I have been part of the National Puppetry Conference at Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut since 2005 – most recently in 2017 as an artist-in-residence. The conference encourages puppet artists to create through the visual and kinetic form of the puppet, to push beyond personal boundaries, and develop new works.
Michele Spears is a director/choreographer, performer, theatre producer, and arts educator based in Los Angeles. Her work has been recognized with New York Nightlife, L.A. Weekly, Saturn, UNIMA, Stagescene L.A., Dramalogue, and Santa Barbara Independent Awards, as well as an American Choreographers Award nomination.
P.J. Mc Whiskers
P.J. McWhiskers is a performance art entity, who has for thirteen years been creating and collaborating in original works staged in Boston, Provincetown and New York City. At the age of seventeen, P.J. joined the Massachusetts-based theatre company, The Gold Dust Orphans, where she performed as a principal member for eight years. She is best known for curating the Provincetown based performance salon and booze fest, KooK, co-writing and staring in Fun Time with Pea-Pie and Jo-Jo and You Suck At Life and Everthing Else, a sketch comedy karaoke show.
Born and raised in Australia, Melissa Dunphy moved to the United States in 2003 and has since become an award-winning and acclaimed composer specializing in political and theatrical music. She first came to national attention in 2009 when her large-scale choral work the Gonzales Cantata, written while still an undergraduate at West Chester University, was featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, National Review, Comedy Central, and on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show. The Gonzales Cantata was subsequently staged by the American Opera Theater and played a sold-out run in Baltimore. Word of the Gonzales Cantata has since spread internationally, including to Croatian President Ivo Josipović, who played excerpts in a speech he gave at Yale University on politics and music in September 2014.
Automata is an arts organization located in the Chinatown District of Los Angeles, dedicated to the creation, incubation, and presentation of experimental puppet theater, experimental film, and other contemporary art practices centered on ideas of artifice and performing objects. Automata stands at the fulcrum points between objects and performance, artifacts and ephemera, magic and mechanics, artifice and interface.
From 2004 -2006 I co-curated, co-hosted and frequently peformed at Blood from a Turnip, Rhode Island’s only late night puppetry salon with Vanessa Gilbert, at Perishable theatre in downtown Providence.
From 2013-2015, I worked with Julie Brown on her musical, Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical, her variety show, Julie & Maria Witch Hunters, and her performances at UnCabaret and with Improvatorium – The Next Generation.
From 2006 to 2012, I frequently appeared on Feast of Fun and was a guest blogger for their website. Feast of Fun (formerly Feast of Fools) is a Chicago-based podcast hosted by Fausto Fernós and Marc Felion that showcases celebrity guests, artists, musicians, actors, members of the LGBTQ community, and those who support them.
From 2003-2004, I was a performer, designer, and puppeteer with the Gold Dust Orphans. Founded in 1995 by writer/performer Ryan Landry, The Gold Dust Orphans is a drag theater company based in Boston and Provincetown whose plays are often smart and funny adaptations of film, theatre and pop culture. With the Orphans, I worked on Pussy on the House, Who’s Afraid of the Virgin Mary, and The Gulls.