Eli Simon named The Daily Pilot/TimesOC Man of the Year in Theater for 2017

Eli Simon named The Daily Pilot/TimesOC Man of the Year in Theater for 2017

The Daily Pilot/TimesOC Man and Woman of the Year in Theater for 2017 are the artistic director of UC Irvine’s New Swan Shakespeare Festival and the executive director of One More Productions at the Gem Theater in Garden Grove, Eli Simon and Nicole Cassesso.

Simon is a Chancellor’s Professor of acting at UCI, where he chaired the drama department for five years and spent another 11 years as head of acting. Since 2012, he has overseen the New Swan festival and directed one of the two shows presented each summer.

Simon wrote a book on his theatrical specialty, “The Art of Clowning” in 2008 and describes it as “illuminating a complete system of clowning that encourages the exploration, expansion and fortification of your distinct clown persona.” He’s also the artistic director of the original clown troupe Clownzilla.

He has directed more than 100 productions at major Shakespearean festivals, regional theaters and international venues. His New Swan shows during the past five years have been highly successful.