Meet our board of advisors.
Asiimwe Deborah Kawe
ANNABEL EKELUND (she/her)
Annabel is a development professional in New York City, with a focus on theatre and fundraising operations. While obtaining her undergraduate degree at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, Annabel developed a passion for the international arts community. As President of her university’s performing arts fund, she granted over $29,000 in production funds to international students, enabling them to perform on university stages and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Annabel returned to the States in 2018 to receive her Masters in Performing Arts Administration at NYU, alongside gaining valuable practical experience in global arts engagement, institutional giving, and professional development. She is very excited to be joining Et Alia Theater as a member of its Board of Advisors and looks forward to getting back to live theatre as soon as possible.
WHITNEY ULAND (she/her)
Whitney is a queer actor, filmmaker and certified life coach for artists. Her award-winning films have been seen around the world (including Cannes Film Festival, Bentonville Film Festival, SeriesFest, Catalyst Content) and she has been featured in Funny or Die, Authority Mag and Deadline. Whitney’s debut feature film which she co-write, directed and stars in, The Cosmos Sisters is in post production and Whitney recurs in season to of HBO’s Love Life, opposite William Jackson Harper. Whitney is also the owner of Abundant Artist Coaching, a life coaching and mentorship program for artists around the world who are ready to take their careers to the next level.
ANGEL DESAI (she/her)
Angel is an actor, singer, musician, and activist. Her most recent TV and film work includes “Blue Bloods”, For Life”, “NCIS: NOLA”, “City on a Hill”, “Bull”, klutz., The Oh-Gees, and Lady Apsara (also co-producer). Broadway: "Company" (2006). Off-Broadway: MTC, NYTW, CSC, Playwrights Horizons, The Public/NYSF, Women's Project, Ma-Yi, MCC. Regional credits include: Yale Repertory, George St. Playhouse,The Old Globe, McCarter Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse, Long Wharf, Arena Stage, Playmakers Repertory, Cleveland Playhouse, Sundance Theater Festival, NY Stage and Film, O'Neill Theater Center, and the Cape Cod Theater Project. You can hear her as the voice of First Minister Jinn in “Gears of War” 4 and 5. She has an MFA in Acting from NYU. For more info, go to www.angeldesai.com
MELISSA CRESPO (she/her)
Melissa is from Connecticut with Dominican, Puerto Rican and Chilean roots. She is a New York City based director of theater, opera and film. She is also a producer, dramaturg and playwright. As a director, Melissa has developed work at New Dramatists, The Lark and theaters around the country. Favorite past credits include: world premiere of Charly Evon Simpson’s form of a girl unknown (Salt Lake Acting Company), Promenade by María Irene Fornés and Al Carmines (Artist-in-Residence at NYU Tisch), and her production of Karen Zacarías’ Native Gardens co-produced by Syracuse Stage, Geva Theatre Center and Portland Center Stage. As a playwright, Melissa co-wrote Egress with Sarah Saltwick. It received the Roe Green Award Workshop Production at Cleveland Playhouse last Spring and will receive a NNPN rolling world premiere starting this fall. Melissa has served as a Time Warner Fellow at WP Theater, Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, Van Lier Directing Fellow at Second Stage Theatre and is an alum of the Drama League Director's Project. She is a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop and received her MFA in Directing from The New School for Drama where she is now a faculty member. She was featured in the Broadway Women’s Fund “Women to Watch on Broadway” of 2020. She is a proud member of the 2021 Stonehenge NYC Still Standing Artist Residency, and was recently named Associate Artistic Director at Syracuse Stage.
ASIIMWE DEBORAH KAWE (she/her)
Asiimwe Deborah Kawe was born in Kiruhura, in South Western Uganda. She is an award-winning playwright, producer and performer. Currently, the Producing Artistic Director of Tebere Arts Foundation and co-Artistic Director of the Kampala International Theatre Festival. Asiimwe has worked with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program; dividing her time between New York City and East Africa, she led the East Africa initiative, a program that covered the countries of Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda for six years. Ms. Kawe received a Diploma in Music, Dance and Drama, and a B. A. in Theatre and Performing Arts from Makerere University in Kampala-Uganda, and an M.F.A. in Writing for Performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Ms. Asiimwe’s recent plays include Red Hills, Forgotten World, Cooking Oil, Appointment with gOD, Un-entitled, Do they Know it’s Khristmas? to mention but a few. Her radio play, Will Smith Look Alike won an award with the BBC World Service African Performance playwriting competition. Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, who was the judge of the competition had this to say about the play; “I thought the writing was very good and I became really caught up with the play wondering what the final denouement would be.” Asiimwe has been a writing fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany, a guest Artist at Pomona College in California, USA and at the New York University in Abu Dhabi. For more about Asiimwe’s work, visit the following websites: