ABOUT THE ARTISTS
SERIOUS PLAY THEATRE ENSEMBLE was co-founded by Sheryl Stoodley and Robin Doty in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1995 on the third floor Artspace at Thornes. Now in its 27th year of continuous operation, Serious Play is an ensemble-based company that has launched numerous award-winning productions, toured locally, nationally and internationally and now serves as both creators and presenters, bringing visiting artists and productions from around the world to perform in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.
Based in Northampton MA since 1995, Serious Play works to reshape society’s conversation around prominent social issues through the art of ensemble theatre. The ensemble leads explorations in the unique work of physical theatre; we train actors, devise, and deconstruct productions, and focus on theatre as an innovative art form with an emphasis on the collaborative process. Serious Play is an associate artist with APE@Hawley, part of the new Northampton Arts Trust, Workroom Theater at 33 Hawley St.
Since its founding, Serious Play has received support from arts foundations and organizations including The Ford Foundation, The Northampton Arts Council, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Puffin Foundation, The Haymarket Fund, the New England Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, The Massachusetts Cultural Council, Puffin Foundation, Scarlet Sock Foundation, Network of Ensemble Theaters (NET) and other local arts councils. Serious Play was chosen as one of 65 non-profit organizations in Massachusetts by Phillips Foundation Catalogue of Philanthropy. Serious Play is a project of Cultural Images Group Inc. a 501c3 tax exempt corporation.
KERMIT DUNKELBERG is Managing Director and co-founder, with Kim Mancuso, of Pilgrim Theatre Research and Performance Collaborative, founded while Dunkelberg was studying in Poland with actors from the Polish Laboratory Theatre. He has co-created and performed in many projects with Pilgrim Theatre, including Moon Over Dark Street, Letters from Sarajevo, and Faust,” At Ko, he has appeared in Laura Harrington’s N (Bonaparte), as “N”, The Wild Place and The House Not Touched by Death.” He also regularly hosts post-show discussions at Ko. Acting with Serious Play on and off since 2009, creating the role of Slobodan Milosevic in the original production of Milan Dragicevich’s Milosevic at the Hague, touring with Serious Play to Serbia and writing an article about the production and tour, published in American Theatre. More recently, he created the role of Clov in Serious Play’s production of Samuel Beckett’s Endgame. He is interested in the nexuses between movement and acting, acting and story-making, and the sung and spoken word.
XIMENA SALMERÓN was raised and studied acting in Mexico City. She has performed as an actress as well as a director and mask-maker in Mexico, and in various venues around the world. She has been a part of the Teatro Itinerante Rocinante (Rocinante Itinerant Theatre) and a founding member of the company RáfagaTeatro, and the Crazy Compass Theatre. She holds a BA in Theatre from La Casa del Teatro. In 2016 she moved to Paris, France, to study movement and physical theatre in the Ècole International de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq and later at the École Philippe Gaulier, where she was taught by the clown genius Philippe Gaulier himself. She has been a resident artist at the Fondation des Etats-Unis from 2016 to 2018 where she participated in various projects with international actors. Her parents are anthropologists, so she traveled with them, living in different locations around the world. She currently lives in Northampton MA where she is co-owner of the Iconica Social Club.
WILL SWYERS grew up in Northampton, MA, participating in dance, movement, theatre training, and performing in local theatre productions, playing the lead role in Hamlet and Danny in Grease. He has acted with: New Century Theatre, and spent many seasons in Hampshire Shakespeare Company, and Amherst Leisure Services productions. A talented tap dancer and mover, Swyers participated in Serious Play Intensive Theatre Training workshops. He furthered his actor training attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. Subsequently he attended and graduated from L’Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq, Paris, France. While in France, he choreographed and produced the world premiere of Songs of Death and Taxes. Now back in Northampton, Swyers rejoins the local arts community as an actor, choreographer, Lecoq teacher and co-owner of the Ionica Social Club in Northampton.
SHERYL STOODLEY has performed, directed, and taught physical actor training and ensemble theatre-making with regional and academic theatres throughout New England. She holds an MA in Theatre from Smith College and for many years served on the theatre faculty of Holyoke Community College., As part of her graduate degree at Smith College she led acting workshops with women in MA prisons, & created and directed the play, Ain’t No Man Dragged That Moon Down Yet. Cultural Images Group published two books of inmates’ writings including the play, in The World Split Open. Other SP productions directed by Stoodley include Milosevic at the Hague, which toured to the JoakimInterfest, Serbia – receiving an international theatre award with a write up in American Theatre, as well as Alice Tuan’s Coastline, Marat Sade: What’s Left is Not Right with new music by Elizabeth Swados, and Hamlet: Asalto a la Inocencia, which played at the Women in Theatre Festival in Athens. Serious Play received much acclaim during their Edinburgh Fringe tours of The Red Guitar, created with musician John Sheldon. Stoodley has received the Jane Ahlfeld Award for Dynamic Impact in the Arts from the Northampton Arts Council, and twice received their BJ Goodwin Award.
ROBIN W. DOTY(Video, Sound & Scenic Design, and Managing Director/Co-Founder of Serious Play Theatre Ensemble) is a graduate of the University of Florida in visual arts and photography. Robin has worked as a Video and Multi-Media producer, at WGBY TV Springfield, and for many years in the Boston PBS/educational market. He worked with Chedd-Angier Production Co. and others as a freelance videographer and producer. As a collaborating artist, he has created scenic & sound design and fabrication, lighting design/operation and video documentation for Serious Play since its inception, and produced Serious Play productions in Boston, NYC, Greece, London, England, Serbia and Edinburgh Scotland.
