Cornerstone Theater Company

Board of Directors

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Board Member at Cornerstone Theater Company, please contact Ilia Lopez, Director of Strategic Relations at (213) 613-1700 ext. 119 or ilopez@cornerstonetheater.org.

Clementine Bordeaux (Secretary)

Clementine Bordeaux (Secretary)
Clementine Bordeaux is an enrolled member of the Sicangu Lakota Oyate and was raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. After receiving her BA in Theatre from Carthage College (Wisconsin), she worked as a Youth Ministry Coordinator for the Pine Ridge Catholic Parishes and held the title of He Sapa Win 2007 - 2008 (Miss Black Hills Pow Wow ambassador). Later, returning to school, she received her graduate degree in 2011 from the Native Voices Indigenous Documentary film program at the University of Washington, Seattle. Currently, she works as the Academic Coordinator for the American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Program at the University of California, Los Angeles as well as adjunct faculty for the American Indian Studies program at California State University, Northridge. In fall 2017, Clementine will begin a doctoral program in Culture and Performance in the World Arts and Culture Department at UCLA. She is enjoying her urban Native experience in Southern California and volunteers regularly for several non-profit organizations that serve American Indian communities in Los Angeles County. Clementine believes in the power of education, advocates for Indigenous viewpoints and maintains her support of Native made media in all forms.

LeAnna DeBaptiste Hallman

LeAnna DeBaptiste Hallman
LeAnna grew up in her family funeral business in West Chester, Pennsylvania. She has been a storyteller since a small child when she wrote obituaries for the local newspaper. Her love of storytelling took her to Los Angeles almost 15 years ago where she found success in building a family, a career in entertainment, and a fierce reputation advocating for marginalized communities. LeAnna has spent the last 6 years at Sony Pictures in a variety of positions, but mostly with the Finance Transformation team working with quirky accountants to make business processes more efficient. She has recently joined the Regulatory Compliance team at Netflix where she looks forward to leaning into risk. In her free time LeAnna is currently developing a funeral app, a Pinterest for funerals if you will. If she could know anything about you it would be, "What would your last meal be?"

Paula Ely (Chair)

Paula Ely (Chair)
Paula Ely has worked in film, television, and visual media for 24 years. In 1991 she joined the television division of Carolco Pictures, Hollywood’s largest independent production company at the time. After Carolco’s closing, Paula joined Kazmark Entertainment Group, a firm which creates television advertising and programming trade opportunities in collaboration with major advertising agencies. Paula oversaw the creation of the Kazmark subsidiary Springbok Films in 2002, and has served in producing roles for several films under the Springbok banner. In 2005, Paula produced and directed the documentary Vanishing Cultures: Bushmen of the Kalahari, an official selection at nine national and international film festivals. The film was named “Best Documentary” at the Gulf Coast Film & Video Festival, and Paula received the “Best Producer” award at the La Femme Film Festival in Los Angeles. The documentary was also selected to partner with Peter Gabriel’s human rights organization WITNESS in a Movies That Matter project in association with jaman.com. In 2009 Paula managed production administration for the PBS pledge drive special “The Answer is You”, featuring Michael Bernard Beckwith. WP white line space template Paula received the Volunteer of the Year award in 2004 from the non-profit organization PAWS/LA, and produced and directed their fundraising videos and public service announcements in 2006 and 2009. Paula served on the awards committee for the 2009 IDA Documentary Awards and has been a panelist for four years for the Roy W. Dean Los Angeles Film Grant. In 2012 Paula completed UCLA’s Certificate of Archaeology in the Department of Humanities, Anthropology, which she received with the designation “earned with distinction.” She has also taught as a volunteer adult literacy tutor with the Los Angeles Public Library literacy program and has worked as a volunteer with service programs in Cartago, Costa Rica and Prampram, Ghana. WP white line space template She is currently at work producing a new documentary entitled “The Money Stone,” directed by Stuart Harmon, which explores the little-known world of illegal gold mining in Ghana. “The Money Stone” has received a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts, a Brooklyn Arts Council grant, and the Roy W. Dean Los Angeles Documentary Video Grant. WP white line space template Paula is an avid collector of fine-art photography, and in 2012 was invited to serve on the board of the Photographic Arts Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. After LACMA’s council reorganization in 2013, she joined her fellow board members in the creation of the independent organization PAC/LA, dedicated to fostering individual and community-wide appreciation for the photographic arts.

