Founder, Creator, Organizer
ELLE THONI (they/she) is a femmebeast playwright, performance-maker, and public artist returning to relationship in this time of Great Unraveling. A lifelong student of myth, Elle’s performance works investigate how our sense of belonging, identity, and loss are changing with our climate. Their plays are odes to emergent ecologies, wherein humans are but one of the actors in a much larger drama. Elle draws from a divergent background in ensemble-devised performance, poetry, puppet & mask, and documentary theatre to create pieces that are as dynamic as the living systems they are inspired by.
Elle collaborates in the U.S. and internationally, most frequently in the connected Great Lakes and St Lawrence watersheds. From 2013-2015, they apprenticed with playwright Annabel Soutar of Porte Parole Productions (Tiotia:ke – Montréal, Québec) to help develop two freshwater-themed projects for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. In 2020, Elle launched WILD CONSPIRACY to honor the ensemble nature of their work. Their work has been funded by the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Network of Ensemble Theaters, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. You can read more about their work at ellethoni.com.
These artists have worked to collaboratively dream, devise, and breathe life into Wild Conspiracy's projects. Get to know them, follow them, and support their work!
Lelis Brito (she/her) is a Venezuelan-American theater director, choreographer, educator, performer, and director of the Center for Moving Cultures. As director of CMC she advocates for tactile/kinaesthetic knowledge in education and cultural transmission. As an artist, she has performed with local and national companies and has created over 70 original works, varying from 6 minute dance solos, to one-hour plays and 3-hour long movement-theatre works. Her commitment to exploring the interface between nature, perception, and performance has taken many forms--including founding Open Hunger movement theater, a company that practiced permaculture and theater at a farm in Ramsey; teaching dance improvisation as a response within the natural world; and practicing imperfect survival on a coral reef island for two months.
Ty Chapman (he/him) is a Twin Cities–based author, poet, puppeteer, and playwright of Nigerian and European descent. He has been creating art with social justice themes for many years and is passionate about speaking to the Black experience in America. His recent accomplishments include being named a Loft Literary Center Mirrors and Windows fellow, creating a one-man shadow puppet and marionette show for Puppet Lab, and publishing a collection of poems through SOFTBLOW. https://tychapman.org/
Tor Chavarria (they/them) is a non-binary, Latinx artist, activist, and community organizer. Last September they started their graduate school journey at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (UMN) majoring in public policy. Along with their studies, Tor is the graduate research assistant for Design Justice, the equity and inclusion initiative at College of Design (UMN). Tor is very passionate in creating change for underinvested communities and making sure that every person has a platform to share their voice. As an artist, Tor has worked for 20% Theatre Company, Mixed Blood Theater, Frank Theatre, and The Walker Art Center. Tor is happy to come out of performance retirement to perform with Wild Conspiracy. In everything Tor does, they want to spread the message, “In order to love ourselves, we must be free to be ourselves”.
Andi Cheney (they/them) leaps from performing to administrating in a single bound. Versed in Theatre of the Oppressed, clowning, bookkeeping, mask, burlesque, budgeting, and production management, Andi collaborates with a variety of independent artists and small theatres. Andi has served as the Director of Finance & Operations at HECUA, Associate Director for Patrick’s Cabaret, Managing Director for Bedlam Theatre, and as one of the Minnesota Theatre Alliance’s Emerging Performing Arts Leader Fellows for the Performing Arts Human Resources Toolkit Series. Andi particularly enjoys working with emerging arts and cultural organizations with a passion for best practices, financial transparency, and racial equity. Most recently they were honored to work with Relationships Evolving Possibilities (REPforMN) to assist in the training for a network of neighborhood carers rooted in Black liberation.
Maxwell Collyard (he/they) is an interdisciplinary theatre/film artist based in the Twin Cities working mainly with digital content and live performance. Maxwell designed projections for Turtle Theater Collective, Theatre Novi Most, Frank Theatre, and the Playwrights’ Center. He also works as a cinematographer/editor for various fundraisers, Mixed Blood Theatre/Project 154, and with Fox and Coyote, Annie and the Bang Bang, Daniel Bonespur, and Porno Wolves to create music videos. He enjoys making movies in his spare time and is currently preparing a feature-length film for festivals. Maxwell also works as an actor and assistant director for theatres in the Twin Cities.
