Chris Eyers Yerlig
A UK native, Chris began his mime/clown career on the streets of Europe, before settling in the US. He has performed and taught in 20 countries, mostly collaborating with underprivileged communities to spread laughter and skills or to bring attention to social issues. Chris speaks Haitian Creole, Spanish and French and a smattering of over a dozen other languages.
2016 saw Chris’s first trip with Clown Without Borders-USA, leading a tour of Haiti, to present performances and workshops, and work with local clowns. He has also worked with Magicians Without Borders in El Salvador and Guatemala and India, sharing skills with kids-at-risk and social workers as well as performing. With Project Troubador, Chris has performed for outreach projects in Cameroon, Benin, Morocco, Bangladesh, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Other international work includes: a tour of Puerto Rico with Circo Mundial Circus (ring clown and clown doctor team leader); the Kim-Tom Clown Festival of Shanghai, China; and Haus Ten Bosch theme park in Kyushu, Japan.
In the US, Chris he has performed at folk and cultural festivals, art museums, and corporate events, including for SONY and Cirque du Soleil. Ensemble work has included International Performance and Production’s ‘Incredible Illusion Show’ and with Enchanted Circle Theater, presenting multi-cultural educational theater for young people. Chris is currently on the staff of New England Youth Theater and on the board of Haiti Orphanage Sponsorship Trust.
Sayda Trujillo was born in Montreal and grew up in Canada, Guatemala, and the USA. She is a theatre artist specializing in voice and movement. She also devises original physical theatre performances. Her performance and teaching experience abroad includes work in Guatemala, Ecuador, Singapore, Spain, Germany, Colombia, UK, Egypt, Palestine with The Freedom Theatre, and most recently in India. Her three solo shows BANANA LEAVES, DEFINITELY OOPS, and I WAS RAISED MEXICAN have been presented nationally and internationally at theater houses including La Mama ETC, REDCAT, and NYTW.
Since 2005 Sayda has volunteered for Clowns Without Borders performing for thousands of children in Latin America and the Middle East. She teaches Acting, Viewpoints, Tai Chi Chuan, Contact Improvisation, Voice, and Solo Performance. Her training combines a BFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts; a post-graduate certificate in Physical Theatre from the Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre; and a Masters in Voice Studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London where the training encompassed a multiplicity of workshops in Vocal Anatomy, Accents, Vocal Pedagogy, Practice as Research, culminating in a Master’s Thesis: Latino/a Voices: Reconsidering the ‘Natural,’ ‘Familiar’ and ‘Cultural’ in Freeing Vocal Expression. Sayda lives in LA and is part-time faculty in the Central American Studies Department at CSUN. For more information please visit: http://www.saydatrujillo.com
Sabine has a BA in Theatre from the Lebanese University and studied at the The International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) and Desmond Jones School of Mime in London. She is certified in social therapy from the East Side Institute in New York. She is the co-founder of Clown Me In www.clownmein.com and an active member of CWB-USA. Sabine is also the managing director of Beirut Cinema Days Arab Film Festival.
She has done theater, storytelling and group therapy projects around the world with drug addicts, marginalized communities, refugees and youth living in difficult situations. She has worked in countries including Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, Dubai, the United Kingdom, Mexico, The United States, Brazil, India, Cyprus, and Cameroon.
Acrobat, comedienne, and Circus Arts instructor Olivia Hallie Lehrman enjoys creating original circus theatre pieces, both solo and ensemble. As a teacher, she has taught all ages, from Brooklyn to China to Haiti. Her pedagogy focuses on finding the most alive parts of each participant, and allowing that passion to clear out any obstacles in its way. Her work integrates physicality, communication, and relationships between partners. Swinging from Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus flying trapezes to character work with Naropa University Masters students, she has trained within a tight community of friends in Colorado, California, and New York. Her most inspirational teachers, Giovanni Fusetti and Marshall Rosenberg, both see each student as a whole person with countless stories within them. Olivia has attended Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Vassar College.
Moshe Cohen, Founder
Moshe, aka. Mr. YooWho, is the founder of Clowns Without Borders-USA as well as the ambassador for CWB-International. Since 1987, he has performed in Burma/Myanmar, Kosovo, South Africa, Nepal, Guatemala, Haiti, Croatia, Chiapas (Mexico), Sudan and Baton Rouge, LA. Moshe performs and teaches internationally. Over the past 25 years, he has given over 2000 performances in thirty plus countries. He teaches workshops exploring the expression of personal humor through physical theater and contemporary clown.
