Sandy Spieler is a painter, sculptor, performer, teacher, theater designer and director. She is the Artistic Director of In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre since 1976, and is one of the company’s founders.
Her work includes tiny odd shows, main stage theater productions, and the Annual MayDay Parade and Ceremony involving thousands of participants in her diverse home community of Minneapolis, USA. She has directed ceremonial events in South Korea, Los Angeles, and the Dominican Republic, and led residencies throughout the region.
She asks that performance awaken us to the “Wonder!?” of our everyday lives. Sandy feels privileged to work daily with the amazingly creative team of passionate people that cluster around the In the Heart of the Beast Theatre.
Various awards, commissions and fellowships throughout the years have recognized her work. Sandy has an MA of Cultural Performance from Bristol University, England, studied puppetry at Bread and Puppets Theatre in Glover, Vermont, Balinese masked dance at New York University, and is part of the International ECOARTS network.
She is the mother of two wonderful young adults.
Esther Ouray is a puppeteer with a degree in theatre arts and a vast training in dance and movement.
She has been involved with HOBT for over thirty and has worked with the theater in a variety of capacities including residencies.
In addition to working at HOBT, she has worked with a variety of other arts organizations including Zamya, Kids Solidarity Theatre, Illusion Theatre, Interact, At the Foot of the Mountain Theatre, and Voices of Sepharad.
Gustavo Boada is a visual and performance artist with more then 24 years experience working in professional theaters in Peru, Chile, Puerto Rico and the USA.
Gustavo has worked with a number of puppet theaters including, Bread and Puppet, Naylamp Street and Puppet Theater, the Puerto Rican Puppet Theater, and Puppetry in Practice at Brooklyn College as Artistic Director.
This is Gustavo’s sixth year as part of the MayDay artistic staff.
Madeline Helling, Ceremony
Madeline Helling grew up in Minneapolis in a community with a deep-seeded appreciation for creative expression. Only in the past few years, however, did she get involved with HOBT. Her first taste of a MayDay workshop instilled in her a need for more, and so from 2010-2011 she volunteered as an intern at HOBT. She has since created and performed small puppet shows around town such as Melon, Llama and The Snow Fox.
She finds the communal aspect of MayDay invigorating. She is fascinated by the transformative processes included in the work and construction of puppet-making, as well as the embodiment of performance.
She values the versatility of unitards and holds a special place in her heart for fancy hats.
Lindsay McCaw, Parade
Lindsay McCaw has a semi-permanent dwelling in Northern Vermont.
Lindsay is one half of the Dolly Wagglers puppet company.
She also performs with the Bread and Puppet Theater and the Flying Donkey Theater.
Her most recent tour was entitled “The Police State Cabaret.”
Tina Nemetz, Parade
Tina Nemetz is a sculptor. She works in mixed media and cast iron, using native materials and papier-mache.
Inspired by earth and water images, Tina combines the dynamic of the “male” energy of iron with the fragile yet enduring transformation of “female” energy as the perfect juxtaposition. It is the primal fight we wrestle with as human beings on today’s planet.
Building the MayDay Parade while working with many community artists and volunteers is the highlight of Tina’s year!
Mary Plaster, Ceremony
Mary Plaster is a mixed-media artist who has created and taught professionally for over 30 years. Mary saw her first MayDay celebration in the late 1970s and attended many over the decades. In 2008 she was made parade staff and also had a summer apprenticeship with the Bread and Puppet Theatre.
Mary has studied and traveled many places in the world (Mexico, South America, India, Europe) to witness the healing and culturally subversive powers of masks and puppets. She moved to Duluth 13 years ago and is very active in that community, especially as the founding artist of All Souls Night (a Dia de los Muertos inspired festival).
She has been invited to take her own larger-than-life creations across the country to various gatherings and events. She is happy to be back and working on the 2013 ceremony team.
Mark Safford, Parade
Mark Safford has been a puppeteer in the Minneapolis, St. Paul area since 1991 with Galumph at the Jungle.
Since then, he or his puppets have appeared at the Ordway, the Red Eye, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Theater de la June Lune, the Minnesota Opera Co., Bedlam Theater, and in many public parks and riverside squats for the Barebones Halloween Extravaganza of which he was a co-founder and active supporter and participant for the last fifteen years.
When not at HOBT, Mark is usually working for East Side Arts Council, Leonardo’s Basement, or Barebones productions or the Ordway’s Children’s Festival, or other event fundraisers for Barebones Halloween Show.
Lynette La Rue, Ceremony Stage Manager
Lynette La Rue was one of the first professional artists in the Milwaukee area to build larger-than-life puppets for parades, pageants, and a wide variety of stages. Her professional visual and performance work there has included Friends Mime Theatre, Century Hall Company, Andromeda Mime Theatre, Milwaukee Public Theatre, and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Kinderconcerts.
Currently a resident of Minneapolis, Lynette has written and directed large events in the Twin Cities, including co-directing the 2012 Barebones Productions Halloween Extravaganza. She has written, directed, performed, built puppets, masks and/or costumes for professional companies and colleges in Florida, Texas, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. She was a colorist for Discovery Comics and is the illustrator of A Bug’s Gift, which is listed in the American Comic Book Collection.
This is Lynette’s fourth year as MayDay Ceremony Stage Manager. She is a rostered teaching artist for HOBT and serves as the company’s Outreach and Touring Manager. She also teaches part time at Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center.