2018 Symposium Presenters
Donna Aguiniga is an Associate Professor with the UAA School of Social Work. She coordinates the UAA Dialogues for Public Life program and has trained students, faculty, and/or community members in public deliberation since 2014.
Sara Anderholm is a local musician, accompanist, writer and piano instructor in Anchorage & Eagle River, Alaska. She believes music is a huge component of culture and loves to write and collaborate in efforts to making a positive impact locally and beyond. She’s the primary keyboardist in the Anomaly Jazz Trio, Cannamore, and small chamber ensembles around town. She also owns Sarz Music Studio and is a member of AKTA and The Creative Collective. In the past she’s worked with the artist Wendlo as a producer, audio engineer, arranger, and studio musician through Satellite Heart Records. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from UAA.
Wendy Arons is Professor of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Her research interests include performance and ecology, 18th- and 19th-century theatre history, feminist theatre, and performance and ethnography. She is author of Performance and Femininity in Eighteenth-Century German Woman's Writing: The Impossible Act (Palgrave Macmillan 2006), and co-editor, with Theresa J. May, of Readings in Performance and Ecology (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). She has published articles in Theatre Survey, Theatre Topics, The German Quarterly, Communications from the International Brecht Society, 1650-1850, Text and Presentation, and Theatre Journal, as well as chapters in a number of anthologies, including “Ecodramaturgy in/and Contemporary Women’s Plays” (co-authored with Theresa J. May, and published in Contemporary Women’s Playwriting, ed. Penny Farfan & Leslie Ferris) and "Beyond the Nature/Culture Divide: Challenges from Ecocriticism and Evolutionary Biology for Theatre Historiography" in Theatre Historiography: Critical Questions (ed. Henry Bial & Scott Magelssen). Prof. Arons has served on the Editorial Boards of Theatre Annual and Theatre Topics and on the Advisory Board for Hiawatha Project. She was curator and artistic director of the Earth Matters on Stage Festival & Symposium in Pittsburgh, PA in 2012. And in her spare time, she authors a blog on local theatre and culture, “The Pittsburgh Tatler” (http://wendyarons.wordpress.com).
Gabrielle Barnett is currently an independent artist/scholar based in Anchorage. She holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from New York University. She was co-director of Moving North, an international project using improvisational dance to research aspects of embodiment staged on UAA campus in 2008 as part of International Polar Year celebrations. Recently, she directed interactive theater projects intervening in unconscious bias and toxic work place behavior for Spontaneous Co-Motion. She has collaborated in performance with Venus Transit and Momentum Dance Collective, as well as staging a solo project, Ground Zero: a satire of American attitudes towards climate change. She taught at University of Alaska, Anchorage for 17 years, through appointments with the Dance Program, Liberal Studies Program, and English/Composition program. She also has communications experience as a grassroots environmentalist, focused on public land issues in the Turnagain Arm watershed. Her academic research appears in Technology and Culture, Theater, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism and Polar Geography.
Chantal Bilodeau is a playwright and translator whose work focuses on the intersection of science, policy, art, and climate change. She is the Artistic Director of The Arctic Cycle – an organization created to support the writing, development and production of eight plays that look at the social and environmental changes taking place in the eight countries of the Arctic – and the founder of the blog and international network Artists & Climate Change. She is a co-organizer of Climate Change Theatre Action, a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented in support of the United Nations COP meetings.
