Staff Directory

Carson Becker
Artistic Director

Carson Grace Becker is an an award winning, nationally produced playwright, screenwriter, dramaturg and arts educator. She earned her MFA in Playwriting from The University of Iowa, and her BA in English Literature and Women’s Studies from UCLA. She has taught Playwriting/Screenwriting at Columbia College Chicago, Roosevelt University, The Graham School, The Imagine Butte Resource Center, and Chicago Dramatists. She has been a guest artist at NYU, Ohio University, The Univ. of Nebraska, The Univ. of Illinois, and Oklahoma State University. She served as Literary Manager & Dramaturg at Honolulu Theatre for Youth, and is the founder of the The Root & The Bloom Collective, a Humanities non-profit, housed at The Historic Clark Chateau in Butte, MT.  

Dionna Griffin-Irons
Director of Creative Development

Dionna Griffin-Irons is delighted to join the Chicago Dramatists team.  As a writer, comedy producer,  and the longtime former Director of Talent Diversity and Inclusion for The Second City U.S. and Canada, Griffin-Irons plans to bring her producing and inclusion expertise along with more improv philosophy to support new development for the Chicago Dramatists school.  For two decades, she expanded Second City’s talent recruitment efforts and mentored hundreds of performing artists to increase underrepresented voices including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ in sketch comedy and on the resident stages.   Griffin-Irons has facilitated 200+ workshops to corporations and organizations including Embassy Norway and Latvia, using improvisation as a creative tool for innovation and belonging. Her work has been featured on ABC, NBC, American Theatre Magazine, Diversity Journal, and the University of Chicago’s TEDx, The Incredible Unknown.   Griffin-Irons is adjunct faculty at DePaul University in the Computer Digital Media program, Story Studio Chicago, Chicago Dramatists, and The Second City School.  Her signature class “Telling Your Truth” is offered yearlong for professionals and creatives throughout the year who are seeking to tell their greatest story.   @dionnagriffinirons

Marsha Estell
Tutterow Fellowship Program Director

Marsha Estell is a resident playwright alumna at Chicago Dramatists, 2010 3Arts/Ragdale Fellow, and recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Playwriting. Her plays include Heat, which had its world premiere at Chicago Dramatists and was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding New Work and many other award-winning work. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity.


Atlie Gilbert
Managing Producer

Atlie Gilbert is a Chicago-based actor, improviser, and teaching artist. Favorite regional credits include Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Naked Angels, Muse of Fire, Emerald City Theatre, Williams Street Repertory Theater, Redmoon Theater, and the Civil Rights Opera Project. She frequently performs with Ubiquitous Players, Naked Angels Chicago, and American Immersion Theater. Teaching credits include Chicago Dramatists, Sherwood Music School at Columbia College College, Stagecrafters, Muse of Fire, among others. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and has an extensive background in production, project management, and business development. 

Breinne Reeder
Managing Director

Breinne Reeder is incredibly excited and honored to be the new Managing Director with Chicago Dramatists. She has an MA from the University of Michigan specializing in Diversity and Social Justice. She has spent 15 years working in theatre, with an extensive background in directing, stage managing, playwriting, and technical theatre. Breinne is also the founder of RISE Consulting Services, which specializes in cultivating cultural competence training methods for partnering organizations. She was previously the Executive Director of Accord Hospice of Sedona, and the Artistic Director of Emerson Theater Collaborative. 

Glenn B. Rust
Technical Director

Glenn B. Rust is a playwright, actor, and theatre technician who grew up doing theatre in Eugene, Oregon. Since leaving Eugene, Glenn has received two Irene Ryan Award Nominations, a Meritorious Achievement from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for his multimedia design used in The Tempest at Linfield Collegeand created/produced the Columbia College Chicago organization Playwrights Aloud. Glenn has done internships at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and Timeline Theatre Company for Development and Production Management respectively, and he graduated with a BA in Writing for Performance from Columbia College Chicago in 2019.

Diviin Huff

Diviin Huff hails from Detroit, Michigan and is an actor, teaching artist and poet.  She attended University of Michigan for undergrad where she studied Psychology and African, African American, and Caribbean Studies.  Her Masters degree is in Applied Drama and Theatre for the Young from Eastern Michigan University.  She has taught acting and improvisation in both Michigan and Iowa, where she previously lived.  Her passion is for youth and reviving the inner child of seasoned individuals. In graduate school, they said their audience was from eight to eighty, specializing in performance, play and research.  Eastern’s curriculum challenged the necessity of cuteness in productions for youth, deeming it necessary to bring the truth to young audiences in ways that they can understand.  She has been a guide in giving voice through performance and storytelling, creating safe spaces to bring original stories to life on stage. Knowing that theatre is transformative and a powerful tool for development, she strives to breathe honesty and compassion into each group she works with, which translates to the stage.  Diviin believes that doing and participating in theatre is a community service, bringing people together for something positive. Her goals are to continue to teach, write and perform in an effort to spread awareness and empathy to groups, especially with people of color. 

Maria Pretzl
Network & First Draft Coordinator

Maria Pretzl is a writer/director currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She earned a BFA in Film Production and a BA in Theatre Production from UW-Milwaukee in 2014 and co-founded Traveling Lemur Productions, a video company that specializes in promotional videos for theatre in 2015. Theatre credits include: Juniper Flies (Playwright, Renaissance Theatreworks, Best of Br!nk Briefs & Br!nk New Play Festival), Holiday Cards (Director, Renaissance Theatreworks Br!nk New Play Festival), Coriolana (Director, Cooperative Performance), Roommates (Playwright, Cooperative Performance), Nightmare Boy (Director, UWM New Directions Program), She Kills Monsters (Director, Village Playhouse) and Songs of Love: A Theatrical Mixtape (Director, World’s Stage Theatre Company). Her short film SUPER DAD! played in 15 festivals around the world, won three awards and is available to stream on Vimeo. If you join us for First Draft, you’ll likely see her cat, T’Challa. A long time member of Scene Shop with Will Dunne, she’s excited to be a part of the Chicago Dramatists team.