HOBT Staff

Steve Ackerman

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Steve Ackerman

Site Innovator


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Steve Ackerman is a playwright and puppet artist who focuses on quick, crude, high-energy art making. He has his BFA in Acting from East Carolina University and MFA in Playwriting from Southern Illinois University. Previous projects include Action Sequence, Kaboom, and Cartooon!. 




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Rubin Hardin

Accessibility Innovator


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Rubin Hardin is a disability accessibility consultant and poet. Rubin is very proud to dedicate their time as a disabled person to disability justice. They combine their knowledge of their own community with their experience in the artistic field. In addition to their accessibility work, they founded and run Explicit Literary Journal, which features the work of non- and semi-speaking writers and visual artists. Rubin's goal as Accessibility Innovator is to contribute to making Heart Of The Beast fully accessible to the disabled audience and performers. They hope to create programming that values what disabled artists have to offer. Rubin is approaching their work with a deep enthusiasm and they can’t wait to get started.



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Elina Kotlyar

MayDay Experience Innovator


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Elina joined the MayDay Team in 2017. She brings the combined backgrounds of arts administration and stage management. Elina loves the outdoors: gardening, swimming, biking, kayaking, traveling the world. She has been excited to be engaged in the groundbreaking work of MayDay re-imagining with MayDay Council.








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Michelle Pett

Interim Executive Director

She/ Her/ Hers

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Michelle is a seasoned arts administrator and leader.  She has held interim executive leadership roles at Mixed Blood Theatre, Steppingstone Theatre, the Rose Ensemble, and History Theatre; as well as Managing Director roles at Theater Latte Da and Eye of the Storm Theatre.  Pett served as Board President and Vice President during nine years on the board of Open Eye Figure Theatre.  Her work as an independent producer includes a site-specific production of Full Gallop with Sally Wingert, Dustin Lance Black’s 8, and the debut of the Twin Cities Free Night of Theatre.



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Julia Pearlstein-Levy

Communications & Program Innovator


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Julia is a queer, Jewish, youth worker and student residing in South Minneapolis. She is passionate about bringing the arts and storytelling into the classroom and community. Julia remembers one of her very first times on stage playing the arms of a pig puppet, making kids laugh. Ever since, she has been drawn to the arts as a medium to connect with others. Julia developed her writing skills through student-parent communications and with the support of wonderful teacher mentors at Metropolitan State University. Julia is thrilled to join the team at Heart of the Beast in order to uplift the work of an organization that she truly believes in.





Kerekes image

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Kathy Kerekes



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I am happy to be working with HOBT as the new bookkeeper.  I have worked in many areas including the merchant marines, the EPA, the National Park Service, several law offices, building management/coffee shop owner, geriatric healthcare, and for the past 8 years, arts administration in southern MN.

I live with my long-term partner Jim, our two daughters who are 17 and 19 years old, three cats, and a bearded dragon.  We live in southern MN where I love to garden, forage, kayak, and sew.  When I have more than a few hours to play, I am likely to be found up on Lake Superior where I work on restoring a Morgan 34 sailboat.




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