HB Insight Series Podcast

HB Studio, est. 1945, is a globally recognized training studio with the privilege of working with artists from all over the world. HB Insight Series episodes feature artists from the HB community, engaging in the conversation centered on their journey. Within each of these stories is a love letter written for all artists.

Streaming now on:
Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon, Castbox, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Overcast, PocketCasts, Radio Public and Youtube.


Connecting with Amanda McDowall and Jacqueline Raymond Wegman co-founders of the International Girls Ensemble! Listen to their approach on creating a lasting community and uplifting young women through the lens of theatre. The International Girls Ensemble was chosen for HB’s residency in 2020 and finally they are back in 2024 with 12 young girls eager to tell their inspiring stories and share their artistry with the community. Amanda and Jacqueline guide us through their artistic development towards creating theatre that liberates young women. Their enlightened experience during their first volunteer trip to Thailand led the ladies to apply for their 501(c)3 and embark on the beautiful journey that is the International Girls Ensemble! Join us as we explore how theatre can uplift and support women all over the world.


Exploring the artistic journey of Melody Erfani, founder of Lower Eastside Shakespeare Company, Resident HB Artist developing,The Words Will Come, a play about dyslexia. Join us as Melody shares her upbringing as an Iranian-American living in Texas, falling in love with theatre, traveling the world, her love of classical theatre and the power of artistic collaboration. We reflect on the conception of Melody’s 2017 HB residency Bee, a story inspired about her Iranian grandmother’s arranged marriage. Melody transparently shares works from her own lived experience and through her honesty we are opened to how theatre has the capability to inspire the creation of marginalized stories. Listen as we unpack the ways our own lived experiences are the heart of powerful theatre.


Explore the artistic journey of Nehassaiu deGannes, actor, poet, maker, educator, storyteller and so much more… Experience with us as Nehassaiu shares her unique path to the development of her artistry. We explore her relationship to language, her ethos as an artist and educator, her Caribbean background, her diverse educational journey, some of her favorite roles and mentors that guided her along the way.Nehassaiu graciously shares personal stories and challenges us to advocate for our creativity and how we can find our alchemy as artists. Nehessaiu comes to HB with degree’s in English Literature, African American Studies, Poetry and trained at Trinity Repertory Conservatory. Listen as we dive into the intersectional ways theatre can be a vehicle for our unique creativity.


Exploring the artistic journey of multi-hyphenate creator Jermaine Rowe as he reflects and shares his journey towards becoming an artist through cultural exploration, self acceptance, growth, and spirituality. We talk about his upbringing in Spanish Town Jamaica, being an F1 student new to NYC with a scholarship to Alvin Ailey, touring with The Lion King and Fela!, his transition into becoming an educator, and his inventive new works under his genre Afro Caribbean magical realism. Fresh off of working alongside Bill T. Jones as his associate director for Watch Night at the Perelman Performing Arts Center Jermaine is diving into every part of his artistry. Listen as Jermaine genuinely offers us insight on the conception of his artistry.


Exploring the artistic journey of Recovery, a devised theatre experience produced and directed by 2023 HB resident artists Ashley Olive Teague and Jayne McLendon. Ashley and Jayne share their community based approach to theatre as they guide us through the conception of their healing presentation. As leaders of their own theatre spaces the ladies give us advice on the collaborative process and how to create stories around difficult topics. Listen as Ashley and Jayne dive into how they create theatre that touches audiences, creates ensemble and inspires further communal conversations.


Exploring the artistic journey of Kate Fuglei, actress, writer, and author. We talked about growing up artistic, trauma, and retelling those human experiences to find healing and human experience, which lead Kate to write In The Blink Of An Eye.


Explore the artistic journey of Maria Cominis, actor, playwright, director, author, educator, mother. We talk about finding truth and how she came to write her new piece, Women of Zalongo, a story inspired by her ancestral history.


Explore the artistic journey of Deirdre MacNamara, playwright, actress, yoga instructor. We take a look back of how she got her start as an artist, from being offered the wrong kind of dance job, to the artists she’s worked with over the years—and to this day, and creating art through personal experiences.


Exploring the artistic journey of Kayhan Irani, artist and activist. We talk about how Kayhan got her start at HB, taking classes a very young age, sharing a special moment with founder Herbert Berghof, how she found her activist spirit in her art and life, and how it all lead to her to start her project: The Whole World Over: Refugee Art Making & Making Home in the West Village, bringing together immigrants artists to share their work with the community and how it’s grown.


Exploring the artistic journey of Matt Butler, musician and songwriter. We talk about transition of being a lone wolf artist to working a collaborative theatre setting, and his work performing and storytelling in correctional facilities.


Artist-in-Residency, Ashley Olive Teague and Playwright, Gwen Kingston, share with us the development of their residency project: DICK, excavating the iconic text of Moby Dick and telling stories from womxn, and non-binary folx perspective. Not to mention their work with Notch Theatre Company in helping communities through art.


Richard Hoehler discusses his company, ACTING OUT: a theatre that offers professional training, practice, and performance opportunities for the formerly incarcerated. Each participant in ACTING OUT experienced the transformative value of a theatre program while in prison and wish to continue their training upon release.

Co-Host: Richie Dang


It’s our first episode! Long time student and now-instructor, Francesca Ferrara is joined by co-host and HB Alumni, Yessi Hernandez as they talk to Movement & Core Instructor, Ben Mehl about how he got his start in acting, becoming a teaching artist, and his vision- all leading to his role in season 3 of Netflix’s You.

Co-Host: Yessi Hernandez


Creative Team
Production Manager: Melisa Kucevic
Graphics Design: Claudia Quintero
Composter: Zaq Latino
Editor: Josiah Smiley
Producer: Frank Nicholas Poon & HB Studio

HB Studio’s programs are supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and many generous supporters.