Paul Brunner is faculty technical director and head of the Theatre Technology program at Indiana University, and he teaches courses in technical management, structural and mechanical design for the stage, automation, theatrical drafting and theatre planning and consulting. Professional work includes Southern Ohio Light Opera, Madison Repertory Theatre, Indiana University's Opera and Ballet Theater (one of America’s largest opera houses) and Notre Dame Shakespeare and Illinois Shakespeare Festival. In 2001, Paul received the K&M Fabrics Technical Production Award from the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and he has studied theatre production in Canada, Prague, London, Hong Kong, and Taipei. A Director at Large on the board of USITT-Midwest Regional Section for several years, he is also on USITT’s Board of Directors and was elected Secretary of the Board in 2017. He also sits on the ETCP Certification Council (entertainment technician certification program). He presents regularly at USITT, SETC, ATHE, LDI, and other conferences, and has authored several articles on sustainable design and production in the performing arts. In 2014-15, Paul was the coordinator and technical director for the United States entry in the 2015 USA/USITT Prague Quadrennial Exhibits, where he led a team of eight students on the fabrication and installation of the United States entry in the most prominent international exhibition of performance design, in Prague, June 2015.
Crystal Burnip is a Nuu-Chah- Nulth student from the Hupacasath First Nation in Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A recent graduate in Indigenous Studies at Vancouver Island University, she will begin her Post-Baccalaureate degree in Education in September 2018. Crystal is passionate about the integration of Indigenous land-based programs into curriculum for K-12 and university, using Indigenous epistemes and pedagogies to teach Indigenous Studies and environmental sustainability. Her goal is to teach in First Nation Studies where she can provide mentorship, guidance, and support to our communities’ youth during their educational journeys. Crystal works for the Mid-Island Metis Nation for their Education Wiichihew (Support) Program, as a tutor for the First Nations Studies Department at VIU, and as an Aboriginal mentor for the Su’luqw’a Community Cousins mentorship program at VIU.
AJ Carino was born in the Philippines and moved to Anchorage, Alaska, in pursuit of a better life and education. He studied Information Technology at Saint Louis University and Management Information Systems at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. With the support and encouragement of family, friends and the Filipino community AJ started Watah Productions to cover events from the Filipino community and help small local businesses promote their business through online strategies and photography. In his free time, AJ likes to meet local talent in the community and showcase their gift and stories through videography.
Polly Carr has lived in Alaska for twenty years, and during that time she has been an environmental educator and wilderness guide, a youth organizer and leadership cultivator, a political campaigner, a roller derby player, and a small business owner. She is a mother to a 7-year old daughter, and this experience has deepened her commitment to her community and making Alaska the best place to live. She is Executive Director of The Alaska Center, whose mission is to engage, empower, and elect Alaskans to stand up for clean air and water, healthy communities, and a strong democracy.
Marissa Lynn Citro is a born and raised Alaskan girl, and has been dancing in the Anchorage/Eagle River area as long as she can remember. She started taking Ballet and Jazz classes at the Alaska Moving Arts Center when she was four years old, and started teaching their Modern Dance classes when she was 16. Marissa graduated from East High School, where she was a member of Dance Contempo and served as their captain for one year. Marissa spent a year in Texas studying psychology, and returned to Alaska in 2016 to attend UAA and purse a degree in psychology and dance. Marissa currently teaches at the Alaska Moving Arts Center, where she is expanding the Modern Dance program. She has choreographed numerous musicals, collaborated with photographers, filmmakers, artists, and dancers. Marissa is on track to graduate from UAA in 2019, and her next step is graduate school.
Paula Cizmar is an associate professor of theatre practice at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. She is an award-winning playwright whose work combines poetry and politics and is concerned with the way stories get told in a culture and with who gets left out of the discussion. Her plays have been produced all over the country, in theatres big and small, including Portland Stage, San Diego Rep, The Women’s Project, (NYC), Cherry Lane (NYC), Jungle Theatre (Minneapolis), Cal Rep, and Playwrights Arena @ LATC.
