Zvi Sahar - Artistic Director & Founding Artist
Zvi Sahar is an Israeli born actor, director and puppeteer, living and working in New York. Sahar holds a degree in acting from the SELA performing school, in Tel-Aviv, and a BA in theater studies from Haifa University. As an actor, Sahar has worked with several prominent theater groups in Israel including Itim Ensemble with director Rina Yerushalmi at the Cameri Theater of Tel Aviv and the Be’er Sheva Theater company. With his colleague, Oded Littman, Sahar co-directed and starred in the critically-acclaimed Richard III at Tmu-na Theater and Oedipus Rex at Hasimta Theater. Sahar’s works have been supported by The Jim Henson Foundation, the America-Israel Cultural Foundation, the Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation, the Consulate Generals of Israel in New York, DC, LA and more.
Leslie Strongwater - US Producer & International Company Manager
Leslie Strongwater received her BA in theater studies and art history from Hampshire College and her MA from NYU in puppetry and education. A three year member of Brooklyn based puppet theater company Lone Wolf Tribe, she has puppeteered for Kevin Augustine, David Michael Friend, Drama of Works, Great Small Works, Alva Rogers and more. She is the founder and curator of Puppet BloK, a recipient of six Jim Henson Foundation Presenter’s Grants for her puppetry series at Dixon Place (NYC), where she served as Co-Artistic Director for over five years. Named ‘Best Curator’ by Paper Magazine, she was given the BAX10 Arts Management Award from Brooklyn Arts Exchange for her work at Dixon Place. She has directed and produced for many NYC artists, including OBIE-award-winning Peculiar Works, Mac Wellman (world premiere 3 2's: or AFAR), Sibyl Kempson (world premiere The Secret Death of Puppets) and Suzan Lori Parks (365 Days) at The Public. She worked at The Jim Henson Foundation under Cheryl Henson and is currently a Professor of Theater & Puppetry at Gettysburg College.
Michal Vaknin - Associate Artistic Director
Michal Vaknin is a director, actress and puppeteer. Mostly Creates site specific works such as: Brecht’s "He Who Says Yes/He Who Says No" in an elementary school and "The Opposite of Alive" in a natural history museum, (premiered in The Jerusalem Season of Culture), And puppetry work such as: "Dum Dum Baby", original piece that has been performed at various theatre events, including the Jerusalem International Festival of Puppet Theater and RS & PS - the international conference honoring Richard Schechner, Co creator in the short movie “I Think This Is The Closest To How The Footage Looked” ,screened at Cannes, San Sebastian and other film festivals around the world. Michal leaves in Tel Aviv.
Daphna Yizrael, Director of Development
Daphna is a community activist and entrepreneur in the fields of culture and education, most prominently as the founder of SiteSpecific - an organization that aims to bring Israeli culture to a non-Israeli audience. She has held leadership roles in a number of organizations. As the delegation director of the Journey to the Jewish Heritage project, she led groups to Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, where they documented local material history and heritage. She also served as the Israeli emissary at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ. Daphna is active in the art world and especially interested in the intersection between classic texts and theater. She graduated from Tel Aviv University with honors, specializing in Jewish Studies and Political Science, and continued her MA studies at the Hermeneutic department at Bar Ilan University.
Shachar Montlake, Technical Direction
Shachar grew up in the old city in Jerusalem. She studied sound engineering at the Yoav Gera Sound School in Tel Aviv. Most recently, she was the technical manager of The Interdisciplinary Arena – a production company for theater and interdisciplinary performance. Currently, she is the VP of The Edge productions – a company that creates and produces big cultural events around Jerusalem. Shachar also plays in a band called Dvar-Ma, an acoustical band that composes poems from Israel’s national poet Bialick.
Oded Littman, Dramaturg (Salt of the Earth)
Oded is a theater director, dramaturg and teacher living and working in Bern, Switzerland. Originally from Israel, he graduated in 2006 with a BA in directing from Tel-Aviv’s Kibbutzim College. He has directed several theater pieces in Tel Aviv’s experimental scene focusing on modern interpretations of classical texts. In 2010, he moved to Switzerland to take up Master Studies in Theater and Performance at the HKB, Bern. He began work as a dramaturg, director and member of the theater collective Milch/Gänse.
