At Indra’s Net Theater we develop and produce plays that explore the big questions on stage so that audiences can experience the anticipation, excitement, adventure and challenge of engaging complex ideas that effect our lives and weave our universe. The eternal Why and How of existence, and the conundrums of human relationships intrigue and exhilarate us. They are the natural fodder of theatre and we explore them with curiosity, enthusiasm and care through the medium of live performance. We believe this most ancient of story-telling remains dynamic and profound, even today. As Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage.” We believe the stage is also a world and we invite audiences to share that world with us.
The Board of Directors:
Artistic Director, SDC
Bruce is a freelance director headquartered in Berkeley who works on new plays, classics and experimental and ensemble pieces. He founded Indra’s Net Theater in Berkeley in 2012.
Bruce grew up in San Diego where he was a founding member of the San Diego Playback Theater Company and became one of the directors there. Bruce studied film directing in Los Angeles and trained under some of the best in the industry. He attended the UCLA Short Fiction Film Program. There he studied with writer Mimi Roth (teacher and mother of Oscar-winning screenwriter Eric Roth) and with Academy Award-winning director Seth Winston. He also studied privately with writer-director Danny Simon (Sid Caesar, Danny Thomas Show, Phil Silvers Show, etc.) and director Ted Post (Hang ‘em High, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Magnum Force).
In Los Angeles, Bruce also studied acting at the renowned acting school Playhouse West in North Hollywood for 4 years. There his classmates included James Franco and Scott Caan, and instructors included working actors like Mark Pellegrino and Jeff Goldblum. There he also studied directing, both theater and film, under the tutelage of the school’s founder, Bob Carnegie.
While in LA, Bruce directed three short films and produced an award-winning feature film called ‘East of Sunset’ (2005) (Awards: Best Actress, MethodFest 2005; Maverick Award for Quality in a Low Budget Film). He also directed plays at The Bitter Truth Playhouse, Playhouse West, The Larry Moss Studio, San Diego Actors Festival and First Stage LA.
Bruce served as an assistant to three Obie award-winning stage directors; Michael Grief (whose Broadway productions include Rent, Next to Normal and Grey Gardens), Chay Yew (now Artistic Director at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago) and Steve Cosson (Artistic Director of the award-winning New York company, The Civilians).
Since living in the Bay Area, Bruce has directed numerous staged readings, including Shakespeare, new plays, new musicals, and contemporary classics. He has also directed several full productions, including Antigone (by Jean Anouilh) at Actors Ensemble of Berkeley, Bad Connections (world premiere) West Valley College, A Hot Day in Ephesus (world premiere musical), and Hickory Miles at Novato Theatre Company (world premiere).
In addition to his work in theater and film, Bruce has degrees in Biology (BA UCSD), History (MA CSU Dominguez Hills), and Arranging and Composition (Grove School of Music).
He is a member of Directors Lab West and Directors Lab Chicago, recipient of a SDC Observership, and a TBA ATLAS fellow and a Titan Award Finalist. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
Managing Director, Board Member
Alexandra worked in law as a legal assistant for 30 years, was a founding member of a non-profit environmental law firm in Boulder, Colorado and has now retired. She has had a love of science for most of her life and feels that combining theater and science will open up a whole new field of exploration.
She has teamed up with Bruce Coughran, Indra’s Net Theater’s Artistic Director, to bring this vision to life.
Gerry Oliva, Board Member
Gerry Oliva is a physician who has been on the faculty of University of California, San Francisco for over 20 years. She believes that the health of individuals is determined by the dynamic interactions of a broad variety of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and societal factors. Her professional focus is on promoting community level socio-ecological health assessments and the development of effective multi-sector collaborations to improve the health and well-being of individuals and families in the context of community.
John Feld, Board Member
John Feld grew up in England. He went to art school and later returned to university to get a degree in psychology, education, and the philosophy of science. He has worked as a graphic designer, a photographer, drove a back hoe, was a commercial greenhouse designer, a home developer, ran a graphics computer lab, was the editor of a Bay Area newspaper, a magazine publisher, and is presently a head of a department at an online university. He taught in an English high school, UCLA, and started a school for gypsies. He has traveled throughout Europe, North Africa, India and now resides in Berkeley. With his wife, he is partially responsible for the revitalization of the Berkeley Hillside Club. He loves to read, draw, and cook.
Judith Workman, Board Member
Judith Workman has been an elementary school teacher, a parent, and a teacher of tax law to employees at the IRS. Theater, literature, art, history, and music have always been important influences in her life. For a number of years, she was on the Board of the nonprofit organization Humanities West which involved the connections between all of the Arts above. She became the Executive Director and ran it for several years. Judy also worked with her physicist husband Joe to launch and to administer a Physics Research Company headquartered in Berkeley with a branch in Maryland. She continues to enjoy concerts, plays, exhibits, opera and continues attending classes on anything that attracts her interest. As world travelers, Judy and Joe treasure their exposure to many varied cultures and experiences.
Naome Dragstedt, Ph.D., Board Member
Naome Dragstedt, Ph.D., is the retired founder and director of The Montessori Children’s House of Lafayette and The Applegarden Montessori School, which provided preschool education for Lamorinda and Oakland children for 42 years. An avid cook, gardener, and pianist, she has been a high school English teacher, a Montessori preschool teacher, and a psychologist specializing in work with children and adolescents. Educated at Mills College, Reed College, and The Wright Institute, she now devotes her life to the study of piano performance, participates on the Board of Indra’s Net Theater and directs a small nonprofit organization called “Applegarden Projects,” which supports the arts and education.