Bethany Brooks (First Person Arts RAW 2013 pianist) is a freelance pianist and piano teacher in the greater Philadelphia area. She holds the BMus in piano performance from Houghton College in Houghton, NY and the MMus in piano performance from the Royal Academy of Music in London. Ms. Brooks has played in master classes of Gilbert Kalish, Katsunori Ishii, and Santiago Rodriguez and was a prizewinner in the 2001 Bartok-Kabalevsky-Prokofiev International Piano Competition, where she performed for György Sándor.
Among other places, Ms. Brooks has performed as a soloist and collaborative artist in Philadelphia, New York, Nashville, London, Mexico City, Odessa, and Istanbul. She regularly serves as a faculty member at the Csehy Summer School of Music in Houghton, NY and as staff pianist at the Crescendo Summer Institute in Sárospatak, Hungary.
Ms. Brooks’s musical interests vary widely. She is an active participant in the Philadelphia folk and rock music scene, singing and playing keyboard and accordion with numerous ensembles. She is Director of Musical Worship at City Church in West Philadelphia. In November 2012, Ms. Brooks released Quarry Street Hymnal, Vol. 1, a recording project of old hymns set to original music, reflecting her love of classical, folk, and sacred musical traditions. In 2014 she will collaborate with composer Joshua Stamper, cellist Daniel Delaney, dancer/choreographer Lea Fulton, and filmmaker Ben Stamper on RIVERS, a new multidisciplinary work exploring the physical and cultural landscape of Philadelphia.
Eleanor Goudie-Averill (First Person Arts RAW 2013 dancer), a 2007 MFA Dance Performance graduate of the University of Iowa, teaches Modern at Temple University and Ballet at the Wissahickon Dance Academy in Philadelphia. Since 2007, she has directed the Stone Depot Dance Lab, a collaborative team of performing, visual, and sound artists whose mission is to create honest and experiential dances. Her choreography has been shown in NYC at DNA’s RAW Material, Movement Research at the Judson Church, White Wave Festivals, and Triskelion Arts; in Philadelphia at The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2011, Group Motion’s Spiel Uhr, CHI MAC’s INhale Series, Norristown Dance Festival, and Philly Fringe 2010-12; and throughout the Midwest. Currently, Ellie dances for the naked stark, Group Motion Dance Company, and Tori Lawrence + Co, and also performs with Alie & the Brigade, SCRAP Performance Group and Rain Ross Dance. Ellie has danced with the Bowery Dancers, Kayle & Company and Daara Dance. She began her training at Ballet Midwest in Topeka, Kansas, holds a BFA in dance from the University of Kansas and has also served as Visiting Professor of Ballet at both Franklin & Marshall College and Bucknell University and as Artistic Director of the UI Youth Ballet.
Beau Hancock (All productions, dancer) is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Beau earned his MFA in Dance from Temple University, where he was a University Fellow and Rose Vernick Choreographic Achievement Award recipient. He also has a BA in Dance and American Studies from the University of Kansas. In 2009, he won the Cleveland Art Prize/Kathryn Karipides Scholarship, a national prize for summer dance study. His own choreography has been presented at the Merce Cunningham Studio, the Flea Theater, CHI Movement Arts Center as a part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and the Painted Bride Arts Center as a nEW Festival Artistin-Residence. As a performer, Beau has had the pleasure to work with Ben Munisteri, Kathy Dunn Hamrick, Ellen Cornfield, Douglas Dunn, Merian Soto, Kun-Yang Lin, Phil Grosser, Nichole Canuso, Bronwen MacArthur, Olive Prince, and Miro Dance Theatre. He is currently a faculty member at both Temple and Rowan University.
Dan Kassel (First Person Arts RAW 2013 cellist) is an eclectic cellist based out of Philadelphia, PA. Raised in the classical arena, Dan's youth was spent playing first cello for the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County. He also performed with New Jersey's All State Orchestra and served as the leader of New Jersey's Hopewell String Quartet. Dan's drift towards experimentation began as a teen, but quickly became the cornerstone for his nuanced approach to everything from Klezmer to Irish folk, Indian classical to down-tempo electronic music. He has worked with a vast array of musicians from almost every conceivable genre, but the thing that remains constant is the cello's deep and moving resonance.
Dan has been focusing primarily on his solo project in recent years, which involves looping and layering the cello live through a Boss RC-50 looping station. He has performed his solo work twice at World Cafe Live, as well as several other fine venues throughout Philadelphia and New Jersey, and has been featured on WXPN. His debut album, "Bloom," received critical praise, and his second album is nearly complete.