Michael John Garcés

Michael John Garcés
Michael has been an ensemble member at Cornerstone since 2006.  Plays he has written for Cornerstone include Magic Fruit, the "bridge" project of the multi-year Hunger Cycle which brought together the many communities of the cycle; Consequence, out of story circles with students, teachers, administrators and parents in South Kern County; Los Illegals, created in residence with communities of day laborers and domestic workers; and The Forked Path, a collaboration with Stut Theatre and the Van der Hoeven Kliniek in the Netherlands, which was performed at the Net Even Anders Festival in Utrecht and The International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam. Los Illegals was subsequently produced by Teatro Bravo in Phoenix; it is published in Theatre Magazine (Yale School of Drama/Duke University Press - More info on this Publication). Directing credits at the company include Urban Rez by Larissa FastHorse, California: The Tempest by Alison Carey, Plumas Negras by Juliette Carrillo, Café Vida by Lisa Loomer, and Making Paradise by Tom Jacobson, Shishir Kurup and Deborah Wicks La Puma; as well as What Happens Next by Naomi Iizuka, A La Jolla Playhouse "Without Walls" production in association with Cornerstone Theater Company. Michael is a core member of the Living Word Project in San Francisco, where he has developed and directed three works by Marc Bamuthi Joseph: /peh-LO-tah/ a futbol freedom suite (premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, subsequently at the Hancher and The Kennedy Center), red, black and GREEN: a blues (various venues including The Brooklyn Academy of Music and REDCAT) and the break/s (premiere at Humana Festival and The Walker Arts Center). Directing credits at other theaters include Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman (premiere at Intersection for the Arts; other productions include The Guthrie Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre and Mosaic Theatre), The Arsonists by Max Frisch (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), District Merchants by Aaron Posner (The Folger Theatre), and Seven Spots on the Sun by Martín Zimmerman (The Theatre @ Boston Court).  His full-length plays include south (Great Plains Theatre Conference), THE WEB (needtheatre), points of departure and customs (INTAR Hispanic American Arts Center) and Acts of Mercy (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); as well as a solo performance, agua ardiente which ran Off-Broadway at The American Place Theatre as part of "Dreaming in Cuban"; and short plays include americanas (Mix Blood Theatre and MACLA - "DJ Latinidad's Latino Dance Party"), A Parable (Great Plains Theatre Conference), hymn in three parts (Chalk Rep), tostitos (EST Marathon of One-Act Plays), on edge and the ride (Humana Festival), audiovideo (The Directors Project) and sandlot ball (Mile Square). He collaborated with composer Alexandra Vrebalov on the oratorio Stations, which received its premiere at the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra and was also performed at the NOMUS Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia. Michael is a recipient of the Rockwood Arts and Culture Fellowship, the Princess Grace Statue, the Alan Schneider Director Award, a TCG/New Generations Grant, the Non-Profit Excellence Award from the Center of Non-Profit Management, is a Southern California Leadership Network Fellow and a proud alumnus of New Dramatists. He serves as vice president of the executive board of SDC, the theatrical union for stage directors and choreographers.  

