Upstream Arts Leadership Team
Julie Guidry, Executive Director, Teaching Artist
Julie has worked in the disability and nonprofit communities since 1999. She co-founded Upstream Arts in 2006 and has led the organization since its inception. In the coming year, Upstream Arts will work with 50+ partners to serve 5000+ people. For nearly a decade, Julie has worked closely with disability service providers, community organizations, and Minneapolis Public Schools’ Special Education Directors and Arts Department to develop a model for integrating Upstream Arts’ unique arts-based curriculum into social skills learning. In addition, she has facilitated trainings for the Lifeworks Self Advocacy Summit, ARRM, ARC, Autism Society of Minnesota, Springboard for the Arts, Bloomington Theater and Art Center, Community Education Network on Disability Conferences, Pillsbury House + Theater, and numerous school districts. Previously, she worked with Wilderness Inquiry, recruiting, hiring, and training staff to lead integrated wilderness trips for people with and without disabilities; and as Director of Operations, Communications, and New Programs with Youth Frontiers, a nonprofit that partners with schools to build positive communities where students thrive socially, emotionally, and academically. Julie is a previous member of both the District Parent Advisory Council and Access Advisory Council for Minneapolis Public Schools, and she is a current member of the Special Education Advisory Council. She additionally serves on the Board of Directors for Wonderlust Productions, a community-collaborative Twin Cities theater company, and as an advisory member for this MOVED me, a podcast on the art of public speaking.
Matt Guidry, Artistic Director, Teaching Artist | Actor, Director, Choreographer, Producer
Matt co-founded Upstream Arts in 2006, served as Program Director for eight years, then became the organization’s Artistic Director in 2014. Matt designs curriculum for Upstream Arts’ multidisciplinary arts programs, manages 65+ program residencies a year, and oversees the training of the organization’s Teaching Artists. Matt has been working as an actor, director, choreographer, producer, and educator in the Twin Cities since 1992. Matt is a founding member and Co-Artistic Director of The Burning House Group Theater Company where he has acted, directed and helped create original works for the stage since 1994 (Twelfth Night, 3 Parts Dead, Waiting for Godot, What the Butler Saw, Say What You Mean, Oops! You’re President, Knock Knock, among others). As a member of the Acting Core of Ten Thousand Things Theatre Company, Matt has had roles in Man of La Mancha, A Winter’s Tale, Good Person of Szechwan, Merchant of Venice, The Three Lives of Lucie Cabrol and Carousel. In the Twin Cities, Matt has also performed with The Guthrie Theatre (Dollhouse), Pillsbury House Theatre (Far Away), Park Square (Or), Frank Theatre (Tottering House), History Theatre (Farm Boys), The Theatre Exchange (Colquhoun and MacBride), Actor’s Theatre of MN (Woman in Black) and spent two years as a company member of the Margolis Brown Company (Vanishing Point, Bed Experiment). He holds an MFA from the University of Minnesota, where he has been an affiliated faculty member of the University of Minnesota’s Theater Arts and Dance Department. Matt’s film credits include roles in the films World and Time Enough, Ramming Speed, Sugar & Spice and in David Lynch’s The Straight Story.
Bree Sieplinga, Associate Director | Writer
Bree has 17 years of experience in the non-profit sector. As Associate Director at Upstream Arts, she oversees program evaluation, grantwriting, and finances. As part of the leadership team, she also develops programs and professional development in line with emerging trends in arts and education. Prior to this work, Bree worked in the Program and Advocacy Department at the New York office of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) where she coordinated advocacy activities with the United Nations and US government offices on conflict situations and global public health issues, including access to essential medicines and HIV/AIDS treatment. She also was the liaison to MSF’s European offices on private grant-making and oversaw 95 million dollars in private grants to international field projects. Previously, Bree held development positions at the Center for Assistive Technology and San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, both in the Bay Area. Bree holds a B.A. in Literature from Northwestern University and a Masters Degree in Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam.
Teaching Artists and Part-Time Staff
Nikki Abramson, Teaching Artist | Actor, Improviser, Writer, Choreographer
Nikki is a teaching artist whose passion is inspiring students in life through the arts. She loves seeing students “come out of their shell.” As a shy kid growing up, Nikki joined theatre in high school from peer encouragement, then fell in love with the arts and has been performing in the Twin Cities area since. Nikki holds a B.A. in elementary education, early childhood, and computer technology from Bethel University. She is currently working on her Master’s Degree in K-12 Education, specifically in theatre arts inclusion in classrooms. As a person with relatively hidden physical disabilities, Nikki has loved the inclusion that Upstream Arts brings and wishes she had the programming growing up. She works as a teaching artist in various youth theatre companies, most often with Bloomington Theatre for Arts, now Artistry, and Stage Coach Schools. Nikki teaches both choreography, acting, and improv. She also is active in the adoption community, her church, and a writer’s group; serves on the CaringBridge.org advisory council; and is a Board member for a women entrepreneurs group. Check out her book I Choose Hope, talking about dealing with serious medical conditions/disabilities and being a Korean adoptee. Nikki has worked with Upstream Arts since 2014 and has LOVED every minute. More: www.nikkiabramson.com.
Eric F. Avery, Teaching Artist | Multidisciplinary Artist
Eric is an multidisciplinary-artist and arts educator based in Minneapolis. He holds an MFA in Experimental Theatre from Towson University and creates works in various mediums including sculpture, scenography, puppetry, dance, music, and performance art. Avery has received commissions and awards from the Spencer Museum of Art, Towson University, Minnesota State Arts Board, Naked Stages Fellowship, the Next Step Fund, and North Lights.mn. Recently, Eric was named Resident Artist at University Settlement (NYC), a fellow of the Art(ists) on the Verge program 7 (MN), and is under commission from Pillsbury House + Theatre to create an interactive installation in their lobby. Eric has been working with Upstream Arts since 2014. More: http://ericfavery.com
Sarah Brown, Teaching Artist | Actor, Improviser, Dancer
Sarah’s passion lies in the intersection of theater and education where she can help improve people’s lives using the powerful tool of theatre. Sarah is currently enrolled in the American Sign Language Interpreter Training Program at St. Paul College. She received her Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Emerson College in Boston, MA in 2004. There she worked for Wheelock Family Theatre, Theater Espresso, and Improv Asylum. She then took the leap to Los Angeles where she studied and performed at IO West in Hollywood. Realizing TV and film were not for her, she returned to her home state of Minnesota. Locally she has worked for HUGE Theater, the Guthrie Theater, Gremlin Theatre, The National Theater for Children, Brave New Workshop, Savage Umbrella, and Tiger Lion Arts. Sarah has had the pleasure of working with Upstream Arts since 2010.
Haley Carneol, Teaching Artist | Actor
Haley graduated from the University of Minnesota in December 2013, with a degree in Theatre Arts, Child Psychology, and Youth Studies. Since starting at Upstream Arts, she has found many opportunities as an actor and youth worker in the Twin Cities area. Along with performing in several productions at the University of Minnesota, Haley has worked with local theatre companies such as Theatre Novi Most and The Moving Company. When Haley isn’t on the stage or in a classroom, she can be found in the yoga studio or in the kitchen trying out new recipes! Haley has been working with Upstream Arts since 2012.
Sue Carneol, Client Liaison/Milwaukee | Speech-Language Pathologist
Sue is a state licensed and nationally certified speech-language pathologist with over 35 years of experience working with children and adolescents with a wide variety of communication disorders. She has worked in medical, school, in-home, and clinic settings. She currently maintains a private practice in the metro Milwaukee area at the North Shore Center, LLC, a multidisciplinary clinic. Sue has always enjoyed working with kids and teens with social communication challenges. While visiting Minneapolis in 2012, she observed first-hand the “magic” that Upstream Arts provided for individuals with special needs. This sparked to her desire to help the organization’s vision to expand services outside of the Twin Cities region. Today Sue serves as the Upstream Arts’ Client Liaison in Milwaukee, working hard to make connections and collaborate with other programs around southeastern Wisconsin. In her “spare time,” Sue enjoys traveling, reading, biking, and learning how to play piano. Sue has been working with Upstream Arts since 2012.
Evelyn Digiloramo, Teaching Artist | Actor
Evie is a theater maker always looking to engage with something physically impossible, thought-provoking, beautiful, and bizarre. Based in the Twin cities, she has been working professionally as an actor and educator since 2009. Utilizing her passion for using theatre to create empathy, develop courage, and process life, she has taught for many prestigious organizations including: SteppingStone Theatre, Youth Performance Company, Stages Theatre, and East Side Neighborhood Services–a hundred year old nonprofit human service agency. As a performer, her emphasis is in creating original, highly physical work. She is a company member of Sandbox Theatre–a company dedicated to producing visually rich, ensemble-created work. She was a co-founder and actor/creator/director for AEthem Theatre Company with whom she created for 3 years. Other companies she has performed with include: Off-Leash Area, Mad Munchkin Productions, Teatro del Pueblo, Pangea World Theater, The Gonzo Group Theatre, Shakespeare and Company, Historical Perspectives for Children, the Murder Mystery Company, and the Barbara Schneider Foundation, with whom she does de-escalation trainings for first responders. She was featured in the local film Ghost Light, which received the award Best Ensemble in a Feature Dramedy at the Best Actor’s Film Festival in San Francisco. Evie received her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Bethel University. She has been working with Upstream Arts since 2013.
Jessica Finney, Teaching Artist | Director, Stage Manager, Mental Health Practitioner
Jess was a founder and Producing Director for Emigrant Theater (City Pages Best Independent Theater 2007), where she staged a number of plays. A strong supporter of new plays, she regularly directs workshops at the Playwrights’ Center. She has also staged Will Eno’s The Flu Season for the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of North Carolina and worked on Tegonni: an African Antigone, a collaboration with Collective Artistes (UK), the Performance Studio Workshop of Nigeria, and the University of Richmond. Jess is a practitioner of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed and has led workshops in the Twin Cities and on the East Coast. A frequent mentor for Pillsbury House Theatre’s Chicago Avenue Project, she has also worked on Pericles and A Christmas Carol (Guthrie). She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab and has trained with Augusto Boal. She has stage managed for the Jungle, Mixed Blood, Guthrie, and Park Square, among others. Jess recently earned her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and continues to use the arts as a tool for transformation while working with children, couples, and families. She has been working with Upstream Arts since 2010. Member: AEA.
Aaron Fiskradatz, Teaching Artist | Theatre Artist
Aaron is a theatre artist and educator who regularly works with multiple organizations around the Twin Cities metro area, including Children’s Theatre Company, SteppingStone Theatre, Circus Juventas, and Lakeshore Players Theatre, where he currently serves as Education Director. As an artist, he frequently works with the Mad Munchkin puppet troupe, and he directs a youth play in White Bear Lake every summer. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Theatre Arts in 2005, Aaron was inspired by his experience growing up with a sister on the autism spectrum, and worked for several years in St. Paul Public Schools as a paraprofessional for students with disabilities. His career has combined education and art for all ever since.
Charles Fraser, Program Associate, Teaching Artist | Actor, Scenic Designer, Stage Manager
Charles is a theatre artist based in Minneapolis who has performed in plays by Shakespeare and Marivaux to O’Neill and Simon. He has acted in dramas, comedies, musicals, one-man shows, classics, world premieres, outdoor dramas, improvisation, children’s theatre, live events, films, industrial and educational videos, voice-overs, and television commercials. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Along with his two cast mates, he is the recipient of an Ivey Award for ensemble acting in the Jungle Theatre’s 2013 production of Driving Miss Daisy. As an actor, he has also worked with the Guthrie Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Park Square Theatre, History Theatre, Jon Hassler Theatre, Playwrights’ Center, Actors Theatre of Minnesota, Yellow Tree Theatre, Minnesota Shakespeare Project, Minnesota Festival Theatre, Thirst, Mystery Cafe, Bridge Productions, and Illusion Theatre, among others in Minnesota. He has also acted at New Stage Theatre and the Festival of Southern Theatre in Mississippi and the Lincoln Amphitheatre in Indiana. As an improviser he has performed with the Brave New Workshop, ComedySportz, and aboard Disney Cruise Line’s flagship, Disney Magic. His films include The Completely Remarkable, Utterly Fabulous Transformation of a Regular Joe, Pull, Jurisprejudice, and Hinkleton. As a teaching artist, he has worked at the Guthrie Learning Center, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, StageCoach Theatre Arts Schools, Walt Disney Entertainment, Avalon Charter School, Phipps Center for the Arts, Saint Louis Park High School, Andersen Elementary School, and the Children’s Theatre Company. He is also an adjunct professor of theatre at Concordia University in Saint Paul. Charles has been working with Upstream Arts since 2007. More: http://charles-fraser.com
Dylan Fresco, Teaching Artist | Actor, Writer, Musician
Dylan is an actor, writer, musician, and educator. His solo shows have been audience favorites at the Minnesota Fringe Festival, with his latest, Domino’s Pizza Saved My Life, selling out its run and earning rave reviews at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington D.C. Dylan helped create The Kid’s Clubhouse, an interactive TV program for patients at Children’s Hospital, and writes and performs educational concerts for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. As an actor, Dylan has worked with the Children’s Theater, Penumbra, Ten Thousand Things, the Guthrie, Pillsbury House Theatre, Theater Latte Da, and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others. He tells tales, sings romantic Russian ballads, and plays guitar and ukulele at public and private events. His stories have also been heard on Minnesota Public Radio. Dylan has been a teaching artist with the Guthrie, Steppingstone Theater, and Minneapolis Public Schools. He is a graduate of Carleton College and of the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Dylan has been working with Upstream Arts since 2007. More: http://dylanfresco.com
Tena May Gallivan, Teaching Artist | Actor, Dancer, Voice Over Artist
After asking if Upstream Arts was hiring for two years, and realizing that no one ever left, Tena May Gallivan felt so strongly that she belonged there, she asked if she could volunteer, just to be a part of this amazing organization. Fortunately, this eventually did lead to a Teaching Artist position, and she counts it as one of the best decisions she has ever made (after choosing the right husband and deciding that tube tops weren’t for her). Tena May comes from a theatrical family, made her stage debut at age 4, and hasn’t looked back since. She has been fortunate enough to work at many local theaters throughout the years, most notably The Guthrie Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Park Square Theater, Theatre In The Round, Na Fianna Irish Theater (with whom she won “Best Actress” at the Acting Irish International Theatre Festival) and The History Theater. Tena May was a member of The Comedy Troupe for many years and toured the Twin Cities as well as the state, spreading cheer to all. She is also a national Voice Over Artist who has been heard around the country, with clients such as Subaru, Tresemme, Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s, General Mills and Petsmart. She has even been seen on TV and the big screen! Tena May is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists and serves on the local board. In non-acting related news, Tena May teaches strength training, fitness and dance (mostly because if she is teaching, she has to be there and can’t roll over, hit the snooze alarm and tell herself she’ll do it later. Which, of course, she won’t). Tena May has been working with Upstream Arts since 2012.
Chris Garza, Program and Administrative Assistant | Director, Critic, Performer, Stage Manager
Chris Garza still can’t believe he works with Upstream Arts. He comes from San Antonio, TX and graduated from Macalester College. He is a freelance director mostly, a performer rarely, an arts administrator often, a critic sometimes, and a stage manager sporadically. He’s worked with Frank Theatre (assistant to the artistic director), Bedlam Theatre (Queertopia), The Unit Collective (director), Red Eye Theatre (New Works Festival), Mixed Blood (stage manager), Walking Shadow (assistant director), Freshwater Theatre (director), The Jungle (carpenter), Howlround (critic), and Little Life Boats (director). He has been working with Upstream Arts since 2015.
