Upstream Arts Leadership Team
Julie Guidry, Executive Director, Teaching Artist
Julie has worked in the disability and nonprofit communities since 1997. She is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Upstream Arts, an innovative nonprofit organization which uses the arts to develop the social and communication skills of individuals with disabilities. Founded in 2006, Upstream Arts has rapidly become an emerging leader in the disability arts sector. Julie and her husband Matt Guidry conceived of Upstream Arts after seeing the positive impact of the arts on their son’s self expression and communication with those around him. Upstream Arts now annually works with 100+ partners and serves 5000+ people of all ages and abilities. Since Upstream Arts’ inception, Julie has worked closely with disability service providers, community organizations, as well as 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, vocational and career development training, and other disability services. She has facilitated trainings for the Lifeworks Self Advocacy Summit, ARRM, ARC, Autism Society of Minnesota, Springboard for the Arts, Artistry, Community Education Network on Disability Conferences, Pillsbury House + Theater, and numerous other schools, districts, and organizations. Previously, she held management positions with several disability and youth organizations, including Wilderness Inquiry and Youth Frontiers. 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 also has been on the Arts on Chicago Leadership team for the last eight years; and she is a founding board member and current Board Chair of Wonderlust Productions.
Matt Guidry, Artistic Director, Teaching Artist | Actor, Director, Choreographer, Producer
Matt co-founded Upstream Arts in 2006 and serves as the organization’s Artistic Director. Matt leads the design of Upstream Arts’ multidisciplinary curriculum, manages 80+ 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 former member of the Acting Core of Ten Thousand Things Theatre Company, Matt was seen 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’s passion is inspiring students through the arts – and what a better way to incorporate teaching, arts, and working with people with disabilities. All three passions of hers. The stage became her home when she landed a role in Our Miss Brooks in high school, and she has been in the arts scene ever since. She holds a BA in Elementary and Early Childhood Education; and she is almost done with her Master’s degree in K12 Education through Bethel University, where she is studying theatre arts skills in the elementary classroom. As a person with relatively hidden physical disabilities, Nikki loves the inclusion UA brings and wishes she had a program like this in school. She works as a teaching artist all around town, working with youth theatre in various community education programs, Artistry, Stages, and Stage Time specifically. Nikki focuses on acting, improv, and choreography. Nikki is the author of the book I Choose Hope, which addresses disability issues as well as Hope for Today. She is active in the adoption community, her church, writer’s group, the Caringbridge.org advisory council, and Board member of Women Entrepreneurs of MN. Nikki has been working with Upstream Arts since 2014 and has LOVED the opportunity to play every day at work. More: nikkiabramson.com
Brian Bose, Teaching Apprentice | Actor-Singer-Dancer, Choreographer, Director, Creative Consultant
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brian revels as a multidimensional storyteller. He received a Double B.A. in Theatre & Dance from UC San Diego in 2015. After studying Dance Pedagogy, Brian has also developed into an International Teaching Artist. He has taught Movement for Actors & Musical Theater at the La Jolla Playhouse’s Young Performer’s Workshop, instructed as a Resident Guest Teacher/Choreographer at the Francis Parker School, and teaches Modern & Jazz in Germany for the Patricia Rincon Dance Collective Europe Teaching Tour. The San Diego Union Tribune considers Brian one of the “Faces to watch” in Arts. Brian practices the art of cultivating the creative mind, unleashing the pure potentiality of human expression, creating and recognizing abundance, speaking truth, and being an agent of change. He wants to be of service, helping others break free from the hypnosis of fear so they can realize both their visions and the fact that they have a gift to give to the world. Most importantly, just as the eloquent Bobby McFerrin once said, Brian wants everyone to know that “It’s alright to have butterflies in your stomach, just make sure that they are flying in formation!” He is incredibly honored to have been working with Upstream Arts since 2017. For more: http://theboseshow.com
Sarah Brown, Teaching Artist/Interpreter | Actor, Improviser, Dancer, ASL Interpreter
Sarah’s passion lies in the intersection of theater and community where she can inspire people using the powerful tool of the arts. She is currently a professional ASL Interpreter after graduating from Saint Paul College’s Interpreter Training Program in May of 2015. You can also see her on the stage at HUGE Improv Theater in Minneapolis throughout the year. 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 honor of working with Upstream Arts as both a TA and Interpreter 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.
