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Tantrum Theater

About Tantrum Theater

Tantrum was founded in the fall of 2015 by Ohio University’s College of Fine Arts. The theater is a professional company and serves as a training ground providing apprenticeships for students in the School of Theater. The name Tantrum Theater comes from a group of Ohio University graduate students who discovered that one of the collective names for a group of bobcats is a Tantrum. The mascot of Ohio University is the bobcat. Tantrum’s mission is to create and propel forward a resident professional theater company and training conservatory in a partnership with the Ohio University College of Fine Arts.


We seek:

  1. To connect and impact the Athens community through educational outreach and culturally diverse innovative programming that encompasses multiple theatrical disciplines
  2. To develop new work and offer new points of view on classic stories that have contemporary relevance, and
  3. To offer opportunities for intercultural exchange.


Meet the Staff

Michael Lincoln

Michael Lincoln

Artistic Director

Michael was instrumental in the creation of Tantrum Theater and became Artistic Director in 2018. He began teaching at Ohio University in 2003, served as Director of the School of Theater from 2012 to 2020, and is now Professor Emeritus of Theater. Previously Michael taught for New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Southern California. His professional lighting design career numbers over 300 productions in theatre, opera and dance and includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and international venues. Highlights: Copenhagen on Broadway, The Bubbly Black Girl… at Playwrights Horizons in NYC, A Streetcar Named Desire for the Cleveland Play House and Tantrum Theater’s Next to Normal, Caroline, Or Change and Little Shop of Horrors. Michael’s regional credits include long relationships with Indiana Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre in Houston, and the Studio Theatre in Washington, DC as well as multi-year associations with Los Angeles Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, and Santa Fe Opera. His multiple Broadway credits as an Associate Designer include hit revivals of Guys and Dolls and Anything Goes and original productions of City of Angels, Six Degrees of Separation, and Lend Me a Tenor.

Ellie Clark

Ellie Clark

Associate Artistic Director

Ellie Clark (she/her) is an Atlanta-based actor and teaching artist. Her most recent credits include The Wonder Years on ABC, First Wives Club on BET, and a recurring role on Season 5 & 6 of Tyler Perry’s Sistas. She has performed on stages throughout the United States and in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her most notable credits include Antony & Cleopatra (Cleopatra), Pride & Prejudice (Elizabeth Bennet), A Streetcar Named Desire (Stella), Marie Antoinette (Marie), Dancing at Lughnasa (Agnes), Crimes of the Heart (Meg), and A Chorus Line (Sheila). Ellie has been an educator for 20+ years and is currently the Artistic Director for Arvold Warner Studio, a training ground for Southeast artists pursuing film and TV, founded by Emmy-nominated casting director Erica Arvold and esteemed master teacher, Richard Warner. She is the Movement Specialist and Chair of the Drama program at Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts and is the Co-Founder of Voices Amplified, an arts activism initiative that generates brave and equitable spaces for voices historically underrepresented in dominant culture. Ellie obtained her MFA from Ohio University’s Professional Actor Training Program. She is trained in the Meisner Approach to acting and has trained extensively with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in Viewpoints, Suzuki, and Composition. Other notable endeavors include co-founding Actors Room Atlanta, a self-tape service for Atlanta actors and Project SEE Theatre, a fellowship of artists dedicated to engaging the community through imaginative storytelling. in a new window) - IG: @aka_ellieclark

Roberto Di Danato

Roberto Di Donato

Producing Director

Roberto is a Venezuelan-Italian artist from the colonized territories that were originally home for the Tawakoni and Wichita nations known as Dallas, Texas. His highly collaborative projects have been seen in New York and Austin. Roberto's work was called "An Experimental Masterstroke" by Austin Arts Watch and The Austin Chronicle states it "carries you to the boundaries of what you think you want to watch and tips you over it". Roberto has worked with Tantrum dating back to assistant directing Rhinoceros. Roberto is the creator of Chicharrón: a communion with the triple As which has workshopped in Austin, Tx and performed in Cleveland, Austin, and NYC.

Roberto is currently on the Board of Directors for Salvage Vanguard Theater which has been pushing the boundary of experimental performance in Austin, TX since 1994. 

Additional recent accolades: Director: The Tempest at Shakespeare in the Woods, Director: Premiere of A Perfect Day Aways written by OU Alumus and Fulbright Scholar, Klae Bainter. and Co-Presenter at The Association of Arts Administration Educator's annual conference in New York. 

@roberto_di_donato |

Rebecca VerNooy

Rebecca VerNooy

Director of Education

Rebecca is an Assistant Professor at Ohio University and specializes in movement for the actor and physical theater.  She spent twenty years in New York City as a movement theater artist—choreographing, acting, writing and teaching.

As the Artistic Director of VerNooy Dance Theater (1995 – 2006), she developed and performed original work at Ensemble Studio Theater, Dance Theater workshop, Joyce Soho, and many other NY venues.

She ran the Intern Program at Ensemble Studio Theater from 1994-2000, is the founder of the Movement Educator’s Research Group (MERGE), and a founding member of Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble in Southeastern Ohio.  She has created over a dozen original full-length works, including her most recently devised piece with undergraduates from Ohio University, Elbows Off the Table.  Her original one-woman show, Across Time, received the award for Best Movement at The United Solo Festival in NYC.

Contact Rebecca by email at

Jaxson Meadows

Jaxon Meadows

Assistant Technical Director

Jaxon is a production design technologist from Southeastern Ohio. He holds a BA in Production Design & Technology and an MA in Theater Management from Ohio University. He began his career at Ohio University as a transfer student from The Ohio State University. He initially began his work as a student from 2017-2021, then joined the Tantrum staff in 2021. His mission is to bring diversity and engagement to Southeastern Ohio Theater companies by promoting community arts in the Appalachian Region. He has collaborated with River City Players, Ohio Valley Summer Theater, and Stuart’s Opera House. His recent productions include: Men on Boats (Assistant Technical Director), Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812(Assistant Technical Director), Julius Caesar (Technical Director), Shrek the Musical (Technical Director), and The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Assistant Technical Director). 

Drew Surovjak

Drew Surovjak

Administrative Associate

Drew joined the Theater Division in July of 2015 as the Administrative Associate and thoroughly enjoys his supportive role in assisting administrators, faculty, staff, and students navigate through academia. He was born and raised on the shores of Lake Erie and came to the region in 2008 to attend Hocking College. Something about the hills resonated with him and while he misses seeing the lake every day, he feels very at home in the hills of Southeast Ohio.

Drew has had quite the meandering path up to this point and it looks to meander further. He has earned two associate’s degrees, one in business with a focus in banking and finance and another in ecotourism and adventure travel. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Specialized Studies focusing on outdoor recreation, sustainability, and anthropology and aspires to continue through grad school and eventually teach outdoor recreation at the collegiate level, sharing his passion for the environment and the responsible enjoyment of it.

Prior to joining the Theater Division, Drew walked in many different shoes and wore many different hats. He has spent time as a cook, a banker, an account representative for a large advertising firm, a custom woodworker, an adventure guide, and even a field station manager in the remote rainforest of southern Belize. In his personal life, he enjoys camping, reading, hiking, woodworking, gardening, throwing darts, working on his house, spending time with family and friends, and is happiest in a canoe with a paddle in his hands.