Derek Davidson currently teaches playwriting, dramatic literature, and theatre history at Appalachian State University. Davidson is also Artistic Director of In/Visible Theatre (a professional company in Boone, North Carolina), and is a playwright, director, and AEA actor. He has worked as an Associate Artistic Director for the Barter Theatre in Virginia and Coordinator for the Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights (AFPP). His solo show Groundwork, co-created with actor Mike Ostroski, has been produced nationally, and most recently appeared in the Hollywood Fringe Festival. His recent two plays, Mauzy and Without Words, were commissioned by An Appalachian Summer Festival. His play A Part Equal: Women and Mr. Shakespeare, just had a production at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. His solo performance piece Ox is to be presented as part of the Asheville Fringe Festival in January 2018. Dr. Davidson received his Ph.D. in Theatre History and Criticism at the University of Washington.
Norberto De Jesús Jr. is an Anchorage-based musician and filmmaker. Currently a business student and the University of Alaska, Anchorage, De Jesus has co-founded BIZZAY LLC, a mixed-media marketing agency specializing in cinema. Being the creative director of BIZZAY, his work in the production of films begins in the earliest stage as the screenwriter, carries out on set as a director, and resolves in post-production as the film scorer. Aside from music composition, De Jesús plays the bass, guitar, and drums.
Matt Delbridge is an Associate Professor and Head of Theatre and Associate Director for Strategic Resources and at the Victorian College of the Arts. His research areas are actor training, motion capture, performance capture, animation, theatre history, cultural heritage, scenography, technology studies and stage production. He regularly designs for New York based performance ensemble Split Britches, and delivers masterclasses in Motion Capture and Digital Performance environments in Scandinavia, Europe and Asia. In addition to his role at the University of Melbourne Matt is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Creative Media, City University Hong Kong.
Shannon Donovan is Associate Professor & Department Chair of the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies at UAA. She received her B.S. in Wildlife Management from the University of New Hampshire, her M.S. in Recreation, Parks and Tourism Resources from West Virginia University and her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at the University of Idaho (UI). At UI, she served as a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Traineeship (IGERT) fellow working on two interdisciplinary projects designed to craft conservation strategies for the Volcánica Central de Talamanca Biological Corridor of Costa Rica and the Palouse region of the Inland Northwest. Shannon also has extensive experience facilitating collaborative groups, running community meetings, leading focus groups and designing a variety of qualitative and quantitative survey instruments. Her primary areas of expertise include sense of place, bioregional planning and resource conservation. Shannon loves the outdoors, meeting new people, good food and fun travel!
Racin Engstrom has been learning and performing dance in the Alaska for over a decade. Her primary focus has been Middle Eastern and American Cabaret Belly Dance, she has studied from local and sought out international teachers such as Reyhan Tusi, Artemis Mourat, Sahra Saeeda, and Sadie Marquardt, just to name a few. She has been very blessed to have been a part of Dance West at West Anchorage High school under direction of Lori Bradford and a part of UAA Dance Ensemble for many seasons. She studied under some amazing instructors including Brian Jeffery, Becky Kendall, Leslie Ward, and Katherine Kramer. While attending UAA she was invited to choreograph for UAA New Dances and Dance in Performance productions for the past several years and now she is eager and excited to continue learning and growing with other artists. She has been overwhelmed with the love and acceptance in the arts community in Alaska and she hopes that it will keep flourishing with new ideas and collaborations.
Mei Mei Evans is the author of Oil and Water, a novel based on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and co-editor of The Environmental Justice Reader. She teaches Liberal Studies at Alaska Pacific University.
Ian Garrett is Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University; is director of the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, a US think tank on sustainability in arts and culture; and is the resident designer for the Indy Convergence, an arts accelerator in Indianapolis, Toronto, and Haiti. He is a member of the Performance Studies International Performance+Design Working Group and is the Curator for the US for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. He maintains a design practice focused on the integration technology and scenography. He was executive producer for Transmission at the FuturePlay Festival in Edinburgh and Future of Storytelling Festival in New York. Other recent creative interactive projects include Theatre Panik's durational performance, Peep, at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche; Erika Batdorf's Micro-theatre for Burnish at the Theatre Centre and Venice Biennale, the set and energy capture systems for Zata Omm Dance Projects’ Vox:Lumen at the Harbourfront Centre, and the geolocated Silo No. 5 on Maria Island, Tasmania. He has worked on installations such as DTAH Architects’ Ravine Portal and on the lighting team for the Crimson Collective’s Ascension, a 150’ wide, origami-style crane sculpture at the 2010 Coachella Music Festival. He serves on the Board of Directors for Associated Designers of Canada.
