Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass, has worked for thirty years as a director, playwright, performer and mask and puppet maker. In 1982, Mr. Bass founded Sandglass Theater in Munich, Germany, with his wife, Ines Zeller Bass. As a director, Eric has worked in America, Australia, Poland, and Finland, as well as the United States. In 1991, he was awarded the Figurentheater Prize of the City of Erlangen, Germany for his contributions to the field of puppet theater. He co-directed The Story of the Dog, a collaborative piece between Sandglass Theater and Sovanna Phum Theater in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which toured Cambodia in 2005 and premiered in the US in the Fall 2006. He recently co-directed Natan el Sabio, a collaborative project with Teatro Luis Poma in El Salvador. Eric is currently touring in the Sandglass production of D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks, a piece about people with dementia. He served for five years on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters. In 2010, Eric received the Vermont Governors Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Ines Zeller Bass
Ines Zeller Bass, Co-Founding Artistic Director of Sandglass, has been performing with puppets since 1968, when she became a member of the Munich marionette theater, Kleines Spiel. In 1978, she created her children’s hand puppet theater, Punschi, which has toured Europe, Australia and the US. In 1982, Ines co-founded Sandglass Theater with husband Eric in Germany and moved the theater to Vermont in the mid-1980s. Ines started Sandglass Theater’s program for family audiences. Together with Eric, she teaches their approach to puppetry performance and devised composition in workshops in Vermont and abroad. She recently designed the puppets and set for Natan El Sabio, a collaborative project with Teatro Luis Poma in El Salvador. Ines’ puppets and design for Babylon, Sandglass Theater’s newest production, include two of her many crankies. Ines is currently touring in the Sandglass production of D-Generation, An Exaltation of Larks, a piece about people with dementia. She is a UNIMA citation winner and in 2010, received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Brendan Taaffe, Composer
Based in Brattleboro, Vermont, Brendan Taaffe is a composer and multi-instrumentalist whose songs have performed by choirs throughout North American and Europe. Drawing from the cadences of early American hymnody, Taaffe’s choral settings are hymns for the modern world, exploring the same eternal questions of mortality, love, and home from a non-denominational eye. Brendan is the director of The Bright Wings Chorus, and many of his original compositions are included on their three recordings: “Here Below,” “Signs and Wonders,” and “Vineyard.” He is also a frequent leader with Village Harmony and has had work included in the most recent edition of Northern Harmony, a collection of contemporary shape note hymns. Brendan holds a master’s degree in performance from the University of Limerick.
Roberto Salomon, Co-Director
Since 2003, Roberto Salomon has directed the Teatro Luis Poma, the first privately owned theater functioning year-round in his native El Salvador. In Geneva, Switzerland, he has been directing and teaching theater for the past 25 years. This is his third production with Sandglass Theater. Roberto is also the co-director of the recent Natan el Sabio, a collaboration between TLP and Sandglass in El Salvador, a production hailed as “a mouthful of fresh air” in a country currently beset by violence. Roberto is the director of Sandglass’ D-Generation: An Exaltation of Larks, for which we won the Best Director award at the 2013 Puppeteers of America festival.
Jana Zeller, Stage Design
Jana grew up in a family of international puppeteers and started working as a designer and painter for the theater in her teens. As a set painter and designer she has worked for the theater, opera, TV, and the movies, and has designed and built a wide range of puppets. She founded her own puppet company and has created three full-length puppet shows for adults. Her work has been presented in the US, in Canada, in Mexico and in Germany. For the past two years she has been touring with her sister presenting a cherished show they inherited from their mother.
Julian Gerstin, PhD has performed and taught percussion for over forty years, appearing with bands ranging from experimental jazz artist Joel Harrison to punk icon Richard Hell, afrobeat legend Orlando Julius to the Afrocuban folkloric ensemble Iroko Nuevo. In addition to jazz, Julian has studied the traditional music of Cuba, Ghana and Brazil, and especially Martinique, where he lived and researched for two years. Julian’s main current musical project is the Julian Gerstin Sextet, which has recently recorded its CD The One Who Makes You Happy. His compositions for the Sextet combine jazz with rhythms, melodies and instruments from Martinique, Cuba and the Balkans. Julian has published numerous academic articles on the music of Martinique, edited a collection of folklorist
Shoshana refers to herself as one of the “daughters of sand”, and is currently approaching the possibilities of continuing Sandglass Theater’s life into the next generation. Having been raised in a traveling family of internationally acclaimed puppeteers, she has spent her life witnessing and in dialogue with artistic voices of diverse cultures, heritages, and perspectives. Her performance mediums range throughout theater, dance, circus and puppetry which makes her an enthusiastic and flexible collaborator. She is a graduate of Naropa University with an Interdisciplinary degree in performing arts, peace studies and tai chi. Shoshana has performed and choreographed in Poland, the Virgin Islands, Germany, and the United States.
Keila K. “Kei” Ching is an actor, dancer, puppeteer, and queer performance-artist from Honolulu, Hawaii. They are pursuing degrees in both Theater and Dance at Bates College. Kei trained in New York City with the Trinity/La Mama Program, and interned with puppeteer Theodora Skipitares. While in Honolulu, Kei performed in multiple Hawaii Shakespeare Festivals. They graduated from the Mid-Pacific Institute School of the Arts program in 2013 with certificates in both theater and dance. Kei is excited to be making their debut as a puppeteer for Sandglass Theater.
Kalob has performed with Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Alley Theatre (Houston), Main Street Theatre (Houston), Houston Shakespeare Festival, and was an Associate Artist for the Classical Theatre Company (Houston) 2009-2013. He is an MFA candidate in ther Puppet Arts Program at the University of Connecticut, where he created his solo production, “El Beto,” based on MacBeth. Kalob is also a Fight Choreographer.
Raphael Sacks, Ensemble Performer
Raphael Sacks is a singer, dancer and theatermaker from New York City, newly transplanted to Springfield Vermont with his own dance-theater company Loom Ensemble (LoomEnsemble.com), in residence at the Art Monastery Vermont (ArtMonatsery.org) on the banks of the Connecticut River.
Alan White*, Ensemble Performer
Alan White is an award winning storyteller and actor. Who’s been featured on WGBH’s national show “Stories From the Stage” and has performed at the New York International Fringe Festival and, The Tennessee Williams Festival. Alan has performed with New England regional theaters since 2001.