Dragon Productions Theatre Company Announces New Artistic Director Team
Following the January announcement of Founding Artistic Director Meredith Hagedorn’s desire to step away from the Dragon Productions Theatre Company to pursue new opportunities, the Dragon Board of Directors, helmed by President Jenny Hollingworth, has been involved in a search for a new Artistic Director to shape the artistic vision of the Dragon in 2019 and beyond. After several months of interviewing a number of incredibly qualified Bay Area candidates, the Dragon Board is pleased to announce that beginning in 2019, the team of Alika Spencer-Koknar and her husband Bora “Max” Koknar will step into the leadership role as co-Artistic Directors.
Alika and Max being introduced as the successors at the Dragon's Den Casino
Photo by David York.
Of her successors, Ms. Hagedorn says “Alika and Max have such passion, energy, and willingness to learn and try new things. They care so much about the health and success of Dragon. I believe they are just the right team that Dragon needs for the next chapter. I also know that my baby will be in great hands moving forward.”
Ms. Hollingworth says “Alika and Max were already known to the board for their hard work, energy and commitment to Dragon during the past few years. During the extensive interview process, they were able to share with us an exciting vision for Dragon's future and we look forward to working with them to make their vision a reality.”
Of her new partners, Managing Director Kimberly Wadycki says that" I’m thrilled to work with Alika and Max in their new roles as we continue to grow the Dragon’s programming in Redwood City. One of Dragon’s core values is the mentorship of emerging artists and I can’t think of a better way to honor this mission of Meredith’s than by hiring a pair of young artists and mentoring them through the process of becoming the artistic leaders of tomorrow. I think that their diverse backgrounds present some exciting artistic options for the future of the Dragon and I can’t wait to see what we do together in the coming years!”
Ms. Hagedorn will continue in her role as Executive Artistic Director through the end of the year and will unveil the 2019 theatre season this fall on Saturday, August 4th.
Meredith Hagedorn, Jenny Hollingworth, Alika U. Spencer-Koknar, Bora "Max" Koknar, and Kimberly Wadycki.
Photo by David York.
ABOUT ALIKA SPENCER-KOKNAR:
Alika U. Spencer-Koknar is a native to the Bay Area. A graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in 2006, she has performed throughout the peninsula with various Bay Area theater companies. Roles include Boshka/Magda Goebbels in Cirque Exotique Du Monde with Dragon Productions, Maureen in The Beauty Queen Of Leenane with Northside Theater, Hannah in the South Bay Premiere of Collapsewith Renegade Theatre Experiment, Johnna Monevata in August: Osage County with City Lights Theater Company and Alice Bloomfield in Kinan Valdez’s production of Zoot Suit with El Theatro Campesino. As a performer, Alika also focuses on creating new and devised works. She has created self-produced works, and collaborated with companies like Golden Thread, Bindlepunks, foolsFury, First Person Travel, and Epic Immersive. Pieces she has worked on have been embraced by the local community and have been so well received that multiple extensions have been made to shows. Alika also teaches theater to youth throughout the Bay Area and has worked as an educator with companies like Tabard Theatre Company, California Theater Center, and Theater of All Possibilities. Presently, she teaches through Dragon Productions and also serves as Company Manager.
ABOUT BORA “MAX” KOKNAR:
Bora “Max” Koknar is a Turkish-born actor, director, producer, writer and educator. As an actor and variety performer, Max has performed live for over 500,000 people over his career. As an arts entrepreneur, he has been creating financially sustainable and critically successful events since 2004.
Max has had the honor of creating work in collaboration with Cirque du Soleil clowns, tech giants including Google and Apple, and world class non-profit partners like San Jose Taiko and Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. His projects have been featured on publications including San Francisco Weekly (Ancien Regime & Infernal Motel, Epic Immersive, 2016 & 2017), The Mercury News (Japantown Immersive, 2018) and The New York Times (Headlands Gamble, First Person Travel, 2015 - 2017). Max’s work will be featured as part of the Sandbox Immersive Festival in Qingdao, China in the Summer of 2018. Last season Max co-directed the world premiere of Cirque Exotique du Monde by local playwright Kathy Boussina at the Dragon Theatre.
In 2007, Max founded Urban Renaissance, an educational outreach program which works with elementary school students to support language fluency development through theatre participation in under-served ESL communities around Columbus, Ohio. Later, he ran a touring program serving over 100,000 children a year across California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada at California Theatre Center in Sunnyvale, CA and has been developing Dragon’s educational offerings as Education Director since the fall of 2016.
Max has also taught and presented in association with organizations including U.C. Berkeley (Berkeley, CA), The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH), Theatre Bay Area (San Francisco, CA), foolsFury (San Francisco, CA), San Jose Arts Initiative (San Jose, CA) and a number of K-12 Schools across Ohio and the Bay Area.