Staff & Program Leader Bios


(alphabetical by last name)

Photo of The Field's Communications and Tech Associate Nancy Ahn over white background
NANCY AHN serves as Operations Manager for The Field. She graduated from Bennington College with a concentration in painting and literature. An independent comic artist, Nancy illustrated Intro to Alien Invasion (Scribner, 2015) and has been featured in Cornell University's Epoch literary magazine. She also designed Crushing It, a bike lane barrier installation near Brooklyn Bridge Park for the New York City Department of Transportation. Key themes and values in Nancy's work include internet culture, intersectional feminism, bikes, environmental sustainability, dogs, and hip hop. Before joining The Field in April 2017, Nancy supplemented her creative practice by working in pharmaceutical sales as a copywriter, in visitor services at The Museum of Modern Art, and in marketing & e-commerce for an LED lighting retailer. Born and raised in Queens, she now lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 

Photo of The Field's Executive Director Jennifer Wright Cook over a white background
The Field empowered Executive Director, JENNIFER WRIGHT COOK, to cut her teeth twice. First, as a fledgling arts administrator in 1996 when she was an exhausted dancer/waitress/personal trainer in need of a life change and then again in 2006 when her full-time performance life was waning and she was ready to hunker down and test her leadership skills. Her current role as Executive Director is firmly grounded in these two experiences - that The Field can truly change someone’s life. Jennifer officially joined The Field’s staff in 2006 as Development Manager and then Co-Director. In 2007 she was promoted to Executive Director where she oversees organization’s programmatic, technological, financial and organizational growth. Racial equity and social justice are core values in Jennifer’s personal and professional life. She actively participates in anti-racism learning, workshops and groups including PISAB’s Undoing Racism, Race Forward’s Innovation Lab, DCLA’s Diversity Committee and monthly Non-profit Executives Undoing Racism. In 2008 she launched an innovative mentorship program, Economic Revitalization for Performing Artists (ERPA) with multi-year funding from The Rockefeller Foundation. Jennifer's work has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal, Backstage, WNYC Public Radio, and by participation on adjudication panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, emcArts and Dance Theater Workshop. Jennifer is part of the Interim Board for New Yorkers for Arts and Culture and is active advocate for city funding. She has spoken on numerous panels for CUNY Prelude Festival, Alliance of Artists Communities and the Future of Music Coalition. She is also a proud alum of Coro Leadership NY XXI. As a dance/theater performer, teacher and art-maker, Jennifer has performed/created with the San Francisco-based Joe Goode Performance Group (1997-2005) and New York choreographers Neil Greenberg, Sarah Skaggs, Mark Dendy and others. She has performed her own work in Madrid, New York, San Francisco and Portland, OR. She sings in a gospel choir and lives in Brooklyn with her partner and daughter.  

Photo of The Field's Deputy Director Shawn Rene Graham
SHAWN RENÉ GRAHAM, Deputy Director, Programs and Services, is a freelance writer and dramaturg from San Jose, California who has worked with many writers including Dennis Allen, France-Luce Benson, Nilo Cruz, Steve Harper, Walter Mosley, Lynn Nottage, Paul Rudnick, Susan Sontag, Dominic A. Taylor, Judy Tate, and Cori Thomas. She has been a guest dramaturg at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, the Crossroads Theatre Company's Genesis Festival, the New Professional Theatre, and African American Women's New Play Festival; and has served on many panels including the National Endowments for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Grants Panel in Playwriting, and the Mark Taper Forum's New Works Festival. She is currently the resident dramaturg of The American Slavery Project's Unheard Voices, the Literary Director for the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Future Classics Series and Playwright’s Playground, and founder of All Creative Writes, an artistic assistance service designed to provide individual artists and performing arts organizations with administrative, fundraising and writing support. Ms. Graham holds degrees from the California State University, Los Angeles and the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. She joined The Field in 2012 and lives in Bronx, NY.  

Photo of Thomas Hughes, a white man wearing glasses and a red plaid shirt against a green background
Communications Associate THOMAS HUGHES has been working in the arts for the past decade. He specializes in music, video, and the intersection of these forms as a vehicle for storytelling. He is the musical director of WNYC’s Orbiting Human Circus and is one half of Lavender Cat Creative - an independent media production company creating fun and colorful shorts on social media. Thomas joined the Field in April of 2021. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, son, and three cats. 

