Jo Salas, founder and artistic director of HRPT, was a co-founder in 1975 of Playback Theatre as an original approach to theatre. Her publications include Improvising Real Life: Personal story in Playback Theatre (now in its fifth US printing as well as seven translations); Do My Story, Sing My Song: Music therapy and Playback Theatre with troubled children; and, as editor, Half of My Heart/La Mitad de Mi Corazón: True stories told by immigrants. Jo teaches Playback internationally and was a keynote speaker at academic symposiums on Playback Theatre held in Germany and Arizona. www.josalas.com
Sarah Urech, development director, joined HRPT in 1994 and has since performed and taught playback theatre in 13 countries, including Cuba, Ukraine, and Japan. Sarah serves on the faculty and North American Programming Committee of the Centre for Playback Theatre and is a previous board member of the International Playback Theatre Network. A Licensed Master Social Worker, certified psychodramatist, and public speaking trainer, Sarah is Manager of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center, an initiative of the Omega Institute. Originally from Switzerland, Sarah speaks seven languages.
Matteo Undici, managing director, is a multilingual Playback Theatre artist with 24 years experience in schools, organizations, conferences, and workshops. He co-creates wherever there are stories to be told, is dedicated to building inclusive communities and honoring the lives of all beings. Matteo continues the legacy of Playback’s founders by co-creating art on the spot, exploring social dimensions, and upholding ritual and tradition. He also works professionally as a multilingual clinical social worker, currently in higher education, counseling and consulting, and previously in public schools and community mental health programs. www.matteoundici.com
Lauren Ardman has been performing with HRPT since 1997, and is a graduate of the School of Playback Theatre. She is committed to her Playback career, both as a creative endeavor and a way of being a part of positive social change. She has been a School Social Worker for 16 years, working with special needs children of all ages. Lauren is a lifelong student and continues to study in the healing arts as well as in dance. Lauren loves being a mother of her 8 year old son, Tavi.
Jody Satriani is an actor, singer dancer, voice talent and an award-winning playwright. She has been a proud member of Hudson River Playback Theatre for three years, performing, rehearsing, and assisting in Playback workshops presented in local schools and organizations. She is a busy actor and performer and has done several productions with the Performing Arts of Woodstock and other companies, along with two solo pieces performed around the Mid-Hudson region, and several musicals. Jody has also done various short and industrial film pieces and voice acting projects. In her alternate life she is a pediatric occupational therapist typically working with children from birth to 5.
Ann Belmont has been a freelance musician for most of her adult life. She has played in Off-Broadway shows, led her own band, worked as a sideman and a solo performer, taught guitar and bass, and is currently music director of a church. She is also a composer of everything from songs to pieces for jazz orchestra, and recently earned a master’s degree in composition from City College in NY. Her involvement in Playback Theatre dates back to the late 1970s, when she played with Jo Salas and Jonathan Fox in the original company. After a hiatus of many years, during which she moved to Manhattan and worked as a guitarist and singer, she was “born again” as a musician for the Big Apple Playback company, and, coming full circle, now works with Hudson River as well.
Gonzalo Quintana is an educator, having taught Spanish in Wappingers and Valley Central. He taught in the Language Immersion Institute at SUNY New Paltz and supervised student teachers for Mount St. Mary’s College and New Paltz. Gonzalo also taught at the Culinary Institute of America. Gonzalo has served on the boards of Hudson Valley OIC and PODER, and on the Beacon Human Rights Commission. For ten years he produced and hosted the first Spanish language radio program in this area, La Hora Hispana, as well as a daily program on El Ritmo radio. Gonzalo runs a translating business and is the chief translator for www.nourishinteractive.com.
Regular Guest Performers:
Hannah Fox artistic director of Big Apple Playback Theatre and an Associate Professor of Dance and Theatre at Manhattanville College, conducts dance and theatre workshops internationally, teaching and performing in Cuba, Germany and Norway. Hannah has had articles on Playback Theatre and other performance techniques published in TDR (The Drama Review) (2007), Contact Quarterly (2009), and Utne Reader (2010). Her book, Zoomy Zoomy: Improv Games and Exercises for Groups (2010), is on stands now. Hannah is the daughter of Jo Salas and Jonathan Fox, the founders of Playback Theatre and a certified yoga instructor.
Annie Kunjappy worked with Big Apple Playback Theatre in NYC before moving to the Hudson Valley. She is co-director of Woof Nova, a theatre collective that creates original ensemble-devised performance works. Annie also teaches and performs Motion Theatre a physical improvised autobiographical narrative form. For more info about Annie go to www.woofnova.org
Dean Jones has been working with HRPT since 1999 as musician. He writes music for TV, film, and theatre, and is musical director/one-man band of a touring environmental puppet troupe, Arm of The Sea Theater. He writes songs and performs with several bands including his own Dog on Fleas. In 2010 Dean produced “Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti² to raise money for the Haitian People’s Support Project. The CD topped critics¹ lists and became a bestseller on Amazon and iTunes, generating over $15,000 for the cause. Dean produces and records music in No Parking Studio, his straw bale studio in Rosendale, NY.
Penny Clayton has been performing with HRPT since 1998. She graduated from the School of Playback Theatre in 2006 and became a faculty member in 2008. She graduated from Empire State College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Theatre Arts: Playback Theatre for Social Change. Penny is currently on a leave of absence from HRPT, living in the San Francisco area, with plans to bring the “No More Bullying!” program to schools and training to other playback companies on the west coast.