Artistic Director – Mary Claire Branton
Mary Claire Branton obtained a BA in Theatre from the University of Georgia and received her MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College. She studied Chekov and Stanislavsky with the Moscow Art Theatre and workshopped Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints at Columbia University. After a career altering back injury, Mary Claire began directing and writing. She has taught acting and directed shows at numerous educational institutions and professional theatres in the U.S. with cast sizes as large as ninety-five children. For two years, she led drama programs in China at the Taihu International School and the International School of Wuxi outside of Shanghai.
Mary Claire is a member of the Author’s Guild and serves as an editor and literary agent for young authors. The Earth Bound by Luke Evans marks the first published Charlie’s Port book series. Luke, who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, began working with Mary Claire at the age of fifteen after developing a plotline for several YA paranormal thrillers featuring a main character that also lives with Asperger’s Syndrome. Zharmae Press released the first installment of his series in May of 2016. Jessica Branton’s YA paranormal trilogy How to Experience Death for Beginners was offered three publishing contracts and Jessica is negotiating a release of the first installment in October. Jessica is an English major at the University of Georgia.
In 2008, Mary Claire directed Waiting For My Growth Spurt at the Woodruff Art Center’s 14th Street Playhouse, written and performed by thirteen year-old Jason David. The run sold out and was the first professional one-kid show in the United States. Her absurdist direction of Kyle Jarrow’s Obie Award-winning A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant also sold out two years in a row at Dad’s Garage Theatre and was voted by Creative Loafing as one of the top ten shows in Atlanta, 2007.
Mary Claire believes that children have a tremendous capacity to communicate complex ideas through art. As founding artistic director of Charlie’s Port, she is a pioneer of new genres of expression where children create or perform comedic, religious, spiritual, political, esoteric, avant-garde, and barrier breaking material with specific audience targets, primarily adults. Mary Claire lives in Woodstock, Georgia, and is developing a children’s book series about the significance of numbers with Autistic artist, Gabriel Sotillo. Her most recent literary development is a middle grade novel by eleven year-old, Mikayla Lowery, currently being submitted to publishers.
Current and Former Artistic Associates
Christopher Cannon – Composer/Musician
Jim Davies – Playwright/Cognitive Scientist
Sherrie Peterson – Producer/Director/Actress
Linda Sotillo – Visual Artist/Parent
Child Artistic Associates (Age of Invitation)
Jessica Branton, 15 – Writer
Luke Evans, 15 – Actor/Writer
Max Greenhouse, 15 – Actor/Musician/Humanitarian
Rebecca Greenhouse, 12 – Actress/Musician
Mikayla Lowery, 10 – Writer
Shannon Roux, 11 – Actress/Singer/Dancer/Humanitarian
Zach Solomon, 16 – Actor/Singer/Humanitarian
Gabriel Sotillo, 18 – Visual Artist/Writer
Zoë Spencer, 10 – Activist/Writer
Zachary Leo Taylor, 14 – Writer/Activist/Budding Politician