Kyla Gongora is an Environment and Society major with minors in Biology and Sociology at the University of Alaska Anchorage graduating in just under a month. She currently works as a Climate Action Plan intern with the Municipality and UAA. Her interests include enjoying the beautiful Alaskan summers while staying engaged with environmental concerns that are impacting Alaska.
Nelson Gray is a playwright and a professor in the English Department at Vancouver Island University. His writing for the stage includes interdisciplinary performances and plays, along with dance operas--created with choreographer Lee Eisler--that have been produced in Canada, the U.S., and Germany. His scholarly articles have appeared in a number of journals including the Canadian Theatre Review, the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Studies in Canadian Literature, and Theatre Research in Canada, and in two anthologies: Readings in Performance and Ecology and Greening the Maple: Canadian Ecocriticism in Context. His play Talker's Town will be published by Talonbooks this spring, alongside Marie Clements' The Girl Who Swam Forever. This summer, with the assistance of a Canada Council Grant and a SHHRC award, he will be completing the script and libretto for Here Oceans Roar, a contemporary opera based on his experiences as a salmon troller and incorporating oceanographic research from Oceans Networks Canada at the University of Victoria.
Jordan Hall is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose work has been dubbed “stellar, insightful” by Plank Magazine, “thoughtful” by CBC Radio, and “vivid, memorable” by NOW. Her first full-length play, Kayak, won Samuel French’s Canadian Playwrights Competition, and has been produced to critical acclaim across North America. Her most recent play, How to Survive an Apocalypse, is fresh off a record-breaking premiere with Touchstone Theatre's Flying Start Program. An Associate at Playwrights Theatre Centre from 2010-2013, she is currently Playwright-in-Residence at Up in the Air Theatre, where she is developing her next play for their 2017/2018 season. As a dramaturg and writing mentor, she spent five years teaching playwrighting & screenwriting for UBC’s Booming Ground program.
Amanda Hansen is a junior in the UAA Social Work program and a Community Engaged Student Assistant with the Dialogues for Public Life program . She is interested in learning how to approach difficult conversations within the community and to use those discussions to bring people together and take action against the injustices in our society. When she isn’t being a student, she can be found caring for her sled dogs and training for local sprint mushing races in Alaska.
Taylor Hicks is a lifelong Alaskan and UAA graduate. She began her dance journey at the age of 4 at Ketchikan Theatre Ballet and continued dancing through college where she received a BA studying Theatre and Dance. Taylor is now a member of Momentum Dance Collective.
Antonia (Tonia) S. Krueger teaches theatre at Eckerd College, where she has most recently developed the new courses Performance and the Environment, Seascapes: Portrayals of Ocean on Stage and Screen, and Animals in Performance. She has a PhD in Theatre from The Ohio State University, an MA in Communication (Theatre), with a specialization in creating new works for the stage, from Indiana State University, a BA in Theatre (minors in Philosophy & Religion and English) from Truman State University, and an MA in English as a Second Language (minor in Psychology) from the University of Minnesota. She has worked in the professional theatre as a dramaturg, playwright, theatre critic, voice and text coach, actor, director, costumer, and theatre administrator. Her auto/biographical play Pucelle was produced by the Expanded Arts Theatre Company in New York City. She was a founding company member for the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Minnesota, where she served as the first Education and Administration Coordinator, and she was a founding judge for the Theatre Tampa Bay professional theatre awards. In the music community, Tonia has stage directed and/or performed in theatre fusion pieces with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Ohio State University School of Music, and the Ohio Wesleyan University Music Department.