Ellen Gavin

Ellen Gavin
Ellen Gavin is currently working as a writer/director in Los Angeles.  She is the author of numerous screenplays, teleplays and plays that have garnering national awards; she has received numerous travel and residency fellowships nationally and internationally. Recently she was a staff writer on a eighteen-episode Nicaraguan drama entitled Contracorriente, currently broadcasting on major networks throughout Latin America. Her feature romantic comedy, G.P.S. I Love You will be produced and directed by British filmmaker Pratibha Parmar (Nina’s Heavenly Delights (2008), Khush (1991), Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth (2013) of Kali Films. Ellen’s last play Stardust and Empty Wagons, chronicled the experience of 25 Katrina survivors and was accompanied live by the renowned Hot Eight Brass Band of New Orleans. Gavin was one of the first female firefighters in the San Diego Fire Department, inspiring her first play, The Roof's on Fire! and a one-hour dramatic pilot, Walk Under Ladders. She spent three years as a professional municipal firefighter/EMT, working at one of the busiest stations in the city. WP white line space template For over two decades, Gavin was the Founding Artistic Director of the Brava Theater Center in San Francisco, a nationally-recognized theater serving women and playwrights of color. She led a $6 million capital campaign to purchase and renovate the historic vaudeville York Theater in San Francisco's Mission District into a state-of-of-the-art theater complex (with 400 and 100 seat theaters) serving a broad audience. She collaborated on the renovation design in two phases with modernist architects Mark Cavagnero and Anne Fougeron. The completed Brava Theater Center won numerous awards including the AIA No. California Design Award and the International Neon Competition for marquee designer Fernando Duarte; it was featured on the cover of Contract Magazine. WP white line space template Over more than two decades of her artistic leadership, Gavin acted as producer for hundreds of World Premiere productions including premieres by Suzan Lori-Parks, Cherrie Moraga, Culture Clash, Gillian Slovo, Eve Ensler, Diana Son, Joan Holden, Kate Rigg, and many others. She presented internationally-recognized musicians such as Lesley Gore, Trio Los Panchos, Ojos de Brujo, Teague and Sarah, Lila Downs, Ely Guerra, Ritchie Havens, Janis Ian and Ismael Serrano.  The Brava Theater Academy’s  educational activities were groundbreaking–including DramaDIVAS, the first LGBT youth theater in the country, S.F. Running Crew, which taught at-risk youth technical theater skills, and Brava! for Literacy, which used theater as a tool to improve reading.  Gavin was the recipient of the LAVA Award, Focus Magazine’s Artistic Achievement Award, the Bay Guardian Local Hero Award and GOLDie Local Discovery Awards, numerous national awards and travel fellowships to Cuba, Mexico and Central America.  In 2008, Mayor Gavin Newsom declared Ellen Gavin Day, in honor of her two decades of service to San Francisco’s cultural life.  

April Ibarra (Vice Chair)

April Ibarra (Vice Chair)
April Ibarra is a director and acting coach in Los Angeles. She graduated with her MFA from Cal State Fullerton in Theatre Arts and her BA from Cal State Northridge. She is currently the director of Kaiser Permanente's Educational Theatre, STD Prevention Program, "What Goes Around," that tours High schools in Southern California. April has a deep commitment to cultural diversity as a director and educator. She has worked, performed and directed in many multicultural and bilingual theatres throughout Los Angeles, including Casa 0101, the Frida Kahlo Theatre, Breath of Fire, and East LA Rep. As a director, she continually looks for ways to reach all audiences and has a social responsibility to bring theatre to underserved communities. Fortunately, with her position at Kaiser, She is able to take the STD prevention show to many high risk areas in Southern California to educate students as well as provide a theatre experience. She also directed “Two Hands, Four Hearts, No Seatbelts”, a collection of Neil LaBute shorts at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre in the NOHO Arts district. Another directing foray was directing a sketch comedy group called PMS (Pinche Mentirosa Sisters); that strives to empower Latina women, with a performance style similar to the well-known, “Culture Clash." Most recently, she directed the premiere of “Tulip” by Josefina Lopez at Casa 0101. Her next project is directing a webisode series for Kaiser Permanente and in the Spring a one woman show starring Miriam Peniche. April also serves as the Production Coordinator for the Highland Park Independent Film Festival. The HPIFF is coming upon their third year and will be showcasing over 40 independent films at the historic Highland park theatre October 6th-8th, 2016.

Elizabeth Kennedy

Elizabeth Kennedy
Elizabeth Kennedy has been in the non-profit arts and education world for almost 40 years, beginning with the Kansas City Arts Council in 1979 to her present position as Special Advisor to the President for Philanthropy at Occidental College, a position she has held since April 2015. She was Senior Vice President for Advancement at the Music Center of Los Angeles County from 2012 - 2015, overseeing the fundraising program for the Music Center with a focus on the Music Center's 50th Anniversary campaign and celebration.  Prior to that she held a similar position for four years at the Autry National Center. Much of her professional life otherwise was at the Los Angeles Opera, with positions in development and administration from 1983 to 2006, including 6 years as Managing Director (2001-2007) with oversight for fundraising, finance, marketing and human resources. Specific areas of focus throughout has been on board development and governance, fundraising, public interaction and strategic planning. She stepped away from the nonprofit world for a number of years in the 1990s to work for City National Bank developing their philanthropic and community programs, and with the Broad Foundation, working with the Foundation and LAUSD to structure and open the LAUSD High School for the Arts (Cortines High School). Her current position entails working with the President of the College and the Board of Trustees to secure and steward major philanthropic commitments. She has lived in the South Bay for more than 35 years, and has three children and three grandchildren.  She received her BA from State University of New York - Purchase and her Masters in Public Administration from the University of Missouri.

