About Us

 
 
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Rachel Sullivan and Liz Parker

Grand Pistachio was formed by Liz and Rachel after ten years of creating and performing new work together. Infusing their work with a sense of wonder, Rachel and Liz choose topics that inspire their own curiosity and imagination.  The pair has a signature two person performance style that utilizes highly theatrical forms of performance including puppetry mask and music to transport and engage audiences.  

The duo first begin creating for family audiences with Urban Stages’ outreach department, performing regularly at over 80 NYC public libraries.  In 2011, their show Blown Away by Poetry was performed at the New York International Fringe Festival after which it toured to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The Bushwick Starr, Poet's House and numerous other NYC venues.  In the 2015-2016 season, Rachel and Liz were selected for The New Victory Theater's prestigious LabWorks program where they began development of Layer the Walls.  The Jim Henson Foundation selected Layer the Walls for a family grant in 2017.  

Liz and Rachel both hold an MA in Applied Theater from CUNY/SPS and have extensive experience as teaching artists and directors of devised work with various populations. Rachel co-founded Honest Accomplice Theatre which brings original pieces of theater and media to college campuses and local theaters to begin conversations about gender. Her work with Honest Accomplice has been supported by The Ford Foundation and is utilized The New York City Commission on Human Rights. Liz has worked as a teaching artist for Lincoln Center Theater, The New Victory Theater, The Museum of the City of New York, The Child Abuse Prevention Program, New York City Children's Theater, viBe Theater Experience and Young Audiences New York. She has also previously toured the country with a one-person performance of Lois Lowry’s ‘The Giver’, adapted for the stage by Elise Thoron.

Grand Pistachio Collaborators

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ELISE THORON: DIRECTOR

Thoron’s plays have been produced in the United States, Europe, Japan, Cuba: Green Violin, music by Frank London, (Nine Contemporary Jewish Plays); Prozak and the Platypus, music by Jill Sobule (CD/graphic novella); Charlotte: Life? Or Theater? based on paintings by Charlotte Salomon, music by Gary Fagin. Recycling: washi tales with Japanese paper artist, Kyoko Ibe, and traditional Japanese musicians.  Her Afro-Cuban Yiddish opera Hatuey: Memory of Fire with Frank London just had its North American premiere at Peak Performances, after a first production at Opera de la Calle in Havana. As Associate Artistic Director at American Place Theatre, Elise co-founded, Literature to Life, a highly successful theater literacy program now in its third decade nationwide. For Lit to Life she adapted and directed Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (also at Book-it Theater in Seattle), Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk, Lowry’s The Giver, and developed County of Kings with Tony award-winning spoken-word poet, Lemon Andersen, which went on to the Public Theater and venues around the world.   www.elisethoron.com

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SPICA WOBBE: PUPPETRY AND MASK DESIGN AND DIRECTION

Spica Wobbe (Shu-yun Cheng) is a puppetry artist originally from Taiwan. Her work has been seen in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Holland, Germany, Israel, Austria and the U.S. Now based in NYC, she works as a puppet designer, performer, and teaching artist since she received her M.A. in Educational Theater from New York University. Spica established Double Image Theater Lab in 2011 to create cross-cultural productions through object and light manipulation, music, and poetry. She received the Exemplary Teaching Artist Award from New York University in 2014. She was the featured artist in “Shadow, Light… Hide & Seek Exhibit” at Wenshan Theater in Taipei in 2015 and “Heaven of Puppets Exhibit” at Taipei Puppet Museum in 2016. She co-created The Memory Project with Karen Oughtred (2016), storytelling through visual arts, theater, and puppetry for culturally diverse senior centers. The project received LMCC SU-CASA and Creative Learning grants in 2017.

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VLADA YANEVA: ORIGINAL MUSIC composer

Bulgarian pianist and educator Vlada Yaneva has performed throughout the US and Europe. Vlada and her husband, pianist Matthew Harrison, created Masterwork Conversations, a lecture-recital series dedicated to creating a more personal relationship with the audience through an open conversation. This is her fourth puppetry play composition engagement. Previous collaboration includes I Laid an Egg (Double Image Theater Lab). Check out www.MasterworkConversations.com and www.TrioCabrini.com for more information.

