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Meet The Team

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Richard Gilbert

Rick Gilbert is a founding member of R&D Choreography.  He came to Chicago in 1996, and has been happily designing shows, training actors, and studying violence here ever since.  He received his BA in Theater from Brandeis University, and in 2013 earned an MA in the Humanities (with a focus on Violence Studies) from the University of Chicago.  He is currently a Ph.D. student in the English department at Loyola University.  

Victor Bayona

Victor Bayona is a partner with R&D Choreography. He joined the company in 2011, after some time as an intern under Richard and David. A BFA graduate of the University of Chicago, it was there that he discovered a passion for designing violence while choreographing and performing fights for student cultural showcases. Victor's background has less to do with theatrical experience as much as martial arts study. He is currently a student of historical European martial traditions with the Chicago Swordplay Guild.

Nicolas Cabrera

​Nicolas Cabrera is an associate choreographer and violence designer with R&D Choreography based in Chicago, IL. He holds a BA in Theatre from Columbia College Chicago where he studied Stage Combat under David Woolley and John McFarland. He is a member of the Artistic Advisory Committee in the category of HEMA (Historical European Martial arts)  and WMA (Western Martial Arts) for the  International Order of the Sword and Pen. He currently holds the rank of Scholar with the Chicago Swordplay Guild, studying historical Italian Rapier, Bolognese sidesword and spadone, as well as a participant in the Chicago Swordplay Guild HAMA (Historical African Martial Arts) study group, training in Ethiopian Shotel and Colombian Machete.  

Emeritus Members

David Bareford

David Bareford is a founding member of R&D Choreography. After receiving his Bachelor's degree in Theatre from Northwestern College, he trained in stage combat with David "Pops" Doersch at the Minnesota Academy of Stage Combat Skills (MASCS) and supplemented his acting work with fight choreography. After moving to Chicago in 1996, he focused his theatrical energies fully upon theatrical violence and has been designing productions ever since. After an amazing 16-year collaboration with Richard Gilbert, David relocated in 2012 to the Pacific Northwest where he continues to teach stage combat and design shows in the Portland metro area in Oregon and southern Washington state.


Chloe Baldwin

Chloe Baldwin is an intern with R&D Choreography. She joined in 2013 but originally met R&D in 2009 on a production of "Peter Pan and Wendy," which is where she discovered a passion for storytelling through violence. She has been acting for over 10 years now, and she is currently pursuing a BFA in Acting at The Theatre School at DePaul. Though she combines her loves of combat and theatre working with R&D, she also pursues martial studies individually by studying historical European martial traditions with the Chicago Swordplay Guild with a focus in Renaissance-Era Italian Rapier.

Alexander Shekleton

Alex Shekleton was fisrt introduced to R&D Choreography in his senior year at North Park University via a stage combat class. Having an a prior love of storytelling through movement, Alex quickly latched on to the idea of storytelling through violence. After graduating North Park in 2011 with a BA in theatre arts, Alex went on to take more classes and workshops with R&D. In 2013 he joined the team as an intern and has had the joy studying under the tutelage of Rick and Victor. Alex is also a student of European and western martial arts at the Chicago Swordplay Guild, and is excited to be testing for his first rank as a student of the longsword.

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