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Stephanie Hepburn


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Stephanie Hepburn (nee Zurhellen) was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1952, the daughter of US diplomats. She spent her first four years in Japan, then lived in Washington, DC for four years, Munich, Germany for two, back to Japan for five, and then on to Israel for High School. As a result she has a working knowledge of Japanese, German, French, and Hebrew as well as her native English.

She first worked professionally on Japanese Television in 1965 as an actor in a "Learn to Speak English" program. In Israel she worked as an actress on a movie and volunteered at the Habimah Theatre while helping to run the small theatre program at her American High School.

After returning to the US, she studied acting and directing at the University of Georgia at Athens, GA where obtained a BA in acting and finally graduated in 1976 with an MFA in Directing (Jim Baffico, thesis supervisor)

After University, she married a British citizen and moved to Bristol for two years which included a very successful appearance at the Edinburgh Festival with the Bristol Revunions Theatre Company which received a prestigeous Festival First award for Gorky's A Respectable Family, in which she played Akulina, the mother. She was also featured in the review Bristol Cream, with, amongst others, Julia Hills, David Bamber and Nicholas Farrell.  She then moved with her family to Norwich, where she was a working Equity actor on stage and on television. hile there, she ran a Theatre Arts Course at the Theatre Royal, Norwich. She also directed a number of productions for the Sewell Barn Theatre and the Great Hall Players amongst others and received several directing awards at the Breckland and PAN festivals.

In 1985, the family moved to the University of Illinois where she worked for five years in regional dinner theatres around the mid-west and had a highly successful appearance as Rose in Gypsy at the Festival of Southern Theatre in Oxford, MS.  While based in IL she took doctoral classes and taught theatre at UIUC and Parkland College.  This was followed by a final move to New York in 1991 where Stephanie has continued acting, directing, and teaching.

She has appeared with the MacHaydn Theatre (Chatham, NY), Queen City Stage (Poughkeepsie, NY), Candlewood Playhouse (Connecticut), Yorktown Regional Theatre, Theatre-by-the-Sea (Rhode Island), the Peekskill Repertory Theatre, and many others.

In the fall of 1992, Stephanie prepared a proposal and submitted it to the City of Peekskill for the formation of a performing arts umbrella organization, based in the City's Artist District that would complement the existing artists and musicians groups. Following the acceptance of her proposal, the Theatre Arts Guild (TAG-Peekskill), was founded in 1993. Under its banner, TAG-Peekskill included the Peekskill Repertory Theatre as its performing wing, the Playwrights Alliance, and two groups devoted to Children's Theatre, the TAG-Along Theatre Company which performed plays for Children in and around Peekskill and TAG-TIE, a Theatre-in-Education group which worked with the local schools. After a successful first season the Peekskill Repertory Theatre Company left TAG in 1994 to become the Theatre-in-Residence at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill where Stephanie continued to serve as its Artistic Director, directing and acting with the company.

PRT productions were taken from Peekskill to the Schoolhouse Theatre in Croton Falls and the Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck, NY. Stephanie's work with the Peekskill Repertory Theatre was acknowledged in the 1996 New York State Arts Awards by Governor George Pataki. The Peekskill Repertory Theatre, in addition to its regular productions at the Paramount, has provided actors and productions for many local events and fund-raisers in Peekskill and the surrounding community such as the opening of the China Pier and City of Peekskill Festivals.

In 1997, her proposal for a summer arts camp for children in Peekskill was adopted by the Peekskill Parks and Recreation Department. Also in 1997, Stephanie joined SUNY-Westchester as an Adjunct Professor of Speech and Drama where she directed a number of college productions.   When she moved with her family to Mt Kisco and then Manhattan in 2003, her involvement with PRT lessened as she concentrated on work in New York City.

In 2004, Stephanie co-founded "Big Bottom Productions" which fuctioned as an upstate producer of shows which were performed at venues such as the Depot Theatre in Garrison.  The Company also occasionally brought shows to New York City for some of the summer festivals.

In 2011, the family moved further upstate to Beacon where Stephanie founded the Brick Town Theatre Company which presented a number of cabaret evenings and play readings in the Howland Arts Center. She continues to work in film and television in the Tri-State area and appears regularly with many of the local Theatre Companies from Garrison to Poughkeepsie. She has also been a Guest Artist at Marist College. 

Stephanie now concentrates on performing, having appeared with the County Players (Wappinger Falls), Clove Creek Dinner Theatre, The Center for the Performing Arts, Rheinbeck, and the Ridgefield theatre Barn amongst others. A recent performance in "Slow Dating" at Ridgefield which was reprised at the Aery 20/20 festival at the Depot Thetre earned the show a Best Play award and Stephanie a Best Actress Award.

Printable Resumes

Downloadable PDF versions of Stephanie's resumes and headshot are available:
Acting Resume   (25kb)                          with headshot 
Film/Television Resume  (24kb)            with headshot (1279kb)
Directing/Producing Resume (19Kb)     
(For production photos, see Stephanie's full resume page)

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