Cristina Castro, Teaching Artist | Playwright, Performer
Cristina Castro is a playwright/performer who hails from San Antonio, Texas and has been based in Minneapolis since 2007. Her recent honors include the Silver Award in Playwriting from the National YoungArts Foundation in Miami, Fl. In 2011, she was selected as a Summer Intensive Apprentice with the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York City where such illustrious Company Members as playwright Raul Castillo, Kristina Poe, and former Artistic Director John Ortiz mentored her. While living abroad in the United Kingdom, she studied with London International School of the Performing Arts founder Thomas Prattki, Royal Shakespeare Company co-founder John Barton, and Glynn McDonald at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. As a performer she has acted in the Twin Cities with theaters such as Mixed Blood (The House of Spirits), Park Square (August: Osage County), Theater Coup d’Etat (Romeo in Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet), the Playwrights’ Center (The Royal Society of Antarctica and Goddess of Mercy), Teatro del Pueblo (Quita Mitos), Little Lifeboats (Parhelion), and History Theater (RAW STAGES New Works Festival). Cristina is a 2011 alumna of the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater B.F.A. Actor Training Program. She has worked with Upstream Arts since 2016.
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. Aaron has been working with Upstream Arts since 2015.
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 joined the Upstream Arts team in July 2015. He originally comes from San Antonio, TX and and found his way to the Great North via 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), Workhaus Collective (production manager), Bedlam Theatre (artist/maker), The Unit Collective (director), Red Eye Theater (performer), Mixed Blood (stage manager), Walking Shadow (assistant director), Freshwater Theatre (director), The Jungle (carpenter), Howlround (critic), and Little Life Boats (director).
Phyllis Genest-Stein, Teaching Artist/Interpreter | ASL Interpreter
Phyllis is a nationally certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. She worked with Deaf/Hard of Hearing students in Minneapolis Public Schools for many years and is passionate about going beyond accessibility to communication equality. In 2010 she had the extreme good fortune of being introduced to Upstream Arts co-founders, Julie and Matt Guidry. Their commitment to providing creative, fun, high quality opportunities for individual growth and expression hooked Phyllis and she has been working with them ever since. She finds the amazing artists at Upstream Arts to be energizing and a constant source of inspiration. In addition to her work interpreting for Upstream Arts, Phyllis is a community interpreter, working in business, medical, and educational settings. She serves as a mentor for new educational interpreters and is the chair of the Minnesota Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf Freelance Committee.
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 Jendrzejewski has served in a variety of administrative roles for nonprofit arts organizations since 2006, including with Cornerstone Theater Company (Los Angeles), Padua Playwrights (Los Angeles), and The Grotowski Institute (Poland). In addition to her work in communications and development for Upstream Arts, she regularly writes freelance grant proposals, online content, and other materials for a wide range of arts organizations, small businesses, 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, Public Functionary, 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. Rachel has worked with Upstream Arts since 2012. 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.
Pedro Pablo Lander, Teaching Artist | Dancer, Choreographer
Pedro Pablo Lander was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Came to the US to pursue a college degree at Winona State University. Upon graduation of May 2015, he has performed original work at venues like the Walker Arts Center and the Red Eye Theater; as well as performed in works by Paula Mann, Kristen Sloss, Jenn Pray, Pramila Vasudevan, and Dolo McComb. He is currently working with April Sellers Dance Collective, Magnolia Yang, and Fire Drill. Living his performing arts dreams with full force. Pedro has been working with Upstream Arts since 2016.
Theo Langason, Teaching Artist | Actor, Director, Musician
Born and raised in Northeast Minneapolis, Theo Langason is a graduate of Rutgers University where he studied Theatre Arts. Since moving back to Minneapolis, Theo has worked with Theatre Pro Rata, The Mysterium, Red Eye Theater, and The Winding Sheet Outfit. Theo is also an ensemble member of Sandbox Theater, where he has appeared in Beatnik Giselle, Suitcase, and This Is A World To Live in as well as directed The Little Pilot and Queens. Theo has been working with Upstream Arts since June 2016.
