Team

Leadership

Paata Tsikurishvili

Founding Artistic Director and CEO

A native of the Republic of Georgia, is an innovative, award-winning international artistic director, director and educator with more than 20 years of experience fusing the classical elements of drama, movement, dance, mime and music. Since Synetic Theater’s founding in 2001, Mr. Tsikurishvili has directed and performed in Hamlet … the rest is silence, The Master and Margarita, The Crackpots, Dracula, Host and Guest and Frankenstein. He has also directed the company’s productions of Salomé, Bohemians, Jason and the Argonauts, The Dybbuk, Faust, Frankenstein, Macbeth, Animal Farm, The Fall of the House of Usher, A Christmas Carol, Romeo and Juliet, Carmen, Dante, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, King Arthur, King Lear, Don Quixote and Home of the Soldier. Synetic’s inaugural production, Hamlet … the rest is silence, received 3 Helen Hayes Awards for Outstanding Director, Outstanding Resident Play and Outstanding Choreography. As an educator, Mr. Tsikurishvili has trained hundreds of actors in movement technique through Synetic Theater and has taught at leading universities such as American University, Catholic University of America, and Georgetown University. He holds an MFA in film directing from Tbilisi State University and a BFA in acting from The State Institute of Theater and Film in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Irina Tsikurishvili

Founder and Resident Choreographer

Irina is a 32-time Helen Hayes Award Nominee and has won the award eight times for her choreography of The Idiot, Faust, Hamlet…the rest is silence, The Master and Margarita, Frankenstein, Macbeth, Carmen, and King Lear. She has also choreographed for the Stanislavsky Theater Studio, including The Idiot, Little Tragedies, Don Quixote and La Malade Imaginaire. Ms. Tsikurishvili has taught at the Catholic University of America, American University and Georgetown University, where she choreographed Lysistrata. She continues to run intensive movement workshops to train Synetic cast members. With her husband, she is the co-founder of Synetic Theater and co-founder of Stanislavsky Theater Studio.

Yulia Kriskovets

Chief Operating Officer

Yulia is in her 9th season at Synetic Theater, where she previously held the positions of Director of Development, Business Manager, and Director of Finance and Administration. During her tenure at Synetic, Yulia has been instrumental in growing both the theater’s budget size and capacity and creating new partnerships including ones with Theater J, NASA, The Kennedy Center, and The Shakespeare Theatre Company. Prior to her work in the arts, Yulia worked in international business. Yulia has served as the Vice President for Virginia for League of Washington Theatres in 2009-11 and has been named to Leadership Arlington’s Class of 2013. Yulia received her BA in Management from Kaliningrad State University, Kaliningrad, Russia, MA in History from Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, and an MPA with Arts Management concentration from University of Illinois.

Artistic

Nathan Weinberger

Resident Dramaturg

Nathan is a founding company member of Synetic Theater, having started with company in 2001. He has been resident dramaturg since 2005 and has adapted many of Synetic’s most successful productions, including DraculaFaustAnimal FarmThe Fall of the House of Usher, Jekyll & HydeThe Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as Macbeth, Romeo and JulietAntony and CleopatraOthelloThe Tempest, and Twelfth Night for Synetic’s Silent Shakespeare series.

Ben Cunis

Artistic Associate

Ben has choreographed fights for Synetic Theater since 2007– shows include King Lear (for which he received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography), King Arthur (also Co-Adaptor/Asst. Director), Othello (also Asst. Director), Antony and Cleopatra, Dracula (HH Nomination—Choreography), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (also Co-Adaptor), Dante (also Co-Adaptor), Host and Guest, Carmen (also Co-Adaptor), Romeo and Juliet, and Animal Farm. He also wrote, directed, and performed in Synetic Blackout Series’ Last Tango with Rosie. His production company, Granite Kiss Productions, won the 2008 Washington, DC 24-hour Film Festival with their film The Choices of Ghosts and released their web series based on the same film, Hamilton Carver: Zombie, P.I, which has been an official selection at the Independent Television Festival in Los Angeles and the Festival Cinema Tous Ecrans in Switzerland.

Konstantine Lortkipanidze

Resident Composer

Konstantine is a native of Tbilisi, Georgia, and has composed original music for 14 Synetic Productions and has received 5 Helen Hayes nominations for his sound designs and received 1 award. He has also composed original music for films including First Steps and Essay (both directed by Paata Tsikurishvili) and Marage. His compositions for theater include work for Hunter from the Sun, Guest of the Night, Mimikria, Labyrinth and Decameron. His work has been performed at music festivals across Europe, including the Maqs Ophulos festival in Germany and the International Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam. Mr. Lortkipanidze received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Tbilisi State Conservatory.

Irakli Kavsadze

Producing Director

Irakli is a Synetic founding actor who first took the stage at age seven at the Rustaveli Theater and who looks forward to revisiting the same stage in November when he leads Synetic Theater in its first tour to the Republic of Georgia. Favorite roles include the title role in King Lear (2012 Helen Hayes Award Outstanding Actor Nomination, Outstanding Ensemble Award, and Outstanding Sound Design Award). He was also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor for Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His sound designs for Macbeth and King Lear received a Helen Hayes Award. Mr. Kavsadze oversees Synetic Family Theater, which won the inaugural Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Theatre for Young Audiences in 2010. Education: MFA, Georgian State Institute of Theater and Film.

Production

Marley Giggey

Resident Stage Manager/Rentals Coordinator

Marley is a Washington area native who has had the pleasure of working on several projects with Synetic including stage managing A Trip to the Moon,The Tempest and The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Regionally she has worked at New Harmony Theatre in Indiana, Firehouse Theatre Project and The Conciliation Project in Richmond, Virginia, and The Heritage Theatre Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Locally she has worked at Studio Theatre, 1st Stage, The Capital Fringe Festival, Signature Theatre, and The Kennedy Center.  She received her training at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia where she earned a BFA in Stage Management.

Ann Allan

Production Manager

Ann joins the Synetic Theater Team after touring with Circus Smirkus and American Family Theater, several seasons as the Master Electrician at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, and working with a number of theater companies and venues in Washington, DC and Nashville, TN over the past 13 years.  She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University.  Ann is originally from the Pittsburgh area, but has now made D.C. her home.

Administration

Morey Epstein

Development Director

Morey was inspired by the dramatic, innovative artistry of Paata, Irina, Yulia, and the entire Synetic team to join them in their artistic journey. Before coming to Synetic, he was at The Studio Theatre for 24 years, where he developed and implemented four capital campaigns and helped the Studio’s annual budget grow from $500,000 to $5,000,000. In addition to serving as the Theatre’s senior development officer, Morey managed the Theatre’s external relations, cultivating relationships with leaders in business, the government, and the community. He is a graduate of Haverford College, where his commitment to working with people of outstanding talent and dedication was nurtured.

Joseph Carlson

Educational Programs Manager

Joseph (SAG eligible, and Equity Membership Candidate) has worked professionally on stage and in film for 8 years, while also earning a BFA in performance (magna cum laude) and an MFA in Acting Directing pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).   Joe has worked as adjunct faculty for Virginia Commonwealth University in introduction to stage performance, team teacher and acting coach for the third year acting studio in the Theater VCU BFA program, the upper program theatre arts instructor for Seven Hills School, program leader with Art 180, Oxyrhtymics  instructor for first year performance majors at VCU, teaching artist and ensemble member of The Conciliation Project, and a professional clown with All About Fun Entertainment in Richmond, VA.

Joe is currently in his third year as a Company Member, resident teaching artist with Synetic Theater. Along with acting, teaching he also applies the craft of theater to the practices of community engagement and transformation.  He has played principal roles in feature films and television series such as LincolnKilling LincolnFatal Encounters, and the upcoming AMC Pilot about the Culper Spy Ring, as well as having performed in dozens of regional theatre productions, short films, independent features, regional and national commercials.

Gisela Shanfeld

Development Associate

Gisela has been active in the field of nonprofit development since 2006 and joined Synetic Theater in 2012. She previously worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations in New York City and Philadelphia to improve their funding streams and secure programmatic sustainability. Ms. Shanfeld holds a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Anglo-American University in Prague.

Maria Benzie

Box Office Manager

Maria recently received her graduate degree in Arts Administration from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).  She also holds a BFA in Music Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory. A long-time lover of all things cultural, Maria brings her enthusiasm and passion for theatre to this position.  Prior to her work at Synetic, Maria was the Education/Artistic intern at Chicago Children’s Theatre.  She has also worked as a professional actor, restaurant manager, and massage therapist.  In her spare time, Maria enjoys practicing yoga and exploring her family’s past through genealogy.

Steve Langley

House Manager

Steve Langley has served as Synetic’s House Manager since April 2011.  The Washington native is also an actor-playwright and singer-songwriter. Steve is the founding member and business manager for Reverb, an a cappella vocal group.

Monica Jilling

Administrative Assistant

Monica Jilling is a dedicated arts professional.  She moved to DC in 2005 to pursue a MA in Arts Management at American University. She has been privileged to work for a variety of performing arts organizations in fundraising, marketing, audience services, and special events. Ms. Jilling continues to maintain her musical roots and has just started her 5th year teaching piano at the JCC of Greater Washington.

Alysa Turner

Marketing Manager

Alysa joined the Synetic Theater team in May of 2013 after moving to Washington from Chicago where she worked as a Publicist at Carol Fox and Associates and managed Public Relations for Blue Man Group, The Second City’s UP Comedy Club and Chicago Dramatists, among others. Prior to that, Alysa worked on Marketing and Public Relations at several Chicago area theater companies including Shattered Globe Theatre Company, UrbanTheater, the side project, Theo Ubique and Provision Theater. Alysa holds a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Arts Management from Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

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