Jennifer Coy Jennings
Jen is a Vortex Repertory member with numerous B. Iden Payne nominations for outstanding musical and comedy performances and shares the Payne award for two Vortex productions: Outstanding Original Score for Sing, Muse, and Outstanding Cast Performance for Terminus. Notable VORTEX work includes Wild Horses, Storm Still, Terminus, Sing Muse, Air, :humpty, Lear, Sleeping Beauty, and Oceana.
Born and raised in San Antonio by two musicians, Alex developed a love for performance and at an early age began playing French Horn and Bass Guitar and began acting in High School. His love of theatre led him to set building and all aspects of running the show. After receiving a BA in Theatre and Dance from UT Austin, Alex worked at the Martial Arts School Aim & Focus, and split his time as an instructor and actor. After spending seven years as a full time instructor of Tang Soo Do, he realized he needed theatre back in his life. He returned to The VORTEX where he had previously performed in Murder Ballad Murder Mystery. After what was originally a 2-week engagement running the Box Office, he was soon helping with set building, organization, maintenance, gardening, and the Box Office Manager. He took upon himself to sustain and grow The Butterfly Garden which is now a Nationally Recognized Butterfly Garden though the North American Butterfly Association. His contributions to making The VORTEX a magical place gives him deep satisfaction and contentment.
Rudy is an Associate Artistic Director of The VORTEX Repertory Company; he has also directed for The Austin Bike Zoo, ColorArc Productions, ScriptWorks, Shrewd Productions, Sky Candy Aerial Arts, Teatro Vivo and The University of Texas at Austin, as well as performance work at Dixon Place (NYC) and readings at The Lark (NYC), The Playwrights’ Center (Minneapolis) and The Parsnip Ship (NYC). He is a five-time winner of the B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Direction, a nominee for the 2015 NNPN Director’s Fellowship and was named Best Director by the Austin Chronicle Reader’s Poll in 2017. He is also the creator of two autobiographical performances: Footnotes for People Who Don’t Speak Spanish with Beliza Torres Narvaez and Promised Land: A Radical Queer Revival. He received his MA in Performance as Public Practice from UT Austin in 2012.
Heather L. Barfield, Ph.D.
Heather has been a vital member of VORTEX Repertory Company for 28 years and currently serves as Associate Artistic and Development Director. She has an extensive background in theater history, criticism, theory, and practice. She received her Ph.D. in Performance as Public Practice from the University of Texas at Austin. She also holds a M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a B.A. in Anthropology from UT Austin. Throughout her career, she has worked as performer, scholar, director, producer, writer and arts administrator in the Austin, Texas theater and arts communities. Barfield’s theatrical credits include the creation and direction of VORTEX’s Wake for the Dark Poet (B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Production of a Drama) and her direction of Machinal for VORTEX’s Summer Youth Theatre (B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Production of Theatre for Youth). She has performed locally in critically acclaimed shows including VORTEX’s Dark Goddess, Rude Mech’s Dionysus in ’69, and Rubber Repertory’s The Casket of Passing Fancy. She was an arts writer for The Austin Chronicle and a contributing member of the Austin Critics’ Table. Her artistic work often incorporates intermodal forms of storytelling through digital and analog methods. In her critically-praised production, Privacy Settings: A Promethean Tale, Barfield and her cast of devised-theater makers explored the complex topics of whistle-blowers, digital privacy, and civil liberties alongside audience-immersive interactions. She teaches as Adjunct Professor of performance and theatre history/criticism at Austin Community College. She continues to devise, write, and direct video and performance installation works as an artist-citizen-scholar. Heather recognizes that a healthy and just social ecosystem depends upon vibrant, eclectic, diverse, reflexive, and innovative arts. She devotes her extra time to raising, playing, and inspiring her son to be a kind, observant, and creative human being.
Roy is a sound designer and engineer. He tours professionally as Patty Griffin’s production manager and audio engineer. He recently relocated to Louisville, KY to open Paperwork Films, a stop motion animation film studio and is currently producing a feature film, Gypsy Crow. His short film, A Tale of Crows appeared at a dozen festivals including the Montreal and Hiroshima Animation Festivals. A music video for Patty Griffin’s Ohio (featuring Robert Plant) premiered on RollingStone.com and was featured on the Tavis Smiley Show.