Asher Edes (they/them) believes in theater as ritual that restores relationships in the more-than-human world. Asher has worked backstage for Mixed Precipitation, puppeteered for BareBones Puppets, performed for 20% Theatre Company, done dramaturgy for Open Flame, and co-curated Queertopia. Asher coordinates a movement practice in Don't You Feel It Too?, studies spiritual ecology in ALEPH's Earth-Based Judaism Program, and advocates for community-based art on the MayDay Council.
Carlisle Evans Peck
Carlisle Evans Peck (they/them) is a composer, singer-songwriter, and teacher based in the Twin Cities. Through musical performance they seek to reconnect with the queerness and magic at the center of humankind's relationship and respond to the ecological collapse of the anthropocene. They have toured nationally as a solo artist and regionally with their orchestral rock ensemble The Lady's Slippers. Their recorded music, most recently The Last Noble Thing (2020) incorporates natural soundscapes, poetry, ornate songwriting, and lush musical arrangements. A recipient of a 2020 American Composer's Forum Emerging Composer Award, they are studying acoustic ecology and creating place-based works of music-theatre for endangered ecosystems in Northern Minnesota.
Orren Fen (they/them) saw their first theatrical production (Open Eye Figure Theatre’s Katie Tomatie) the summer that they turned two, and they have been in love with puppets ever since. They found a home early at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater, and have been involved in creative projects across South Minneapolis, most recently working as a 2020 Barebones staff artist and member of the Outside Voices Holy Trinity. When not meeting the prop-and-puppet needs of their extended community, Orren enjoys loud biking, cooking, staying up way too late making art, and screaming in Powderhorn Park. After a year-and-a-half of successfully evading Distance Learning, Orren will began 9th grade at the FAIR School in Fall 2021.
Sequoia Hauck (she/they) (Anishinaabe/Hupa) is a multidisciplinary artist in the Twin Cities focused on creating theater, film, and performance art that decolonizes the process of art-making. They make art surrounding the narratives of continuation and resiliency. Sequoia has worked on and offstage with organizations such as The Southern Theater, Exposed Brick Theatre, Turtle Theater Collective, Aniccha Arts, Art Shanty Projects, Poetry and Pie, and Patrick's Cabaret. In 2019 they performed in Aotearoa/New Zealand at Tātau Whetū Series - Artist Floor Talks with a piece called “Te Mana o Te Wai,” a poetry and film installation surrounding Sequoia’s connection with water. sequoiahauck.com
Alison Heimstead (she/her) is a director and designer of puppet theater – ranging from large spectacles to intimate performances. Her work has been seen at: La MaMa, Brooklyn Academy of Music, St Ann’s Warehouse, Open Eye Figure Theater, Great Small Works –Toy Theater Festival, Museum of Jurassic Technology and many other locations. She has worked on puppet spectacles all over the country, including co-founding Barebones Productions. Alison carries an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in puppetry and theater design where she was a Jacob Javits Scholar. She has studied puppetry with: Paul Zaloom, Dan Hurlin, Janie Geiser, Sandy Spieler, and Bread and Puppet Theater.
Chasya Hill (she/her) is a Liberian-American actress and vocalist who is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. She received a BA in Theatre Arts from Carleton College. Her past theatre credits include: Wild Conspiracy (Saber MN), Sandbox Theatre (Bone Mother), The Next Stage Theater (Vampire Masquerade), and Lookingglass Theatre Company (Independent People). Chasya is also the newest member of the Sounds of Blackness musical ensemble. She continues to explore her passion for abstract movement, physical comedy, singing in other languages and innovative reimaginings of traditional stories. She is fascinated by the power of consciously inclusive, visually rich, acoustically thoughtful, highly physical styles of storytelling to appeal to diverse contemporary audiences.