Leigh A Mumford (Capital Fringe Festival 2016 Lighting Designer) designs lighting for diverse environments on-stage and on-location from stadiums, to trolley buildings to abandoned warehouses and parking lots. Her imaginative transformations stem from her color experiments at her Alma mater, University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she used gels and sculptural light angles to yield ethereal worlds and enlighten the dramaturgy.
Leigh is known for creating evocative works in unusual spaces with limited resources and complex constraints. Her achievements were recently celebrated with a Dance/USA Rocky Award 2013 for outstanding achievement in Lighting Design/Technical Direction and Production in the Greater Philadelphia's dance community, where she has specialized in the unique technical theatre world of design.
Ajibola Rivers (Capital Fringe 2016 cellist) is a cellist, composer songwriter, and arranger from Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania. He is an accomplished had eclectic artist, performing regularly with an assortment of musicians from many different genres. Now graduated from the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple experimentation. Most recently these investigations have led to a series of questions about the role of art and the artist in our society. These questions have been answered in a number of ways, including artist fellowships working in underserved communities, and intercultural events throughout the tristate area.
Konnie Stark (Capital Fringe 2016 pianist) earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in music from Cornell College and The University of Kansas, respectively. Today, she is an active music director, conductor, and accompanist in community theatre in the Philadelphia area and is currently working on Catch Me If You Can. Favorite productions include A Little Night Music, The Light in the Piazza, Chess, Evita, Company, and Spamalot. Konnie is honored and delighted to be collaborating once again with daughter Katherine and The Naked Stark.
Meredith Stapleton (Capital Fringe 2016 dancer) is a Philadelphia-based dance artist and teacher. She grew up in Harvard, MA training at Acton School of Ballet and performing with Commonwealth Ballet Company. In 2013, she graduated from Muhlenberg College as a Dance major and Women's Studies minor. In Spring 2012, Meredith studied in Arezzo, Italy at Accademia dell’Arte. She has attended many summer workshops, including Burklyn Ballet Theater, Alonzo King Lines School of Ballet, the Boston Conservatory, on scholarship with Summer Stages at Concord Academy, and Doug Varone & Dancers. Meredith has performed works by Corrie Cowart, Trinette Singleton, Meredith Rainey, Sean Curran, Teresa Fellion, The Bang Group, Heidi Cruz-Austin, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, and Jeffrey Peterson. Since moving to Philadelphia, Meredith has worked with DanceSpora, Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet, Moth Dance Theater, DRIGGProductions, Evalina Carbonell, Sean Thomas Boyt, Kat Sullivan, The Naked Stark, and Antonia & Artists. She rehearses her own stage, site-specific, and film projects out of Headlong Studios and Mascher Space Co-op. Meredith is on faculty at Koresh School of Dance, Happy Feet Dance Studio, and Haddonfield School of Dance.
Grace Stern (Capital Fringe 2016 dancer) grew up in Nebraska and began her training at the Omaha Academy of Ballet. In 2012 she received a B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Along with school, her education included American Theater Ballet, Hubbard Street, Summer Stages, and Ballet Magnificat intensives. She has had the privilege of working with and performing works by Janis Brenner, Doug Elkins, Maurya Kerr, Jose Limon, Alwin Nikolais, Helen Simoneau, Myra Brazell as well as others. Grace is currently member of KYL/Dancers based in Philadelphia.
Megan Wilson Stern (Artistic Adviser all productions and First Person Arts RAW 2013 dancer) is a founding member of The Naked Stark, and has been performing and collaborating with Katherine Kiefer Stark for more than 6 years. Megan is a free-lance dance artist in Philadelphia and works with many local choreographers and companies including Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Co., Leah Stein Dance Company, and Vervet Dance. Megan is also an improviser, with a particular interest in Contact Improvisation. She is co-facilitator of two local Contact Improvisation Jams and recently performed an improvisation in the H-O-T series at Mascher Space Cooperative. In addition to performing, Megan teaches Yoga at 12th Street Gym and Yoga on the Ridge, and teaches movement classes for kids at the University City Arts League.
Megan was born and raised in North Carolina and received a BFA in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009. Her continued studies have included attending The American Dance Festival in the summer of 2011, completing the Beyond Asana Yoga Teacher Training in 2012, and attending Nancy Stark Smith’s 3-week Contact Improvisation Intensive at Earthdance in January 2013.
Paul Stern (sound designer & composer) was born in the remote Rocky Mountains in Colorado and moved to North Carolina when he was fourteen years old. He attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and earned a degree in classical piano performance. In addition to his classical studies, Paul has dedicated himself to the study of Irish and Appalachian folk music and to composition. He currently resides in Philadelphia working in the wine industry and teaching piano privately.