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MARGARET BAUGHMAN: ASsistant DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER- Layer the walls

Margaret is a New York City-based director, dramaturg, and stage manager that focuses in new play and musical development. Recent credits include What’s Up America? I’m Reptilian. (Director at The Dirty Blondes & Undiscovered Countries), A Chip on Her Shoulder (Assistant Director & PSM through Honest Accomplice Theatre), Cymbeline (PSM at Barefoot Shakespeare), The Trial of Faith (Assistant Director & PSM at WinterFest 2018), 24WORDS (Director at Steppenwolf Theatre), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Assistant Dramaturg at Oregon Shakespeare Theatre). She is a proud alum of The Theatre School at DePaul University and her full portfolio can be found online: www.MargaretCBaughman@.com.

 

ELLAROSE CHARY: LYRICIST - Blown Away by Poetry

 
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PEIYI WONG: SET DESIGN- Layer the Walls

Peiyi is a Brooklyn-based designer and interdisciplinary artist.  She designs sets, installation, and costume for performance and film. Selected NY credits: Memoirs of a…Unicorn (NY Live Arts/Collapsable Hole, 2018 Bessie Award for Outstanding Visual Design), some higher glimmer in a landscape of flat (Buran Theater/Collapsable Hole), A Hunger Artist (Sinking Ship/The Tank), Charleses (Glass Bandits/The Tank; 2017 Hewes Design Award nomination), Now is the Time (Abrons Arts/Little Lord), The Tower (HERE Arts/Antimatter Collective), Chekhov’s The Bet (Columbia Stages/lonely painter project).  Current and upcoming: The Emperor’s New Clothes and Other Stories by Hans Christian Andersen (NYC Children’s Theater), and with performance collective, the Lonely Painter Project: Beast Thing by Aleshea Harris (Williams College), Mukh Agni (Ars Nova Makers Lab), Rasgos Asiaticos (Soho Rep Lab).  MFA, CalArts. www.peiyiameliawong.com.

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HANNAH COOK: SET DESIGN - Blown away by poetry

Hannah Cook is a freelance set/props designer, technical director, and art teacher for children. Her work in set design and construction has been seen at the Gym at Judson, the PIT, Under St. Marks, the Connelly, Soho Rep, Rattlestick Playwrights, 3LD, Actors Fund Arts Center, the Tank, Signature, WP Theatre, among others. She regularly works as a fabricator and design consultant in the Creative Visual Merchandising studio at Tiffany & Co.™ Education: Muhlenberg College (BA), Queen Mary University of London. www.hannahclarecook.com


 
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CAT FISHER: COSTUME DESIGN- Layer the Walls

Cat has designed over 100 shows for theater, dance, film, and television, is a 2008 member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab, a New York State Council for the Arts awards recipient for design work at Abrons Arts Center, and has been recognized with an Outstanding Costume award, Hamlet Bound and Unbound, 2012 Midtown International Theatre Festival; 2011 Planet Connections Theatre Festival  (Costume award, The God Particle); and, nominated for best costume in the 2018 London International Film Festival . Her work has been seen at 59e59th; NYC Fringe Festival and many other NYC Festivals; The Prague Fringe Festival; The Producer's Club; Riverside Theatre, and is often favorably reviewed. Catherine (Cat) has IMDb credits for both acting and design and is a founding member of Honest Accomplice Theatre.

