Cornerstone Theater Company

Staff

Shá Cage

Shá Cage
SDCF Lloyd Richards New Futures Fellow

Shá Cage
SDCF Lloyd Richards New Futures Fellow

Shá Cage

Shá Cage  is a renaissance artist/activist who directs and produces theater and film. Her work has taken her across the U.S. to Japan, South Africa, England, Bosnia and Canada. Raised in Mississippi, she splits her time between Minneapolis and Los Angeles and has been called a change-maker and one of the leading artists of her generation. She also writes plays and poetry and has experienced a successful career as an award winning actor. 

Recent theater productions she's directed include: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Everybody, Joselyn Bioh's African School Girls, and Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, adapted by Michael J. Bobbitt. Recent films include: the feature documentary for PBS/TPT titled Underbelly that spotlights healing and activism in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Kiss the Tiger's Grown Ass Woman, horror short, You're Home Now, and At the Corner of Experimental Doc series.  

Seen last on stage as Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet at the Guthrie Theater, she holds Emmy and Ivey awards, TCG and McKnight Fellowships, and is the recent Lloyd Richards New Futures Fellow with Cornerstone Theater based in LA. Her last play, Hidden Heroes, about the Black female computer scientists of NASA was produced by Stages Theater in 2019. She has been called a mover and maker, and has been using Art & Equity praxis to consult and elevate Black and Brown narratives through Tru Ruts for over 20 years.

Paula Donnelly

Paula Donnelly
Director of Engagement

Paula Donnelly
Director of Engagement

Paula Donnelly
Paula Donnelly began working with Cornerstone in 1998 as a stage manager and joined Cornerstone's Ensemble in 2000. Community-collaborations she stage managed for Cornerstone include Los Biombos in Boyle Heights, AKA in Beverly Hills, For Here or To Go?, a city-wide bridge show, at the Mark Taper Forum, Peter Pan in Cleveland, and Crossings at St Vibiana's Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. She also was the stage manager for Cornerstone Ensemble shows Foot/Mouth (produced in multiple malls around Southern California) and Erik Ehn's Mary Shelley's Santa Claus. As a stage manager she has worked with Taper, Too, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, PCPA TheaterFest and other regional theaters. In 2003 Paula became Cornerstone’s Institute Director, planning and producing the annual Institute Summer Residency and Intensives. As Director of Engagement, Paula teaches and shares Cornerstone’s methodology, works to strengthen community relationships post-production, and to contribute to the expansion of community-engagement practices in theater. She helps imagine and implement engagement values in all aspects of our work. Paula loves the state of California, her home city of Los Angeles and the many people and stories contained therein.

Maggie Franckhauser

Maggie Franckhauser
Development & Communications Intern

Maggie Franckhauser
Development & Communications Intern

Maggie Franckhauser
Maggie is a theatre performance major at CSU Long Beach and will be a senior in the fall of 2021. She came to Cornerstone through a workshop at CSULB and is currently working with the company through the L.A. County Arts Internship program.

Michael John Garcés

Michael John Garcés
Artistic Director

Michael John Garcés
Artistic Director

Michael John Garcés
Michael has been a Cornerstone ensemble member since 2006.  Directing credits at the company include Highland Park is Here by Mark Valdez; Native Nation (commissioned and presented by ASU Gammage) and Urban Rez by Larissa FastHorse; California: The Tempest by Alison Carey; Plumas Negras by Juliette Carrillo; Café Vida by Lisa Loomer; and What Happens Next by Naomi Iizuka (a La Jolla Playhouse "Without Walls" production in association with Cornerstone). 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 the Van der Hoeven Kliniek and Stut Theatre in the Netherlands, which was performed at the Net Even Anders Festival in Utrecht and The International Community Arts Festival in Rotterdam. Michael has developed and directed several works by Marc Bamuthi Joseph: the just and the blind, with composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center), /peh-LO-tah/ a futbol freedom suite (premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, subsequently at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), red, black and GREEN: a blues, in collaboration with artist Theaster Gates (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 Seize the King by Will Power (The Alliance); Larissa FastHorse's The Thanksgiving Play (The Geffen Playhouse); The Royale by Marco Ramirez (Arizona Theatre Company); Epic by Ellen Struve (The Great Plains Theatre Commons); and Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman (premiere at Intersection for the Arts; other productions include The Guthrie Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre and Mosaic Theatre). His full-length plays include south (Great Plains Theatre Commons), 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 Las Llamadas and every step (24 Hour Plays: "Viral Monologues"); americanas (Mixed Blood Theatre - "DJ Latinidad's Latino Dance Party"), A Parable (Great Plains Theatre Commons), hymn in three parts (Chalk Rep), tostitos (EST Marathon of One-Act Plays), on edge and the ride (Humana Festival), and audiovideo (The Directors Project). 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 2020 Doris Duke Artist Award, the Princess Grace Statue, the Alan Schneider Director Award, the Rockwood Arts and Culture Fellowship, 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 first vice president of the executive board of SDC, the theatrical union for stage directors and choreographers.

