Aurora Connects

Live Webcast Every Friday at 4pm

Theatre is all about connection. While the measures we're all taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are necessary to save lives, they're also leaving us isolated at a time when we need human connection more than ever. At Aurora, there's not much we can do to directly address the pandemic, but even with our stage dark it remains our role to make connections between artists and audiences.

AURORA CONNECTS is our new weekly live broadcast, an online salon and virtual happy hour. We'll stream AURORA CONNECTS live on our YouTube channel, allowing you to react, comment, ask questions, and engage in real time.

We'll share updates about Aurora's upcoming shows and season, interviews and Q&As with actors and designers, roundtable discussions with directors, and more.  Have suggestions for AURORA CONNECTS? Let us know what you want to see.


Watch this week's episode, and join us this and every Friday at 4 P.M. for #AURORACONNECTS. You can listen to AURORA CONNECTS audio here.

Upcoming Episodes

Friday, June 5 at 4 P.M. | Black Lives Matter featuring Aldo Billingslea and Vincent Terrell Durham
Friday, June 12 at 4 P.M. | Playwrights Jonathan Spector, Lauren Gunderson, and Cleavon Smith
Friday, June 19, at 4 P.M. | The Mayor of Berkeley, Mayor Arreguin
Friday, June 26, at 4 P.M. | Bay Area Artistic Directors featuring Eric Ting

Meet our hosts

Josh Costello, Artistic Director
Josh Costello was appointed Artistic Director in 2019 following a national search. At Aurora, he has directed, among others, Exit StrategyThe Importance of Being EarnestDetroit, and the award-winning world premiere of Jonathan Spector's Eureka Day. His world premiere production of Aaron Loeb's Ideation with SF Playhouse moved to Off-Broadway at 59E59 and was named a New York Times Critic's Pick. Costello holds a BFA in Theatre from Boston University, and an MFA in Directing from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Dawn Monique Williams, Associate Artistic Director
Dawn Monique Williams has been Aurora's Associate Artistic Director since August 2019. An Oakland-native, she was Artistic Associate and a resident artist at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for six seasons. She's worked in theatre across the US including: HERE Arts Center, Profile Theatre (Portland), A.C.T., Chautauqua Theatre Company, African American Shakespeare Company. Williams holds an MA in Dramatic Literature and an MFA in Directing. She directed Bull In A China Shop at Aurora in Fall 2019.



This week on AURORA CONNECTS, Josh and Dawn are joined by Bay Area actor and Aldo Billingslea (Dry Powder, Collapse). We'll open the episode with a timely discussion about the many protests against racial injustice and police brutality that have been happening since last week and continue today. We'll also catch up with Aldo, and chat about Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids, a play by Vincent Terrell Durham about gentrification, white fragility, the Black Lives Matter movement, and police violence against black men. 

Aldo Billingslea was last seen at Aurora in Dry Powder (2017), This Is How It Goes (2013), and Collapse (2011). His stage credits include American Conservatory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theatre, Cutting Ball Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Magic Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, TheatreWorks, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. He has also worked at Portland Center Stage, Portland Repertory Theatre, Tacoma Actor's Guild, Sacramento Theatre Company, Plano Repertory Theatre, Theatre Three in Dallas, San Antonio's Majestic Theatre, InterAct Theatre, Old Globe Theater, and Shakespearean Festivals of California, Dallas, Marin, Oregon, and Utah.
Vincent Terrell Durham (Playwright) -- Bio coming soon. 



This week on AURORA CONNECTS, Josh and Dawn are joined by Bay Area and Aurora favorites Stacy Ross (Bull In A China ShopYear of Magical Thinking) and Martha Brigham (The How and The Why). Stacy and Martha shared the stage in Aurora's 2017 production of Leni, directed by Jon Tracy. We'll chat with Stacy and Martha about their memorable Aurora moments, learn about what life is like as an actor in the Bay Area, and what it's like to be an actor during a stay-at-home order.

Stacy Ross last appeared at Aurora in Bull in a China Shop (2019). Other Aurora performances include The Year of Magical ThinkingLeniA Kind of Alaska, Hedda GablerMan of Destiny, and Gidion’s Knot. Locally she has also been seen at Cal Shakes, Cutting Ball, SF Playhouse, Custom Made, A.C.T, Berkeley Rep, Playground, and San Jose Rep.

