Meena Natarajan, Artistic and Executive Director
Meena Natarajan is a playwright and director and the Executive and Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater, a progressive, international ensemble space that creates at the intersection of art, equity and social justice. She has led the theater’s growth since it’s founding in 1995. Meena has co-curated and designed many of Pangea World Theater’s professional and community based programs. She has written at least ten full-length works for Pangea, ranging from adaptations of poetry and mythology to original works dealing with war, spirituality, personal and collective memory. Meena leads ensemble-based processes in Pangea that lead to works produced for the stage. She has also directed and dramaturged several original theater and performance art pieces. She is currently on the board of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists and is a National Theater Project Advisor at New England Foundation for the Arts. She was on the Advisory Committee of the Community Arts Network, was on the founding board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters and was the president of Women’s Playwrights International between 2000-2003. She has been awarded grants from the Theatre Communications Group, Playwrights Center and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She was recently awarded the Visionary Award for mid-career leaders from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Mollie Lacy, Development Associate
Mollie Lacy began as an intern at Pangea World Theater while doing HECUA's Writing for Social Change program as a sophomore at the University of Minnesota. Mollie is a poet, most often found on slam stages in the Twin Cities, but occasionally at tournaments such as the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam. They represented the University of Minnesota at the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational in 2013 and 2014 as a member of the team USlam. They are the oldest of three sisters, and just trying to be a good role model.
Julia Malmgren, Accountant
Supporting the missions of nonprofits across the Twin Cities, Julia has been a part of Pangea’s team for over 10 years. Her belief is that art, especially theater, transforms the views of individuals and communities around issues of social awareness and justice. An accomplished professional in nonprofit business management and accounting, she has brought clarity and insight to several arts organizations to further the impact of important works. Originally from Michigan, and educated at Eastern Michigan University, Julia calls Minnesota home for her and her family.
Jenny Zander, Documentation and Visual Specialst
Jenny is a body artist and photographer sharing life's beauty in the many faces, shades, and shapes it comes in, while highlighting environmental issues that impact frontline communities. Her body of work explores the relationships womxn have with their surrounding environments and the natural world because there strong connection between the violence inflicted on those who identify as female and Mother Earth. The extraction and exploitation of Earth’s wealth also parallels the displacement and colonization of black, brown and queer folks. Pangea is a circle that connects so many people, identities, and hard to face truths, Jenny is beyond thankful for this family and the change we're creating.
Sir Curtis Kirby III, Directing Fellow
Sir Curtis Kirby III, Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and African American descent is enjoying his 7th year directing the Ikidowin Youth Theater Ensemble. He has been selected as Emerging Artist for a TPT Minnesota Originals. Kirby is mentored by Dipankar Mukherjee, Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater and has participated in the Next Generation Theater Director's Institute for the past three years. This year, he has been awarded a 2 year Fellowship with Pangea World Theater for Directing. Kirby is the Assistant Director for Five Weeks, Sabra Falling and Mother Courage and Her Children. He recently directed a one-act play in New York City, 2020 Reflections of Native Voices as an emerging director.
Dipankar Mukherjee, Artistic Director
Dipankar Mukherjee is a professional director originally from Calcutta, India with a 25-year history of directing. He is the Artistic Director of Pangea World Theater. He co-founded Pangea World Theater, an international theater in Minneapolis that is a progressive space for arts and dialogue. His aesthetics have evolved through his commitment to social justice, equity and deep spirituality and these factors along with relevant politics form the basis of his work. As a director, he has worked in India, England, Canada and the United States.
Dipankar has received the Humphrey Institute Fellowship to Salzburg and has been a Ford Foundation delegate to India and Lebanon. He is a recent recipient of the Bush Leadership Fellowship award to study non-violence and peace methodologies in India and South Africa. Dipankar was invited to visit the White House as part of the Asian American and Pacific Islanders Delegation. In his rehearsal and workshop practices, Dipankar’s facilitated processes that work to disrupt colonial, racist and patriarchal modalities that we have inherited and collaboratively searches for an alternate way of working.
Katia Cardenas, Education Coordinator and Database Manager
Katia Cardenas is a performing artist hailing from the Pacific Northwest, and California's Central Valley. A jazz and r&b vocalist, as well as an actor, dancer, director and teaching artist, Katia came to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend Macalester College (Psychology Major, Theater minor). After graduating in 2010, she worked as a freelance theater arts educator, leading theater classes for youth at local youth theater companies, City of St. Paul camps, and area rehabilitation centers. She is passionate about community building and social justice, and is a core member with numerous local arts networks and organizations, including Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN) and Jazz Central Studios.
Katia first worked with Pangea in 2012 as an actor their production of House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros at The Southern Theater. She has been with Pangea as Database Manager since 2014, and Education Coordinator since 2018. Katia currently also works with Minnesota Jazz Education, and St. Paul Public Schools' Community Education.
To see videos and find out about upcoming events, you can visit KatiaCardenas.com.