Norah Long, Teaching Artist | Actor, Vocalist
Award-winning actor, vocalist, and arts educator Norah Long has made an indelible mark on the Twin Cities arts scene, performing over 70 principal roles with the Guthrie, Ordway, Penumbra, Ten Thousand Things, Nautilus, Old Log, Illusion, Jungle, Jeune Lune, Children’s Theatre Company, Skylark Opera, and Minnesota Orchestra, to name a few. Nationally, critics have applauded Ms. Long’s theater work in Florida (Florida Stage, Arts Garage, Riverside Theater), Colorado (Arvada Center), and New Jersey (Paper Mill). Norah’s credits as a concert soloist span the US, Europe, Asia, and a 2013 nationally-televised performance with Cuba’s National Symphony in Havana. Ms. Long has been profiled in numerous publications including American Record Guide, Opera Today Magazine, and Backstage Magazine. She is featured on 6 CDs including her self-produced album View from Violet Hill. In addition to her work with Upstream Arts, Norah’s other leadership roles include: Adjunct Professor, College of Fine Arts, North Central University; Soloist and Quartet Director, St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church; Adjudicator, Miss Minnesota/Miss America Organization and others; private theater and voice instruction. Recent honors: 2015 Best Supporting Musical Actress, Lavender Magazine (Mother Superior in Sister Act, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres); 2013 Best Actress in a Play, Broadway World (Marie Lombardi in Lombardi, History Theater). Norah has been working with Upstream Arts since its inception in 2006. More: http://norahlong.com
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.
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.
Gregory Parks, Teaching Artist | Clown, Theater Artist
Gregory Parks is a clown, improvisor, mover, and geek originally from West Des Moines, Iowa. Recent Twin Cities performances include A Klingon Christmas Carol (marlI’/Ghost of Kahless Future, Mounds Theater), The Stranger (Nick, Impossible Salt), An Octoroon (Br’er Rabbit, Mixed Blood Theater), and various performances of Where I Am Now, his mostly silent physical comedy solo improv show. He has performed around the world with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, Disney Live! and Kinoshita Circus in Japan. An unapologetic multipotentialite who loves pad thai and various other ethnic foods, Gregory has lived on a train, ridden an elephant, hiked up Mount Fuji, eaten fugu, and played with tiger cubs. Gregory has worked with Upstream Arts since 2016.
Maddie Phelps, Administrative and Development Assistant | Writer, Public Speaker, Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor
Maddie Phelps is an English and strategic communications student at the University of Minnesota, as well as a sexual assault crisis counselor and peer educator there. Maddie has given over 50 presentations about consent and bystander intervention to University of Minnesota communities. Ever since joining Upstream Arts as an intern in 2016, Maddie has used their experience in communications and sexual violence advocacy to collaborate on resources for The Art of Relationships program, as well as write grant inquiries and annual reports for Upstream. As a writer and public speaker with a disability, Maddie is passionate about Upstream Arts’ mission to give people with disabilities opportunities to use the arts to express themselves. Maddie is currently writing their summa thesis on disability identity in the Daredevil comic books; after they graduate, they would love to continue working in the non-profit world.
Sara Richardson, Teaching Artist | Actor, Theatre Artist
Sara is thrilled to be back working with the unbelievable Upstream crew and all the organization’s amazing student artists! Originally an East Coast native, she moved to the Twin Cities in 2004 to intern with a theater after training in physical theatre and comedy at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, FR. Some highlights from her 12 years of performing in the Twin Cities include: The Night Alive (Jungle Theatre), You For Me For You (Mu Performing Arts), Buzzer (Pillsbury House Theatre & Guthrie Dowling Studio), and Mercy Watson to the Rescue! (Children’s Theatre Company), among others. Her own theatre work, mostly of the physical comedy genre, has been shown at small festivals here and in New York. She has appeared in national and local commercials as well as some film. Other teaching includes SPCPA and Guthrie Summer Camps. Outside of theatre and teaching, she lives in Minneapolis with her partner, his two amazing teenagers and her dog, and she enjoys cheap antique shops, hiking and biking with her dog, and eating yummy food in many of our amazing local restaurants. Sara has been on-again-off-again teaching with this amazing organization since 2008. sara-richardson.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.
Michele Spaise, Teaching Artist | Visual Artist
Michele Spaise is a visual, performance, and interdisciplinary artist. Using various methods of storytelling such as photography, video, collage, and shadow puppetry. Creating a body of work exploring the human experience of healing, transformation, and ascension through trauma. Including the narratives of people whose truths and stories deserve to be uncovered and shared. Michele has worked with Upstream Arts since 2016.
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.
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. Cane is thrilled to have been working with Upstream Arts since 2015.