 

AMANDA ROBERGE: COSTUME DESIGN - Blown Away by Poetry


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SARAH JOHNSTON: LIGHTING DESIGN- Layer the Walls

Selected credits: The Brobot Johnson Experience (The Bushwick Starr); Squeamish (Theatre Row); Speak Up, Rise Up (The Connelly Theater); Brobot Johnson (The Bushwick Starr); Charleses (The Brick Theater); I’m Bleeding All Over the Place (LaMama - Ellen Stewart Theater); A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (The Night Shift at IRT); Acappella: The Musical(NYMF);Emily Climbs; Daredevil (The Brick Theater); The Harper's Play (JACK); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo; Happily Ever; Miss Julie (NWT); The Downtown Loop(3LD). Associate Lighting Designer: Moulin Rouge (Boston Colonial); Jagged Little Pill (ART); Saint Joan (MTC); The Little Foxes (The Samuel Friedman Theater, MTC); Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (The Public Theatre); American Psycho(Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre); The Humans (Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, Helen Hayes Theatre; Laura Pels Theatre); Invisible Thread (2econd Stage);10 out of 12 (Soho Rep.); Pretty Filthy (Abrons Arts Center). Associate Creative Director: Drake. Sarah is a graduate of Brooklyn College. www.sarahjohnstonlighting.com

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ELIA CHUAQUI: SOUND DESIGN- Layer the Walls

Elia Chuaqui (Sound Designer) is an international sound designer and playwright. Most recently she was invited to Ciego de Avila by the Cuban Council of the Arts to sound design for the People’s Scene festival. She has written and sound designed with the experimental Puerto Rican company One-Eighth Theater in Cuba and through their artistic residency at New Ohio Theatre and IRT. She has designed and composed theater and workshops Off-Broadway with companies including, but not limited to, Noor Theatre, Cloud of Fools, INTAR Theatre, New Dramatists and The Clemente. Upcoming playwright and sound design: NUMBNESS: Chapter 2 with One-Eighth Theater.

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CARRIE ELLMAN-LARSEN: ARTS Education Consultant

Carrie is a born and raised New Yorker. She studied drama and psychology at NYU where she received her BFA in Drama. She attended the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting for her conservatory training and is proud to be a classically trained actress. Carrie is now a theatre artist specializing in theatre for social change, literacy and curriculum connection through theatre. particularly forum theatre, process drama and interview based/documentary theatre. Carrie received an MA in Applied Theatre from the CUNY School of Professional Studies in 2011. She has been a teaching artist and applied theatre practitioner since 2004, working for arts organizations such as The Theater Development Fund, The Center for Arts Education, Arts Connection, The Museum of the City of New York, People's Theatre Project and The Roundabout Theater Company. Carrie is passionate about the way theater can be used to empower individuals and communities to rehearse and implement change in their lives and engage them to be pioneers in their own learning and growth. Carrie's dream is to travel the world, turning people's stories into theatre. Visit Carrieellmanlarsen.com to learn more about her teaching artist and art education consulting work.

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Billy Higgins: Movement Direction - Layer the Walls

Billy is an actor, movement director, and devising artist. Billy performs in Mary Zimmerman’s Treasure Island, and with the Turkmen State Circus, and Nimble Arts Circus. His ensemble devised play Hell To Pay, has toured through the Western United States and Canada. His piece, Of Pitching & Privateers, toured by traditional sailing ship internationally. Billy directed the Irish national premiere of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged for the Dublin Shakespeare Festival. He has worked with  Clowns Without Borders and was a folk singer at the 2015 San Francisco Sea Music Festival.  B.F.A. University of Wyoming, M.Ph. Trinity College Dublin, and M.F.A. Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. www.billy-higgins.com.

 
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Sonya PlenefiscH: Props/Assistant Set Designer - Layer the Walls

Sonya Plenefisch is a UK trained scenic and props designer & maker based in Brooklyn. In London, they were one of the twelve young up and coming designers whose work was exhibited at the National Theatre for the Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2017. Their most recent NYC productions include Into the Woods in Bay Ridge, The House of Bernarda Alba at the Gene Frankel Theatre, Heist! Off-Broadway at the Players Theatre, Troilus & Cressida at Under St. Marks, and Their Food Tastes Better When They See Us Starving (or, Coriolanus) at the Brick. www.sonyaplenefisch.com