Meet Ashley Rountree, the next amazing director in our line-up of directors for Fresh Reads 2, our new play reading festival! We love this woman! Under “Special Skills” on her resume, she lists Egg Shaker. What?! Come see the play she directed (“Our Space” by Caroline Turner Cole) on Friday 5/18 and Thursday 5/24 at the Bath House Cultural Center! And read all about Ashley below!


Ashley’s bio
Ashley Rountree, originally from Mansfield, TX, earned her B.F.A. in Acting from Texas State University- San Marcos. After graduation she worked with Punchkin Rep. Theatre Co. in Austin. Soon after, Ashley moved to Chicago, IL to continue exploring her artistry and craft. While in Chicago, Ashley completed the School at Steppenwolf and worked with The New Colony, Chicago Dramatists, Wishbone Theatre Collective, the Jubilee Theatre Collective, Collaboraction, and The Chicago Collective. After studying with the Neo-Futurists, Ashley was inspired to create Foundry: A Home for New Work with fellow Steppenwolf creatives. Creating with Foundry, her time was spent producing, directing, and performing new works. Ashley relocated to Dallas in 2016. She recently performed in the summer residency of “Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche” in Rochester, NY. She also serves as the Chief Operations Officer at ECHO Education, a DFW-based non-profit focused on experiential learning programs. Ashley is a proud Creative Team Member at Stomping Ground Comedy Theatre where she teaches, directs, produces, and serves as the company’s Women’s Advocate.

She is thrilled to be working with Pegasus Theatre for her first time on the FreshReads2 series. Ashley looks forward to bringing to life the refreshingly re-examined world playwright Caroline Cole has crafted.

Enjoy the show, and thank you for helping foster new work in Dallas!

Ashley’s answers to our hardball questions!
1. How long have you worked with Pegasus Theatre?
Answer: I’m delighted to be directing with Pegasus Theatre for my first time on the Fresh Reads 2 project!

2. What appeals to you about this project?
Answer: The exploration of new works from voices within our own community offers rich opportunity for so many different players- the creative table we all sit down to not only fosters those already present, but welcomes new faces, voices, and points of view that perhaps didn’t have a seat before. I find great inspiration from the process of creating new works, whether I’m acting, producing or, in this fine chance, directing. To watch words find a page and pages then find life brings me joy, so the greatest appeal I found to working on this project was the possibility of being involved in the sharing of a new world. I hope to serve Caroline with my direction, and that she finds great success with the life of her play.

3. How long have you been involved in theatre?
Answer: I was a quiet kiddo who loved to play with Barbies, so my parents put me in a play when I was in 3rd grade or so. From there, I’ve clung to the many different facets of personal, creative, and professional expression theatre offers.

4. What do you do when not working on this project?
Answer: When not working with Pegasus, I serve as the Chief Operations Officer at ECHO Education, an educational non-profit that focuses on experiential learning programs for children across North Texas. I’m also a Creative Team Member at Stomping Ground Comedy Theatre here in Dallas where I serve as the company’s Women’s Advocate, a producer and teacher.

5. Give an odd fact about yourself.
Answer: I’m an amateur paper-craftsman. I make greeting cards, gifts, and signage.

6. Describe your first live theatre memory.
Answer: My first live theatre memory as a performer would be my heart pacing after exclaiming, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it” to an audience. Dressed as a little boy, long hair tucked into a newsy-cap, the feeling of playing dress-up, playing pretend, and playing under warm lights was just a thrilling mash-up.

7. What inspired you to get involved in theatre?
Answer: As I mentioned, my parents had the wonderful foresight to see what live-performance would do for their shy child. But the choice to continue to be involved in the craft evolved from the joy I’d feel when I was in the state of play. As I’ve moved through my chapters and journey in theatre, I’ve consistently found happiness and true belonging when telling a story to connect with others. Whether in a traditionally-styled theater or otherwise, there is nothing like a room full of people being drifted off to a new world together.

8. Any theatrical pet peeves?
Answer: It depends on what my position within the production is, but my biggest pet peeve from any corner would be tardiness.

9. Favorite play/musical (that you didn’t write)?
Answer: Although it isn’t a set, cemented “play,” my favorite theatrical experience is the weekly show Infinite Wrench (previously T.M.L.M.T.B.G.B.) produced by the Chicago Neo-Futurists. The show constantly crafts new work and unconventional styles, all while showcasing the most specific “slice of life” stories in an atmosphere that welcomes the creators to express their individual artist-selves.

10. What is your hometown and where else have you lived?
Answer: I was raised in Mansfield, Texas, south DFW-area. I lived in San Marcos (while attending Texas State) and then in Austin, post-graduation. I moved to Chicago, and then here to Dallas.

11. What would you like the audience to take away from the piece you have directed?
Answer: As with any production I’m a part of, I want the audience to experience this show as active participants, to actively ask themselves what characters or themes they relate to, and what points they felt distanced from. There is often some textured wonderings that float between those two simple ideals- and they can be important to observe. The greatest joy of experiencing live theatre, especially works that are in process or in their beginning stages, is harnessing the power to question your point of view in this here life within the world that’s just been crafted and shared with you.

And last but not least, Ashley’s resume!
THEATRE- Directing
-Not Your Momma’s Ingénue Fireworks: Light ‘em and Run The Process of Character, Student Showcase (Current Project)

OTHER- Directing
– Big Turtle (improvisation)
– Samurai Drunk (improvisation)
– Tour Guide/Employee Training

5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
The Cherry Orchard
Mock Debate
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche
Professor Parsnip’s Lab of Healthy Choices
American Giants of Science
Jack and Coconuts
Gods and Idols

– Texas State University- B.F.A. Acting Class
– The School at Steppenwolf- 2013
– The Royal Shakespeare Company- Summer 2010
– Acting Intensives with Profiles Theatre and The Neo-Futurists of Chicago

Contact Improvisation, Improvisation, Clowning, Egg Shaker, IPA Trained, Licensed Driver with Vehicle, Experienced Nanny & Educator, Alto Singer, and current Producer/Director at Stomping Ground Comedy Theatre in Dallas, Texas.
(Editorial note: Egg Shaker??)