Affiliated Artists

Melia Bensussen MELIA BENSUSSEN is thrilled to be a part of the Sleeping Weazel family of gifted artists. A recipient of an OBIE Award for Outstanding Direction, lives in Boston where she has directed for Sleeping Weazel, for the Huntington Theatre, the Nora Theatre, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and Actors Shakespeare Project. Around the country she has directed at American Conservatory Theatre, Baltimore Centerstage, Hartford Stage Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Primary Stages, the Long Wharf, Actors Theatre of Louisville, People’s Light and Theatre (Barrymore for Best Direction), San Jose Rep, and many others. In the ’16-’17 season she will be directing the professional premiere of Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Huntington Theatre, Madeleine George’s Precious Little at the Nora, and the world premiere of Deborah Salem Smith’s Faithful Cheaters at Trinity Repertory in Providence, RI.
Amy Lynn Budd AMY LYNN BUDD is a theatre director, performer, and producer based in Providence. She is deeply commited to creating innovative works for the stage. She has directed regional and world premiere productions at Perishable Theatre, Brown University, Contemporary Theatre Company, NewGate Theatre, and others. Amy Lynn developed The Thing that Ate My Brain…Almost as a Resident Artist at Perishable Theatre (RAPTor) from 2006-09 and toured the work to Austin, TX and Washington, DC following production at Perishable. Miss Budd also collaborates with people age 6 and up to generate new theatre pieces in school and corporate settings.
Gloria Crist GLORIA CRIST Prior to completing her MA in Holistic Counseling, and CAGS in Expressive and Creative Arts, Gloria Crist spent 28 years working in theater, television and film that took her from North Carolina to Las Vegas to New York and back again before moving to Rhode Island. After briefly taking a break from theater and film-a voice over audition for a children’s book led to her role for three seasons as Vicky in Showtime’s Peabody award-winning series, Brotherhood, which led to more film and television roles in the New England area including, “mom” to Amber Tamblyn in Normal Adolescent Behavior, the national commercial series for Fidelity Investments, The Company Men with Ben Affleck, Missing William, with Brandon Routh and Courtney Ford and the short, What Weighs Us Down. Rhode Island and Boston theatre work includes Perishable (Sweet Disaster, Biography of a Constellation, and The Women’s Playwriting Festival) and 2nd Story (The Late Christopher Bean, The Good Doctor, Master Class as the divine diva, Maria Callas) and affiliated artist with Sleeping Weazel. Gloria is President and Founder of The CORE Org.(www.thinkfeelcreate.org) a source and resource 501(c)3, providing arts enrichment and wellness programs throughout the East Bay RI area, striving to "consciously transform through the creative arts. Gloria also serves at the drama advisor in Tiverton High School. She remains active in arts advocacy in public school education. In her downtime, she continues to write (www.traumadramamama.com) about living, loving and loss. She lives with her daughter in Tiverton, RI.
Stephanie Burlington Daniels STEPHANIE BURLINGTON DANIELS is a director, actor, and teacher. She is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Theatre and Dance Studies Department at Wheaton College (MA). Her Wheaton College directing credits include Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine, Tony Kushner’s Angels In America, Part One Millennium Approaches, and Anna Deavere Smith’s House Arrest. She has recently performed in Ken Prestininzi’s Birth, Breath, Bride, Elizabeth, Charlotte Meehan’s Sweet Disaster, Federico Garcia Lorca’s House of Bernarda Alba, and a 1950s version of Twelfth Night.
Christine Evans CHRISTINE EVANS’ production highlights include Trojan Barbie (American Repertory Theatre, Playbox Theatre, U.K.; Garage Theater, LA), Slow Falling Bird (Crowded Fire), Weightless, Mothergun and All Souls’ Day (Perishable Theatre); and Closer Than They Appear (HERE Arts; StreetSigns, NC). Samuel French, Smith and Kraus, Theater Forum and NoPassport Press have published her work. Honors include a Rockefeller Bellagio Award, a Fulbright Award, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award and the RISCA Playwriting Award. Evans holds an MFA and PhD from Brown and is an Associate Professor in Georgetown Department of Performing Arts. Her play Galilee was featured at PlayPenn, 2017, and her novel-in-verse, Cloudless, is published by UWA Publishing (Australia). www.christineevanswriter.com
Keli Garrett KELI GARRETT Keli’s plays and adaptations have been produced and developed at Sleeping Weazel in Boston, One Coast Collaboration Festival in Seattle, Mixed Blood, Penumbra Theatre, Playwrights’ Center, Dixon Place, The Women’s Project, the Zoo District Penumbra Theatre, The LAByrinth Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, 24 Hour Plays, Playwrights Horizon, Rites and Reason Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, City Lit Theater Company, Chicago Theater Company, Organic Theater, Providence Black Repertory and California College of Arts and Crafts. Ensemble Studio Theatre, Rhode Island Arts Council, The Joyce Foundation, City Lit Theatre and the RISD Museum have commissioned her work. Her work is anthologized in Contemporary Plays by African American Women. Born and raised in Chicago, Keli is a writer and performer. She holds a B.A. from Columbia College and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Brown University. She is currently based in Santa Monica, CA. Keli was a 2011 McKnight Fellow.