Keila Anali Saucedo, Executive Productions Assistant
Keila Anali is a theater maker in the twin cities and proud ensemble member of Pangea World Theater. Their plays Only I and What I Have Left to Eat have been performed in the Twin Cities. They are working on their third play Brujería for Beginners as a part of the 20% Theatre's Q-Stage program. Keila's work is informed by their identity, the lands of her mothers, and a deep connection to spirit and ancestry.
Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe, Grant Writer
Ellen joined the staff of Pangea in 2014 after many years of engaging with Pangea as an artist. Her work is about ancestors, spirit, politics, contradictions, humor, confronting white supremacy and always about healing. She lives in Minneapolis, two blocks from the Mississippi with her husband and their amazing daughter. "Pangea is an important home for artists. I felt both respected and engaged from the moment I first encounter Dipankar, Meena and Pangea. I have held several events in Pangea's studio including my solo show- Death's Daughter and the Twin Cities Premiere of my film Thought Woman- The Life and Times of Paula Gunn Allen. As well as working directly with them as part of The Bridges Program. Pangea puts artists at the center!"
Her artist website is www.fierceshimmer.com.
Katy Manderfeld, Intern
Katy Manderfeld is an intern at Pangea World Theatre for the summer. She was born and raised in Minnesota and is going to be a sophomore at Oklahoma City University this fall. She is studying to get a BM in Music Theatre and Vocal Performance. Katy also has a passion for directing, stage management, arts administration, and teaching. Outside of the arts, she enjoys soccer, embroidery, baking, spending time with friends and family, and watching movies.
Adlyn Carreras, Office Manager and Ensemble Member
Square, Mixed Blood, Pangea World Theater, Teatro del Pueblo, and LoudMouth Collective. Adlyn is an Adjunct Professor at Augsburg University, a teaching artist for the Neighborhood Bridges Program at Children’s Theater Company, and a performing artist for the Race Workshop at Penumbra Theater. She is currently developing her one-woman show If My Bones Could Speak.
Suzanne Victoria Cross, Local Coordinator and Resident Stage Manager
Suzanne Victoria Cross was born and raised in North Minneapolis, graduated from St. Cloud State University with a BA in Theater and Community Psychology. Suzanne is a local actor and teaching artist in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area. She has worked with many local theater companies including touring with CLIMB Theatre as an Actor-Educator, Penumbra Theatre Company’s Education and Outreach Program, Lyric Arts Academy, Teatro del Pueblo and has been the lead instructor for multiple teaching artist residencies in the Twin Cites. Suzanne's experience includes preforming interactive theatre productions, writing workshops, and goal-setting seminars for various art organizations. She has also worked with special populations, including individuals with physical and mental disabilities, youth treatment centers (ages 12-17), and memory care (ages 55+) along with co-conducted, written and performed interactive educational mini dramas and classes for Pre K-12. Suzanne has a strong passion for the role theatre can play in the development of an individual and a community as a whole. She is currently the Programs Coordinator and Resident Stage Manager for Pangea World Theater.
Emily Meenan, Communications Coordinator
Emily was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, where she studied Journalism and Creative Writing at Temple University. She moved to Minneapolis in 2015 and has been delving into the local art, music, and theater scenes ever since. Emily is a writer who is passionate about social justice and using her voice to uplift those around her. She writes for numerous media outlets around the Twin Cities. Before beginning her journey at Pangea, she owned a coffee shop where she had been cultivating a relationship with Pangea's ensemble for years, and finally joined the team herself in 2018. Pangea's positive impact on their community inspires and amazes Emily, and she is so proud and honored to be able to be a part of it.
Ismail Khalidi, Directing Fellow
Ismail Khalidi’s plays include Truth Serum Blues (Pangea World Theater ‘05), Tennis in Nablus (Alliance Theatre ‘10), Foot (Teatro Amal ‘16), Sabra Falling (Pangea ‘17), and Dead Are My People (Noor Theatre ‘18). He also co-adapted two novels for the stagel Ghassan Kanafani’s Returning to Haifa (Finborough Theatre ‘18) and Sinan Antoon’s The Corpse Washer (Actors Theatre of Louisville ‘19). Khalidi’s work has been included in numerous anthologies and he co-edited Inside/Outside: Six Plays from Palestine and the Diaspora (TCG ‘15). His writing has been featured in American Theatre Magazine, The Kenyon Review, The Nation, Mizna, Guernica, Al Jazeera, The Dramatist, and ReMezcla. Khalidi holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Naomi Wilson, Intern
Naomi Wilson (she/her) is a rising sophomore at Babson College pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Global Business Management. Her interests include education, social entrepreneurship, foreign languages, and Parkour. In addition to being an intern at Pangea World Theater, the Curriculum Associate for Project Pods (a project/venture incubator program), and a coach-in-training at Fight or Flight Academy (a Parkour gym), she is also working with two other students to launch Inara, a subscription box service tailored to South Asian Millenial/Gen-Z women. She is currently studying multiple languages (English, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Hindi, and Arabic) with the goal of being proficient in all 6 languages. She also has a passion for the arts and has participated in plays, musicals, choir groups, Chinese and South Asian dance, painting and drawing, and graphic design. Post-graduation, she plans to launch an internationally-based company that helps people, especially women of color, launch their own businesses.