"Set your life On Fire.
Seek those who fan your Flames." -rumi
Spark Theatre Company was founded on the aesthetic and educational principles of two individuals: Rachael Endrizzi and Claire Simpson. Their strong connection as artists, complimentary natures and ability to collaborate inspired them to turn their passions into this non-profit endeavor. Claire and Rachael have over 20 years of combined experience in Arts Education and worked together running and growing Florida Repertory Theatre's Education department for several years in Fort Myers, Florida.
Board of Directors
Rachael Endrizzi (Producing Artistic Director/Board Director) was born and raised in Elyria and is proud to be an alumnus of Elyria High School, LCCC and Oberlin MAD Factory before continuing on to graduate from the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City. She has worked as a professional actor, director and teaching artist throughout the Eastern US for nearly 15 years on over 250 productions. A highlight of her career is serving for seven seasons as the Director of Education with Florida Repertory Theatre, hailed as “One of America’s Top Repertory Theatres” by the Wall Street Journal. She then moved to Metro Atlanta, becoming the Artistic Director of Curtain Call Youth Players, a non-profit Children’s Theatre and a Teaching Artist/Youth Players Director for the Tony Award-Winning Alliance Theatre. Rachael is also proud to have been a 2-time nominee for Angel of the Arts: Arts Teacher of the Year Award, secretary and board member of Lee County Sheriff's Youth Activities League, student board member of Elyria Summer Theatre and published in American Theatre Magazine for her work with students on the Autism Spectrum. She is passionate about arts education and loves to see her students succeed.
Claire K. Simpson (Founder/Board Director) is a director and teaching artist originally from the southeast. Claire recently finished her contract at Peppercorn Theatre in North Carolina as a dramaturg and teaching artist. A recent graduate of UNC-Greensboro, Claire earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre for Youth and was awarded the Kay Brown Barrett Theatre for Youth Scholarship. During her time at UNC-Greensboro, Claire interned with Paperhand Puppet Intervention—building puppets, masks, and scenery for the company’s widely celebrated annual production. Prior to graduate school, Claire worked as the Education Director at Florida Repertory Theatre—overseeing camps, classes, student matinees, and touring productions that reached over 18,000 students in Southwest Florida. While at Florida Rep, Claire expanded the company’s existing theatre program for students on the autism spectrum through a residency at a school serving special needs populations. Claire firmly believes in the potential of children to achieve the incredible and seeks to enliven that promise with the children of Lorain County through art and storytelling onstage and in the classroom.
Jessica Franklin (Board President) is the current Senior Benefits Processor for the Cleveland Bakers and Teamsters Pension Fund, a Lorain County native, and an Elyria High School graduate. After graduation from EHS, she went on to obtain a B.S. from University of Akron and a Masters Degree in Human Services and Non-Profit Management from Capella University. Jessica has been organizing and fundraising for nearly 15 years throughout her professional career in Northeast Ohio and is excited to join the Spark team. Her previous experience within nonprofit organizations is varied, and includes Community Relations Committee Chair for Coltene/Whaledent Inc.; Former Social Co-Chair, Fundraising Co-Chair and President of The Society of Women Engineers; and former Board Member for Elyria Summer Theatre. In addition, Jessica is also proud of her work as an activity leader for Kids Career Day through Women in Engineering and Science Education and Outreach with Girl Scouts of America. She was also an administrative volunteer and Learning for Life tutor for the Adopt a Family/Zacchaeus Housing Project with the West Side Catholic Center in Cleveland. She thrives on giving back and believes Spark Theatre is a culmination of her lifelong love of performing arts and her pursuit of a career focused on service.
Spark's Board of Directors is dedicated to seeking the best advice from community members, industry professionals and civic leaders. We will be adding to our Advisory Committee shortly! If interested in joining the Spark Board or Advisory Committee, email SparkTheatre4Youth@gmail.com.