Jess Foster JESS FOSTER is a playwright, dramaturg, and teacher whose work has been produced in New York, Providence, Boston, Washington DC, Albuquerque, and Iowa, where she earned her MFA from the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop. She was a producing member of Boston Public Works. Jess’s plays have had readings as part of the White Horse Theater American Women Series in New York, through Interim Writers in Boston, and at the Iowa New Play Festival. Her short plays have been produced by the Boston One-Minute Play Festival, Boston Mad Dash, Chameleon Theatre Circle, and Madcap Players. She is originally from Maine and a graduate of Wheaton College.

Vanessa Gilbert VANESSA GILBERT is a creative producer, interdisciplinary artist, and educator from Providence, RI who works with humans, objects, and digital media. She makes, produces, and directs performance works of varying scales, from miniature puppet theatre to multi-day performance festivals and opera.  In 17 years with Perishable Theatre, Vanessa honed her curating skills founding both Blood from a Turnip-RI’s only late night puppet salon- and the Resident Artist at Perishable Theatre program. She has developed and taught classes in theatre history, theatre for social change, directing and producing for learners of all ages. Vanessa is a proud member of the Magdalena Project, an international network for women in contemporary theatre and she instigated Magdalena USA, a seven-day festival of workshops and performances with artists from around the world. Her work has been featured at Perishable Theatre, the HERE Arts Center, The Castle of Imagination Festival (Ustka and Gdansk, Poland,) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, among others. She received her MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College in May 2015. www.vanessagilbert.com

Magdalena Gómez MAGDALENA GÓMEZ: “Unconditional love isn’t pretty or enabling. It is provocative, and embraces confrontation when truth demands it. We cannot be fully alive or warriors against injustice without it.” Poet, Playwright, Word-in-Action Activist. www.magdalenagomez.com
David Higgins DAVID HIGGINS writes words for people and puppets. When not collaborating with puppets and people in the service of his words, he serves the words of others. He is co-curator of Blood From a Turnip, a late night puppet salon, and has worked on several projects with human performers, most notably as the producer of the BarPlays Festival.
Jeffrey M. Jones JEFFREY M. JONES is a playwright whose works include 70 Scenes of Halloween, Nightcoil, Der Inka Von Peru, Tomorrowland, a series of Crazy Plays, Write If You Get Work, and J.P. Morgan Saves the Nation, a musical with a score by the late Jonathan Larson, directed by Jean Randich. He has been manager of The Wooster Group, Richard Foreman and John Jesurun; taught playwriting at the Yale School of Drama and a series of Pataphysics workshops at the Flea Theater; and is currently co-curator of the OBIE-winning Little Theatre series at Dixon Place.
Holly Laws HOLLY LAWS is interested in a multidisciplinary approach to art. Laws’ first love, sculpture, draws heavily on her work in theatre and puppetry. Her recent sculptural installation Axis Mundi: Levittown, incorporates objects, projected video, and recorded dialogue. Her work is exhibited nationally and is in numerous private collections. Laws holds a BFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MFA in Sculpture from Tyler School of Art, Temple University. She teaches art at the University of Central Arkansas, and has seven pet chickens.
Ju-Pong Lin JU-PONG LIN, an educator, communitarian, artist, and maker of stories, fuses video, performance, installation art, needle-crafts and community storytelling. Her art crosses cultural fences and links environmental justice with spiritual practice, interdisciplinary art with scrubbing jam off the kitchen floor. Her current work knits communities together through stories of changing neighborhoods. She has exhibited her work nationally, including Women in the Director’s Chair, the Walker Museum of Art, New York’s Mix festival, and the Tacoma Art Museum. Ju-Pong teaches in the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College and collaborates with the Round the Corner Movers dance company.
