Skip to content

Andrea Shockling

Director of creative operations

Andrea has been an artist, a designer, an educator, and a manager. She’s worked on the small parts of big projects you’ve heard of and the big parts of small projects you never will, but the common denominator throughout her career path always comes back to creative collaboration. It’s why theatre is her jam, and why she makes comics. But maybe the best word to describe Andrea is storyteller: she loves the process of shaping a narrative, building a visual experience, and helping others share their perspectives.

Like Ben and Sarah, Andrea earned her BFA from the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University. (BPI Trivia Fun Fact #1: Sarah was the paint charge for Andrea’s scenic design senior year.) She then dove almost immediately into graduate school for arts education, and taught public school in Pittsburgh for several years before pivoting to the non-profit sector. 

Andrea Headshot
Andrea & Avi

In what would become a theme for the next decade or so, Andrea used her foundations in theatre design and formal education pedagogy to bridge the gap between the informal education opportunities offered by arts organizations and the students, teachers, and historically marginalized community members who directly benefited from increased accessibility and inclusion. During this time, Andrea also completed another degree from Carnegie Mellon – a choose-your-own-adventure MPM with a focus on educational leadership in the arts and organizational management. She designed for a number of theatre companies in Pittsburgh. And she also had a baby. She was very tired.

Andrea took advantage of a chance to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012 (BPI Trivia Fun Fact #2: While both Ben and Sarah and Andrea lived in the Bay Area for multiple years, their West Coast residencies surprisingly did not ever overlap), and continued her work as a teaching artist with the regional Tony Award-winning TheatreWorks company. In 2015, after the loss of her mom and the unraveling of her relationship, Andrea returned to Pittsburgh and began the process of rebuilding her life. At this most difficult and crucial defining moment, she recognized Sarah and Ben as fellow creative collaborators – fellow storytellers – and reached out, renewing and recharging their friendships.

In the years since, Andrea increasingly turned to comics and illustration as her own creative outlet (it’s a lot more portable than scenic design), while managing teams for organizations outside of the arts and entertainment industries. In 2020, she brought this experience to BPI officially with the first personifications of “controls with character” – Prospero, Miranda, Horatio, and the MSC Box. (BPI Trivia Fun Fact #3: Andrea’s not-so-baby-anymore son Avi was Ben’s software development intern at BPI that same summer.) Two years later, she accepted her dream job offer from Sarah and joined BPI full time, taking on a unique role combining design and empathy, projects and people, processes and change – but always at its core the creative collaboration Andrea had been pursuing for decades. Turns out it was with a couple of her best friends all along. And that makes for a great story.

Andrea Cats