Co-Director Joel Jones is from Charlottesville, Virginia where he got involved in plays during the formative years of Live Arts and Offstage Theater. Joel has written more than two dozen short plays (including Answer Man, Perfect Guy, Power Lunch, Tragic Hero, Big Fish Little Fish, Regatta Club Freud, and Haven’t We Met Someplace Before) that have have seen more than fifty productions in Charlottesville, New York, Boston, and beyond. His full-lengths include Shrug Like You Mean It, Fortune In Antarctica, Floating Girl, and The Election. Joel was the former Playwright-In-Residence of Third Man Productions which produced his short sketches and plays every month in the West Village for two years, and staged his full-length verse play, Shrug Like You Mean It, at the Kraine Theater.
In addition to his writing Joel served as Artistic Director for Charlottesville’s Offstage Theater, McGuffey Liaison, member of the Board of Directors, and Producer of multiple shows. Joel has acted in numerous shows at Live Arts and served as staff dramaturg. At Live Arts he was one of the original creators of the Summer Theater Festival, and for the Live Arts ‘L.A.B’ oversaw an innovative, creative program of solo shows, puppet shows, comedy pieces, new works, full-length plays, and music, including a live album featuring local musicians. (King of My Living Room)
From 2005 till 2011 Joel lived in New York City where he performed regularly as an actor, storyteller and improviser at such venues as the Bowery Poetry Club, Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, People’s Improv Theater, and especially the Magnet Theater where he has performed weekly in comedy groups from 2008 till 2011. He was a founding member of the storytelling group Campfire Stories, co-producer of Black Valentines (inspired by an annual holiday party in Staunton), member of improv groups Easy Going Folks, Mono-piece Theatre, Hell Buffalo, King Canute, LL Cool JJ, and the Kicks.
In 2011 his critically-acclaimed solo show Life Insurance ran in the New York Fringe and Washington DC’s Capital Fringe Festival in production with Nelson County’s wonderful Hamner Theater.
In 2012 Joel returned to Charlottesville with his lovely wife Jennifer, and their daughter Ellie, in 2012 in order to found Big Blue Door where he teaches longform improv, sketch writing, and telling true stories.
Joel served from 2012-2013 as committee member of The Bridge PAI’s Words Crew and Theater Crew, and served as leader of the Theater Crew. His work for The Bridge included overseeing the production of a Bread and Puppet touring show, and the Hamner presentation of the play Stanley Ann by former-UVa student, Mike Kindle.
Joel’s short plays have been widely produced around the U.S. and the world. They’ve appeared as part of the United Kingdom’s Bite-Size Plays productions in the Brighton Fringe and Edinburgh Fringe plus their most recent 10th Anniversary show.
Co-Director Jennifer Hoffman Jones has produced, directed, and performed in dozens of theatrical and radio shows for two decades in New York and Virginia. Most recently she has worked as producer and fundraiser for the Fire Dept Theatre in NYC, and as producer for the Hamner Theater’s critically acclaimed Capital and NY Fringe show, Life Insurance.
Jen is best known for her regular appearances on Central Virginia’s only syndicated children’s radio storytelling program, Tell Us A Tale, hosted by Peter Jones and broadcast locally on 91.1, WTJU and heard internationally (tellusatale.com). She has also appeared as a monologist with Campfire Stories, Tell All at the Bowery Poetry Club, and at the Magnet Theater.
In Charlottesville, Jen was a board member of Offstage Theater where she was producer of Barhoppers. She was also an actor in Live Arts shows and a producer and performer in several Live Arts Summer Theater Festival productions.
For over a decade Jen worked for the University of Virginia. For five of those years she worked for the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as a major gifts officer. She was especially proud to raise the first large donations for the College Arts Scholars program and for the Virginia Film Festival.
Jen currently works as a script reader for independent film productions.
Producer Brian Weisbrod. Brian is an improviser best known for his role as Professional Finance/Accounting Robot. His credits include Accounting Analyst at a now defunct electronics retailer formerly based in Richmond, Senior Accountant and Finance Manager at a local University basketball arena, and most recently Assistant Controller at a local software company. He listens regularly to comedy podcasts especially ones on the Earwolf network. In 2015 you can catch him playing volleyball or soccer in his spare time, performing stand up comedy at open mic nights, or most importantly performing improv all around town.
Producer Nauder Namaky. Nauder moved to Charlottesville from Austin, Texas (although, when it’s to his advantage he seems to be from Cincinnati). When he’s not doing improv or playing D&D, Nauder is working towards his PhD in Clinical Psychology at UVa. Past groups include The Administration, OK Stupid, Dance Monkey, Sleepover, The Echo, Short Term Analysis, Unusual Suspects, and The Lady Pills.
Project Manager Melissa Wender. Melissa loves doing improv and storytelling with Big Blue Door and playing with the Hamner Improv Troupe. She also gets excited about bicycles, contact improvisational dance, and growing tatsoi. She has lived in Virginia since 1997 (Nelson County), and Charlottesville since 2012. Melissa led Big Blue Door’s Stories Confidential project last year and is Project Manager of 2017’s TrueVille project.
Project Manager BK Marcus is a storyteller, storytelling coach, and the leader of Big Blue Door’s summer storytelling group. He’s also a homeschooling dad and a freelance editor.
Would you like to help with the production, direction, and management of our shows? Come to a show and talk to us. We’d love to have you!