Martha Brigham has performed at La Jolla Playhouse, San Francisco Playhouse, Aurora Theatre Company, Shotgun Players, Jewel Theatre Company, Central Works, and Marin Theatre Company. Her more recent theatre credits include Gloria at American Conservatory Theatre, Cry It Out with Just Theatre (soon to be remounted at Aurora), and Patricia Cotter's World Premiere of The Daughters at San Fransisco PlayhouseHer film credits include Children of SorrowThe Man in the Red Suit, and The Empire Builders  Brigham graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute as well as studying with Steppenwolf West under alumni Tom Irwin and LA’s comedy improv group, The Groundlings. (She/Her/Hers) @marthb89

FRIDAY, MAY 22 at 4PM:


This week on AURORA CONNECTS, Josh and Dawn dive deep into the mind of a theatre critic with guest Lily Janiak, of the San Francisco Chronicle. What is the role of a critic? Was she given a mandate when she took over the job in 2016? Was she told to appeal to younger audiences? Who writes headlines for her reviews? Does she choose the Little Man, and if so, how does she choose him? What does she think about rating systems in general? Get answers to these questions and more, Friday at 4 p.m. on Aurora Connects.

Lily Janiak joined the San Francisco Chronicle as theater critic in May 2016. Previously, her writing appeared in Theatre Bay Area, American Theatre, SF Weekly, the Village Voice and HowlRound. She holds a BA in theater studies from Yale and an MA in drama from San Francisco State.



This week on Aurora Connects, Josh and Dawn are joined by Brit Frazier and Margo Hall, playwright and director for LAVEAU, an Aurora Originate + Generate commission. In addition to learning more about Margo and Brit as artists, we'll discuss the genesis of the project, learn more about Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen of New Orleans, and hear about Brit's recent trip to New Orleans earlier this year.

Brit Frazier's stage credits include Campo Santo, Cutting Ball Theatre, Shotgun Players, Ubuntu Theater Project, Marin Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, ACT's Strand Theatre, and the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. As a teaching artist, she’s directed for Disney Theatrical NY and Bay Area Children's Theater as a part of their Disney Musicals in Schools Program, and taught with California Shakespeare Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and The Marsh SF. She has written three plays, Obeah, Dysphoria, and Pressure High. Berkeley’s TheatreFirst commissioned Frazier to write Laveau: A Conjuring of Marie Laveau, a short, solo ritual performance tribute to Marie Laveau that was directed by Margo Hall and performed by actor Dezi Solèy in September 2018 as part of an evening of four short solo performances. A former directing apprentice with Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Playground Series, Frazier recently directed Take The Ticket at TheatreFirst.

Margo Hall (Exit Strategy, Trouble In Mind; Global Age Project director) has performed and directed in theaters throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. She was last seen onstage in Skeleton Crew, a co-production with Marin Theatre Company and Theatreworks. She recently directed BARBECUE (which she also starred in) for San Francisco Playhouse and Brownsville, b-side for tray for Shotgun Players. Her writing credits include The People’s Temple at Berkeley Repertory Theater, which won the 2005 Will Glickman Playwright Award for best new play in the Bay Area, and Be Bop Baby, a Musical Memoir, a semi-autobiographical piece at Z Space in San Francisco, featuring the Marcus Shelby 15-piece orchestra. She is a founding member of the award-winning, San Francisco-based multi-cultural ensemble Campo Santo, and has directed, performed and collaborated on new plays with artists such as Naomi Iizuka, Jessica Hagedorn, Philip Kan Gotanda, and Octavio Solis.



This week on Aurora Connects, Josh and Dawn will be joined by Bay Area artists, performers, educators, and activists Claudia Alick and Leigh Rondon-Davis. You might remember Claudia and Leigh from Aurora's March 2nd town hall, Welcome To Our Space? A Town Hall on Audience Interactions, where panelists and audience members discussed how theaters and theatergoers can create a more welcoming and inclusive theatre-going culture in the Bay Area. We'll recap the event and learn more about Claudia's and Leigh's inspiring work at the intersection of art and activism.

Claudia Alick (she/her/they) is a performer, producer, and inclusion expert. Named by American Theater Magazine as one of 25 theater artists who will shape American Theater in the next 25 years, Alick has served as the founding Artistic Director of Smokin' Word Productions, is a NY Neofuturist alum, published playwright, recipient of NYC Fresh Fruit directing award, TedXFargo speaker, the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists, featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and former Community Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She is currently the executive producer of the transmedia social justice company CALLING UP.

