In anticipation of our 50th Anniversary season in 2024-25, we're thrilled to announce the 10 new members joining our newly-named Company of Artists (formerly known as the Resident Artist Company). The Company’s expansion maintains the theatre’s commitment to long-term creative relationships and reciprocal care between individuals and the institution while growing and diversifying the core group’s composition. The primary principle of the Company’s next iteration revolves around the recognition of an artist’s lasting impact on the creative life and identity of People’s Light, and the distinctive relationship between the artists and the organization.

The 10 new Company of Artists members represent a diverse group of actors, directors, designers, and theatremakers from across the United States. The new class of members include: Sound Designer Curtis Craig, F. Otto Haas Award-winning actor Akeem Davis, actor, director, and playwright Sanjit De Silva, award-winning director Bill Fennelly, Barrymore award-winning actor and composer Liz Filios, actor, singer, musician, and writer David M. Lutken, actor and creator Patrese D. McClain, Barrymore and F. Otto Haas Award-winning actor Ian Merrill Peakes, actor and author Eric Robinson Jr., and longtime People’s Light Stage Manager Deborah Teller. 

The 10 new members join a Company of 43 other nationally-recognized theatre artists, highlighted by director Abigail Adams, playwright and director Steve H. Broadnax III, Barrymore Award-winning actor Melanye Finister, actor Mary Elizabeth Scallen, actor Marcia Saunders, actor, playwright, and director Peter DeLaurier, and Weston Award-winning actor Aubie Merrylees. Over the past two decades, People’s Light has maintained our commitment to develop and deepen long-term, multifaceted relationships with our company of resident artists – both in and beyond the greater Philadelphia region.

“At People’s Light, we treasure long-lasting relationships with artists, audiences, community partners, donors, and staff,” said Producing Artistic Director Zak Berkman. “We are thrilled to deepen our connection with these inspiring theatre-makers and to include them among our Company of Artists. This diverse community of creative collaborators are a core part of our identity, and they continue to elevate what we put on our stages, bring to our classrooms, and share in communal spaces throughout our region.”

People’s Light began in 1973 as a cooperative venture by a small, dedicated group of multi-talented artists whose primary interest was creating good theatre. The Company of Artists has been a featured and integral component of this effort since our founding. Many existing Company members are responsible for the growth and identity of the organization, including the work on People’s Light stages, in classrooms, and in its community. Birthed with a belief in the artistic and communal benefits of ongoing, multidimensional collaboration, the Company of Artists forged practices around shared values and vocabulary, mutual mentorship, and a commitment to working with young people who continue to be part of the DNA of People’s Light.

Curtis Craig

Theatre: More than 150 productions including musicals, plays, and immersive experiences spanning Regional Theater and Off Broadway and dozens of world premiers. 

Music: Classical music producer and engineer for releases on CRI, Albany, Gasparo, and Chandos records. 

Awards: World Stage Design Gold Medal in Sound Design for the American Premier of Frankenstein (2022), Gold Medal in Sound Design for Pentecost (2009), and a Silver Medal for Sound Design for All The Way (2107). AUDELCO Award for Sound Design, Confederates (2022). 

Associate Professor of Sound Design, School of Theater, Penn State University.


Akeem Davis

People’s Light: A Christmas Carol (2023), A Christmas Carol in Concert (digital), SweatAll My SonsMark Twain: Sacred Cows Make the Best Hamburgers. Theatre Includes: Regional: A Doll’s House (Arden Theatre Company, Barrymore Award for Outstanding Supporting Performance in a Play); The Arsonists (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company); District Merchants (Hayes Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play), King John (Folger Shakespeare Library); Lobby HeroIn The Blood (Theatre Horizon); The Dangerous House of Pretty M’baneMarcus/Emma (InterAct Theatre); Buzzer (Theatre Exile); Henry VRomeo and Juliet (Philadelphia Shakespeare Company); The Brothers Size (Simpatico Theatre Project). Akeem Davis is from Miami, FL, and is a proud alum of Norland Middle School.