Photo of The Field's Program Associate Natalie Marmol in front of a gray background.

joined The Field as Program Associate in October 2019. She is a film and theatrical director with a technical background. Natalie enjoys working with comedies, dramas, fantasies, and new works. If she's not directing you'll find her light designing, stage managing, tech supervising, or co-hosting on an independent podcast called Going Through It. Before joining The Field, Natalie was an audition monitor working hard to get artists into the room. She's thrilled to now help artists, of all kinds, in a much different way. Select Credits Include: Direction - Still Calling by Darilyn (Music Video), Root Channels By Manny Rivera (Play), If it's Still Night When The Sun Rises by Gregory Paul Thomas (Play), The Sweetest Swing in Baseball by Rebecca Gilman (Play); Light Design - H.O.M.E. (Habitat of Meta-Humans Enterprise) at New Ohio Theatre, Flying Fables at Compton Goethals Studios; Stage Management - Mother of Pearl By Nathan Yungerberg, Speak! by Natalie Birriel, MTWorks; and Tech Supervisor - Planet Connections, CUNY City College.

photo of The Field's Institutional-Investor Relationship Manager Sarah McLellan
 served as Executive Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre and Managing Director of Clubbed Thumb before joining The Field as Institutional-Investor Relationship Manager in September 2020. Prior to Clubbed Thumb, she was the Assistant Administrative Director of the Juilliard Drama Division, Artistic and Management Programs Associate at Theatre Communications Group, and spent four years coordinating the Apprentice and Workshop programs at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. She has served as a panelist for the Brooklyn Arts Council, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the ART/NY Nancy Quinn Fund, and the WP Lab. She received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she focused on theater production and administration. 
Photo of The Field's Finance Manager Clay Schudel in front of a white background.

CLAY SCHUDEL is The Field's Finance Manager. He has worked in nonprofit finance management since 1995, with a particular focus on arts and arts-related programs. Before joining The Field in 2014, Clay spent 18 years as the Finance Manager at The Alpha Workshops, a nonprofit organization that trains people with HIV/AIDS to work in decorative and applied arts. Clay is an avid traveler, culture consumer, and student (of Japanese, ceramics, and life in general). He lives with his husband in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. 

photo of The Field's Artist Services Associate Kirsten Schnittker

Artist Services Associate KIRSTEN MICHELLE SCHNITTKER is a dance artist, Feldenkrais teacher and arts manager born in Colorado and based in New York City and Los Angeles. Their improvisational and personally distinctive dances have been presented all over New York City, in Switzerland, and virtually in Los Angeles, CA. Kirsten Michelle collaboratively performs with choreographers Yanira Castro/a canary torsi, Diana Crum, Hadley Smith, and Amity Jones; and has previously been featured in the work of Stevie May, Ilona Bito, Michael Portnoy, Carte Blanche Performance/Shandoah Goldman, Annette Herwander, Andrew Schneider, Sarah A.O. Rosner/the A.O. Movement Collective, and Tara Aisha Willis, among others. Kirsten Michelle is a member of Creating New Futures, a group of arts workers collaborating to expand and radicalize ethics and equity in dance, performance, and beyond. Prior to joining The Field staff in October 2020, they have worked for Danspace Project as a Development Associate, and for many other artists/companies as an assistant and project manager supporting fundraising, grant writing, communications, and marketing. 


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Photo of The Field's Fieldwork Facilitator Pele Bauch in front of a gray background.
PELE BAUCH is a choreographer and dance dramaturg. As a dance dramaturg she has worked with Brian Brooks, Debra Black, Yanira Castro, Rachel Cohen, Barbie Diewald, Jody Oberfelder, Jody Sperling, among others. She has provided creative feedback to well over 100 artists. She has taught dramaturgy at Mount Holyoke College and choreography at Movement Research. Pele was on The Field’s staff for 10 years, mainly as Associate Director, Programming. As a choreographer, she received residencies from The Joyce Theater Foundation, Dance Theater Workshop, the Chocolate Factory, and 92Y Harkness Dance Center. Her work has been selected for presentation at NYC venues including the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Chocolate Factory, Danspace Project, Movement Research at the Judson Church, HERE's TALR and the Best of TALR, Dixon Place, and BAX. Pele has received funding from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Harkness Foundation for Dance, and Brooklyn Arts Council. Her current project, A.K.A. Ka Inoa, is a montage of movement, characters, and personal story, woven together with copious rolls of red ribbon, to unpack our attachment to cultural identity and push it against the needs of personal identity.   “It’s a joy to see the bravery with which Ms. Bauch asks her questions, and the quiet force of her vision come to life and surround us,” - Dancing World.

Photo of The Field's Fieldwork Facilitator Shalewa Mackall standing in front of a tree.
SHALEWA MACKALL, a Fieldwork facilitator since 2004, belongs to the community of artists making work that embraces the Akan tradition of Sankofa, which invites creators to move forward in full awareness and embrace of what has preceded historically and culturally; she is inspired by aesthetic traditions and creative movements that recycle, repurpose and reinvent that which came before. In a way that reflects layers of identity and creative practice, Mackall embraces the possibility of making works as a teacher, choreographer, writer and performer which celebrate the idea of both/andand stand as an alternative to the either/or construct. With her dance company Movement for the Urban Village (MUV), she has crafted an original and distinctive movement language, Ancient Modern Dance, defined as contemporary dance which is grounded in the techniques and traditions of the African Diaspora. Since 2004 MUV has graced stages including BAM Fisher, Summerstage, Joyce SoHo, Irondale and the Kumble Theater. Presently a member of the faculty at Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn, Mackall is currently developing new work joining personal ethnography, memoir and dance.