Ryan Hoag, Teaching Artist | Actor, Model, Athlete
Ryan is a 2003 graduate of Gustavus, where he obtained a degree in Elementary Education. Instead of moving directly into teaching as a profession, the NFL draft steered his future to Oakland where he was a 7th round pick by the Oakland Raiders in 2003. Ryan has been with five different NFL teams, most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has also played in Canada and NFL Europe, as well as the UFL and AFL. Ryan is also a teacher in the Minneapolis school district as well as the head coach of the Minneapolis Washburn men’s tennis team, and assistant coach of the Washburn men’s soccer team. During the summer Ryan is a teaching tennis professional at Edina and Interlachen country clubs. Acting and modeling are also passions for Ryan, for which he has international representation. Ryan has been working with Upstream Arts since 2009.
Rachel Jendrzejewski, Development and Communications Associate | Playwright, Performance Maker
Rachel came to Upstream Arts as Administrative Associate in 2012, then shifted to Development and Communications Associate in 2013. Previously, she has served in a variety of administrative roles with Cornerstone Theater Company, Padua Playwrights, and The Grotowski Institute. She continues to write freelance grant proposals, online content, and other materials for numerous nonprofit organizations and independent artists. Rachel is also a playwright and performer who frequently collaborates with visual artists, musicians, and dancers. She moved to the Twin Cities in 2011 as a Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center and has since created work with SuperGroup, Red Eye Theater, In the Heart of the Beast, and the Walker Art Center, among others. Her work has been developed and produced at numerous other venues across the U.S. and internationally, including Padua Playwrights, Playwrights’ Horizons, Wild Project, The Conflux Festival, Trinity Repertory Company, Rhode Island School of Design, and the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, among others. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University and is a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer. More: http://rachelka.com
Anton Jones, Teaching Artist | Playwright, Director, Composer
Anton holds his MFA from the University of Iowa Playwright’s Workshop. He has directed for Pillsbury House Theatre, The Illusion Theatre, Great American History Theatre and is a two time recipient of the Playwrights’ Center/Jerome Many Voices Fellowship. As a composer, his music has been heard at Pillsbury House Theatre, Illusion, and as the full score for a runway Show in Hamburg, Germany. As a teaching artist he has worked with North High School to develop a hip-hop adaptation of “Lord of the Flies,” with Penumbra Theatre and St. Paul Academy of Performing Arts to develop original works based off of the styles of August Wilson, as well as teaching various classes with a focus on ensemble created work through theatres such as Children’s Theatre Company, Pangea World Theatre, and The Guthrie Theatre. He is currently working with various Minneapolis Public Schools through Arts for Academic Achievement where he uses his multidisciplinary background to aid teachers and students in integrating arts into their language arts curriculum and learning environments. Anton has been working with Upstream Arts since 2010.
Masanari Kawahara—Teaching Artist | Performer, Butoh Practitioner, Visual Artist
Masanari is a performer, educator, and Butoh practitioner who incorporates puppetry, mask, and movement into his work. His latest work as a performer/writer/designer was the solo performance piece Little Boy, commissioned and developed by Pangea World Theater’s Alternate Vision series, performed in fall 2014 at Pillsbury House Theatre. He was a company member of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre from 1998 to 2009. He collaborated on many shows there including A Path Home: A Story of Thich Nhat Hanh (2009), which was chosen as outstanding puppetry by Lavender. Currently, he teaches at Pillsbury House+ Theatre as a resident teaching artist. You can find his paintings and one-of-a-kind handmade objects at MASAMADE. Masanari is a Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellow (2010-2011). He has been teaching with Upstream Arts since September 2012. More: http://welovemasa.com
Alyce Kuenzli, Teaching Artist | Actor, Theater Artist
Alyce began her involvement with theater at a young age, with 4 Community Theater, in her home town of Rockford, MN. For ten years Alyce took on various roles, from production, stage management, selling cookies and as a personal assistant. A deep love and passion for the performing arts was ignited during this time. Alyce graduated from Beloit College with a B.A. in Education and Youth Studies. During her studies, Alyce developed and implemented arts-based programming at two local Charter High Schools, which previously did not have any such programming. Alyce also recruited, trained, and supervised other Beloit College students, and used a team-based approach to teach classes on Theatre of the Oppressed, along with Poetry, Spoken Word, and Film-based curriculums. Most recently Alyce has worked for the Voyageur Outward Bound School, leading canoeing trips for teenagers in Ely, MN and canoeing, source-to-sea on the Mississippi River. She has been working with Upstream Arts since 2014.
