Artistic Director, B3 Productions
Ilana Lydia is a playwright and director, with many shows’ experience acting and designing sound, as well. Over the years, she has co-founded seven theater collectives. She has published two novels on Amazon (one under a pseudonym), and has taught theater at the university level.
Lydia dropped out of high school at age 15 to enter college full time. Her first major was Music, but after transferring to a small private Catholic university, she changed to Philosophy and Drama. She took the school’s top honor in Philosophy her senior year, and started the group Experimental Theatre which put on three plays she directed.
As a graduate student at Utah State University, Lydia concentrated on developing a new adaptation of Crime & Punishment, directing it as her graduate thesis. She joined forces with another director and shared a cast to put on From Morn ‘Til Midnight and Mamet’s Edmund, using masks heavily in her design. She also directed Fefu and Her Friends here, starting her love affair with Magical Realism.
Upon her return to Phoenix, Lydia started Theater In My Basement, S/W Annex with a friend, working many new plays through development as a director and a playwright. She is especially proud of her production of mutant: A BEARER OF SHADOWS/a tone/text poem to Novarina, a play co-written with Chris Danowski, which dealt with the breaking down of language and meaning. She returned on the scene with her 2014 revival of her children’s play Rumplestiltskin’s Fire at Brelby Theatre in Glendale, Arizona.
Since then, she has directed the feminist piece The Waiting Room for Mesa Encore Theatre where she took Director of the Year for a Black Box Production. She became Associate Artistic Director for B3, then Bare Black Box Productions, in May, before moving on to become the Artistic Director in September. Lydia was the 2017 recipient of the New England Theatre Conference's Aurand Harris Memorial Playwriting Award for her children’s play The Mulligrubs.
Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop
Associate Artistic Director, B3 Productions
Jeanmarie (Simpson) Bishop was born in rural Arizona in 1959. Her family moved to Toronto in 1970 and she fell in love with the theatre after seeing, with her 7th grade class, the legendary production of Godspell (featuring Gilda Radner, Eugene Levy and Martin Short). She performed dozens of roles in regional theatre and stock in the US and Canada and began directing while still in her teens. Jeanmarie is Founding Artistic Director of the Nevada Shakespeare Company (NSC), from which she retired in 2008. With NSC she directed many projects, wrote original works and played myriad parts including Maud Gonne in Sailing to Byzantium, Gertrude in Hamlet, Lady M in Macbeth and Elsa in The Road to Mecca, directed by Zakes Mokae. Jeanmarie wrote and performed 263 times (including a run Off-Broadway) the play A Single Woman, about the life of first US Congresswoman and lifelong pacifist, Jeannette Rankin. She also starred in the film version that featured Judd Nelson, the voices of Martin Sheen and Patricia Arquette and the music of Joni Mitchell. In 2007, she appeared at the historic Beverly Hills Theatre 40 in the American premiere of the solo tour-de- force Shakespeare’s Will, produced by Leonard Nimoy. With Shannon Cain, co-editor of the anthology Powder: writing by women in the ranks from Vietnam to Iraq, Jeanmarie conceived the notion of creating a stage version titled Coming In Hot. Following an adaptation and rehearsal period of nine months, the play opened at Tucson’s Rhythm Industry Performance Factory in September 2009. Simpson began an international tour of Coming In Hot in March of 2010, taking it throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She was commissioned by the Be the Change project to create a piece based on interviews with Dreamers; Liberty’s Children premiered at the Potentialist Workshop in Reno, Nevada in March 2014. She toured with her original solo performance work, Mary’s Joy, from 2011-2017. The piece explores the life and struggles of Quaker martyr, Mary Dyer, hanged in Boston in 1660. Jeanmarie now performs the play under a new title, The Joy. She is a retired member of Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild/AFTRA, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and the Dramatists Guild of America. She lives with her husband, Dan, in a cottage with a garden in Glendale, Arizona.