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Merlin Bell ’15


Merlin Bell is a creative professional, who has offered experience working in content management and production leveraging a passion for culture and the arts. He’s Demonstrated astute organizational and communication skills supporting teams in managing multiple, deadline demanding, projects, establishing and executing project plans. He has a BA from Denison University in Theatre and a MA from Fontbonne University in Theatre. He has worked in several nonprofit arts and culture organizations as an actor, creative activist, and educator. A few of the nonprofits that Merlin has worked in and with is the Missouri Historical Society, Contemporary Art Museum (St. Louis), St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, WFYI, Indiana Historical Society and Conner Prairie. Merlin expanded his theatrical experience in 2019 when he moved to Beijing China where he was a drama teacher at Dreamaker Academy. He taught the Helen O’ Grady drama curriculum to kids from 3-9. Currently, Merlin is the President and CEO of his two adjacent companies.
The first is a for profit production company called Poplar Television and Film. The second is Poplar Institute for Film. Poplar Television and Film (PTF) will use its for profit status to assist Poplar Institute for Film (PIF) which is a nonprofit. Before, Merlin was the Manager of Applied Theatre at Conner Prairie. He was responsible for managing, coordinating, developing, and collaborating theatrical productions. Predominately overseeing workflow for museum theater/film initiatives and practices intended to intentionally provoke conversation and advocate cultural diversity in areas such as history, education, development, and youth theatre. Some of Merlin’s notable contributions is Journey in Search of Justice with Conner Prairie’s long-standing partnership with Asante Art Institute, MLK’s Lasting Legacy documentary Merlin produced in partnership with WFYI. Finally, Merlin directed, produced and cowrote a short film called Rebuilding the House of Stone in Partnership with Hamilton Southeastern Schools and WFYI for the HSE outreach program in 2021.