Yuval Fingerman - Puppeteer (Salt of the Earth)
Yuval was born in Haifa. He has performed with various dance ensembles and companies in Israel, notably with Liat Dror and Nir Ben Gal Dance Company, where he danced for six years. He has presented his own choreography at the Creative Space Festival in Jerusalem and at Intimadance Festival in Tmuna Theater, Tel Aviv. Touring nationally and internationally, he has performed as a puppeteer and actor in Eshet by Alit Weber, which received honorable mention at the Akko Fringe Festival, and as a dancer in One Dimensional Man and Reside 1.1.
Gai Sherf - Musician (Salt of the Earth)
Gai is a musician and graduate of The School of Visual Theatre in Israel. He also plays in various ensembles, arranges and writes music for theatre, film and video. He collects musical instruments originating everywhere and plays them untraditionally. He has created and directed several stage works, among them Schmetterling, based on unique musical instruments of his own invention. He won an award at the Acre Festival of Alternative Theatre.
Justin Perkins - Puppeteer (Planet Egg USA, Salt of the Earth WIP)
Justin Perkins is a performer and designer. His work has appeared at St. Ann's Warehouse, 92nd St Y, Dixon Place, IRT Theater, Magnet Theater, Ohio Theater, Ulysses Pub and The Hotel Chelsea, among others. He is a founding member of the all-male experimental Shakespeare company American Centaur. He is a graduate of Vassar College and has an MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College. He is a New Hampshire native.
Boaz Fruend - Director of Photography (Salt of the Earth, USA)
Boaz Freund is an Emmy Award-winning cinematographer. An Israeli national, Freund relocated to NYC in 2002, where he was mentored early in his career by some of NY’s most recognized DPs and operators, including Pat Capone and Tony Janelli. Freund quickly became a standout in his own right, taking on projects ranging from independent features and television to branded digital content and broadcast commercial work. Freund has worked internationally, filming in the US, Africa, Europe, Asia, India, South America and The Middle East.
Tom McDonagh - Puppeteer and Light Designer (Salt of the Earth, USA)
Tom McDonagh began creating shadow plays while studying Physics at University of Bristol. His first full length play, Beyul Demojong, grew from studies from the folklore of Sikkim, a mountainous state in India. The play was performed extensively around Bristol and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008. In 2012 at the St. Ann's Warehouse Puppet Lab, he produced Voyage to the Skies, a short shadow play that paid homage to Buster Keaton and the wonder of silent comedy. Tom has recently performed at Puppet Playlist at The Kraine Theater in New York where he showcased a new 3D shadow play technique.
Ali Skye Bennet -Company Producer (Mar.to Dec. 2012 -Planet Egg @ HERE NYC,DC and Hawaii)
Ali Skye Bennet is a NY based actor, producer and photographer. She is the Producing Coordinator and Company Manager for award-winning off-Broadway theatre company, Transport Group and has produced for classical-experimental company, American Centaur. For more info, www.aliskyebennet.com.
Jesse Garrison - Director of Photography (Salt of the Earth, USA)
Jesse Garrison is an emerging multi-media artist, working in film, theater and still imagery. His work ranges from the experimental to the informational, from music videos to medical documentation and promotional material, site-specific dances to theatrical projection and a post-apocalyptic feature film. His work has appeared on Thirteen, MNN, El Museo del Barrio, The Berkshire Film Festival, reviewed in the New York Times, and his photographs have appeared in Time Out New York and international newspapers and blogs.
Aya Zaiger, Designer (Salt of the Earth)
Aya specializes in developing visual concepts, art direction, and scenic and costume design in film and television. She has worked with several leading theaters and companies in Israel including Kamery, Tmona, Ber Sheva and Hsimta. Some of her work includes Salt and Water, the award winning show at the Aco Festival, Sigalit the Ticher, Rikki’s Kinder Garden, Tonight Oedipus and the film, The Cutoff Man named by Italian Film Magazine as one of 2012’s five best movies..
