Staff Bios



As its Founder, Manuel Zarate brings leadership, vision and a wealth of experience in Theater, Technology and Business to the organization. Mr. Zarate has over 20 years of professional experience in Theater. He has served as Artist-in-Education for the State of Oregon and served as the Director of Arts for the Washington Institute for Leadership. He is a nationally recognized Playwright and Director and is a member of Actors Equity. and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. He has served as a National Juror for the American Multicultural Festival and has served as Artistic Director for several professional theaters. He has received numerous awards for artistic excellence including Best New Script from the Austin Critic's Table 1998. His plays are represented by Susan Gurman.

On the business side, Mr. Zarate has developed several highly successful businesses in the Austin area over the last 15 years. He is currently the President of HBMG, Inc., HBMG Global, and Human Stage. His companies providing information technology services and future problem solving to a range of clients across several industries. Manuel has distinguished himself as a leader in software development and information technology systems. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of HBMG Inc. which extends deep into the arts in Austin, Creede, and the world beyond.


Creativity Specialist

Ann Pittman found her way to the foundation through the arts, performing in the Foundation's production of Foursquare at Frontera Fest 2012 and a staged reading of Shakespeare Scrooge in 2013. She is an actor and writer who splits her time between Austin, Texas and Creede, Colorado performing at theatres along the way including Creede Repertory Theatre, Seven Devils Playwright Conference, ZACH Theatre, and Austin Playhouse. She is Artistic Director of Trinity Street Players in Austin and served on the selection committee for Mainstreet Musicals in New York in 2015. Alongside Manuel, she hosts the National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Colorado helping writers to retreat, relax and create new works.

Ann is an advocate for women's rights and gay rights and believes that art is the medium through which change most authentically comes. Ann devotes her time to telling stories onstage or off and helping everyone foster art through their own storytelling capacity.

Executive Director

Johamy Morales holds an MFA in acting from The Ohio State University, with a specialization in outreach and devising new work, and a BA in Theatre from San Diego State University. Johamy currently serves as the Director of Educational Programming for Creede Repertory Theatre (CRT) and as a Trustee for Theatre Communication Group (TCG).

Prior to working with CRT, Johamy directed the Comparative Arts Department and the Junior Musical Theatre Program at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Michigan. Johamy has worked with Arena Stage in Washington D.C., Seattle Children’s Theatre Company and the La Jolla Playhouse through their education programs as a teaching artist. Johamy is an alumnus of the Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship at Arena Stage and the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, where she studied Contemporary & Classical works with Deborah Warner and Fiona Shaw. Johamy toured with the cast of New World Jukebox where she performed in the 2006 Grahamstown National Arts Festival, in Grahamstown, South Africa and with San Diego State University in, Carnaval de Calaveras, with performances in Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Mexico D.F. in 2004. In February of 2017, Johamy collaborated with the US State Department, the US Embassy & Consulate and several NGO’s to promote awareness of domestic and gender violence in Kolkata and Ranchi, India. Johamy worked with a variety of communities devising new works on gender based violence through Augusto Boal based workshops. As an educator, artist, and director Johamy has worked with various schools and nonprofit organizations both nationally and internationally including Fort Lewis College, University of San Diego, Esperanza Charter School, Wexner Center, Dennos Museum, Student in Transition Empowerment Program, Traverse City Continuation School, Blackbird Arts and Columbus Refugee & Immigration Services.

The American Playbook, Artistic Director

Amanda J. Bermudez is an award-winning writer and director based in Los Angeles, California. Her past works include The Face of the Earth (Winner of the Diverse Voices Award, 2018), Hunt (National Winter Playwrights Retreat, 2017), and an adaptation of W.H. Auden’s The Sea and the Mirror (Yale Center for British Art, 2013). In addition to writing and public arts organization, Bermudez is also a former boxer and EMT, and her work gravitates toward contemporary explorations of power, the architecture of language, and the dynamics of privilege. She is a recipient of the Jameson Prize, a Writer’s Digest National Award Winner, nominee for the Spotlight Culture & Heritage Award, winner of the 2017 Cinequest Film Festival writing competition, and was named one of the Top 100 Emerging Screenwriters in 2017.


Development Director

Stay tuned for his bio.