Leah James Abel sprang about in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has been performing and teaching from New York to China and Korea — dancing, clowning, stilting, twisting around trapezes, or parading around with someone standing on her shoulders for over 10 years. Leah is a licensed Social Worker, earning her degree from Simmons College. Leah is the co-founder of the social circus company Circus Up, which believes that learning circus arts helps people of all ages and backgrounds bring more strength, flexibility, laughter, and joy into their lives and their communities.
Leah has been a company member and a freelancer in NYC, perfecting her funny persona and aerial skills (Cirque Boom and Kirkos). For over two years she frolicked and toured with Imago Theatre, in 2 Portland, Oregon-based mask and puppet theater shows: Frogz and Biglittlethings. Leah works for Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit at Boston Children’s Hospital. Currently, Leah continues to have glorious time working for over 4 years as a coach at Aircraft Aerial Arts. Leah also surprisingly completed her Masters in Environmental Law and Policy at Vermont Law School. Leah loves the circus world and is happiest there.
Curtis Carlyle was born in 1980 in a lighthouse in Rhode Island. Curt’s journey as variety artist took off when he enrolled in Reed College juggling club. He was trained under the tutelage of juggling greats Rhys Thomas, David Lichtenstein, and Charlie Brown. While his early shows took place in coffeeshops and streetcorners along the Pacific Northwest, his resume now includes performances for a dozen Fortune 500 companies, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the New Victory Theatre on Broadway in New York City, as well as colleges and universities across North America. Curtis also holds a Guinness world record for the yoyo, has won a bronze medal at the International Jugglers’ Association stage championships, and has shared the stage with entertainment titans like the Beastie Boys, Peter Sagal, and Second City Improv – just to name a few. Curt’s newschool comedy juggling performances range from five to ninety-five minutes long, and highlight Curt’s mastery of balance, timing, and peculiar combination tricks. He is also recognized as a talented emcee and comedy writer, and often consults with variety acts across the planet.
More information at CurtShow.com
Michael O’Neill is the Co-founder of Nomadic Theatre Co. and is an acting, directing, Commedia Dell’Arte, and clowning extraordinaire! Michael is armed with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Directing from the University of Portland, and is a graduate from the prestigious Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College program, as well Dell’Arte School of Physical Theatre. Most recently Michael was seen in Hungry Opera Machine Flour Salt and Moon Beams, and he traveled to South Sudan with Clowns Without Borders in September of 2014. Michael enthusiastically accepted an invitation to represent Clowns Without Borders USA at Clown Encuentro Internacional 2015 in Colombia this fall. Currently he can be found in Portland OR performing Terrifying Shrubbery a duo clown show with co-star Sarah Liane Foster and teaching at George Fox University. www.michaeloneill.teacher.com
Selena Clare McMahan, President
Selena McMahan spent her childhood divided between New York and France. In 2005 she received a yearlong travel fellowship from the Watson Foundation for her project « Contemporary Clown Circuit, performance across borders ». She moved to Paris in 2007 to train at the Jacques Lecoq theater school (2007-2009 professional course and LEM scenography course). She has also trained with John Turner of Mump and Smoot, Lory Leshin at the Samovar, and with the Brazilian company LUME. She is an actor-clown with the Parisian hospital clown company Le Rire Médecin, performing improvised and individualized interventions in clown duos. Selena speaks english, french, spanish, and portuguese. She acts, sings, dances, is a puppeteer, makes costumes, and directs. She has performed in : “800 Words” directed by Sonja Moser, “À la Recherche de l’Age d’Or” directed by Susana Lastreto of G.R.R.R, “Pop’pea” directed by Giorgio Barbario Corsetti at Théâtre du Châtelet. She directed the opera “L’Enfant et la Nuit” at l’Académie de Villecroze, and is artistique director of “Inclownito” with Cracheurs de Rêves. Selena has volunteered with Clowns Without Borders USA since 2005 and been a board member since 2010. She currently serves as president on the board of the International Federation of Clowns Without Borders.