Julie Kurtz, Teaching Artist | Actor, Musician, Director
Julie has worked as actor/singer, director, and teaching artist in the Twin Cities and San Francisco Bay Area. Her experience includes work with Theatre Jeune Lune, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Workhaus Collective, Nautilus Music-Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Playwrights’ Center, SF Shakespeare Festival, and Crowded Fire. She lived two and half years in Bolivia working with a Bolivian Artist Collective, freelance teaching, performing, and mountain guiding in the Andes. Her other roles include part time ambulance work and amateur farming. Julie has been working with Upstream Arts since 2010.
Norah Long, Teaching Artist | Actor, Director, Vocalist
Norah has performed over 60 principal theater roles regionally with Guthrie Theater (1776 – Abigail Adams, Little House on the Prairie – Eliza Wilder, Dollhouse – Kristine), Denver’s Arvada Center (The Heiress – Catherine Sloper), Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (My Fair Lady – Eliza Doolittle, Camelot – Guenevere, The Sound of Music – Maria Von Trapp), Jeune Lune (Cyrano – Roxane), History Theatre (Lombardi – Marie, This Side of Paradise – Zelda Fitzgerald, Sisters of Swing – LaVerne Andrews, Beyond the Rainbow – Judy Garland), Ten Thousand Things (Cymbeline – Imogen, Miss Julie – Julie), Skylark Opera (She Loves Me – Amalia Balash, Countess Maritza – Maritza, Naughty Marietta – Marietta, Die Fledermaus – Rosalinda), Ordway Center (Forum – Philia), Paper Mill Playhouse (NJ), Riverside Theatre (FL), Florida Stage (FL), Arts Garage (FL), and many others. She has also performed as concert soloist with Pro Arte tours (Germany), National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba (Havana), Roanoke Opera (Virginia), Lorie Line, Minnesota Orchestra, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Norah is featured in the 2013 short film The Switch Key. She is featured on many CDs and her music is available on iTunes. Norah has been working with Upstream Arts since its inception in 2006. More: http://norahlong.com
Don Mabley-Allen, Teaching Artist | Performer, Producer, Lighting Designer
Don is a performer, producer, and lighting designer. He has recently appeared in dances by choreographers Anna Marie Shogren, Jamey Garner, Megan Mayer, and Karen Sherman. As an actor, he has appeared in work by Bedlam Theatre, Flaneur Productions, The Burning House Group, Chaos Theories Theater, and 15 Head: A Theater Lab. He also worked as Lighting Designer for Barebones Productions’ annual Halloween show from 2009-2011. Don is co-Artistic Director of Flaneur Productions and the annual music festival Heliotrope. He has been working with Upstream Arts since 2009.
Abigail Magalee, Teaching Artist | Choreographer, Dancer
Abby is a Baltimore native, having recently stumbled her way into the Twin Cities. She has been dancing for 21 years, and holds a BFA in Dance and a BS in Deaf Studies from Towson University. Upon graduation, Abby had the opportunity to spend the summer studying with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She has spent the past year performing and touring with Deviated Theatre, a contemporary dance company based in Washington, D.C. She is in a constant search of ways to marry both of her passions, dance and American Sign Language. Most recently, she worked in the Maryland public school system as a Para-educator in the Special Education department. When she is not performing, you will still find her in the studio, as a dance teacher of all genres. Locally, she is a company member of Threads Dance Project and Collide Theatrical Dance Company. She is ecstatic to start her journey with Upstream Arts!