Julia Levine is a New York-based theatre-maker, creating new works regarding climate, politics, and justice. As a director and producer, she has collaborated with companies that consider political and cultural topics, including Theater In Asylum, Honest Accomplice Theatre, and the eco-theatre collective Superhero Clubhouse. Julia is a member of Artists Rise Up New York, a co-organizer with Climate Change Theatre Action, and writes for the blog series Artists & Climate Change. She writes and devises with her performance-based initiative, The Food Plays, to bring questions of food, climate, and justice into everyday life. Julia graduated from Butler University, where she studied Theatre and Anthropology.
Jessica Litwak is an internationally-recognized theatre educator, playwright, director, performer, puppet builder and registered drama therapist. Her work is published by NoPassport Press, Smith & Kraus, Applause Books and The New York Times. She is the Artistic Director of The H.E.A.T. Collective and the founder of Artists Rise Up New York. Her many plays include The Emma Goldman Trilogy, Wider Than The Sky, the FEAR Project, Secret Agents and My Heart is in the East. She wrote a play for the CCTA collection. She has a BFA in acting, an MFA in playwriting, Ph.D. in Leadership and Change. Litwak is a core member of Theatre Without Borders and a Fulbright Scholar.
Theresa J. May is Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Oregon. As co-founder of EMOS (with Larry Fried), she developed the Ecodrama Playwrights Festival Guidelines and was Artistic Director for the 2009 EMOS Festival at the University of Oregon. She has published widely about the intersections of ecology, cultural and indigenous studies, and performance studies, including "Grotowski's Deep Ecology" in Performing Nature, and "Beyond Bambi: Towards a Dangerous Ecocriticism in Theatre Studies" in a special issue of Theatre Topics on Performance and Ecology. She has published articles in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Topics, On Stage Studies, American Drama, and Canadian Theatre Review, as well as chapters in several volumes. She co-edited (with Wendy Arons) Readings in Performance and Ecology. She is author of Salmon is Everything, a community-based play from the Klamath Watershed (Oregon State University Press, 2014). She co-authored, with Larry Fried, Greening Up Our Houses (1994), the first book on sustainable theatre management, and was founding artistic director of Theatre in the Wild in Seattle.
Michael Mehler has designed scenery and lighting in Atlanta, Charleston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Texas, and Virginia. He currently serves as the Vice President of Communications for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), chairs its Publications Committee, and also serves on its Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He is Chair of the Communication Arts and Theatre Department at Allegheny College, where he has chaired both its Council on Diversity & Equity and its Finance & Facilities Committee. Past national leadership positions include Vice President of Programming for USITT, Co-Chair of the Broadway Green Alliance’s (BGA) Education Committee, and Design & Technology Focus Group Representative for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Michael has given more than thirty presentations on design & production history, theory, and pedagogy at regional and national conferences. Current research focuses on sustainable design and production, specifically investigating new materials and advocating for alternative practices that integrate long term planning with the creative process. He regularly works with Allegheny students and staff to discover and implement more sustainable practices for the Playshop Theatre.
Emma Morgan-Thorp is a settler Canadian feminist working toward a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies at Toronto's York University. Currently living on Vancouver Island, off British Columbia's West Coast, Emma is interested in bringing together Canadian and anticolonial studies with performance studies to examine Canadian love of the land. Her research considers settler performances of environmentalism, sovereignty, nationalism, tourism, and belonging on Canada's Pacific Coast. (MA, Canadian and Indigenous Studies, Trent University; BA, Gender Studies and Canadian Studies, University of King's College/Dalhousie)
Neda Y. Movahed is a PhD Student in Sustainability at Arizona State University who is devoted to learning and practicing a multiplicity of methods for personal growth and collective evolution. She is currently working more deeply with creative writing and a few embodiment practices. Engaged with the local community, she sits on the board of Arizona Interfaith Power & Light, an organization devoted to spiritual activism for socio-environmental transformation. She is also active in the university, helping facilitate weekly contemplative practices through the Mindfulness Community at ASU.