Leigh Rondon-Davis (they/them) is a performer, visual artist, and dramaturg from both New York City and the Bay Area. They attended Wellesley College and was a member of Oakland's Laney College Fusion Theatre Project. Rondon-Davis’ stage credits include Crowded Fire Theater, Cutting Ball Theater, FaultLine Theater, Variance Festival, The Curran, and Magic Theatre, Shotgun Players, and Ubuntu Theater Project. They currently work for and is a Company Member at Ubuntu Theater Project in Oakland and Shotgun Players in Berkeley.





This week on AURORA CONNECTS, Josh and Dawn will be joined by African American Studies & English teacher Alan Miller, drama teacher Jordan Winer, and Berkeley High student and actor Dwayne Clay, to chat about Aurora's Community Partners Program. Berkeley High was the Aurora's first community partner, paired with our Fall 2019 production of Exit Strategy. We'll learn more about the Community Partners Program and discuss how the Bay Area's stay-at-home order is affecting Berkeley schools, students, and faculty. 

Alan Miller
 Jordan Winer  Dwayne Clay





This week on AURORA CONNECTS, Josh and Dawn chat with Barbara Damashek, Darryl V. Jones, and Jennifer King, the directors of some of Aurora's most memorable productions. Take a deep dive into the process of putting together a show at Aurora. Get to know our directors more intimately as they take you through the entire process, from preparation and design, to rehearsals and then tech, previews, and opening. 

Barbara Damashek is a Tony-nominated director, composer-lyricist, and co-author of the musical Quilters. Aurora credits include 2020's The Children, Creditors, A Number, Splendour, The Lyons, American Buffalo, Fat Pig, and Private Jokes, Public Places. Other credits include the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Rep, A.C.T., The Denver Center, South Coast Repertory, and Actors Theater of Louisville, and internationally in the U.K. and Ukraine.
Darryl V. Jones was last seen at Aurora in 2018's Detroit '67 and 2017's The Royale. Jones directed Welcome Home for Aurora's Global Age Project. Other directing credits include Woolly Mammoth Theatre, The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Sacramento Theatre Company, Theatre Rhinoceros, leading theatres in Washington, DC, off-Broadway, and many regional theatres. He is a professor of theatre arts Cal State East Bay.
Director Jennifer King is a professor of theatre arts and artistic director at Napa Valley College, where she founded Shakespeare Napa Valley. She made her Aurora debut in 2018's Dry Powder. Other directing credits include the Prague Shakespeare Company, Capital Stage, Berkeley Playhouse, SF Playground,  Shakespeare Napa Valley, Sonoma County Repertory Theater, Cinnabar Theatre, and the Sebastopol Shakespeare Festival.

Friday, April 17th:


This week on AURORA CONNECTS, Josh and Dawn chat with Liz Lada, the artist behind our iconic poster art. Formerly Aurora's graphic designer, Liz is an award-winning artist and was featured in The New York Times’ “Behind the Poster,” for the artwork of Aurora’s 2016 production of LITTLE ERIK. Together with Josh and Dawn, we'll highlight some of the standout posters from past seasons, delve into Liz's background, and reveal the beautiful poster art for the upcoming 2020/2021 season.
See some examples of the work Liz has done for Aurora below.

The Children

The Year of Magical Thinking


Everything Is Illuminated

Little Erik

The Lyons

Talley's Folly
Breakfast with Mugabe

The Arsonits


Friday, April 10th:



Carlos Aguirre

Laura Jane Bailey | Instagram

Elizabeth Carter | Blogspot

Kevin Kemp
thestreamingtheatre.comFacebook | Audio book

Katie Rubin | Youtube channel
Twitter @katierubin | Facebook

Dan Wolf

James Ard | Podcast

Phil Wong


Friday, April 3rd:


Kait Kerrigan
Kait Kerrigan is a playwright, lyricist, and bookwriter. Off-Broadway: The Mad Ones, Henry and the Mudge, and Rosie Revere, Engineer, and Friends. Her work has been developed and performed internationally. Her plays include Disaster Relief, Imaginary Love, Transit, and We Have to Hold Hands. Other musicals include Republic, Unbound, and The Bad Years, an immersive house party. Awards, fellowships, and residencies include the Kleban, Larson, Dramatists Guild Fellowship, I-73 Writer’s Group, Lark Playwright’s Week and Winter Retreat, and MacDowell. Kerrigan is an alumna of Barnard College, and a member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and founding member of For more information, visit

