Barry Kendall

Political advisor; Co-Founder, The Collected Works

1996 Alumni


English and Biology (C'96), Emory University
MA, Religion & Theater, Yale UNiversity
PhD, Drama, Stanford University

Theater Emory opened my eyes to a range of theatrical experiences and aesthetics that were far outside what I had ever known before. I learned the value of artistic experimentation. Emory provided me numerous opportunities to direct and act, including Big River, How to Succeed..., and the title role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the fall of my freshman year. Later, I wrote and directed my own full-length physical theater piece called Ring-a-Rosie, which was supported by numerous faculty members. 

After graduation, I managed Atlanta's 7 Stages Theater for three seasons, then attended Yale University, completing a joint masters in Religion and Theater, followed by a PhD in Drama at Stanford University.

Since Stanford, I have worked in politics. Currently, I'm spearheading an effort to build a statewide donor alliance that will make aligned, strategic investments in the state's permanent, progressive political infrastructure. As you might imagine, the transition from theater to politics is not too difficult! My background in theater has helped me become a sought-after communications adviser and coach to members of Congress and other elected officials, major advocacy organizations, and leaders in the private sector as well. It's also helped me know how to plan and pull off effective large-scale events, whether public rallies or major conferences. Finally, in a world that's dominated by policy wonks, I find that my perspective as a creator and critic of culture helps those around me recognize that, as I often say, "Culture leads politics, and politics drives policy."

I sang baritone with the International Orange Chorale and co-founded a San Francisco theater company called The Collected Works