Sarah Lang

Sarah Lang
Sarah Lang is currently a Continuous Improvement Coach at the Capital Group Companies, based in downtown Los Angeles. She over 25 years of investment industry experience, all with Capital Group. Earlier in her career at Capital, Sarah served as a Proxy and Governance specialist; her team developed environmental, social, and governance voting guidelines as well as executing shareholder votes for over 5,000 securities worldwide. Sarah was a founding company and board member of Circle X Theatre Company, and also serves on the Scholar Bridge Network at the Fulfillment Fund. She is an active member of MOCA, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Colburn Society, where she is also a dedicated member of the Community Chorale.

Genevieve Riutort

Genevieve Riutort
(Pronounced Gen-eh-veeve Ree-you-tort) Genevieve began her career in nonprofit social service at St. Joseph Center, a non-profit organization in Venice, CA with a variety of programs for homeless people, low-income families, seniors and veterans.  Her role included assisting with government and foundation grants and general development work. She began working as the Director of Development at the Westside Food Bank in Santa Monica in March of 2004. At that time she was the only staff person exclusively devoted to Development work. She currently serves as Westside Food Bank’s Chief Development Officer, managing a full time Development Coordinator and 2-6 Development Interns and co-managing a part time administrative assistant. During her 12.5 years at the Westside Food Bank she oversaw a comprehensive rebranding project, produced several videos and PSAs, increased the agency’s media appearances, and implemented a new donor database system including higher online giving functionality. She is responsible for all private foundation grant seeking, event planning, individual and corporate giving, communications and marketing and public relations. During her tenure the organization has gone from a budget of less than one million dollars to now close to two million and greatly increased its donor pool. Genevieve has served for eight years as a member and/or officer on the Board of Directors of the Nonprofit Communications and Media Network. (Formerly known as PIRATES) The NCM Network provides education, networking opportunities and media coaching to help Los Angeles area nonprofit organizations better connect with local media and tell their stories effectively. www.ncmnetwork.org Genevieve also served during 2015 as an officer on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professional, Greater Los Angeles Chapter, providing governance and developing the organization’s social media program. http://afpglac.afpnet.org/ For three seasons and 30 episodes, Genevieve was the volunteer producer and host of the City TV Santa Monica show NonProfit Profiles, which features interviews with Santa Monica based non-profit agency clients, staff and board members. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdtfDSuWe83ZFRj8XZz280w or http://www.smgov.net/departments/citytv/

Mark Valdez (Treasurer)

Mark Valdez (Treasurer)
Mark Valdez is an artist, organizer and consultant based in Los Angeles. As a consultant, Mark brings over 20 years experience and expertise around community engagement, creative facilitation, and cross-sector collaborations. He has worked with clients and organizations that include the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, EMC Arts, LISC, Cuyahoga County Arts Council, Tucson Pima Arts Council, Los Angeles' Music Center, the Irvine Foundation, Community Engagement and the Arts (CEC), the Alliance Theater, NRDC's Urban Solutions, Arizona State University, and various others. Mark has designed, organized and implemented a wide range of gatherings, convenings, symposia, and conferences, including the MicroFest USA initiative for the Network of Ensemble Theaters, hyper-local events that explore the value and impact of the arts and artists to communities. These large-scale, community specific events took place in Detroit, Appalachia (Knoxville, TN/Harlan County, KY), New Orleans, and Honolulu. This method of organizing regionally for nation impact has been widely lauded and written about and featured in publications ranging from Huffington Post to the Grantmakers in the Arts' Reader magazine. As a writer and director, Mark has worked at theaters such as the Alliance Theatre, East West Players, the Falcon Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum, Mixed Blood, the Ricardo Montalban Theater, Teatro Vision, Trinity Rep, among others. Recent projects include a national tour of DJ Latinidad's Latino Dance Party, which he created to explore latinidad in contemporary U.S. culture, through the lens of a dance party; a commission from the Alliance Theater to create a new play with and for people living and working along the Buford Highway, home to one of Atlanta's largest immigrant/New American communities. Mark is also working with playwright Jose Cruz Gonzalez on a new play, Curious, to encourage young Latinas to pursue careers in the sciences. From 2007-2015 Valdez was the Executive Director of the Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET), a national community of artists and arts organizations dedicated to collaborative creation, headquartered in Los Angeles. Under his leadership, NET membership grew from 75 to 400, representing over 38 states and a variety of aesthetic practices, cultures, and geographies. In his tenure at NET, the organization launched the NET Travel and Exchange Network (NET/TEN), a grant program to encourage and support relationship building and knowledge sharing between artists, both in the U.S. and abroad. Directing credits include the first ever approved adaptation of the Kaufman and Hart classic, You Can't Take It With You (adapted to the American-Muslim community) and a bi-lingual (English-Spanish) adaptation of the musical comedy, The Pajama Game. He;s worked many of America's leading playwrights, including Luis Alfaro, Jose Cruz Gonzalez, Kristopher Diaz, Erik Ehn, Tracey Scott Wilson, Tanya Saracho, Molly Smith Metzer, and Octavio Solis. In May 2017, Mark will direct Fuente Ovejuna by Lope de Vega at Trinity Rep in Providence. Mark also served as the Associate Artistic Director for Cornerstone Theater Company (1997-2005), a community-based ensemble working in LA and around the country. Mark directed and produced many projects for the company including The Mall Plays, Festival of Faith, and the City-Wide Bridge Cycle. Mark also helped lead the documentation of Cornerstone's community-based methodology and he helped envision and create the Cornerstone Institute, which brings together artists and organizers from across the country to gain hands-on experience in community engagement practices. Valdez has led a wide range of workshops and participated in numerous panels. He was a finalist for the Alan Schneider Director Award and he the recipient of a Princess Grace Award for Directing and for Special Projects, three MAP grant awards, and a NALAC Artist Grant. Mark's projects have been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, the Wallace Fund, APAP, the Mellon Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, the Irvine Foundation, and various other private and public funders.