M. Graham Smith
M. Graham Smith is a San Francisco-based Director, Educator and Producer. He has been an O’Neill/NNPN National Directing Fellow, Oregon Shakespeare Festival FAIR Fellow and is a proud Resident Artist at SF’s Crowded Fire. He grew up outside of New York City and has been based in San Francisco for the last fourteen years. He’s directed in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Portland Oregon, Washington DC, and venues in San Francisco. He directed the West Coast Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera in SF and Truffaldino Says No at Shotgun Players, winning Best Director for the Bay Area Critics Circle.  Recent credits include the World Premiere of Obie winner Christopher Chen’s Home Invasion in SF, Deal with the Dragon at ACT’s Costume Shop & Edinburgh Fringe, Mia Chung’s You for Me for You at Crowded Fire, and James Ijames’ WHITE at Shotgun. He spent five years as Producer of Aurora Theatre’s new play development program and festival The Global Age Project. He teaches in A.C.T.'s actor-training programs, Berkeley Rep School of Theatre and at Barcelona’s premiere Meisner Technique program in Spain. You can visit him online at


Molly Smith Metzler
Molly Smith Metzler (playwright) is the author of Cry it Out, Elemeno Pea, The May Queen, Carve, Close Up Space and Training Wisteria. Her regional credits include: Northlight Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, South Coast Repertory, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Chautauqua Theater Company, City Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Geva Theatre Center, Mixed Blood Theatre Company and more. In New York City: Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC). Metzler’s awards include the Lecomte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg National Student Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education's David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, the Mark Twain Prize for Comic Playwriting and a finalist nod for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is a proud alumna of the Ars Nova Play Group, the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages and the Cherry Lane Mentor Project. In television, Metzler has written for Casual (Hulu), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Codes of Conduct (HBO), and is currently a writer/producer on Shameless (Showtime). She is also a screenwriter, currently adapting Ali Benjamin’s award-winning novel The Thing About Jellyfish into a film for OddLot Entertainment with Made Up Stories and Pacific Standard (Reese Witherspoon’s company). Metzler was educated at the State University of New York at Geneseo, Boston University, New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts and the Juilliard School. She lives in Los Angeles and Kingston, N.Y.


Molly Aaronson-Gelb
Molly Aaronson-Gelb (Director) is the founder and Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater, for whom she directed We Are Proud to Present... (TBA Award for Outstanding Direction), A Maze (TBA Finalist for Outstanding Direction), Down A Little Dirt Road, Take Me To The Bridge, Far Away, The World Is Round, and Three Plays About Your Mom. Other directing credits include Spring Awakening (CenterREP), Living Together in the Norman Conquests Trilogy (Shotgun Players), the premiere of Blastosphere by Aaron Loeb and Geetha Reddy (Central Works), Aaron Loeb's First Person Shooter (Capital Stage) and Oliver! (Berkeley Playhouse). She has also directed for Crowded Fire, the SF Fringe Festival, and the Hangar Theater in Ithaca, NY. She has worked as an assistant director at Berkeley Rep, ACT, Cal Shakes, and The Women's Project, is a member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab, and holds an MA in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. She is the Drama teacher at the College Preparatory School in Oakland and the Mother of a theater-loving four-year-old.


Friday, March 27th:

Watch Episode one Here

Danny Scheie
Actor and director Danny Scheie was last seen at Aurora in 2015's The Monster-Builder. Stage credits include A.C.T., Cal Shakes, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep, Arena Stage, Old Globe, Actors Theater of Louisville, Z Space, Magic Theatre, and Yale Rep. He recently played Nurse Bruce in this season's Almost Family on Fox. Scheie holds a professorship of Theater Arts at UC Santa Cruz and a PhD in Dramatic Art from UC Berkeley.

Dean Linnard
Dean Linnard is an actor and teaching artist in the Bay Area. Recent credits include SF Playhouse, Cal Shakes, Marin Shakespeare Company, Left Edge Theatre, Vermont Shakespeare
Festival, Luna Stage, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, and the national tour of The Lightning Thief. He holds a BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Susan Lynskey
Susan Lynskey was seen most recently off-Broadway in The Jewish Wife at New Light Theater Project and as young Margaret Thatcher in 59E59 Theaters' Handbagged. Bay Area credits include Berkeley Rep and A.C.T. Other credits include Arena Stage, Kansas City Rep, Round House, Metro Stage, Olney Theatre Center, The Kennedy Center, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Lynskey has been recognized with Helen Hayes nominations for Outstanding Lead and Supporting Actress and the DC Audience Choice Award. She is an OSF Acting Company member and is currently filming Thespian for Amazon. Lynskey fosters new plays with leading incubators including The Kennedy Center, Magic Theatre, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, and National New Play Network.

Join us
this and every Friday at 4 p.m. for #AURORACONNECTS.