in just about every facet of the theatre, and has worked as dramaturg in Chicago, Oklahoma, and New York. He received his MA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Literature from the University of Oklahoma.

Board of Directors

President – Sanjay Keswani
Treasurer – Josh Johnson
Max Truax