About Festival 56
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Dexter Brigham, Executive Artistic Director
Born and raised in Princeton, Dexter Brigham spent 6 years living in New York City and working around the country as an actor in Broadway musicals and opera. The highlights of his performing career include the title role in the Off-Broadway revival of The Robber Bridegroom, the national tour of Frank Wildhorn's The Scarlet Pimpernel and Fred/Petruchio in the 2003-4 Broadway national tour of Kiss Me, Kate.
On the Festival 56 stage, Dexter has been a frequent guest artist in roles such as Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar and Benedick in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing.
In New York, in 2003 he co-founded The November Ten, a theatrical production company which subsequently brought the first cast of professional actors to Princeton, where they presented Showstoppers at the Prairie Arts Center. While in Princeton, Dexter met Terri Zearing, who helped to found Festival 56 in the summer of 2004. Dexter has served as the Executive Artistic Director of Festival 56 since then.
He is the 2009 recipient of the Illinois Alliance for Arts Education Artist award.
Zach Fiste, Production Manager
Raised on the family farm outside of Malden, IL, Zach Fiste began volunteering with Festival 56 during the 2004 inaugural season. After working as a carpenter through the 2008 season, he attended the prestigious Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University in St. Louis, MO majoring in Stage Management with a minor in Lighting Design. After two years away from Festival 56, Zach returned as a Stage Manager for the 2011 Summer and Fall seasons. After the 2012 Summer season acting as the Production Stage Manager, he was the first recipient of the Zearing-Phillips Award which recognizes outstanding contributions to Festival 56. Beginning with the 10th Anniversary Season in 2013, Zach started working for Festival 56 full-time as the Production Manager.