Bill Fennelly

People’s Light: Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto, Little Red Robin Hood. Theatre Includes: Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional. Recent projects: Michael Smerconish’s Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking (CNN), world premiere actor-musician You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Cincinnati Playhouse), I Hate Hamlet, Hairspray (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill (Actors Theatre of Louisville & Portland Center Stage). Director: Fly By Night (Dallas Column Award for Best Director of a Musical), Frankenstein – Off-Broadway, Jersey Boys (Original Assistant Director), The Lion King (Resident Director), staff director at New York City Opera Lincoln Center, Phil Killian Directing Fellow at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and projects at: Syracuse Stage, Dallas Theater Center, TheatreWorks Palo Alto, Playwrights Horizons, Hartford Stage Company, Goodspeed Opera House, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Arizona Theatre Company. Associate Producing Artistic Director, The Acting Company and Assistant Artistic Director, Cirque du Soleil. Education: B.M. (Hartt School), M.F.A. (Directing, U.C.S.D.) Bill is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Drexel University in Philadelphia and a Linklater designation candidate.


Liz Filios

People's Light: A Christmas Carol (2021), Noises Off (Belinda/Flavia), Cinderella (Sudsy Squirrel), The Matchmaker (Musician/MD), Arthur and the Tale of the Red Dragon (Guinevere/Torch). Theatre Includes: Passion, Candide, The Threepenny Opera (Arden Theatre), Eurydice, There in the Light and the Darkness (Wilma Theater), As You Like It, An Iliad, Red Velvet (Lantern Theater), Midsummer: A Play With Songs (Inis Nua Theatre), Vainglorious (Applied Mechanics), The Merchant of Venice (Delaware Shakespeare), Into the Woods (Theatre Horizon), Marlene & the Machine, Andy: A Popera, No Regrets: A Piaf Affair (Bearded Ladies Cabaret), Me… Jane (Kennedy Center National Tour), The Winter’s Tale (Folger Theatre), The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theater/South Coast Rep). Film/Television Includes: PBS Kids Sprout. Training: BFA Musical Theatre, University of Michigan, Moving Voice Institute (Associate Artist).

David M. Lutken

Originally from Dallas, Texas, David graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics. He completed a Post-graduate Acting Degree at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London in 1987. An actor, singer, musician and writer, he has performed in the West End, on and off Broadway, at the New York City Opera, Carnegie Hall, The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with orchestras, on radio and at theaters across the United States. His voice can be heard on numerous recordings, including the audiobook of his father, P.K. Lutken’s World War II memoir: “A Thousand Places Left Behind”. With his award-winning original show, Woody Sez: The Life & Music of Woody Guthrie, he and his company have toured Europe, the British Isles, the U.S., the Middle East, and China. The 2018 cast album was recorded live on the Haas Stage. Appearances on stage at People’s Light also include the role of the ‘Stage Manager’ in the 2019 production of Our Town, directed by Abbey Adams, and Ring of Fire, directed by Sherry Lutken, his wife and artistic collaborator of twenty-five years.

Patrese D. McClain

People’s Light: BONEZ, Skeleton Crew, The Mountaintop. Theatre Includes: Broadway Tour: 2017 Tony award-winning Jitney. Regional: K-I-S-S-I-N-G, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Huntington); Twilight (Syracuse Stage), Pipeline, Skeleton Crew (Actors Theatre); Short Shakes R&J (Chicago Shakespeare); White Guy On The Bus (Northlight); and many more. Chicago: Hang (Remy Bumppo); Bright Half Life (About Face); Cocked (Victory Gardens); Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight (Windy City Playhouse); Ruined (Goodman), among others. Film/Television Includes: Widows, Captive State, BET’s Friend Request, Workingman; TV credits on Showtime, FX, NBC, USA, ABC. Awards/Recognitions: 2018 Barrymore Award (Leading Actress), St. Louis Circle Theatre Award (Solo Performance), Joseph Jefferson & Elliot Norton nominations. Training: BFA (Howard University), and Patrese was the 4th African-American woman to receive an MFA in Theatre from Penn State. Former Director of Education for UChicago’s Court Theater, Patrese is a faculty member of the National Theatre Institute and Boston University, and a member of the O’Neill Theater Center Artistic council. Proud AEA and SAG-AFTRA member. Website:

Ian Merrill Peakes

People’s Light: A Christmas Carol (2023), Flea in her Ear, Book of Days, Ghosts, Christmas Carol. Philly: Lantern: Lifespan of a Fact, Molly Sweeney, The Craftsman; Delaware Theater: Noises Off; 1812, The Play that Goes Wrong; Arden Theatre: Equivocation, Macbeth, La Bete, Something Intangible (Barrymore Award), Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, All My Sons (Barrymore Award), Three Days of Rain; Wilma Theater: Body of an American, The Invention of Love; Philadelphia Theatre Company: Sideman (Barrymore Award); Theatre Exile: Red Light Winter and Invisible Hand (Barrymore Award nominations); Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival; Walnut Street Theatre: Blithe Spirit, Matilda, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Peter and the Starcatcher. Regional: ACT, Seattle Rep and Shakespeare Theatre: Charles III; Folger Theatre: Amadeus, Timon of Athens, R and G are Dead (Helen Hayes Award), Henry VIII, Macbeth, The Game of Love and Chance (Helen Hayes nominations); Denver Center for the Performing Arts: The Catch and Glengarry Glen Ross (Best of Denver Awards), When Tang Met Laika; Gulfshore Playhouse: Maytag Virgin, Something Intangible; Actors Theatre of Louisville: The Crucible, Twelfth Night; Shakespeare Santa Cruz: Much Ado About Nothing, Winter’s Tale; Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre: The False Servant.

Eric Robinson Jr.

Raised in Fort Worth, Texas; Eric B. Robinson Jr. is a father, educator and an actor. Robinson holds degrees from Wiley College and Penn State with concentrations in Criminal Justice and Acting. His TV credits include: The Ms. Pat Show (BET), New Amsterdam (NBC), PowerBook II: Ghost (STARZ), It’s a Mann’s World (BET). Off-Broadway: The HotWing King (Signature). Film: They Cloned Tyrone (Netflix).

Sanjit De Silva

(He/him) NPF Playwright. People’s Light: True WestThe Cherry Orchard. Theatre Includes: Broadway: WarHorse (Tony-Award Best Play, Lincoln Center Theater). Off-Broadway: Elyria (Atlantic Theater, Dir. Awoye Timpo), Richard III (NYSF/Public Theater, Dir. Robert O’Hara), Merchant of Venice (TFANA/Shakespeare Theatre, Dir. Arin Arbus), An Ordinary Muslim (NYTW, Dir. Jo Bonney), Troilus and Cressida (NYSF/Public Theater, Dir. Daniel Sullivan), Dry Powder (World Premiere, Public Theater, Dir. Thomas Kail, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critic’s Circle Award Nominations for Best Featured Actor), Awake and Sing (NAATCO), The Little Foxes (NYTW, Dir. Ivo Von Hove) Film/Television Includes: Afterparty, The Girl is in Trouble, The Company Men, and the critically-acclaimed Arranged; Inventing Anna, New Amsterdam, Evil, Tell Me A Story, Blindspot, Madam Secretary, Blacklist, Elementary, High Maintenance, Homeland, Blue Bloods, The Good Wife and of course Law & Order. Training: MFA (NYU Graduate Acting). Website:


Deborah Teller

People’s Light: Production Manager/Resident Stage Manager/Company Manager for over nine seasons, involved in more than 80 plays, most recently as Stage Manager for Songs for Nobodies, Thurgood, Bayard Rustin Inside Ashland, The Children, Dot, Morning’s at Seven, The Mountaintop, All My Sons and previously: Awake and Sing!, Sister Carrie, Inherit the Wind, Talley’s Folly, Jazz Is, Glengarry Glen Ross, Hamlet, Our Town, My Children! My Africa! Theatre Includes: The National Shakespeare Company (Producing Director), Cubiculo Theatre (General Manager), Arden Theatre, La MaMa, E.T.C., The Actors Studio, Oldcastle Theatre Company, American Music Theatre Festival, The Greek Theatre (Operations Manager). Film/ Television Includes: The Dancer Films (1st AD), Patriotic (1st AD), Men Cry Bullets (2nd AD), JAG (Casting Associate).