I am a cross-disciplinary artist & producer making work that draws from my background in devised theatre, performance art, and playwriting. I am also a co-founding member of devised theater collective PEP (Performers Exchange Project) with four other women artists: Martha Mendenhall, Sian Richards, Kara McLane Burke, and Doreen Bechtol.
A decade ago my career underwent a sea change after the sudden traumatic loss of my spouse, which left me a solo parent with a baby. I experienced profound disorientation as well as a creative rebirth. I began to envision and make on a more ambitious scale. My work has often taken the form of site-specific containers for collaboration with other artists. Examples of these hybrid, ephemeral art forms include CLAW (Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers), a theatrical ladies arm wrestling league, two collaborative carnivals with 40+ contributing artists, and While You Wait, a mobile microgallery of meditation and mystery that has toured public spaces in my home city of Charlottesville, VA. As a playwright I collaborate with the members of PEP, the theatre company I founded, and I also write plays that can be performed by any independent theatre company.
My work is absurdist and darkly hopeful—like a seal riding on the back of a submerged whale, it is the comic astride the enigmatic. As a performance artist I’m particularly interested in marrying the rituals of carnival and meditation to create an environment where time and timelessness interweave and fixed identity dissolves. I believe that through the enticement of new and surreal forms set in public space, my work can be both challenging and accessible. Though most of what I have co-created in the past decade focuses on feminism and sexual politics, in recent years my work has become more holistic as I have sought to find the intersection of those themes with other topics such as personal addiction and environmental degradation.
I was selected for the 2016 Public Artist residency at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative. During my term as Public Artist, I realized a large scale, site-specific performance and film project called NO WAKE, loosely based on my play of the same name, in collaboration with some of the region’s most talented and innovative artists and community organizations.
With PEP I co-created and performed in original performances Zelda & Lucia’s Loony Bin Tragedy (the anchor production of a carnival, A Charlottesville Wunderkammer, which PEP co-produced), Dido vs. The Squid Monster, and Our American Ann Sisters, a touring production that premiered at Live Arts in 2009. I was instigator, Artistic Director, and emcee of the carnival of performance, Shentai, for which I wrote the play Dido vs The Squid Monster. I also contributed text to Our American Ann Sisters and PEP’s recently touring play The Convolution of Pip & Twig. Before PEP, I was an ensemble member of devised theatre company Foolery from 1998 to 2002.
My other performance projects include the activist persona of Miss Representation, a fake beauty queen who defends the misrepresented and forgotten women of history; the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW), a theatrical ladies arm wrestling league that has spread to 30 cities and counting, and While You Wait, a tiny mobile gallery of mystery she tours around her city regularly, inviting participants to spend 5 minutes alone with whatever art, performance or object is inside the 6×6 space.
In September 2015, I was honored to be chosen as recipient of Tom Tom Festival’s Founders Cville award, which recognized 9 individuals whose “groundbreaking and original work has impacted Charlottesville and the world.”
I studied theatre at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and the Neighborhood Playhouse (NYC), and received my BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia and my MFA in Playwriting from Hollins University.