Megan Wanlass

Megan Wanlass
Megan Wanlass joined Cornerstone Theater Company as its new Managing Director in January 2014. Megan Wanlass has been a member of Anne Bogart's SITI Company since 1995 and its Executive Director since 2000. In her tenure with SITI, Megan has helped to create over 35 productions, which premiered in or toured to 88 cities, 32 states and 19 countries. She began working with Anne Bogart during The Adding Machine at Actors Theatre of Louisville (1995) during the Modern Masters Festival. She has an Arts Administration Certificate from New York University, attended the Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders at Stanford University Business School, was a member of the Arts Leadership Institute Charter Class at Teachers College, Columbia University, participated in the National Arts Strategies Executive Leadership Program and holds a B.A. in Theater from Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. Megan currently serves on the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and as the president of the PTA for the Pearls Hawthorne School in Yonkers, NY.

Tena Yatroussis

Tena Yatroussis
Tena Yatroussis is a two-time Emmy award winning development and communications executive adept at leading processes and inspiring people to realize social impact goals. She enhances 10 years in the nonprofit sector with senior media production management skills and creative leadership as a writer, producer and director. Tena enlivens fundraising campaigns with the power of story to build strong partnerships between organizations and the philanthropists who support them. After earning her BA at California State University Northridge Tena was selected as 1 of an 18 member cohort from among 1,800 applicants for the Director Guild of America Assistant Directors Training Program. This program prepared Tena to direct the daily set operations of film production companies for prime time television shows and feature films. Her clients include Warner Brothers, Touchstone, ABC, Viacom/CBS TV, NBC, Universal, Paramount and 20th Century Fox. She served on the DGA Assistant Director/UPM Council for 11 years participating in contract proposal development, the guild’s New Technology Survey and numerous other committees. Tena completed the UCLA Professional Certificate in Fundraising and Institutional Development (CFRE equivalent) transitioning from entertainment to the nonprofit sector. She has successfully met and exceeded fundraising goals as a Consultant for The Growing Place Reggio Emilia School in Santa Monica, Director of Annual and Planned Giving at The Center for Early Education, as a Development Officer for New Roads School and Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Saint John’s Health Center Foundation and the John Wayne Cancer Institute. A dedicated lifelong learner Tena has completed a certificate in Grantsmanship Training and a professional certificate in Advanced Social Media Marketing and Digital Analytics. Today Tena is proud to be of service as a board member of the Los Angeles Council of Gift Planners and a consultant for the Executive Service Corps of Southern California. Tena is eager to bring skills from all of her experiences to support the Cornerstone Theater Company as an active board member.

Past Board Members


  • Content coming soon.

** denotes “guest” status
* denotes founding member