Clay “Mazing” Letson
For over 11 years Clay “Mazing” Letson, the lasso-spinning, juggling, dancing, singing, comedic vaudevillian, multi-instrumentalist and ring master, has dedicated his life to bringing joy and inspiration to the undercircussed in hospitals, prisons, refugee camps, and more across the world. Clay has performed alongside Dr. Patch Adams for Syrian refugees in Jordan with the Gesundheit Institute, for Palestinians in the West Bank and school children in Lebanon with Clowns Without Borders, and across rural United States with the New Old Time Chautauqua. In 2012, Clay founded his own non-profit humanitarian circus called the Emergency Circus which has traveled thousands of miles delivering the healing power of laughter and empathy across North America.
Jasper Patterson is a director, performer and producer based on the West Coast. He holds a B.A. in acting and directing from Bard College with specialization in performer created and devised work. With a backround in circus and vaudeville, he has collaborated with or directed many local Bay Area companies such as Fou Fou Ha, City Circus, SweetCan Circus, and Tourrettes without Regrets. He is an event producer for CODAME ART + TECH festivals, with a focus on 3D motion tracking, projection mapping, and Virtual Reality for live performance. His own group, The New Eccentrics, will be touring their comedy/circus/tech project spookeasy in a West Coast tour this Fall.
Geoff Marsh has experience entertaining and traveling all over North America with his unique circus stunts and zany marionette puppets performing at family festivals, corporate events, Renaissance fairs, and private parties for over 11 years. He performs his shows over 400 times a year. Two years ago he won first place in the International Juggling Associations Street Performing competition. Geoff’s performances include juggling, musical plate spinning, ball and club manipulation, hand stands, Rolla Bolla balancing, fire staff and club manipulation, and more! Geoff also holds a world record for largest gyroscope balanced on his face 25 feet in the air.
Jan has spent countless days juggling and entertaining since a very young age. At 11, he started his professional career in his home state of Maine, juggling at children’s parties. His growing interest in performance and circus while attending Bard College led him to advance his craft after graduation. To that end, he’s trained with masters of the modern circus such as Avner Eisenberg, John Gilkey, Fritz Grobe, Master Lu Yi and Jeff Raz. He studied acrobatics in San Francisco, street performed in Europe and Canada, and currently leads the circus-theater stage show ‘Pedal Punk’. Jan has also been privileged to participate in social circus projects in Oakland and St Louis, and Clowns Without Borders trips to Haiti, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Greece. Jan lives in Chicago with his partner Ariele.
Luz Gaxiola is a Seattle-based clown and one half of the comedy team Duo Finelli. She graduated from the Dell’Arte school of Physical theatre in 2004, and the San Francisco clown conservatory in 2005, and has been performing original and classic vaudeville comedy since then. She performs in Spanish and English in shows and festivals mostly in the United States and Mexico. Her specialty is combining music and comedy and loved playing accordion and trombone for Syrian refugees in CWB’s tour of Lebanon in June of 2014.
Brendon Gawel is a director, performer, teacher, and all-around theatre maker based in Philadelphia, PA. As co-artistic director of Ombelico Mask Ensemble, he creates original devised work in the classical/modern/timeless style of Commedia dell’Arte. As a member of Clowns Without Borders, Brendon works to bring joy and laughter to children in crisis zones around the world. He has performed with CWB in Haiti, the Philippines, and the US. For six years, he was a writer and puppeteer at the Sprout TV network, playing Chica and Curtis E. Owl among other roles. He earned a BFA in Acting from the University of the Arts, studied Commedia dell’Arte with Maestro Antonio Fava, and studied Lecoq techniques with Pig Iron Theatre and Helikos/Giovanni Fusetti. Directing credits include West Chester University, Ombelico Mask Ensemble, Mum Puppettheatre, Philadelphia Children’s Theatre, Walking Fish Theatre, Windsor Mountain Traveling Theatre and Assistant Director for Drexel University and Arden Theatre. Additional acting credits include Swim Pony Performing Arts, Mum Puppettheatre, Enchantment Theatre, Lantern Theater, and McCarter Theater. Brendon has taught workshops and classes in Mask Making, Commedia dell’Arte, Red Nose Clown, Ensemble Creation, Puppetry, and Stage Combat at elementary, university and professional levels. For more visit OmbelicoMask.org.