Katie O’Loughlin is a recent graduate from the Theatre and Dance Department at UAA. During her final year, she received 2 research grants, one of which funded her Senior Honors Project and Thesis so she could direct and choreograph her own evening length dance production. The other grant gave her the opportunity to travel to Havana, Cuba to research their dance community. Currently, she is teaching dance locally and hopes to continue reaching and building community through performative art. She plans to attend Graduate School for Dance and Production within the next 3 years.
Giovanni Ortega is a multidisciplinary artist and Assistant Professor at Pomona College. He has been involved with Climate Change Theatre Action since 2015 with his plays El Pescador and La Lluvia (The Fisherman and the Rain) and Fugaz de La Piel Canela (Fleeting Cinnamon Skin). In addition, he produced and directed short films entitled Green Shorts: Films (re)Imagining Our Troubled Environment as well as Caridad Svich’s Upon The Fragile Shore. He also wrote Criers for Hire, which became the highest grossing world premiere play for East West Players Theater in Los Angeles. Giovanni’s second book Ang Gitano (They Gypsy) was recently published Carayan Press (gitano.carayanpress.com).
Rosanne Pagano is an Anchorage-based writer, editor and writing coach who teaches at Alaska Pacific University.
Anna Padrick is a double major in Economics and Spanish, with a minor in dance at UAA, and is also a proud member of Sunlight Collaborations. She began her dance career here at UAA, and was most recently onstage in New Dances 2018. Currently, her “roots" in theatre have led her back to the stage for an abridged production of Mel Brooks’ The Producers. When not onstage, she enjoys playing the violin with the community orchestra Society of Strings. She will be spending the beginning and better half of 2019 in Valparaíso, Chile, where she will have the opportunity to fully immerse herself in both the Spanish language and the vibrant artistic community found there. She plans to continue using her diverse artistic background to create integrative multimedia productions with Sunlight Collaborations, and in the dynamic and ever-growing arts scene in Alaska.
Mikayla Phillips recently moved to Anchorage from Salt Lake City, Utah. She graduated in 2014 from Brigham Young University with a BS in Human Development and a minor in Contemporary Dance. While at BYU, Mikayla choreographed and danced with the contemporary company dancEnsemble and also performed throughout the United States and Europe with BYU's International Folk Dance Ensemble. Since graduation, Mikayla has been teaching children's creative dance, submitted films in the Utah Dance Film Festival, and performed in folk dance festivals in France and Italy. Mikayla just completed her second season with Wasatch Contemporary Dance Company II based in Provo, Utah. Mikayls is excited to see what the Alaska dance community has to offer!
Bronwyn Preece lives completely off-grid on Lasqueti Island/Xwe’etay, and is an honoured guest on the Traditional Territory of the Straits Sailsh Peoples. She is an improvisiational, site-sentive, performance eARThist, community-enaged applied theatre practitioner, author, editor, poetic pirate and boundary-pushing renegade. She is currently doing a SSHRC-funded PhD through the Univ. of Huddersfield titled Performing Embodiment: Improvisational Investigations into the Intersections of Ecology and Disability. She is a think-tank member of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts and has guest-edited their forthcoming journal issue did/sustain/ability (2017). She co-guest edited, a two-volume, 3 issue edition of Intellect Journal Performing Ethos titled Performing Ecos in 2015. She has presented at EMOS in Reno and Pittsburgh. www.bronwynpreece.com
Claire K. Redfield is an MFA student in Theatre For Youth at Arizona State University, and is a director, teaching artist, and community maker who has trained with SITI Company, the British American Drama Academy, and the San Francisco Mime Troupe. Claire recently moved to Arizona from Chicago where she worked professionally as a freelance theatre director, and dramaturg, and also as a teaching artist at Lookingglass Theatre Company. Favorite credits include: King Lear with Eleusis Collective (director), and Cymbeline with The Waking Theatre (co-director). More info at clairekredfield.com.
