Michelle Barnes, Spoken Word Artist, Poet, Educator
A native of south Minneapolis, Michelle Barnes is a spoken word poet, visual artist, theater artist, and musician. She has performed her spoken word poetry for Bedlam Theater’s Queertopia at Intermedia Arts in June 2011 and 2012, and was a featured artist for Pleasure Rebel at Bryant Lake Bowl in February of this year. She has also served as a theater technician for several main stage plays at the Pillsbury House Theater including No Child, Pa’s Hat: Liberian Legacy, and Brokology. She is in her 10th year as a youth specialist in the Pillsbury House youth program. She studied psychology and Spanish at Pennsylvania State University. She will be finishing her BA in Psychology with a minor in Spanish at Metropolitan State University. Her future plans includes earning a Master’s in art therapy, which will allow her to further the work she has started with Upstream Arts!
Sarah Brown, Actress, Improviser, Dancer & Theatre Educator
Sarah 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 the Guthrie Theater, Gremlin Theatre, The National Theater for Children, Brave New Workshop, Savage Umbrella, and Tiger Lion Arts. In the past year she has joined the Barbara Schneider Foundation where she acts in simulation trainings for public service employes to improve their communication and de-escalation skills with people in mental health crises. Her passion lies in the intersection of theater and education where she can help improve people’s lives using the powerful tool of theater. She is grateful to Upstream Arts for giving her this opportunity to do so.
Jessica Finney, Director, Stage Manager & Educator
Jessica Finney is a director, stage manager and educator. She was a founder and Producing Director for Emigrant Theater (City Pages Best Independent Theater 2007), where she staged My Name Is Rachel Corrie (Top Five solo shows, Star Tribune), Blue Door, Jesus Hates Me, Hunger, THOM PAIN (based on nothing), Tallgrass Gothic (Top Ten production, City Pages and Lavender Magazine), A Corner of the World and The Presence of Children. Last year, she staged Will Eno’s The Flu Season for the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of North Carolina. She has worked on Tegonni: an African Antigone, a collaboration with Collective Artistes (UK), the Performance Studio Workshop of Nigeria and the University of Richmond. Finney is a practitioner of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed and has led workshops in the Twin Cities and on the East Coast (Chapel Hill, NC; Richmond, VA and Portland, ME). A frequent mentor for Pillsbury House Theatre’s Chicago Avenue Project, she has also worked on Pericles and A Christmas Carol (Guthrie), the world premiere of Lillian Groag’s Midons (People’s Light & Theatre) and Raw Stages at the History Theatre. 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, Playwrights’ Center, and Frank along with Madison Rep (WI), People’s Light & Theatre Company (PA) and Portland Stage Company (ME). Member: AEA.
Charles Fraser, Actor
Charles Fraser is an actor based in the Twin Cities where he has worked for the Guthrie Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Jon Hassler Theater, Park Square Theatre, Minnesota Shakespeare Project, Minnesota Festival Theatre, Brave New Workshop, Illusion Theater, and Thirst. He has also performed at New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi, Lincoln Amphitheatre in Lincoln City, Indiana, and aboard Disney Cruise Line’s flagship, Disney Magic. He is featured in the films Pull, Jurisprejudice, Hinkleton, and The Completely Remarkable, Utterly Fabulous Transformation of a Regular Joe. He has taught in elementary, high schools, colleges and universities across the United States as part the Guthrie on Tour as well as the Guthrie’s Schools on Stage, Summer Conferences, Summer Camps, Target Play Dates, and Guthrie in the Parks. He also teaches adult and teen acting classes at the Guthrie Learning Center.
Dylan Fresco, Musician & Actor
Dylan Fresco 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. You can read about what he’s up to at www.dylanfresco.com.
Ryan Hoag, Actor, Educator and Athlete
Ryan Hoag 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, where he has international representation.
Anton Jones, Playwright, Director, Composer and Theatre Educator
Anton Jones 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.
Masanari Kawahara, Performer, Designer & Educator
Masanari Kawahara is a performer and educator who incorporates puppetry, mask, and movement into his work. He was a company member of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) from 1998 to 2009. At HOBT, Masanari collaborated on numerous productions, his last production as a company member, A Path Home: A Story of Thich Nhat Hanh was chosen as outstanding puppetry by Lavender. He was the co-creator and designer of GOTAMA: Journey to the Buddha, recognized by City Pages as one of the ten great sets/scenic designs of the year. In addition, Masanari has conceived, designed, and directed several solo short works including GOJIRA!, and a performance art piece RETURNING as the recipient of the Naked Stages Program. His latest project is a solo performance piece HIROSHIMA (work-in-progress) performed at Pangea World Theater’s Alternate Vision series. As an actor, Masanari has worked with Jon Ferguson in Pinocchio, Pangea World Theatre inConference of the Birds, Illusion Theater in Cirque de Guerre, as well as with Theater Mu and the late Theatre de la Jeune Lune. As a teacher, Masanari has taught puppetry, mask making, and how to create pageants. His students have ranged from toddlers to college students, from South Minneapolis to South Korea. Currently, he teaches at Pillsbury House + Theatre as a resident teaching artist. Masanari Kawahara is a Playwrights’ Center McKnight Theater Artist Fellow (2010-2011).
