What is Penguin Productions?

Penguin Productions unites youth leadership and adult mentorship to co-create theater and cultivate a healthy, equitable, thriving future through:

-Empowering confident, thoughtful youth leaders
-Making invigorating, inspiring, joyful theater
-Creating diverse, inclusive spaces where everyone belongs
-Nurturing artistic discovery and growth
-Providing cost-free programming

Meet the Penguins

Nelson Niu

Nelson Niu (he/they) is a Chinese American theater artist who moved to Seattle just last year. At his day job, he’s a math PhD student at UW, but he’s always had a passion for inventing and reinventing stories for today’s stage. As part of the MIT Shakespeare Ensemble, they starred in virtual productions of “Macbeth” and “Timon of Athens,” directed Agatha Christie’s “Go Back for Murder” and a trans take on “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and had a hand in an assortment of wacky Shakespeare pastiches written and rehearsed in 24 hours with titles like “Twelfth Night Ultimate Werewolf” and “Actual Cannibal Lord Macduff.” Their original play “A Holistic Review” was staged virtually by the Asian American Theatre Artists of Boston and live-streamed on HowlRound TV. He’s eager to dip his toes into the Seattle theater scene and incredibly thrilled to be working with you all!

Shana Bestock

Shana is a writer, educator, theater artist, and non-profit leader based in Seattle, WA. She has directed over 200 productions with youth ensembles and overseen over 120 professional productions. Shana works with both classic and contemporary texts, and has commissioned, produced, and directed many world premieres. 

As the Producing Artistic Director, and founder, of Penguin Productions, Shana facilitates creative adventures in community arts to fuel the future with a focus on youth development and leadership, gender equity, and environmental justice. She is also a Fulbright Specialist, working internationally at the intersections of theater, social justice, and community building. She was a member of the ArtEquity cohort of 2016-17 and of the Leadership Tomorrow Class of ’21, engaging with cross-sector leaders around regional issues through an equity lens. From 2001-2016 Shana served as Seattle Public Theater’s Artistic and Education Director. Through her creative and community work, she strives to increase our capacity to connect, reflect, and create in order to make a more curious, compassionate and creative world. 

To learn more about Shana, visit www.shanabestock.com

Katrina Filer

Katrina Filer is a senior industrial design student at the University of Washington and a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-creative-trades. She uses design to connect people to the natural world and to each other, and she hopes to employ these skills to extend Penguin’s reach further into the community. In the future, she wants to use her 3D design thinking to improve accessibility and responsible land stewardship in outdoor recreation. 

In the past, Katrina has worked with Design for America to develop apps that combat addictive behaviors associated with our phones. Currently, she co-leads a design team at Washington Hyperloop. She also enjoys serving as the graphics and print editor for The Fishwrapper, a satirical newspaper run by a handful of disgruntled UW students. 

Outside of this, Katrina spends most of her time hiking in the mountains or wandering city parks, usually with a camera in tow. She also dabbles in poetry, painting, and jazz trombone. A sample of her creative work can be viewed at filerkat.myportfolio.com

Production History

Penguins Who Took Flight

Anna Klein, Sarah Albertson, Kyna Shilling, Kayla Brooks, Bella Zhou, Noelle McCabe, Linda Yan

Sara Albertson

Kayla Brooks

Anna Klein

Noelle McCabe

Kyna Shilling

Linda Yan

Bella Zhou

The magic happens in the community, that it’s about the people, not the theater or the program… it comes from YOU and your commitment to 'wasting time learning things' and your belief that kids can accomplish more than they think they can, which every production bears out.
Thank YOU for the show. I have to say it was the most thoroughly entertaining political satire we’ve seen in a long time. You did a great job with those kids, integrating the whole spectrum of talent into a delightful show that hopped.
...a community based on a strong vision of supporting kids and emerging adults through meaningful theater events.

Penguin Leaders
and Mentors

Meet the Penguin
Advisory Council

Our Partners:

Northwest Folklife, Office of Arts and Culture, Foundry10, 4Culture, UHeights, The Creative Advantage, TeenTix, Shunpike

Penguin Productions programs are free to all in need. Fuel the future of healthy, equitable community theater with your support today!

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