VORTEX COUNCIL MEMBERS
Circe Sturm (Chair)
Circe hails from the great state of Texas, where she first started acting in her hometown of Houston at the age of nine. When she first moved to Austin in the late 1980s, one of her first stage projects was with The VORTEX in its first season. Decades later, she still works in theatre, film and commercials but also enjoys doing improv and voice over. Some of her favorite local theatre credits include The Language Archive, Proof, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Lone Star, Jessica Kubzansky's original play Inventory, and The Re-Set Project with Asaf Ronen and Lucky Chaos Theatre Company. Circe is lucky to count The VORTEX as one of her creative homes and to have the opportunity to serve on its Council. She also loves her day job as a professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, the same place where she once earned her undergraduate degree. In addition to acting, she enjoys writing creative non-fiction, and has published two award winning books, some short form memoir and poetry.
Christine has served on The VORTEX Council since 2017. Christine is a playwright, producer, performer, and the Founding Artistic Director of Color Arc Productions. The first public reading of Christine's play A Girl Named Sue was held at The VORTEX in 2016. In 2017, A Girl Named Sue won the Austin Critics Table Award for Best New Play. In December 2017, Christine’s play People of Color Christmas, directed by The VORTEX's Associate Artistic Producer Rudy Ramirez, became the first production to tour the City of Austin's Cultural Centers (Asian American Resource Center, Mexican American Cultural Center, and Dougherty Arts Center). Christine is partnering with The VORTEX's Tyler Mabry for her next work, Romeo & Katrina: A New American Musical Set in Post-Katrina New Orleans.
Jennifer Adams moved to Austin in 1977 to attend UT and has been an educator ever since she graduated. She met Bonnie Cullum and the other original VORTEX founders in 1989, and participated in several early productions such as Temptation, Blood Brother Weekend, and 1,000 Points of Light. Writing poetry, aphorisms, and lyrics has been her main creative outlet. Many local musicians have performed and recorded her songs. Jennifer served on the governing board of NYOS Charter School and is delighted to be part of the VORTEX Council. Her passion for the arts, humanities, and this unique community drives her to support spaces for artists to perfect their craft and insure that fellow Austinites of all ages have a place to explore, connect, and create lasting memories. Jennifer is very grateful to have been shaped by iconic spaces such as Raul’s, Armadillo World Headquarters, and The VORTEX.
Suzanne McAnna (Secretary)
Suzanne McAnna is a native of Tennessee who ended up in Texas more or less by accident. She lived ten years in Houston and then relocated to Austin when it was still enticingly weird. Suzanne worked in library automation and management for the University of Texas Libraries for 29 years, retiring in 2011.
Suzanne’s introduction to The VORTEX came when she met Bonnie Cullum at a Texas hill country retreat. She was thrilled and impressed by the brilliance, creativity and innovative vision of Bonnie and the people working with her. Suzanne was invited to join what was then called the VORTEX Board—now the Council—on which she has served as secretary for some years. She continues to be inspired and excited by the evolution of VORTEX.
Suzanne’s other interests include exploring the beauty of the natural world, environmental and political activism, feminism, history and prehistory, folklore and myth, and earth spirituality. She is the author of Tarot through the Witch’s Eye: Tarot Wisdom for Magical and Personal Transformation, published in 2016.
Bonnie Cullum (Treasurer)
Bonnie co-founded The VORTEX in Austin in 1988. As Producing Artistic Director, she has collaborated with the ensemble of VORTEX artists to create and present 30 seasons of new work—more than 350 innovative and distinct productions. She has directed more than 60 world premieres as well as dozens of published works. In 2009, Cullum was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame. She received an MFA in Directing from the UT at Austin and a BA in Theatre from the University of Kansas. Thrice honored as Austin’s Best Director by the Austin Chronicle, Cullum received B. Iden Payne Awards for Best Director for Sarah Silver Hands (2011, NEA-funded opera), Troades: The Legend of the Women of Troy (2008, original play with music), Moby Dick (2002, original play adapted from Melville), and Despair's Book of Dreams and the Sometimes Radio (2000, original musical). The VORTEX has been honored with more than 100 B. Iden Payne Awards for Outstanding Productions, Original Scripts, Original Scores, Acting, Design, and Extraordinary Events. She founded VORTEX's award-winning Summer Youth Theatre in 1991 to provide free theatre opportunities for youth, nurturing several generations of young artists. Cullum is internationally recognized for her experimental productions and her advocacy of cutting-edge artists.
Yvonne Oaks’ passion for theatre began at the young age of 5 when she had the starring role in her first play. Oaks’ theatre background includes acting both on the stage and screen and she has performed in three Vortex productions. Oaks’ works in the hospitality industry and utilizes her over 14 years of event planning experience to aid in fundraising events for The Vortex. As a servant leader, Oaks feels it is vital to give back to the community and is dedicated to the arts and youth based programming. She has been a company member since 2012 and a Council Member since 2014.
JEREMY RASHAD BROWN (Vice Chair)
Jeremy has lived in Austin for 12 years and is more than excited to embark on his first year sitting on the The Vortex Repertory Theatre Council. Jeremy attended UT Austin where he studied American Studies and Music Business with concentrations in marketing. Hailing from Waxahachie, TX, Jeremy caught the theater bug in the sixth grade when he was cast as Beast in Beauty & the Beast. After that middle school production, there was no shaking the new found passion. Brown’s most recent stage performances have been in TWENTYEIGHT by Tyler English-Beckwith (Gale Theater Company) and The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers (Different Stages), both of which were performed at The Vortex Repertory Theatre. That theater bug has since grown into film and television endeavors.
In February 2018, after establishing a solid corporate-level sales and marketing career in the natural foods industry, he decided to seriously pursue his craft in an entrepreneurial way by founding Brown Boy Productions and Oh So Reel Films. He also serves as Director of Creative Arts at Survive 2 Thrive Foundation - a non-profit founded by local musician Courtney Santana that assists survivors of domestic violence. Brown is also a singer-songwriter and musician who plays several different instruments, including the trombone and saxophone.
Pam Neill is a Corporate IT Leader in the Austin area with over 30 years of experience. She is currently employed at General Motors where she is a Sr. leader of a global software development team. Prior to GM she held Director positions for Dell and HP. She has extensive expertise delivering software solutions. Her strengths include planning and execution of highly complex software solutions to meet business needs, building world class teams and co-creating results with stake holders.
Pam owned and managed a Consulting company for 8 years with clients in telecommunications, manufacturing, computer technology and education.
Pam has a bachelor’s degree in Math/Computer Science from Truman State University and is also a graduate of the Electronic Data Systems System Engineering Development program. She is an NLP master.
Pam is an Executive Trustee of The Neill Foundation whose Charitable vision has long been to empower beings to expand emotionally, physical, mentally and spiritually. This is a focus supporting the arts, medical research, educational and spiritual organizations.
She currently holds a Board of Trustees position for First Spiritualist Church.