Above photo: Taming of the Shrew. Photo by Richard Termine.
Desiree Sanchez (EXECUTIVE Artistic Director)
Desiree has directed and adapted last season's Romeo and Juliet and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Past productions she has directed and adapted for include: The Tempest and Wuthering Heights for the 2014/2015 season, Twelfth Night and Fahrenheit 451 for the 2013/2014 season, A Female Philoctetes at BAM Fisher's Hillman Studio, The Taming of the Shrew and Cyrano de Bergerac for the 2012/2013 season, Herakles at BAM in March 2013 and the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece and the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens in July, 2012, Macbeth and The Importance of Being Earnest for the 2011/2012 season, and Six Characters in Search of an Author for the 2010/2011 season; created movement for Aquila's A Very Naughty Greek Play (Aristophanes' Wasps), Catch-22, Julius Caesar, The Iliad: Book One, and The Comedy of Errors; performed in The Iliad: Book One at the Festival of the Aegean in Syros, Greece; and was the lead teaching artist for Aquila's Shakespeare Leaders program in Harlem. Desiree had a twenty-year dancing career including working as a principal dancer for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet where she worked under the direction of numerous directors and choreographers that included Francesca Zambello, Mark Lamos, Doug Varone, John Dexter, Franco Zeffirelli, Julie Taymor and Andrei Konchalovsky. Other companies and choreographers she has worked with include the Boston Ballet, Neo Labos Dancetheatre, Donald Byrd/The Group, Sean Curran, Gelsey Kirkland, Bill T. Jones, Heidi Latsky, Eun Me Ahn in Korea, and Robert La Fosse. She performed for the Papermill Playhouse as a featured dancer in the musicals Carousel and The King and I. She has also taught at Long Island University as a visiting associate professor of dance, and has a Certificate of Movement Therapy from The New School.
Peter Meineck (founder and Program Director)
Peter founded Aquila Theatre in 1991 and has worked extensively in theater in London and New York. He is Professor of Classics in the Modern World at New York University where he specializes in ancient performance and the application of cognitive science to the study of the ancient world. He is also Honorary Professor of Humanities at the University of Nottingham and has held fellowships at Harvard, Princeton and the University of California and the Onassis Foundation. He has published numerous translations of Greek plays with Hackett, and was awarded 2001/02 Lewis Galantiere Award for Literary Translation for his translation of Aeschylus' Oresteia. He received the 2009 NYU Golden Dozen Teaching Award, a 2009 Humanities Initiative Team Teaching Award, the American Philological Association Outreach Prize. Peter is a regular performing arts contributor to the humanities journal Arion and has published several scholarly articles on Greek drama and Shakespeare. His latest book is Combat Trauma and the Ancient Greeks, published by Palgrave/Macmillian. He has produced and/or directed more than 50 professional productions of classic drama. He has received significant grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for devising and directing the groundbreaking public programs: You/Stories, Ancient Greeks/Modern Lives (Chairman’s Special Award), and Page and Stage: The Power of The Iliad Today. He also acts as an advisor of Greek literature and mythology, recently to National Geographic, Disney, Fuse TV and Will Smith (I am Legend). He is a graduate of University College London (BA hons. Ancient World Studies) and the University of Nottingham (PhD Classics) and a former Royal Marines Reservist. Peter continues to serve as a Lieutenant Firefighter and EMT in Westchester, NY.
erika L. pierce (General MANAGER, GRANT WRITER/ DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR)
Erika has a Bachelors in Literature from Barnard College with a specialty in Medieval Literature, and has a Masters in Teaching, English Language and Literature, from Manhattanville College. She additionally has a background in the arts and financial administration.
robert rogers (Technical Director)
Robert is also Aquila Theatre’s Touring Technical Director. Bob has been involved in Technical Theatre for over ten years. His most recent endeavors include Production Manager/Technical Director for Penobscot Theatre, Technical Director for Gretna Theatre, and Technical Director for Aquila’s 2016 Spring and 2014-15 Tour Seasons. He has also been involved with everything from Assistant Tent Boss for the Zerbini Circus to a Chief Pilot of Maintenance at a $2.5 million dollar helium balloon in Tennessee. Additionally, Bob spent time in Qinhuangdao, China, where he was the Technical Director for an international cooperation project for the theme park show: Snow White’s Birthday Adventure!
BIANCA W. JOHNSON (ADMINISTRATIVE MANAGER, DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR)
A native of Göteborg, Sweden, Bianca has spent the last two decades working in development and research operations across the corporate, education, social action and arts sectors. She holds a Bachelor's in Russian Language and Literature from the University of Rochester and a Master's in Russian and Slavic Studies from New York University. Bianca has been a volunteer with New York Cares since 2008 and New York Road Runners since 2010. When not hanging out with her husband and son, you can find her running on Westchester's numerous nature trails.