Gavin Stockden is one of the founding members and a board member of Clowns Without Borders South Africa. He has been on two tours to South Sudan in collaboration with CWB-USA and many tours around South Africa. He is a magician, juggler, unicyclist and clown. In ‘real life’ he runs an entertainment agency in Durban, South Africa and is also a website designer and vertical garden installer (among other things).
Kevin Casey is a theater artist from the American West.
Kevin grew up performing in plays within the lively community theater scene in Helena, Montana. His curiosity for devised theater was sparked while working towards a bachelor’s degree in Wellington, New Zealand. He has since trained in improvisation under Susan Messing and others at the iO theater in Chicago. It was in Chicago he encountered the powerful red nose clown training offered by Paola Coletto. That work inspired him to take on the three year training offered by Giovanni Fusetti at HELIKOS, International School of Theatre Creation where Kevin graduated in May, 2014.
He has performed at Playwrights Horizons in New York City and in Seattle at the NW New Works Festival. Kevin has led theater and mask making/playing workshops in the USA, Slovenia and Turkey. He’s currently living in Istanbul working on a new series of masks and workshops.
Derrick Gilday has been performing within the theatrical circus medium since 2002 where he began performing in a community circus in a disenfranchised area of San Diego CA. He quickly realized his passion for community involvement through the arts and began to fully pursue the Contemporary circus medium. Over the course of 13 years Derrick has performed in nearly every aspect of performance both behind the curtain and in front of it, from the streets of Central America and Europe to special events for businesses and government organizations.
He has worked for world acclaimed companies and productions and created his own company Mango and Dango. He has performed in over 25 countries and nearly every state within the U.S and has studied commedia del arte, clown, buffoon, physical comedy, multiple forms of dance: (modern, ballet, jazz, salsa) and traditional circus skills: (juggling, partner acrobatics, hand stands, equilibrium, stilt dance.) Derrick Gilday has experience in costuming, directing, and producing shows on a shoe string or carte blanche budget and is a Graduate of the San Francisco Clown conservatory under director Joe Deiffenbacher. He has passed the rigorous Cirque Du Soleil audition process for Clown and character performer entering himself in their database for future productions around the world. He is a yoga and chi gong practitioner and has taken courses in non violent communication and team building workshops.
Marisol Kimberly Rosa-Shapiro
Marisol Soledad is a performer, creator, and teaching artist based in New York City. She is a graduate of Princeton University and of Giovanni Fusetti’s Helikos: Scuola Internazionale di Creazione Teatrale in Florence, Italy where her Lecoq-based training included mask work, mime, clown, commedia dell’arte, bouffon, ensemble-based creation, and a wide range of comedic styles. Recent performances and devising work include Mindfulness Theater: Re-imagining Reality (Simulation Studio Salon), four pieces in The 1st NY Indie Theater One Minute Play Festival, Minotaurs.Toreros (Turn to Flesh Productions), Experimental Peace Project (Target Margin Theater Collaborative Theater Lab/Kyoung’s Pacific Beat), and Experiment #39: Old City (Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure/Philadelphia Live Arts). Marisol and Soledad Ensemble are currently developing a new bouffon theater piece to premiere in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival this fall. Marisol is a teaching artist with the New Victory Theater, TADA! Youth Theater, At The Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy, and Phillips Academy Andover. Her arts-based group facilitation work has recently brought Marisol to Jordan; Israel; the West Bank; Princeton, NJ; Whidbey Island, WA; and the Seeds of Peace International Summer Camp in Otisfield, ME. This spring she took part in her first Clowns Without Borders project with unaccompanied minors at St. PJ’s Children’s Home in San Antonio, TX. Marisol will join the theater faculty of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska this summer.
David Lichtenstein, Vice President
David Lichtenstein has been a professional performer specializing in street, clown, and variety theater for 25 years. He has performed various versions of his one-person Leapin’ Louie Comedy Shows at festivals, theaters, and other events in 28 different countries across five continents. He’s also part of Wanderlust Circus in Portland and he has written reading encouragement and science themed shows that he performs at tons of schools and libraries. He has organized and performed on several Clowns Without Borders expeditions in Chiapas, Guatemala, Haiti, South Africa, and Palestine. And he hosts great CWB fundraisers in Portland, Oregon. His wife Lisa Loving, a journalist, does even cooler stuff.