Ricky Morisseau (he/they) is from Delray Beach, FL where he earned his BA in Theatre Performance with a minor in Dance from one of the top historically Black universities: Florida A&M University. He has worked with numerous companies in the Twin Cities such as the History Theatre, Guthrie, Stages Theatre Company, CLIMB Theatre and more. He recently starred in The Rocky Horror Show (The Narrator) Park Square and Mixed Precipitation’s Hit The Wall (Carson). He also stared as Joe Louis in David Feldshuh’s world premiere play Dancing With Giants. When he is not onstage Ricky is working with the youth. Ricky is partnered with multiple education theatre programs in the Twin Cities using his gifts and experiences to give back to the community.
Or Levinson (they/them) is a movement artist, healer, and deep believer in the power of communities to hold one another lovingly accountable through growth and change. Laura approaches accountability as a love practice and plant medicine as a form of ancestral remembering. Laura has been performing and creating work in Minneapolis, MN, for the past 6 years with Sami Pfeffer, Wild Conspiracy, Marcus Young, Aniccha Arts, BareBones Puppets, and a variety of other beloved collaborators. They are a 2019 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the MN State Arts Board to produce DUMPSTER FIRE: an evening of Queer & Trans performance at Franconia Sculpture Park. They’ve trained with master herbalist Lise Wolff, and their ongoing class "Gut, Bones, Ground" combines their research as an improvisation-based choreographer with their work as a politicized healer. Other ongoing projects include creative collaboration with Don’t You Feel It Too?, a practice founded by Marcus Young and stewarded by many others.
Kat Luna (they/them) is a queer, trans-nonbinary, JeWitch, multidisciplinary performer, teacher, songstress, healer, and mystic clown.Kat’s work literally and metaphorically turns trash into treasure as They center collaborative play to create joyful and haunting works of wonderment, with subversive and radical political undertones. Some collaborators include: Open Eye Figure Theatre, Lightning Rod, Queertopia, PuppetLab, Children of the Wild, Puppet Farm Arts, Stepping Stone Theatre, BareBones Productions, In the Heart of the Beast Theatre, as well as a number of independent playwrights, directors, and organizations.Kat’s work is as dynamic as it is diverse, stemming from an eclectic background of puppetry, theatre, circus arts, healing arts, ritual, dance, movement, modeling, and music. They have been artistically engaging in communities locally, regionally, and internationally, for nearly two decades. They are currently working on reclaiming ritualistic healing spaces for Jewish diaspora and recording an independent music album.
חוה קאכלעפל (chava kokhleffel) (she/they) is an artist, organizer and ritualist whose home is South Minneapolis. They have deep roots in Theater/Pedagogy of the Oppressed and physical approaches to performance. She is a disabled queer Jew of Ashkenazi lineage, clowning around with radical politics and an eclectic creative practice. chava’s artistic exploration has spanned auto-biographical solos, collaborative ensembles, directing, workshop facilitation, mask, puppetry and burlesque. Their work has lived through spaces including Patrick’s Cabaret, Bedlam Theater, Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories, HOBT, Dear Gaza Block Party and Lightning Rod, as well as the unnamed webs of care and mutual aid they tend to. chava is currently investigating the liberatory potentials of collective grief, disability justice and diasporist Jewish practice. find them on insta!
Esther Ouray (she/her) has created locally, regionally, and internationally as a performing and teaching artist for 40 years. As puppeteer, actress, director, choreographer, and dancer, among those she has performed with are At the Foot of the Mountain, Barebones, Illusion, and Interact, Theater 55. Esther is an associate artist with Heart of the Beast and a member of Zamya Theater. Esther has taught a myriad of residencies near and far. She has been the recipient of grants from the MN State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, Rimon, MRAC, Puffin Foundation, and Arts on Chicago.
Dillon Sebastien (she/her) is a puppeteer and builder living in Minneapolis. She is interested in using the process of creating and teaching puppets as a way to share stories. She especially likes to make big things little and little things big. She has learned from and with puppeteers and artists at the Big Parade in Oberlin, Parade the Circle in Cleveland, MayDay Parade and Barebones Productions.