Photo of The Field's Fieldwork Facilitator Naoko Maeshiba in front of a neutral background.
NAOKO MAESHIBA is a dancer, performer, director, somatic practitioner, and educator. She comes from an intercultural and interdisciplinary background of dance, theatre, literature, and linguistics. Having extensively trained with the masters of physical expression from East and West, she brings her eclectic sensibility into her work and teaching. She has been exploring emotions in body and potency of movement through her study of Noh, Body weather, Limon technique, Dance improvisation, Noguchi gymnastics, Feldenkrais, Michael Chekhov, and Grotowski. She ran the experimental performance program at Towson University's MFA in theatre arts from 2013-2018, and was a faculty there from 2000-2018 teaching various subjects including ‘essential body’ and ‘movement for actors’. Through her company, Naoko Maeshiba/Kibism, she has created and presented solo, duo, and ensemble works nationally and internationally at venues such as Joyce Soho (NY), Tank (NY), Kennedy Center (DC), Dance Place (DC), Dance Hakushu (Japan), Theatre Jo (Czech Republic), and M25 (Warsaw, Poland). Her artist residencies include Kud Mureza (Slovenia), National Film, TV, and Theatre School (Lodz, Poland), and Cultural Exchange Station In Tabor (Tabor, Czech Republic). Guest artist spots include: Pace University, University of Maryland College Park, Salem State College, Ko Festival of Performance at Amherst, and Questfest. In 2015, she launched a solo performance project called SUBJECT/OBJECT which looks into her cultural identity and influence of nurture/nature through different patterns of movements. Naoko is a guild-certified Feldenkrais practitioner (FGCF) and a certified nutritional consultant (CNC). Currently, she writes a column ‘Performance Power Up!’ for a Japanese newspaper Weekly New York Life and works as a somatic practitioner at Natural Healing Artists Inc., enhancing the innate human ability to heal by integrating body/mind/spirit and researching the approaches toward art-life continuum. |

is a performance maker, arts administrator and creative producer. Her projects have been commissioned and presented at a range of venues, including Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Zet Kunst Mediale, and London’s Battersea Arts Centre. From 2005-2010 she was on faculty at the Drama Department at Queen Mary University of London where she received her PhD with full funding. From 2012- 2017 she was Executive Director of Hand2Mouth Theatre where she established the community space Shout House and produced dozens of premieres, tours, and outreach events, including the Doris Duke funded StageICraft. Currently, Jen supports socially engaged arts organizations and artists through Cone PDX, is a Conversation Project facilitator for Oregon Humanities, and is directing a new performance project for Hand2Mouth.

Photo of The Field's Fieldwork Facilitator James Scruggs standing in front of some trees.
JAMES SCRUGGS, a writer, performer and arts administrator, creates large scale, multi-media, topical theatrical work usually focusing on race, and gender politics. He has received several grants including a 2016 NJSCA Fellowship for artistic excellence, a 2016 Creative Capital Grant, and a 2015 MAP Grant to write and produce 3/Fifths, performed by a large cast in two spaces at 3LD Art & Technology Center, NYC in 2017. It explores racism and mass incarceration. In 2005, when the phenomenon of unarmed black men being killed by policeman began rising, Scruggs wrote, performed, and was video designer for Disposable Men produced by HERE Arts Center, NYC. It was his solo work that examined the uncanny similarities that Hollywood monsters and African American men share; the unfounded fear of, and the creative ways they are killed. Disposable Men went on to be presented in Philadelphia, Boston, and Atlanta. He decided to use Disposable Men as a seed for 3/5, an up close radically interactive investigation of the historic whorl African Americans are caught up in: the historical slavery-emancipation-black codes loop to the more contemporary incarceration-decarceration-felon box loop. He has gained valuable experience making ambitious experimental theatrical work at 3LD Art & Technology Center. Deepest Man, a work he wrote and produced in 2014 exploring free-diving as a cure for grief, used a 40' Holographic Projection Surface, allowing underwater images to appear to float in front of the actors. He is currently a curator and resident artist at 3LD and works freelance at The Field, NYC as a Fieldwork facilitator for peer to peer critical feedback workshops for artists. Scruggs has a BFA in Film from SVA in NYC, and was also the recipient of a Franklyn Furnace Grant, an  Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Grant, and an  Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.

Past program leaders have included Amy Cova, Brian Brooks, Royd Climenhaga, Maura Donohue, Arlene Goldbard, Andy Horowitz, Sara Juli, Amy Kail, Jodi Kaplan, Jaki Levy, Brian McCormick, Beth Morrison, Morgan von Prelle Pecelli, Esther Robinson, Rachel Schroeder, Janet Stapleton, Laura Colby, Zanetta Addams-Pilgrim, Peggy H. Cheng, Ed McKeaney, Thomas O. Kreigsmann, Vito Sclafani, and more.

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