Shai Egozi - Performer (Salt of the Earth)
Shai graduated with distinction from the High School of Performing Arts and was also awarded scholarship from The America-Israel Cultural Foundation. His performance work includes roles at the The Cameri Theatre; Romeo & Juliet (Prince of Verona), From Crystal to Dust (Yosef Goebbels), The Feast (Kim) and Zohar (Amnon Argov). Belt Lessin Theatre: The Real Things (Brodie), Thrill (Eddie) and As You Like it (Oliver). Library Theater: Closer (Larry), Richard II (Sr. John Bushy), Richard III (Sr. Buckingham), The 24th Day (Tom), Bent (The Officer) and Herold & Mod (Dr. Harley). Shai also participated in the BBC drama The Promise (Peter Kosminsky) and in the films Year Zero and Candies (Yosef Pichhadze).
Ien DeNio - Sound Designer (Planet Egg USA, Salt of the Earth WIP)
Ien DeNio is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she studied Technical Theater with an emphasis in Sound Design. She is based in NYC where she is a freelance sound designer, theatrical foley artist, aural-landscape composer and puppet builder. Her work in sound design has been featured with Godlight Theater Company's Pilo Family Circus (2013 Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Sound Design of a Play), Anne and Emmett (Atlas Theater, DC) and most recently with Bella's Dream (Going to Tahiti Productions).
Jessica Scott -Puppetry Director & Puppeteer(Salt of the Earth, USA)
Jessica Scott is a self-taught visual artist, director, performer and teacher living in NYC and working abroad. Her work includes puppetry, specialty props, installation and sculpture. She's had the pleasure of designing for Basil Twist, Lee Breuer, Mabou Mines, Addams Family the Musical, Big Fish (Broadway), Julian Crouch and Improbable Theater, Red Bull Theater, Clubbed Thumb and many other talents. As a director of puppetry, she's created the physical language for the puppetry in Mabou Mines' Porco Morto and La Divina Caricatura, as well as for her own work. She has also puppeteered for Pee Wee Herman, Bjork, Moisés Kaufman, Blind Summit and HBO’s Flight of the Conchords. Jessica is currently developing her own show, Ship of Fools, as a HARP resident artist at HERE Arts Center in NYC. http://jessicaantoniascott.net
Erica Livingston - Puppeteer (Salt of the Earth, USA)
A NYC based theater artist, Erica Livingston most recently developed and appeared in the Drama Desk Award-nominated show, The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O’Neill Vol 1: Early Plays/Lost Plays. Her work has appeared at The Public Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Barrow Street, Abrons Art Center, HERE Arts Center, The Bushwick Starr, Theater for the New City, Dixon Place, CATCH! Performance Series, The Brick Theater and Ars Nova. She was a member of the St. Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab (2010-2011) and was a co-artistic director of The New York Neo-Futurists (2006-2011). Awards include: Café Cino Fellowship Award, Village Voice Reader’s Poll for Best Pe rformance Artists, People of the Year (nytheater.com), and a Drama Desk nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience and Best Performance Art Production Nominee (NYIT).
Daniel Burnam - Puppeteer (Salt of the Earth USA)
Daniel Burnam is an amateur boxer, writer, film and theater-maker living in Brooklyn. Daniel is a proud alumnus of the 2011 St. Ann's Warehouse Puppet Lab. He performed The Complete and Condensed Stage Directions of Eugene O'Neill Volume 1: Early Plays/Lost Plays, which was nominated for a 2011-2012 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.
Ronit Muszkatblit - Assistant Director (Salt of the Earth, USA)
An emerging director and theater artist, Ronit Muszkatblit is a member of Post Theater NY/Berlin, a founding member of WokenÅglacier Theater Company, and Co-Artistic director of LABA. Recent credits: Hanna and the Moonlit Dress (14th Street Y Theater), Nature of Captivity by Mathew Paul Olmos (Mabou Mines Suite @ PS 122), Cantaloupe by Gina Bonati (LABA, Boston), I Had A Little Voice (LABA), ON ART, an adaptation of ART by Yasmina Reza (Rohkunst Bau, Berlin), It is Said the Men are Over in the Steel Tower by Hideo Tsuchida, adapted by Eriko Ogawa and Matthew Paul Olmos (TBG Theater, NYC), Struwwelmensch (Rohkunst Bau Festival, Berlin), Matchmaker Matchmaker (Stadts Bank Berlin), Quartet by Heiner Müller (Westbeth Theater, NYC), The Child Dreams by Hanoch Levin (59E59, NYC), La Mama Umbria (Italy). Graduate of the Actors Studio Drama School.