Michael Garcia

Michael Garcia
Administrative Associate

Michael Garcia
Administrative Associate

Michael Garcia
Michael is an arts administrator and director that works along the intersection of community- and civic-engaged arts. He’s currently working with theater artists Mark-n-Sparks on their project The Most Beautiful Home… Maybe, which examines affordable housing and the national housing crisis. He’s worked with Cornerstone Theater Company in varying artistic and administrative capacities for years, most recently as the associate director of What Happens Next, a collaboration with veterans, and for Native Nation, the culmination of a 2-year engagement process with native folks in the Phoenix metropolitan area, in which he also served as the Engagement Associate. He recently joined the Cornerstone staff as Administrative Associate as well as joining its ensemble of artists. In his work he’s traveled nationally and internationally, visiting elementary schools in El Salvador as the tour manager for the Urban Latin Dance Theatre company CONTRA-TIEMPO; and as a stage manager for an ice opera festival at The Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman. Another highlight was touring as stage manager for Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s /peh-LO-tah/ to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Kennedy Center. He has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and transferred there from Rio Hondo Community College. He lives in Whittier, CA.

Bruce Lemon

Bruce Lemon
Associate Artistic Director

Bruce Lemon
Associate Artistic Director

Bruce Lemon

Bruce Lemon is a storyteller born and raised in Watts, CA. As a child, his father made him write stories and read them aloud in the hallway as punishment for lies and mischief. He’s still in trouble. Host of 89.3 KPCC In-Person’s UnheardLA. Associate Artistic Director/Ensemble with Cornerstone Theater Company. Artistic Director of Watts Village. Company member of Illyrian Players and Collaborative Artists Bloc . Actor, writer, director, producer, creative collaborator. Hobbies include: Holding a mirror up to America, rabble rousing, chasing dreams, working for the reimagining of his community, and listening to the kids. http://www.brucealemonjr.com/

Megan Wanlass

Megan Wanlass
Managing Director

Megan Wanlass
Managing Director

Megan Wanlass
Megan joined Cornerstone as its Managing Director in January 2014. She led the company through a six-year grant initiative with the James Irvine Foundation’s New California Arts Fund as well as a 5-year Strategic Plan created in partnership with the DeVos Institute. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Ms. Wanlass was the Executive Director of SITI Company (Anne Bogart, artistic director) for 19 years. At SITI, Megan helped to create over 35 productions touring to 88 cities, 32 states and 19 countries. She has an Arts Administration Certificate from New York University, attended the Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders at Stanford University Business School and was a member of the Arts Leadership Institute Charter Class at Teachers College, Columbia University. Megan has served on the board of Theatre Communications Group and in 2006-2008 was a mentor through TCG’s New Generations Program. Wanlass participated on Cornerstone’s winning team for the UCLA Social Enterprise Academy (2017) and participated as a speaker at convenings/conferences and as a grant panelist for APAP, NFF, NET, EMCArts, ART/NY, DDCF, and TCG. Recent multi-part anti-racism training includes: Undoing Racism workshop led by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond and Building Individual Capacity to Co-Imagine, Co-Create, and Co-Foster an Anti-Racist, Multicultural Organizational Culture, Structure and Model workshop led by Diedra Barber. She holds a B.A. in Theater from Occidental College in Los Angeles.