Jake Mahaffy JAKE MAHAFFY’s self-produced, micro-budget shorts and features were made single-handedly, featuring untrained actors in rural settings. More recent projects combined with professional actors and crew have also screened internationally. Venues include Sundance (2004/05/06/08/09/15), Venice (2012, 2016 & Orizzonti Prize for Best Film, 2015), and SXSW (2016, Grand Jury Prize, 2008). He founded two new filmmaking programs at two universities as an Associate Professor of Film and Art in the United States and currently coordinates the Screen Production program at Auckland University in New Zealand.
Nadia Mahdi NADIA MAHDI is a director, musician and theatre maker who has worked in numerous experimental and ensemble-based productions. She has appeared at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Classic Stage Company, La MaMa E.T.C., PS122, HERE Arts Center, and the Robert Wilson Watermill Center. She is currently on the faculty at Georgetown University in Washington, DC where she has directed for the university mainstage season and acted with such companies as Theater Alliance and Roundhouse Theater. She received her MA in the Department of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.
Kym Moore KYM MOORE is a multidisciplinary stage director, writer and producer. She has directed plays off-Broadway and in regional theatres including Soho Rep, La MaMa E.T.C., New Dramatists, Penumbra Theatre, Here Arts Center, The Women’s Project, Boston Center for the Arts, Urban Stages, CAP 21, The Workshop Theatre, and StageWest. Recent directing projects include: Yermedea by Erik Ehn, 20/20: the musical by Andy Hertz, and Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde by Moises Kaufman. She is an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, an alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab, and a faculty member in Brown University’s Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies.
Elise Morrison ELISE MORRISON has been performing in the Providence area since 2004. She has performed a number of surveillance art pieces on the public thoroughfares of NYC, Providence and the INTERNET, created the live performance events Cabaret Murderess (2007) and Mirror Stage (2008), co-produced Brown’s late night cabaret, Smoke and Mirrors (2008-10), and performed in shows at Brown and Perishable Theatre (where she was also a Resident Artist), including Sweet Disaster (2008), Biography of a Constellation (2008), Anna Bella Eema (2009), Fracture/Mechanics (2009), and the burlesque cabaret Jingle Belles and a Few Balls (2009, 2010). Having finally finished her doctorate in Theatre and Performance Studies at Brown University, she has recently moved to Boston to teach Speech and Communication at Harvard.
Clinton O'Dell CLINTON O’DELL is an Associate Professor of Theatre at Wheaton College. Clinton teaches design for the stage at the introductory and intermediate levels, and also manages the costume shop. Clinton has worked as a designer, draper, scene painter, crafts person, and costumer in theatre and film from Maine to California. In addition to his theatrical work, Clinton is working on two long-standing series of mixed media paintings; one introspective set multi-perspective portraits, and another which chronicles the escapades of Ozpeg, a fictitious but very-much-alive pink Peeps bunny.
Ken Prestininzi KEN PRESTININZI, Associate Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama and artistic director of the Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre, has written and directed new plays across the country and internationally. His play Beholder received a Joseph Jefferon Award and he has received theatre awards from the American College Theatre Festival, California Arts Council, Djerassi Program, Gerbode Foundation, Goethe Institute, LEF, Millay Arts Colony, National Endowment of the Humanities, Rockerfeller Foundation and the San Francisco Cultural Equity Office. He has been resident artist at Perishable Theatre, artistic director of West Coast Playwrights and treasurer of Performance Studies international.
Patrick Rashleigh PATRICK RASHLEIGH is a New Media designer, and has done sound design work for Sleeping Weazel and fellow affiliated artist Holly Laws. He received his MA in Musicology from York University in Toronto and his BA in English at the University of British Columbia. During business hours, he currently does Data Visualizations at Brown University.
Jacob Richman JACOB RICHMAN is a mixed-media composer whose work explorers the relationship between sight and sound in both live performance and fixed media. He is fascinated by what he sees as the interconnectedness of things: people with places, sounds with textures, humans with animals, plants and the natural world. He feels that exploring the relationships between sounds and images in performance is an effective way to both investigate and convey these greater connections that surround us. Jacob lives in Providence, RI and is a doctoral candidate in the MEME program at Brown University.
