New Leaders at Wheelock Family Theatre

June 28, 2012

Wheelock College named two new leaders for the Wheelock Family Theatre (WFT). Effective July 1, 2012, Dr. Wendy Lement joins the WFT as Producer, and effective August 13, 2012, Mr. Shelley Bolman joins the WFT as Assistant Producer and Managing Director of Theatre Espresso.

Dr. Lement and Mr. Bolman join the talented and devoted staff of the Wheelock Family Theatre to continue 32 years of producing award-winning productions for intergenerational and multicultural audiences.

Dr. Wendy Lement

Dr. Lement brings to Wheelock an impressive and extensive background as a theater producer, director, playwright, academic educator and scholar. As Professor and Chair of the Theatre Department at Regis College, Dr. Lement has directed over thirty-five productions, played an important leadership role in creating academic programs and courses, and engaged students from a variety of disciplines by using theater as an innovative teaching tool. She has also taught graduate courses in Emerson College's Theatre Education Program.

In 1992, Dr. Lement co-founded Theatre Espresso, a theater company that brings history to life for students through interactive dramatic productions. The company serves 15,000 students annually and performs 150 shows each year in schools, museums, libraries and courthouses throughout New England. Theatre Espresso will now be in residence at Wheelock Family Theatre. This new addition is an ideal extension of the mission of Wheelock Family Theatre and will provide internships and other learning opportunities for Wheelock students interested in theatre, education ,and arts management. 

In addition to her roles as producer, artistic director and theater educator, Dr. Lement is an accomplished scholar widely published in theater and education journals. Her book And Justice for Some: Exploring American Justice Through Drama and Theatre (co-authored with Bethany Dunakin) was published by Heinemann Press in 2005. She recently wrote a chapter entitled "Theatre-in-Education as a Catalyst for Civic Dialogue" for the third edition of Learning Through Theatre (to be released by Routledge in January 2013), and her children's book, Keri Tarr: Cat Detective was published by Breakaway Books in 2004.

Dr. Lement has received many recognitions and awards for her work as Artistic Director of Theater Espresso including a 2012 Challenge America grant from National Endowment for the Arts award for the play American Tapestry: Immigrant Children of the Bread and Roses Strike. Her production of The House of Bernarda Alba won the 2000 New England Region's American College Theatre Festival, sponsored by the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.

Dr. Lement holds a Ph.D. in Educational Theatre from New York University.

Mr. Shelley Bolman

Mr. Bolman is an administrator, actor, director and educator. He has performed in many Wheelock Family Theatre productions and teaches in our summer vacation children's theater programs. For the past four years, Mr. Bolman has served as the senior staff assistant for the School of Theatre at Boston University. He was also the drama teacher for the Pike School in Andover for seven years. In addition to being a veteran of the Wheelock Family Theatre stage, Mr. Bolman has worked with companies including the Olney Theatre Center, New Repertory Theater, Actors' Shakespeare Project, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Hanover Theatre, Wellesley Summer Theatre and the Village Theatre Project.

Mr. Bolman will serve as Managing Director of Theater Espresso and in this capacity he will lead the effort to integrate Theatre Espresso into WFT and expand its programming throughout New England. As Assistant WFT Producer, Mr. Bolman will work closely with Dr. Lement and our exceptional WFT staff to continue to produce awarding-wining, innovative productions and educational programs.

Mr. Bolman received a BA in Russian from Vassar College and a Master's in Theatre Education from Emerson College.

About Theatre Espresso

Since, 1992, Theatre Espresso has created, produced, and performed high-quality, interactive dramas that bring history to life for students, in order to engage students in their education and foster a generation of critical thinkers and true citizens. The company performs 150 shows per year in schools, museums, libraries, and courthouses throughout New England. Each year, Theatre Espresso serves over 15,000 students in grades 4-12, from all racial and ethnic backgrounds and income levels.

Theatre Espresso is an official partner of Mass Humanities and was selected to join the Mass Cultural council's Portfolio Program. Theatre Espresso's work challenges students to make critical judgments, explore social relationships, reflect on the role of law and human rights in our society, and examine accepted truths about the history of America. Theatre Espresso uses interactive theatre to teach young people to think critically. Theatre Espressos historical dramas empower students to explore the parallels between historical events and contemporary issues.

The company's plays are linked both to the curriculum and to exhibits in selected sites. In 2006, Theatre Espresso's Boston Youth Initiative for Theatre and Civic Dialogue created a sustainable learning model that engages Boston students and teachers in complex debates on history, social justice, and civic engagement at the John Adams courthouse in Boston, in collaboration with the Supreme Judicial Court. The initiative was replicated in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 2010. Each fall, all of the city's fifth-graders participate in American Tapestry at the Lawrence Heritage State Park Visitors Center. Theatre Espresso also provides curriculum study guides and professional development for teachers.

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