About us



→ Our mission

→ Our team

→ Our history


Our mission


Our mission is to empower artists to create work of the highest caliber and to engage diverse audiences through stories that inspire and impact our community.


We desire for our community a theatre of the highest artistic quality and professionalism, where residents and visitors can experience this moving art form at its best.


As members of the artistic community, we celebrate and affirm the best in Texas’ already rich and diverse cultural identity.  


At the same time, we dedicate ourselves to Texas’ artistic growth, by connecting and nurturing local artists and by leading the way in creative daring and excellence.


We defy the tradition that America’s best theatre begins in New York.  We provide an opportunity for Texas’ best artists to stay here, have families, and practice the art they love for the communities they care about.


We hope that the people who come through our doors are not only delighted, entertained, and refreshed, but that they also encounter something deeper.  We believe that theatre reminds us that life’s possibilities are larger than the routine existence we experience day to day.  Theatre is a place for the audience and performers to dream together, question together, seek together, and change together.


We dream of a place that is accessible and relevant to every Austinite, regardless of ethnic, social, or economic status.


Our team




Ryan CrowderRyan Crowder

Producing Artistic Director  |  ryan@penfoldtheatre.org


Ryan Crowder is a co-founder of Penfold, as well as an actor and director. Acting and directing credits include shows with Penfold, Hidden Room Theatre, Austin Shakespeare, Austin Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre and the Monomoy Theatre on Cape Cod. For his work onstage, Ryan has received the Austin Critics Table and B. Iden Payne Awards. He holds an MFA from the Professional Actor Training Program at Ohio University, a BFA from Abilene Christian University and a certificate from the Denver Center of the Performing Arts.


Nathan Jerkins

Associate Artistic Director  |  nathan@penfoldtheatre.org


Nathan is also a co-founder of Penfold, as well as an actor, director and author. Before moving to Austin, Nathan was a founding member of the Itinerate Theatre Company, which served the Abilene and Dallas areas. Now, besides acting and directing regularly for Penfold, Nathan appears on many Austin stages - including Hidden Room Theatre, Austin Shakespeare, City Theatre and others - for which he has received multiple awards and honors. Nathan has also authored several live radio scripts, one of which is currently produced around the country. He holds a BFA from Abilene Christian University.


Grace RiehlGrace Riehl

Managing Director  |  grace@penfoldtheatre.org


A native central Texan, Grace earned her BFA in Theatre from Baylor University. After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she discovered her love of arts fundraising working for the American Theatre Wing and Obie Awards. In pursuit of this passion, Grace enrolled in Brooklyn College's MFA program for Performing Arts Management, through which she served as a development resident for high profile theatre companies like Ann Bogart's SITI Company and the Public Theatre. She is now excited to be back home in Texas, creating excellent theatre that inspires and engages her community.


Gabriella Fultz

Patron Services Manager  |  gabie@penfoldtheatre.org


Gabie joined Penfold shortly after moving to Austin in 2013, serving under then Managing Director Zena Vaughn. Since that time, she has overseen patron services for over twenty mainstage productions and special events at Penfold. She has also provides front of house management for Austin Scottish Rite Theatre and Paladin Theatre Company. Gabie graduated from Abilene Christian University with a BFA in Theatre and an emphasis in stage management.



Board of Directors

Terra Brimberry Leanna Holmquist
Rob Brown Nathan Jerkins
Molly Bucy Chrishaun Keller-Hanna
Ryan Crowder Wade Phipps
Sue Duncan Edna Rehbein
Cathie Fincannon Randy Robinson
Kathy Frederick Brett Weaver


Our history


Penfold was founded in June 2007 by Ryan Crowder, Nathan Jerkins and Sean Martin. The trio set out on a road trip across the central United States and brought home a vision for professional theatre in north Travis and Williamson counties. Upon return, they assembled a National Advisory Board, consisting of prominent theatre leaders from across the country. With their help, Penfold underwent an extensive period of planning and development, from which it emerged in the spring of 2008.


In its first eleven seasons, Penfold produced 42 plays and musicals, which together garnered over 129 local awards and honors, including Austin Critics Table Award for Best musical (two years in a row), Austin Critics Table and B. Iden Payne Awards for Best Actor and several years in the Austin Chronicle’s Top 10 lists.  Penfold has also been featured in the Austin Chronicle, Austin American-Statesman and Community Impact Newspaper.


Discover more


→ Season 12

→ Past Productions

→ Get Involved

→ Sign up for E-News