Tracey Maloney, Teaching Artist | Actor, Voice Over Artist
Tracey Maloney is thrilled to be teaching with Upstream Arts. A Minneapolis-based theater artist, Tracey has acted at many local theaters, including the Guthrie, Ten Thousand Things, the Jungle, Park Square, the Illusion, Torch, Pillsbury Theater, Dark and Stormy, The Playwrights’ Center, Workhaus Theater and more. A proud member of actor’s equity and SAG-AFTRA, Tracey has been involved in many commercials and has been the voice of companies such as Purina, Macy’s, Nexxus, TCF bank, K-mart and others. Her film work includes David Lynch’s The Straight Story and Cedar Rapids. She is the co-founder of Thirst Theater, which pairs great playwrights with equity actors. Tracey has taught for the Guthrie Theater and the MPS school system. She loves her family (including husband and 2 dogs), volunteering, boxing, and reading. Tracey has been working with Upstream Arts since 2015.
Maria “Sugey” McCormack, Teaching Artist | Visual Artist, Spanish Interpreter, Health Care Administrator
Sugey is a visual artist, educator, Spanish interpreter, and health care administrator. She worked for Minneapolis Public Schools for seven years as Spanish Teacher and Bilingual Associate Educator. She also instructed parenting classes at Pillsbury House to Spanish-speaking parents as part of the MELD program and the Migrant Education Program. Sugey holds a B.A. in Health Care Administration and currently is enrolled in law school. She has enjoyed working with Upstream Arts since 2010.
Katie Munster, Teaching Artist | Speech Language Pathologist
Katie is a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Consultant in Minneapolis Public Schools. She works with students who have complex communication needs, as well as consults with and helps train other speech language pathologists within the district. She has presented at Charting the C’s and helped to design the AAC SETT Worksheet, which is used to look at students’ abilities to communicate within their natural environments using AAC. Katie holds a B.A. degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Nebraska – Omaha, and a M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Minnesota. In her free time, Katie enjoys volunteering, traveling, cooking, and participating in different races and triathlons. Katie has been working with Upstream Arts since 2011.
Leslye Orr, Teaching Artist | Theater Artist, Author/Illustrator
Leslye Orr is a playwright, performer, and teacher with an extensive background in theater education. She is well known for her workshops on the integration of people with disabilities and is a speaker/specialist through an appointment by the U.S. Department of State, for which she has toured her show Hand in Hand through the American embassies in Latvia, Lithuania, and Israel. Leslye regularly tours her one woman shows; performs The Stuffed Animal Show, an interactive play for children and their stuffed animals, and Characters, Sound Effects and Theater Games, an acting workshop for schools and libraries. Leslye is a sound-effects enthusiast, featured on A Prairie Home Companion. and is the author/illustrator of The People on the Corner, a childrenʼs picture book about how fun and games can include kids of all abilities, for which she does readings and conducts disability awareness workshops on all-inclusive play. Leslye was a company member and voice coach at The Children’s Theatre Company for ten years and currently serves as an Actorʼs Voice and Improv teacher for Park Square Theaterʼs school immersion program. She was a member of Ballet of the Dolls, has written/performed with Illusion Theater, Jungle Theater Outreach Series, Dudley Riggs, and The Arkansas Children’s Theater. Leslye served on the board of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association for three years, and on the Minneapolis Mayor’s Advisory Council on People with Disabilities. She has received awards from the Playwrights’ Center, Minnesota State Arts Board, and VSA Minnesota. Born legally blind, for the past 30 years Leslye has taught workshops internationally in which she upholds the possibilities of disabilities. She and her husband, theater artist Zaraawar Mistry, own Dreamland Arts, a 40-seat theater in St. Paul. Leslye has been working with Upstream Arts since 2015. More: http://dreamlandarts.com
Lindsey Samples, Teaching Artist | Director, Actor
Lindsey is a director, actor, and educator having worked with many theater companies, schools, and organizations including Pillsbury House Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Mixed Blood, Ten Thousand Things, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, 59E59 Off-Broadway, 20% Theatre Company, SteppingStone Theatre, Stages Theatre Company, Global Empowerment Theatre, Unit Collective, Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Bedlam Theatre, Upright Egg, Savage Umbrella, and Off-Leash Area. Lindsey holds a B.A. in Theater from Loyola University Chicago and an M.Ed. in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota. She has been working with Upstream Arts since 2010.
