Michael M. Chemers is the Director of the Digital Arts and New Media Program and an Associate Professor of Dramatic Literature at the University of California Santa Cruz. Prior to that, he was a professor at the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University where he became the Founding Director of the BFA in Production Dramaturgy Program. He is a scholar of dramaturgy, theatre history, monster studies, and social robotics.
Joan Raspo is a media consultant pursuing a MFA in Digital Art and New Media. In her work as a director and artist, Joan experiments with unexpected processes. She sees art as entertainment—an opportunity to build drama and tension that invites interaction with her audience. This fall, Joan is directing the play, Birth of Stars. This experimental performance weaves in leading-edge astrophysics through the story of a young prodigy who seeks to become one with the Universe. It is a performance that is full of beauty, awe, terror and the innate human potential to change.
Patrick is a theater artist who is incredibly indecisive, jumping around between playwriting, dramaturgy, directing, and occasionally acting. Past productions at UCSC include Shakes-To-Go: Henry V (Scroop/ensemble) and Machinal (Ensemble). His play Patch the Ship has also been produced through the Chautauqua New Play Festival. Outside of Santa Cruz, he serves at the Artistic Director of Beat on the Bard Theatre Company in Washington D.C, where his productions include, Never mind the Bollocks, Here’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Sensational Sans Sullivan Radio Hour.
Nathaniel Ober is a new media artist whose work crosses disciplines from installation and performance to video and sound. His interdisciplinary works examine concepts of human perception and natural phenomena, sound as vibration, time and space, and the finite versus the infinite. Working with multiple facets of technology, he creates immersive installations that intend to pervade the viewers senses. His current research is focused on astronomy and astrophysics, which deal with techniques of sonification and processes that attempt to expose our innate connection to the universe.
David Murakami is an award winning film director, writer, and theatrical multi-media designer working towards integrating emerging technologies with traditional performance on stage, specializing in cyber-performance and fully immersive digital sets. His work has been featured at the Smithsonian Museum, the Maker Faire, and several international film festivals. His current projects include directing his sixth feature-length film, Morningstar, designing the fully immersive set for Heart of Darkness at the Z-Space, and designing and assistant directing Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking with Opera Parallèle at the YBCA Theater in San Francisco.
Hailey Shapiro has been exploring her relationship with theater since she was 10 years old and, upon her recent completion of her undergraduate career, is a Masters student of the UCSC Theater Arts program focusing in dramaturgy. Hailey is very excited to be creating her thesis around the Birth of Stars project; and to continue exploring the ways in which the show can be used to bring the creative and artistic world into a new age of technology. Upon completion of her education, Hailey hopes to use her knowledge to help bring art and expression into a new light in the eyes of modern society.
Alexandra is a digital artist and second year MFA candidate in the Digital Arts New Media program. Her research interests focus on creating interactive, playable works that explore various narrative possibilities. Working within the intersections of art, writing, game design and web development, she focuses on creating new platforms (both physical and digital) for interactive fiction, story and new media art. Her latest efforts have been focused on creating this website for the Birth of Stars production.
Mark Krumholz is an associate professor in the Astronomy and Astrophysics Department at UC Santa Cruz. His research focuses on the formation of stars and galaxies, and on the physics of the interstellar medium. He approaches these problems using a mix of analytic and numerical techniques. He has provided invaluable consultation for the scientific aspects of Birth of Stars.
In addition to his interests in dramatic writing, theater history, and dramatic literature, James Bierman is also an enthusiastic participant in the Digital Arts and New Media program’s Performative Technologies research group. His creative work centers around dramatic writing, but also includes theater criticism and the creation of interactive digital artifacts.
Alex is a 22 year-old Master of Drama and Theatre Studies from the University of Kent, having specialised in Contemporary Performance Practice. Returning to UCSC for the Theater Arts grad program, he is thrilled to be performing on campus once again following Honk! (2012) and Peer Gynt (2013). Other notable performances include Joseph in The Nativity Play (1998) and that time he convinced his dad he was a Computer Science major.
Brandon is a senior pursuing a BA in Theater at UC Santa Cruz. UCSC Theater Arts credits include Claudius/Ghost (Shakes-to-Go: Hamlet), Collins (RENT), The Lover (Machinal), and Algernon (The Importance of Being Earnest). Santa Cruz Shakespeare credits include Pistol/Rugby (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Amiens (As You Like It), and John Heminge/Sir Francis Bacon (The Beard of Avon).
Josh Orlando is a third year Legal Studies major and Theater Arts minor. Aside from theatre, he acts in films and performs on his Comedy Joust improv team at UCSC. Josh aspires to perform for as long as he can. "He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it" -George Orwell.
Emily has been performing on stage since 2002. In the past, she has worked with Starting Arts and Wilcox High School Stage Company, as well as various other youth theatre programs in the Bay Area. Emily is a third year student majoring in Theater Arts. Her most recent shows with UCSC include RENT, Machinal, and It's A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.
Danielle Goupille is a fourth year at UCSC pursing a double major in Theatre Arts and Psychology. She is ecstatic to be sharing the stage with such a talented group of actors. Danielle would like to thank her family and friends for always be so supportive of all her acting endeavors. Danielle will also be accepting cookie donations at the end of the show. (Preferably white chocolate chip macadamia, but chocolate chip is fine too.) Past credits include: Romance of the Roses (Herbalist) The Amen Corner (Choir) Around the World in 80 Days (Passepartout)
Sierra Parsons hails from Culver City, California and is a senior at UCSC pursuing a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts and Creative Writing with a concentration in Poetry. When she’s not writing poems, in rehearsal, or performing, she loves to drink espresso, smell candles, and think existentially, but not necessarily in that order. Past credits include Dracula (Mina Murray), Machinal (Mother), Fefu and Her Friends (Fefu), Eurydice (Big Stone), Styx Run Dry (Cora), The Veldt (Lydia Hadley), and The Laramie Project (Rebecca Hilliker, et.al).
Nina Mostowfi is a soft, humble spirit who enjoys romantic candlelight dinners, long walks on the beach, and performing in Birth of Stars! Past credits include: other shows. Nina is particularly good at breathing. Her advice for budding thespians is to drink lots of water! In all seriousness, she genuinely appreciates all the hard work that was put into this wonderful production.
Taras is a Junior Transfer Theater Arts Major from Southern California where he studied and performed at Fullerton College. He has also performed for theater companies around Orange and Riverside Counties. This is Taras's first show at UCSC and he is excited to join a new cast and crew! Favorite roles include: Petruccio (Taming of the Shrew), Marius (Les Miserables- Regional), Younger Brother (Ragtime), John Wilkes Booth (Assassins), R.P. McMurphy (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest), Roger (RENT), and Jamie (The Last 5 Years).
Ellen Howes is a UCSC Graduate student and aspiring costume designer. She has worked on short films and plays both on and off campus including the Barnstorm production of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and the UCSC production of The Normal Heart. Most recently, Ellen traveled to Manhattan to intern for Roundabout Theater's production of Indian Ink (Coming to San Francisco in January). She is very excited to be a part of the incredible artistic team responsible for putting on the very first production of Birth of Stars.
Ian Roque is a second year astrophysics student. He enjoys skateboarding and playing guitar. He spends most of his time in bed and is currently in need of a haircut. He is the assistant costume designer for Birth of Stars, working under Ellen Howes.