Doty worked for many years with the Museum of Science, Boston as the Managing Director of the Mugar Omni IMAX Theater. Robin co-founded Cultural Images Group, Inc. (1985) and Serious Play Theatre Ensemble (1995) in Northampton, Massachusetts with wife Sheryl Stoodley. As Serious Play Managing Director, has coordinated grant writing and fundraising for all projects since the company’s founding. Robin designs the productions and organizes all the ensemble touring — locally, nationally, and internationally.
ERIC HENRY SANDERS (Playwright) collaborated with Serious Play , creating and shaping the dramatic story of Moving Water. His plays and films include Recently, Long Ago, Reservoir, Maybe Probably, The Prince Among Men, The Heliopause, and many others. His writing has been produced and developed in theatres across the country and abroad, including the Goodman Theatre (Chicago), the Union Theatre (London), Theatre89 (Berlin), New Group (NY), The Drilling Company (NY), Primary Stages (NY), Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre (NY), Cherry Lane Alternative (NY), Florida Repertory Theatre (Fort Myers), The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and Victory Gardens Theatre (Chicago). Awards include: the Artist Fellowship in Playwriting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Edward Poole Lay Fellowship in Playwriting from Amherst College. A Brooklyn native, he teaches narrative and screenwriting at Hampshire College (Amherst, MA) and Mt Holyoke College. He is a Lark Playwrights Fellow, an Associate Artist at Chester Theatre, and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
JONNY RODGERS (Composer/Musician) hails from Oregon and is a renowned glass musician, composer and performer. He toured for years as an indie musician, writing songs that blend neoclassical, indie-folk and electronic music. Recent composing commissions and performances include: Who Is In The Room? for The Echo Society, FAMILY, Practicing Awe at Grace Farms with Guggenheim fellow Andrea Miller & Gallim Dance and The Yale Voxtet, The Ferus Festival at National Sawdust, Brooklyn, with Sxip Shirey, Under The Overpass for Austin’s EAST festival with Dance Waterloo, NYC’s Ecstatic Music Festival, and The Counter Current Festival in Houston. His recent film work includes composing for or performing on the films: Bono and Eugene Peterson, The Psalms, Don Jon, The Brothers Bloom, The Day I Saw Your Heart, My Brother Jack, The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, and season 3 of Mr Robot. Jonny has partnered with and composed for many brands including New York Life, Cointreau, The Atlantic, Toyota, Issey Miyake, Sur La Table, Persil, Optimum, and Pepto Bismol. In this production Rodgers shares his exploratory work with Playtronica, new technology that allows him to create sounds through water and other set elements. www.cindertalk.com
SABRINA HAMILTON (Lighting Designer & Virtual Lobby Display) is the Artistic Director of the Ko Festival of Performance, having co-founded it 30 years ago. For many years she worked with the New York theatre company Mabou Mines as Lighting Designer, Production Manager, Stage Manager, Performer, and Assistant Director. Other credits include work at the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Goodman Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum and 6 years as Route Lighting Designer for New York’s Village Halloween Parade under the direction of Ralph Lee. International lighting credits include work in Berlin, Bologna, Florence, Milan, London, Grenada, Geneva, Nuremburg, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Brussels, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, at the Bristol Old Vic, the Theatre Academy in Tampere, Finland, and at the International Theatre Festival in Havana, Cuba. She has spent much of the past several years touring with Sandglass Theater. as the lighting designer for their production of D-GENERATION: An Exaltation of Larks, the show that closed Ko’s season on “Age & Aging.” Sabrina’s directing work, primarily original pieces, has been seen in New York, Berlin and throughout New England.
ROSALYN DRISCOLL (Dramaturg & Virtual Lobby Display) is a visual whose fine art first inspired the creation of Moving Water. She has devoted herself to making art full-time since 1970. Originally trained in art history at Smith College, she worked as a curatorial assistant in the Asian department of the Yale University Art Gallery before studying fine art at Silvermine College of Art. The imagery of her early work in painting and drawing focused on the body. She turned to hand-papermaking, working with Dieu Donne Paper in New York to create large abstract handmade paper collages with texture and physical presence. Their organic, floating forms alluded to her inner experience of the body. Interest in the body and in the physicality of materials led to making sculptures that investigate touch as a way of knowing. These tactile sculptures, initially designed for people with visual disabilities, were made of wood, stone, steel and rope. Her interest in sensory perception continues, notably as a member of Sensory Sites, an international collective based in London that generates exhibitions to explore multi-sensory perception.
PANELISTS are still T.B.A.
TRENDA LOFTIN (host/facilitator), who also served as Arts Integrated Equity Consultant for Moving Water. Loftin is a BIPOC-identified Western Mass consultant, theatre artist, and activist. Committed to using theatre to raise awareness, question patterns, inspire action, and build community, Trenda Loftin integrates artistic expression with nuanced identity exploration. Body-centered and collaborative, Trenda works closely with theatre companies, organizations, and individuals to address inequity within programs, practices, and policies utilizing interactive and creative approaches. In addition to her work as an artist and facilitator, she is a worker-owner of The Compost Cooperative and a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Community Realtors.
Kieto Mahaniah (Assistant Lighting Designer/Technical Production Assistant). Curtiss Mitchell, David Regan (Additional Scenic Elements), Holly Gettings (Stage Manager), Chris Marti (Live Sound Mixing/Soundscape Advisor)
Performers who contributed during the development of the piece: Gabriel CiFuentes, Abuzar Farrukh, Jhayden Sheftall, Elizabeth Solomon
Serious Play has received support for this project from the Scarlet Sock Fund, Art Angels, A.P.E.@Hawley,and a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Northampton Arts Council. It is also made possible, in part, through a grant from the Network of Ensemble Theaters’ Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN), supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Moving Water, at the Ko Festival, is supported, in part, by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.
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