Estefanía Sedarksi (she/her) is a Mexican-American theatre artist who is an active performer in the Twin Cities area. A graduate from the University of MN Theatre Department, she is passionate about bringing to life empowering works of humanity's potential and inclusion.She believes storytelling is most impactful when it is accessible to all audiences. Estefania is also a classically trained singer, having studied with Lucy Thrasher, René Clausen, Justin Spenner and Carla Thelen Hanson, in the past 15 years.
Dameun Strange (he/him) credits his love of music with having grown up in a musical household and attending Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, DC, a community that was always supportive of his musical pursuits. At Metropolitan, he heard everything from classical liturgical music to spirituals to jazz and eventually hip hop.
No stranger to ACF, Dameun is a sound artist, multi-instrumentalist, and winner of the 2015 MECA and the 2019 ACF| create. His conceptual chamber works, choral pieces and operas are focused on stories of the African diaspora, often exploring Afro-surrealist and Afrofuturist themes. He now joins the ACF team as Director of Communications.
Erika Thorne (she/her) was among the first dancers to create and perform dances about and by lesbians, starting in 1977 at Club Madame in Washington DC. Her thriving career in Minneapolis, 1978-94 included co-founding the Lesbian Dance Collective, travel to the Gay Games in Vancouver with her legendary-among-dykes-of-a-certain-age “Going Down Makes Me Shiver,” many shows at A Women’s Coffeehouse, lesbian love duets at early Pride gatherings, and a series of improvisational performances with gay artist Patrick Scully called “Nobody Gets Pregnant”. She was one-fifth of the innovative Women’s Performance Project, nicknamed “Bloodroot,” from 1990-1994.
Harry Waters Jr.
Harry Waters, Jr. created the role of Belize in the first production of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes in 1991. He is most famous for his portrayal of Marvin Berry in Back to the Future (1985) which earned him a Gold record for his rendition of "Earth Angel." Acting Credits also include numerous television guest starring roles. He received his MFA in Directing from University of Wisconsin-Madison. As an actor, he has appeared in numerous venues around the country and in the Twin Cities. He recently retired as Professor and former Chair of the Theater and Dance Department at Macalester College. 2021 was his last year as an appointed Associate Dean of the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship. He has worked nationally as a consultant with over 20 communities around the methods and modalities of bringing arts organizations, foundations and civic/political entities to the table.
Qamar Yochanan (they/them) is a black, trans-nonbinary, actrix, activist, writer, and ritual-performance-art maker. They are a TransPlant from NY: Graduate of New York University Tisch School of the Arts for Drama and have 23 years of theater experience, including performances in New York City, Paris, and their chosen and true home of Minneapolis.Their piece Ance$tor Money--an experimental improv featuring all black trans artists--was featured in Stonewall @ 50 curated by Andrea Jenkins and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. They served as one of three Ward 8 appointees to the Minneapolis Arts Commission, are the former the Ward 4 appointee to the Transgender Equity Council, and hosted the 7th Annual Minneapolis Transgender Equity Summit. They were also announced as one of this year’s Marsha P. Johnson Institute membership class. Follow @pr3tty_y0 on Instagram and become a subscriber on their Ko Fi (linked above).
Andrew Young (he/they) is a Taiwanese-Indonesian-American puppeteer, artist, and educator based in Minneapolis. They received their puppeteer training through Monkeybear's Harmolodic workshop, a Black, Native, and POC focused puppetry organization, and has since worked for Mayday and Barebones as a staff artist/performer, as well as continued to create their own work. They have also been a guest artist for Parade the Circle in Cleveland, OH, and at the Madeline Island Independence Day Parade.As a part of their work Andrew is interested in collaboration and community building, healing trauma through art, exploring the natural world, and aiming light towards mental health and our inner worlds. As a teacher Andrew has a focus on empathy and mindfulness in learning, respect for gender/sexual/racial diversity, and encouraging students to trust their inner creative voices.
Photo from Lost Lake. Performers from left to right, chava kokkhoffel, Elle Thoni, Katie Burgess, and Kat Luna. Photo by Bruce Silcox.
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