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Tara Mallen

An actor, director, producer and the Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Tara was most recently on stage as "Della" in the Midwest premiere of The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter for which she was honored with a 2018 Joseph Jefferson award for “Lead Actor". Other recent stage credits include Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer prize winning play, Sweat at Arena Stage; the world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and The Firebird's Take the Field, and Rasheeda Speaking at Rivendell; Steppenwolf's How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. She was part of the ensemble in Rivendell's World Premiere, Jeff nominated production of The Walls and played Jolene Palmer (inspired by the true-life story of Aileen Wuornos) in Rivendell's award winning production of Self Defense, or the death of some salesmen — both productions part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Visiting Theater Initiative. She received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress" for her portrayal of Gwenyth in WRENS as part of that production's Jeff-winning ensemble. She was nominated the following year for “Actress in a Principal Role" for her work in My Simple City

Screen credits include the recent indie film The Last Shift opposite Richard Jenkins; Empire (Fox); Boss (Starz); Chicago Fire (NBC); Doubt (CBS/Sony Pictures pilot); Controversy (Fox Pilot); Chicago P.D. (NBC); Sense8 (Netlflix original series); and Steve Soderbergh's film Contagion.

Tara co-conceived and directed the critically acclaimed World Premiere of Women At War, a theatrical exploration of women in today's military that played to sold out houses in the fall of 2014 and toured throughout the mid-west. She directed the Jeff nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby by Stefanie Zadravec, 26 Miles (in co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting Words by Sunil Kuruvilla; Psalms of a Questionable Nature by Marisa Wegerzyn; and the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson in Hudson, New York.  In 2009, she devised and directed The Lonely Soldier: Women At War in Iraq in a workshop production DePaul University where she also directed a studio production of Sally Nemeth's Holy Days. She is the proud recipient of a 2017 “3Arts Award" for her work in Chicago as a theatre artist.

Tara possesses an extensive arts-in-education background and has been crafting and implementing youth theatre programs for the past 25 years—including residencies at: The Kildonan School in Amenia, New York; The International High School through Open Eye: New Stagings in New York City; Camp Barney Mendintz in Atlanta, Georgia; The Dutchess Arts Camp in Millbrook, NY; and Chicago Arts Partnership in Education in Chicago.  She has led numerous workshops including Lookingglass Theatre's Youth program at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago; the summer program at the Skokie Public Library in Skokie, Illinois and at the Fresh Air Fund in Wappingers, New York. For several years, Tara served as the Assistant to the Artistic Director at Northlight Theatre, a LORT “C" company in Chicago. During her tenure at Northlight, she developed and produced “Northlight To Go" an educational touring theatre for young audiences. Tara was a lead teaching artist for the “Connections" outreach program in collaboration with the City of Chicago “After School Matters" program. For Connections, she developed a creative drama after school program in inner city schools with special needs students and their normally developing peers ages 10 – 15. The program focused on creating self generated theatrical performances that explored student's sense of self.

For the past six years she has been the a lead teaching artist for the Goodman Theater's “GeNarrations" outreach program where she facilitates a memoir and performance workshop for Senior Citizens. She has directed and led workshops at the Theatre School at DePaul University, Oakton Community College and Lake Forest College and is a freelance on camera acting coach in Chicago.