Julie Kurtz, Musician & Actor
Julie has worked as performer, director and teaching artist in the Twin Cities and SF Bay Area. She is presently working in Cochobamba, Bolvia with Bolivian Artist Collective Colectivo Katari. In Minnesota Julie teaches private music lessons, and is developing a specialty teaching theatre arts among victims of domestic violence and trafficking. Outside of teaching Julie has worked for numerous theatre companies including Theatre Jeune Lune, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Workhaus Collective, Nautilus Music-Theatre, Guthrie Theatre, Ten Thousand Things, Playwrights’ Center, Red Eye, SF Shakespeare Festival, and others. Awards include Bay Area Critics’ Circle Best Ensemble (Figaro, Berkeley Rep and Anna Bella Eema, Crowded Fire). She trained at ACT (San Francisco) and Whitworth University (WA).
Norah Long, Vocal Musician
Norah Long has won critical acclaim for performances across genres of theater, opera, concert stage, and most recently for her faurés into musical composition and arranging. She appears regularly with Guthrie Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Nautilus Music-Theater, and Skylark Opera, has starred regionally at Denver’s Arvada Center, Opera Roanoke, Riverside Theater, and Florida Stage, and she has been a concert soloist for Minnesota Orchestra, SPCO, Lorie Line’s national holiday tour, and tours of Japan and Germany. Her CDs are available on iTunes. To learn more and hear her sing, visit norahlong.com, and to keep abreast of her professional endeavors, “like” her on Facebook!
Don Mabley-Allen, Actor
Don Mabley-Allen is an actor, lighting designer, and co-Artistic Director of Flaneur Productions. As an actor, he has recently appeared in Bedlam Theatre’s The Turducken (2008), Flaneur’s Coriolanus (2007), and The Burning House Group’s Waiting for Godot (2006). He has designed lights for, among others, Barebones Productions’ Fleeced (2008), Bedlam’s Iron Mermaiden (2008), and Flaneur’s Heliotrope V (2008) and The Strong and Capable Shoulders of the Student When He Dreams(2005).
Maria (Sugey) McCormack, Visual Artist
Sugey holds an Art Education Diploma from Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis, MN. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Health Care Administration from Ashford University in Clinton, IA in 2012. She is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Organizational Management at Ashford University. Sugey has worked for Minneapolis Public Schools for more than 7 years as a Spanish Bilingual Assistant (Green Central and Jefferson Community School), with the Migrant Education Mentoring Program (New Families Center), and as an Associate Educator (New Families Center, ELL Office, and for more than 24 Minneapolis Public Schools). She also worked as Parent Educator Teacher at Pillsbury United Communities for the Hispanic community. Sugey loves to volunteer for Mission Matters Volunteerism Program for Allina Health, Pillsbury United Communities, Redeeming Love Church, Matoska International School, and Upstream Arts.
Amy Ottaviani, Educator
Amy has taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools as both an elementary school and middle school Spanish teacher (5 years) and St. Paul Public Schools Spanish immersion elementary teacher (9 years). She greatly enjoys working with kids and adults from different social and cultural backgrounds and with a variety of abilities – so she is really excited about teaching with Upstream Arts. Amy also spends lots of her time with her three boys (her oldest is deaf), volunteers at the local elementary school (Art Adventure, art enrichment, math and reading tutoring), at Calvary Church (Compassion in Action team, elementary small group leader, moms group leader), and with Kinship of Greater Minneapolis (mentor to a 2nd grader). Amy has a B.A. in Elementary Education/Spanish (Hope College – Holland, Michigan) and an M.A. in Spanish Education from California State University – Sacramento.
Sara Richardson, Actor
Sara Richardson is an actress and theatre artist in the Twin Cities. She has performed with numerous companies including Jon Ferguson Theater, Four Humors Theatre, Red Eye Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Minnesota Orchestra, Jon Hassler Theater, Genevieve Bennett, Workhaus Collective, Burning House Group, and Brave New Workshop Corporate, among others. Her own collaborated, co-written and directed work has been seen at the Southern Theater, NY Clown Theatre Festival, the Minnesota Fringe Festival and Red Eye Works in Progress. Sara has trained as a teacher in Red Eye Tableau Strategy and has taught for Steppingstone Theatre in addition to her work as a teaching artist with Upstream Arts. Sara trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq.
Lindsey (Cacich) Samples, Director, Actor & Educator
Lindsey Samples is a local director, actor, and educator. As an actor she has performed with The Children’s Theatre Company, Piccolo Theatre, Center for Hmong Arts and Talent, Bedlam Theatre, and Upright Egg. Lindsey made her directing debut this past winter with Pedestrian Casualty: Bronx, USA for Twenty Percent Theatre Company. For 2 years, she was mentored in directing by Marion McClinton, assisting him on productions at Pillsbury House Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Mixed Blood, Ten Thousand Things, Kansas City Rep and 59E59. As a teacher, Lindsey focuses primarily on social justice theater and the creation of original plays by youth, which she has done with Steppingstone Theatre, St. Paul Central High School, and Pillsbury House Theatre. Lindsey holds a B.A. in Theater from Loyola University Chicago.
Matt Sciple, Actor & Director
Since moving to Minneapolis from Louisiana in 1990 (stopping long enough in Dallas to get a BFA in Acting from SMU,) Matt Sciple has directed, performed in or written over 70 plays for theaters across Minnesota. These include 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, he was named a City Pages’ Artist of the Year.
Katie Taylor 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.