Karly Robinson has enjoyed singing, dancing, and acting since the age of 9, and began taking her vocal training seriously by the age of 12. She started performing early on and continued to take workshops and musical camps throughout her teenage years. She was accepted into Palmer High School’s Jazz Choir and travelled with them to various competitions while also performing in their production of The Wildest in 2010. After graduation, she spent 3 years as an au-pair in Germany and during that time she learned the German language and applied for a selective foreigners bachelor program at the University of Cologne. Although she was accepted, she decided to return back home to Alaska. Upon returning, she landed the role of Suzy in VPA’s production of The Wonderettes, and continued to work her vocal skills within the community. After getting married in 2015, she has settled in the Matanuska Valley and is working as a gymnastics coach and health consultant. She still loves to take any opportunity she can to perform, and is excited to share the stage with other artists for the EMOS Festival.
Dale E. Seeds teaches at the College of Wooster, Wooster, Ohio where he serves as Professor of Theatre. He received his Ph.D. in Theatre from Kent State University, with an emphasis in design criticism. In addition to design, he has taught course work in indigenous theatre and film, theatre research and special topics including Green Theatre and The Theater of War. His design work has been featured at various venues nationally including the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Eastman School of Music, and internationally in Dublin, Ireland with the Abbey Theatre. He also is a member of the Dead White Zombies, contributing as a visual artist on their productions of (w)hole, T.N.B., Bull Game, Hotel Karaoke, DP 92 and Holy Bone.
Madison Smith is a sociology major at UAA with a minor in environment and society. She is currently an intern working on a climate action plan for the Municipality of Anchorage. Her interests include food studies, environmental concerns, and how many of the issues involving climate change affect people differently.
Caroline Streff is an English and International Studies double major at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Last May she received an undergraduate research grant to study poetry in Havana, Cuba for 3 weeks. She will graduate the summer of 2018.
Molissa Udevitz grew up hiking, camping, and studying dance in Alaska. Her love for nature and the arts led her to attend the University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a Linehan Artist Scholar, where she graduated with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a B.A. in Dance. In college, she choreographed dances inspired by the natural world, and her senior dance piece, Ebb and Flow, was selected to perform at the 2015 American College Dance Festival Association Mid-Atlantic conference. Molissa enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for nature with youth and has held a variety of education positions, most recently at a California residential outdoor school. She is thrilled to be back in Alaska and currently works as an Anchorage Museum educator. Molissa hopes to continue finding ways to connect her passion for dance with her passion for the outdoors.
Brenda Varda (MA Psychology, MFA Creative Writing for Performance-UCR) is a writer, songwriter, performer and educator. Her career started in acting, in regional theatre, Second City, television and film. In the theatre she continues to work as playwright, musical director and composer, and has worked with a large number of new works in Los Angeles, at such theatres as Bootleg, Sacred Fools, Unknown Theatre, the Met, and also as an artist in residence at Caltech. Her own theatre works include Nine Dresses, This is My Garbage, Fables Du Theatre, Liquid, A Play In a Restaurant With a Piano and A Bar, Alice Through the Wormhole and Things That Fall From the Sky (ACTF award). Varda’s work has received support from the Center for Cultural Innovation, UCIRA Emerging Artist Fund, the L.A. History Project, Edge Fest, the Mellon Foundation, and the Gluck Foundation. She is also the founder of Wordspace (an L.A. based organization for writers), one of the founders of Circle Readings, and a member of Fellswoop Playwrights - and the AD of Singers’ Workout LA. And presented at ACTF, MATC, and APA conferences. She has a band that does original jazz/Americana. www.brendavarda.com