He has designed sound and engineered Ethos projects Vampyress (all 3!), Atlantis, CyberFest, The Dragonfly Queen, The Dragonfly Princess, Pythia Dust, and Elytra. He has manifested sound for the award-winning productions of Sleeping Beauty, Troades: The Legend of the Women of Troy, and received a B. Iden Payne Award for Outstanding Sound Design for The VORTEX’s Oceana.
Andy started performing at age 10. With theater, dance, gymnastics, rock climbing and an aerial background. He made my theater debut in Austin, TX at Arts on Real in “The Full Monty” and followed up with a multitude of shows at the Vortex, including Oceana, Sleeping Beauty, The Wife of Bath's Tale, The Elementals (5) and performed in Metamorphosis at the Zach Scott Theatre. As a founding member of Sky Candy he has been performing with the company since 2010, and wrote and directed several shows and acted/performed in all of the shows Sky Candy produced. Andy highly enjoys aerial acrobatics, acting, dancing and integrates all aspects of his accumulated knowledge into his performances.
Andy enjoy all types of performance and has worked with companies like the Austin Poetry Slam, Black Widow Burlesque as well as with and for several charities benefiting numerous causes. Performance is in his blood. Sky Candy and he have received several B Iden Payne Awards for outstanding Choreography and Aerial Fight Choreography in recent years.
Sandie Donzica is a French contemporary choreographer, dancer and certified yoga teacher. She’s working as the Development & Marketing Associate for The VORTEX and is a company member collaborating with the theater since she arrived in the United-States. She started her artistic career in France after completing her dance education at the CNDC (Centre National de Danse Contemporaine), obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and her Dance Management Bachelor degree. Sandie has also been a dance teacher for many years, obtaining her national dance teaching certification at only 18 years-old in Aix-en-Provence, France. She obtained her choreographic studies diploma with excellence at the National Regional Conservatory of Nice, in the South of France. She is now dedicated to help The VORTEX grow and support this community of artists, on top of choreographing and dancing in Austin with different dance companies such as Jun Shen Movement Theatre Effect, Chaddick Dance Theater, and Diverse Space Dance Theater.
Tamara L. Farley
Tamara hrew up in Dallas, ran away to Colorado briefly, and returned to Austin to find The VORTEX. She began stage managing in 2007 for the VORTEX production of Dark Goddess, and states that she is totally hooked and will never leave.
Melissa first appeared on The VORTEX stage in 2003 and has starred in numerous productions. She holds a BFA in Acting from Texas State University and has received B. Iden Payne Awards for her leading role in Vampyress, her ensemble role in Wake for the Dark Poet, and for ensemble work and original score in Sing Muse. Other notable VORTEX work includes SPIRIT, EARTH, :Humpty, Beirut, The Dragonfly Princess, Pink Sun, Bell(e), hOle, and Pythia Dust, garnering Melissa many B. Iden Payne Nominations for Excellence. Melissa has designed masks and manifested puppets for many notable VORTEX productions, including Atlantis: A Puppet Opera, The Chimponauts and the Mechanical Phantom, Sarah Silver Hands, Changelings, and more, as well as collaborating with Ethos and Electronic Planet Ensemble on vocal arrangements and scripts for a variety of performances. As a tech enthusiast, she initiated livestream performances of new work at The VORTEX with Howlround TV, a national theatrical commons. Most of the graphic design for the theatre starts with her, and The VORTEX has even dabbled in augmented reality posters. She worked for several years in New York and toured professionally with Chamber Theatre Productions and The North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. In addition to her vast artistic experience, Melissa has many years of experience in business administration, sales, and marketing, and was Artistic Director of One Shot Productions in NYC.
Kimberley works both behind the scenes as a photographer and webmistress as well as on stage as a performer. She has a MA in Counseling from St. Edwards University, a BA in Photography from San Jose State University, and studied design at Parsons in NYC. She has photographed over 33 productions for the VORTEX and took over managing the website in 2010. She photographs for numerous theatres in town including Shrewd Productions, Penfold Theatre, Hidden Room Theatre, La Fenice, and others. She has an insatiable curiosity about life which manifests in both her art and story telling. She seems to have boundless creative energy and recently created a card game called Morbid Curiosity.
As an actress, she has appeared on stage with the VORTEX as well as Arts on Real, The Vestige Group, Austin Shakespeare, and City on a Hill. Notable VORTEX Productions include Dark Goddess 07, Troades: The Legend of the Women of Troy, Shocker, and Oceana.