George Emilio Sanchez GEORGE EMILIO SANCHEZ is the Chairperson of the Department of Performing and Creative Arts at CUNY Staten Island. He teaches undergraduate courses in the Drama program and graduate courses for the Education Department. He has directed six original student productions for the PCA and continues to work with students and classes with the goal of creating original theater/performance works. He directs Emergenyc, the performance project for young “artivists” under the Hemispheric Institute umbrella, and travels nationally and internationally to facilitate workshops on Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed techniques. A writer, performer, and director, George has performed his most recent solo work, Buried Up To My Neck While Thinking Outside The Box, at Dixon Place, La MaMa, and Wheaton College (MA).
Lisa Schlesinger LISA SCHLESINGER is a playwright and writer and the Playwriting Coordinator for Columbia College Chicago. She has received commissions from the BBC, the Guthrie Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Portland Stage Company and UNESCO City of Literature among others. She is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Playwrights Residency Award and winner of the BBC International Playwriting Award and has received grants and awards from the NEA, CEC Artslink International, the Bush Foundation, among others. She received her MFAs from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop.
Lisa Schlesinger KATE SNODGRASS is the Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston Theater Marathon, which she co-founded.  She heads the MFA in Playwriting Program at Boston University and was designated a StageSource “Theatre Hero” in 2001, a Playwriting Fellow with the Huntington Theatre Company in 2005-07, and a Milan Stitt Outstanding Teacher of Playwriting in 2010 by the Kennedy Center.  She was awarded Boston’s Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence in 2012.  The author of the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award-winning play Haiku and the winner of two IRNE Awards and a Gertrude Steinberg nomination, Kate is the recipient of a 2015 Tanne Foundation Award for her passion and commitment to the Theatre. Kate studied acting at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts and in NYC and is a proud member of the Dramatists’ Guild.  Her short plays Bark’s Dream and The Last Bark were produced by Sleeping Weazel in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Dominic Taylor DOMINIC TAYLOR is Associate Artistic Director of Penumbra Theatre Company, and Assistant Professor of Theatre at University of Minnesota. Directing Projects have included, Fresh Faust, The Negroes Burial Ground, Uppa Creek, Destiny, Ride the Rhythm, The Wiz, Night Train to Bolina, Execution of Justice, and Black Nativity. Author of Wedding Dance, Personal History, Upcity Service(s) and I Wish You Love, among other plays. He is a Board Member for The Givens Foundation for African-American Literature. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists. He holds his BA and MFA from Brown University.
Kirsten Volness KIRSTEN VOLNESS is a composer, pianist, and educator from Providence, RI. Her work is informed and inspired by social and environmental issues, various spiritual philosophies, science, and the magic to be found in the natural world. She has received commissions from the BMI Foundation, ASCAP/SEAMUS, World Future Council Foundation, and Third Practice Electroacoustic Festival, writing new works for Hotel Elefant, NOW Ensemble, Hub New Music, Transient Canvas, Colorado Quartet, Cambridge Philharmonic, and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. She performs with NYC-based Hotel Elefant and Providence-based Verdant Vibes, a new music ensemble and concert series she co-founded in 2015. Kirsten was 2017 composer-in-residence at the Music Mansion and collaborates with Meridian Project on multimedia performances exploring astrophysics, writes and performs operas with homeless advocacy group Tenderloin Opera Company, is an affiliate artist of Sleeping Weazel. She has twice been awarded the Fellowship in Music Composition from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Holding composition degrees from the Universities of Michigan (DMA, MM) and Minnesota (BA summa cum laude), she teaches privately and at the University of Rhode Island. She also serves as Secretary on the Board of the non-profit Friends of the Music Mansion.www.kirstenvolness.com
Craig Watson CRAIG WATSON is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently Sleepwalking with Orpheus (Shearsman Books, 2011) and Secret Histories (Burning Deck, 2007). He has worked in the performing arts at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, corporate arts, literary arts, and emergency services, among other oddly chosen vocations.
Amanda Weir AMANDA WEIR STAMPER is a playwright, director, puppeteer, and teacher who has written, directed, and produced plays in New York, Providence, Boston, and Cape Cod in both puppet and human form. Her plays have been presented at Perishable Theatre in Providence, HERE Arts Center in New York, and the Provincetown Theatre. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Brooklyn College, where she studied with Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney, and a BA in Theatre Studies from Wheaton College (MA).
VERONICA WISEMAN VERONICA ANASTASIO WISEMAN is an actress, educator and television producer. Currently, her work focuses on building community collaborations to create performance and production opportunities for youth on local stages and cable access channels.