Class Bios

Student bios:

Kara Chesser is a local Arizonian, born in Tucson. She is getting her MFA in Arts Entrepreneurship and Management from Arizona State University and has her BA in media arts with an emphasis in media producing from the University of Arizona. She has a wide range of experience in the arts profession, both in the media arts field and the performing arts field. During undergrad she had her own weekly event radio spot on the local Tucson PBS radio station KUAZ called “Arizona Spotlight,” and was a news correspondent for their local morning news spots during the national broadcast of “Morning Addition.” After getting her BA, she was involved as a postproduction producer for various independent movies, and the box office manager and publicist for the Arizona International Film Festival. In the last 6 years her experience ranges from being the box office and front of house manager for the Arizona Opera, in Tucson and in Phoenix from 2008 to 2010, to being the box office manager, theatre manager, bar manager and event coordinator for the Fox Tucson Theatre, a1930’s movie-palace turned event center in downtown Tucson, AZ. Performance highlights while working at the Fox Theatre include concerts with Cyndi Lauper, Jeff Bridges, and Pat Benatar, annual screenings of the Warren Miller Film Festival, runs of the Moscow Ballet’s production of ‘The Nutcracker,” and coordination of events for ATC, TedTalks, New Belgium Brewery, Stateside Presents, and Live Nation.

Mollie Flanagan got her B.A. in Scenography at ASU, and then ran away to San Francisco. There, she stage managed, production managed, designed lights and did electrics for a variety of companies, including The Magic, ODC, Marin Theater Company, Theater Yugen, Crowded Fire, The San Francisco Mime Troupe and LEVYdance. She ran the Kid Tech program at Ross Valley School District, teaching technical theater to kids in 4th-8th grade, including their participation in fully produced shows. She also spent a summer technical directing the Mad River Festival at Dell Arte. Since returning to Phoenix, she has worked at Greasepaint Youtheater, TheaterWorks, Dulce Dance Company, MIM Music Theater, and Orange Theatre Group, in addition to production managing some large site specific pieces for Arizona State University.  She recently returned to ASU, this time for a Masters of Fine Arts in Arts Entrepreneurship and Management.

Ashley Laverty is a second year M.F.A student in the Theatre for Youth program at Arizona State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. As an actress, Ashley has performed nationally for young audiences with the National Theatre for Children, VEE Corporation, Roxy Regional Theatre, Vital Theatre Company, and Storyland, a family amusement park. In Arizona, she teaches Musical Theatre and Acting classes and camps for children ages 3-16 at Childsplay, VOICES Studio and Homestead Playhouse. Ashley is interested in playwriting for a young audience and creating installation-based theatre pieces in non-traditional spaces. For more information, please visit

Shelby Maticic is a second year M.F.A. candidate in the Arts Entrepreneurship & Management program at ASU. She received her B.S. in Theatre Performance from Northern Arizona University. Shelby co-founded and serves as the Artistic Director of the Brelby Theatre Company, based in Historic Downtown Glendale, AZ. She is passionate about arts marketing and new play development.

Emily May  is a M.F.A. in Dance candidate at Arizona State University. In recent years her work has been performed at Arizona State University, the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix, Utah Valley University, The Rose Wagner Theater in Salt Lake City and Dance Place in Washington DC. Emily earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a Ballet emphasis from Utah Valley University. She is passionate about the creative opportunities discovered through movement and the community dance creates. She enjoys all forms of movement and has received formal traning in the forms of ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, hip hop and hula. Through dance Emily has served as a Youth Programs Intern at Dance Place in Washington DC and organized a dance concert performed by Bella Vista Elementary in Utah. She has performed works created by Mark Borchelt, John Corsa, Kim Strunk and Angie Banchero-Kelleher.

Instructor bio:

Linda Essig heads the Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, which has helped over 30 student teams develop arts-based ventures for Arizona and beyond since its inception in 2005 and publishes the first research journal in the field, Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts.  She was the first director of the ASU School of Theatre and Film, now the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, where she also served as Artistic Director of the school’s MainStage Season from 2004–2010. Her current research is on the social value and organizational values of arts venture incubators.   Also a lighting designer,  Essig’s design for the ASU production of Suzan–Lori Parks’s “Venus” was part of the USA National Exhibit of theatrical design at the Prague Quadrennial in 2007. Essig has designed lighting for theatres throughout the country including Cleveland Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Missouri Rep, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Skylight Opera, La Mama ETC, Pioneer Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre and others. She is the author of articles and book chapters on both arts entrepreneurship and lighting design as well as two books: Lighting and the Design Idea (third edition, January 2012) and The Speed of Light: Dialogues on Lighting Design and Technological Change. She recently competed work as the director of evaluation for “Home in the Desert,” an NEA-funded interdisciplinary community arts project. She has served on the boards of directors of the University/Resident Theatre Association, US Institute for Theatre Technology, and the Phoenix Fringe Festival and currently serves on the board of Rising Youth Theatre. Prior to joining ASU, she was on the faculty of University of Wisconsin-Madison for sixteen years.  Her blog, covers arts entrepreneurship, arts policy, higher education in the arts and, occasionally, cooking. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s