Matt Sciple, Teaching Artist | Actor, Director
Since moving to Minneapolis from Louisiana in 1990 (stopping long enough in Dallas to get a B.F.A. in Acting from SMU), Matt has directed, performed in or written over 70 plays for theaters across Minnesota, including The Minnesota Opera, Park Square Theater, Eye of the Storm, Fifty Foot Penguin, Starting Gate Productions, Gremlin Theater, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Theatre l’Homme Dieu, The Jon Hassler Theater, The Loring Playhouse and Bald Alice Theatre (which he co-founded). Sciple’s favorite audiences, though, were found in prisons, homeless shelters, and chemical dependency centers, touring with Ten Thousand Things, for whom he directed Waiting for Godot and played 30 roles in 12 plays, including Tateh in Ragtime and Edgar in King Lear. In 2007, Matt was named a City Pages’ Artist of the Year. He has been working with Upstream Arts since its inception in 2006.
Pramila Vasudevan, Teaching Artist | Choreographer, Performer
Pramila Vasudevan is an experimental artist who creates immersive performance environments using an interdisciplinary voice of dance and electronic media. She is the Artistic Director of Aniccha Arts (2004-present), a company of designers and dance collaborators who construct immersive performance environments that question individual agency inside of the systems we live in (www.aniccha.org). Pramila has a background in classical and contemporary Indian dance (over 30 years), visual media design, and political science, all which are reflected in her interdisciplinary voice as she pursues a socially conscious performance practice. Through years of researching audience methods, how technology supports the integration of artistic disciplines, and in thoughtfully acknowledging the hybridity of knowledge in our bodies as performers, Pramila is committed to the creation of site specific performances. Major influences and teachers include Dr. Bala Nandakumar, Roshan Vajifdar Ghosh, Ranee Ramaswamy, Nirmala Rajasekar, Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, Piotr Szyhalski, Steve Dietz, and Dr. Ali Momeni. Pramila has been working with Upstream Arts since 2014.
Jen Wang, Teaching Artist | Poet, Actor
Jen Wang is a first-generation Taiwanese American poet educator. She has arrived in this moment carried by a legacy of tenacity, survival, and immense love. She holds a Bachelor of Individualized Studies in Urban Studies, Youth Studies, and Communications, as well as a Social Justice minor, from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Jen has represented Minnesota at multiple national poetry slams, and is passionate about exploring the ways in which art and creativity are integral to transforming the future.
Canae Weiss, Teaching Artist | Choreographer, Dancer
As a deaf person, Canae Weiss feels that expressing herself creatively through movement and dance is natural. She explores dance and theatrical physical expressions/gestures as a way to concretely portray the dreams, imagination, and visions at the root of our hearts that connect us as humans across many different cultures, behaviors, perspectives, and diverse experiences. Weiss’ belief is that movement and dramatic expression can be tools for individuals to gain awareness about what is happening in their bodies and minds, and to process events in their lives. Canae has been dancing since she was five years old. She received her dance, choreography, improvisation, and theatre training at Ballet Arts Minnesota in Minneapolis, SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory, the University of Minnesota, and Cassandra’s School of Oriental Dance. She also studied at summer intensives with the American Ballet Theatre where she was their first deaf dancer, the Washington Ballet, and with Yola Rozynek and Alexandria Wailes at Gallaudet University. Canae performed and toured with Orim Israeli Folk Troupe for several years and locally with the Ethnic Dance Theatre. She has been a featured soloist with Voices of Sepharad and in Leili Prischet’s Hidden Yearnings. She also has been an invited guest artist and dance teacher at Model Secondary School for the Deaf and in Minneapolis Public Schools. Canae has worked as an assistant teacher with Young Dance Company and as a tutor for American Sign Language students at the University of Minnesota. Canae co-founded Creating Language Through the Arts along with two other artists. Under a Minnesota State Arts Board grant, they taught children in St. Paul Public Schools how to express emotions and make cross cultural connections through creative movement, painting, and puppeteering. Canae is thrilled to work with Upstream Arts and looking forward to making new connections/networks with people there!