Detroit Tele-Stories: Meet the Artists!
July 29, 2021
TimeSlips is excited to announce the beginning of its’ Detroit Tele-Stories project, generously funded by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. As a part of the first Detroit Tele-Stories project, TimeSlips has partnered with the Detroit-based ensemble theater company A Host of People and the Hannan Center to pair local artists with under-connected elders (70 in total) to facilitate creative conversations and activities with them by phone. We’re lucky to be working with a talented group of interdisciplinary artists from the core ensemble of A Host of People, all of whom are trained in TimeSlips and received additional training to learn how to facilitate creative engagement by phone. We’re also excited to partner with the Hannan Center, whose mission is to enhance the quality of life of older adults in the City of Detroit.
Calls will be delivered for eight weeks and will lead to the creation of a culminating “Creative Gift”. These gifts will be made by each artist with words, ideas, and inspiration from the elders that they work with. This may take the shape of a poem, a song, a performance, etc. We’re excited to see what these artists come up with! Stay tuned for updates on this project, but in the meantime, we would like to introduce you to the artists making these calls.
Meet the artists!
Amanda Grace Ewing has spent much of her career collaborating with community driven arts organizations such as A Host of People and BoxFest Detroit, a women's directing festival where she is the Artistic Director. She is the Director of the University of Michigan's Educational Theatre Company, an applied theatre company that uses educational theatre to teach students about issues they might encounter during their college career. Amanda works primarily as a director, dramaturg, and production manager. She has a Master of Arts from King’s College, London in Theatre & Performance Studies, is a third generation Arab American, and is based in Dearborn, MI.
Chantel Gaidica is proud to be a part of A Host of People’s Core Ensemble, she serves as both the company's producer and lighting designer. She is a graduate of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts and feels incredibly lucky to be working with incredible artists in Detroit, New York, and elsewhere whenever possible. She works primarily as a lighting designer, producer, and production manager.
Chris Jakob (They/Them) is a queer, interdisciplinary performance artist born, raised and based in Detroit, MI. Holding a BA in Theatre from University of Detroit Mercy, they are an actor, singer, dancer, poet, playwright and teaching artist focused on the creation of fresh, thought-provoking, experimental work. They have performed at Detroit Repertory Theatre, Ringwald Theatre, Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Planet Ant, Shakespeare in Detroit, and Matrix Theatre. Recent work includes the world premiere of Cleopatra Boy with A Host of People in Detroit; previews of LOGOS, their new solo-performance-choreopoem, at Sidewalk Festival 2019; and the tour of their play, I, Too, Sing America, produced by the Michigan Opera Theatre.
Dorothy Melander-Dayton is a theater maker and artist. She obtained her Bachelor’s in Visual Studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 and her Master’s in Performance Design and Practice from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in 2014. Dorothy has been working as a designer and core ensemble member with A Host of People since 2015. In addition to working with AHOP, Dorothy is a freelance theater designer and artist, maintaining a practice that encompasses live and mediated performance, video, and installation. She has worked internationally in Greece, the UK, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and Mexico. Dorothy shares her time between Detroit and Santa Fe.
Jake Hooker (He/They) is a writer, director, projection designer, educator, and Co-Director of A Host of People. In Detroit, his work has been seen at Planet Ant, Light Box, the Jam Handy, the Sidewalk Festival, Detroit Contemporary, and Play House, as well as in many found spaces, both public and private. In New York, his work has been presented at the Bushwick Starr, the Chocolate Factory, HERE, and elsewhere. From 2005-2008, he assistant directed with Big Dance Theatre, and he is a proud Associate Artist of Target Margin Theater. He holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, an MA from the University of Wales, and a Ph.D. from the City University of New York Graduate Center. He teaches in the Department of Theatre & Drama at the University of Michigan.
Karilú Alarcón Forshee was raised in Juárez, México. She began her artistic education at a young age at La Academia Municipal de Arte and has been performing ever since. Forshee is an interdisciplinary performing artist with a degree in theater arts and English-Spanish translation from the University of Texas (2009). She has been a Detroit-based performer and was recognized as a Kresge Arts Fellow in 2020. She has been a Detroit teaching artist since 2011, and a member of A Host of People theater company since 2013. Forshee currently works as a teaching artist for Living Arts Detroit, University Musical Society, and Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.
Renee Willoughby is a multimedia artist living in Hamtramck, MI. She has a Masters in Digital Theatre from Wimbledon College of Art from London, UK. Her work centers around collage, ghosts + telematics. She is a collaborator of performance ensembles A Host of People and The Hinterlands.
Salakastar is a Detroit born and based actor, singer-songwriter, poet, and teaching artist working in theatre, television, film, and music. She earned her BFA and completed her classical acting training at the State University of New York at Purchase College. She is an ensemble member at A Host of People, a member of the touring company of I, Too, Sing America at the Michigan Opera Theatre, and a founding member of iii Sisters, a Detroit-based feminist writing ensemble. She is a 2018 Gilda Award Winner and a 2020 Kresge Artist Fellow in Live Arts awarded by the Kresge foundation. She has served as a teaching artist at Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, Living Arts and Youth Arts Alliance. Her debut album All Blue: Part One (Majorelle!) will be released independently through her label Salakastudios in 2021. Outside of her professional artistic practice she loves fashion, spending time with her cat, listening to records, being an auntie, and making delicious vegan meals.
Sam Watson (They/Them) is a performer and farmer. They have been working with A Host of People since 2014, as a performer/creator in Life is Happening to Us Again, The Modern Woman, Re-Release Party (The Golden Record), and Neither There, Nor Here. They worked as a performer, creator, and community engagement producer on The Harrowing, which is when they discovered that their other calling is to grow food. If interested in building radical, sustainable, intersectional, anti-racist, queer community in deep relationship to land and food, please reach out to them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shardai R. Davis has been doing theatre, music, and dance since she was very young. She studied theatre and music at Henry Ford College and has a Bachelor of Science in Individualized Studies with Concentrations in Kinesiology, Theatre, and Music from Eastern Michigan University. She also has spent several years training in everything from ballet to traditional hula at Prysm School of the Arts. Some of her performances include: Polonius in Hamlet, Calpurnia in To Kill A Mockingbird, Kitty Duvall in The Time of Your Life, Athena in The Odyssey, Mrs. Walker in Tommy, and as a special appearance vocalist in The People’s Temple. Shardai also can be seen touring with the JET Educational Youth Outreach Program, the CRLT Players, and the Brainstormers crew. Aside from performing, Shardai is a stage manager, scenic designer, director, and teaches drama classes with Drama Kids of Oakland County.
Sherrine Azab (She/Her) is the Co-Director of the Detroit-based theater ensemble A Host of People. She is a director, producer, and educator that has worked nationally and internationally in cities such as Detroit, Seattle, New York, and Berlin. Sherrine holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and a postgraduate certificate from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University. She was a member of the 2008 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, a 2017-18 UMS Artist in Residence, and a 2018 Kresge Arts in Detroit Fellow. In addition to numerous directing credits with A Host of People and other theaters, she has also worked with the Arab American National Museum, The Foundry Theatre (NYC), and the Network of Ensemble Theaters and is a proud Associate Artist with Target Margin Theater (NYC). Woven into her artistic/theater life is ongoing training in subjects intersecting and supporting art for social change, such as Emergent Strategy Immersion Training and continuing education in Restorative Justice and Practice.