- Education: University of California at San Diego, B.A., Theatre, Creative Writing; University of California at San Diego, M.F.A., Acting.
Damen was one of two U.S. recipients of a Princess Grace Award for Acting in 1996. Since 1997, he has worked as an actor and teacher for the Irondale Ensemble Project – an improvisation-based, political theatre company in its 28th season in NYC. He is also a company member with Blessed Unrest (an award-winning NYC theatre ensemble), and is a core member of Strike Anywhere (an NYC-based, improvisational jazz performance ensemble). As an actor, he has also performed at the Lincoln Center Theater, the La Jolla Playhouse, and the Granary and Firken Crane Theatres in Cork, the Republic of Ireland, among others. Notably, Damen played Creon in Antigone (directed by Athol Fugard) at the Firken Crane Theatre in Cork. As a playwright, Damen has had four plays produced in the U.S., Ireland, and Northern Ireland (including The Death of Cabaret, 2001 Dublin Fringe Festival). And as a director his plays have won numerous awards and honors, including Burn, Crave, Hold: The James Wilde Project (winner of the 2008 NY Innovative Theater Award for Best Production of a Play). He has taught courses in Shakespeare, acting and creative writing at the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, UC San Diego, Manhattanville College, Marymount College in Manhattan, numerous NYC public high schools, the Riker’s Island juvenile detention facility, and the Port Stewart Community Center in Port Stewart, Northern Ireland. Damen was born and raised in Pasadena, California. 2012 was his tenth summer teaching on our high school Pre-College enrichment program in Oxford and Tuscany.