Dell’Arte Expands Board After Successful Fundraiser

BLUE LAKE – Dell’Arte International, the North American center for theatre training, research and performance of the actor-creator, is starting out the new year with an expanded board of directors to support the organization in this important time of rebuilding. 

“We’re excited to engage with these talented individuals as we work to bring the organization back to full strength. The breadth of experience they bring from finance, arts administration, performance, history with Dell’Arte, and the sheer passion for theatre is already energizing us to move forward with positivity,” said Pat Bitton, chair of the board.

The following individuals were elected to the board effective January 22nd 2024, and join incumbents Stephen Buescher, Dell’Arte alum and UC- San Diego professor; Kash Boodjeh, architect; Pat Bitton, nonprofit arts supporter; and Julie Douglas, Kimberly Haile, and Tony Fuemmeler, DAI Leadership Council members:

Stephanie Witzel

Stephanie Witzel was Dell’Arte’s Chief Financial Officer for seven years, retiring in 2018. She worked as a volunteer handling the auction at December’s Viva Dell’Arte Gala and in her words “what really motivated me to volunteer at this time was the staff.  While working with them on the gala and silent auction, I was so impressed with their dedication and organizational skills.” Dell’Arte is delighted to welcome Stephanie back to La Famiglia; her institutional knowledge and financial acumen will be of great value.

Bridget Bamber McCracken, aka Bird, is a seasoned arts administrator, actor, and creator. She served as Production and Booking/Tour Manager with The Dell’Arte Company from 1996 to 2001, and co-founded Trash Mash-Up, where she fosters community engagement through eco-friendly pageants using recycled materials. Bridget is Director of Academic Services at San Francisco State University’s School of Public Administration and Civic Engagement and holds a Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in Arts Administration and Nonprofit Management; she is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Gerontology. A graduate of Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Otterbein College, Bridget brings a wealth of expertise to her multifaceted roles in the arts, education, and community engagement.

Gurudarshan “GD” Khalsa is an active member of the Blue Lake community and long-time supporter of Dell’Arte who was a close friend of the late Joan Schirle. GD is a mostly retired family physician and a long-time yoga practitioner who in his own words is “very calm and grounded by my decades of yoga and meditation”; he anticipates that his “discerning and analytical mind” will help to bring clarity to Dell’Arte’s decision-making processes during the rebuilding of the organization.

“It’s a solid sign that the organization is headed in a positive direction when individuals of this caliber step forward to participate,” adds Bitton. “We have several other potential directors waiting in the wings and are planning a second onboarding phase later in the year.”

Head of Training Tony Fuemmeler says, “Alongside the solid blend of skills, professional acumen, organizational history and community involvement which this group embodies, we are thrilled to also have their passion for Dell’Arte and professional rural theater and training as we move forward over the next few months into our 50th year.”

Dell’Arte is in the middle of a winter term of community classes, a series of professional workshops in the next few months, and a solo performance intensive with returning faculty Michelle Matlock in March. In the Carlo, guest performances have begun with the sold-out return of Papaya Lounge this past week. There’s music aplenty coming in February, starting with Home Cookin’ and The Appliances on February 10th, and Makenu Cumbia on February 24th. This summer marks the 50th Anniversary of Dell’Arte and will feature performances, popular summer intensives, the Prize of Hope, and the Folk Life Festival. More information about all of these and more can be found on the website at

Dell’Arte is currently seeking sponsors for summer productions and is also pleased to offer the Carlo Theatre space as a rental for third-party events. Interested businesses and individuals should contact Operations Manager Kimberly Haile at