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Our Team

Come and meet the neighbors...

Led by a collaborative cohort of international artists, the Neighbors present overlooked social, cultural and historical narratives that challenge the audience to reflect on the current moment. Through a combination of original plays, arts education workshops and dynamic community gatherings, the troupe incites rowdy and rigorous debate at the theatre and throughout the Neighborhood.

CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTORS



JAMES CLEMENTS


James (he/him) is a Scottish writer, performer, theatermaker and arts educator based between New York and Scotland. Clements has performed at venues including La Mama E.T.C., BRIC, HERE and MITU580, and has been on the creative team for projects at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Lincoln Centre LCT3 and the 92nd Street Y. His source-based experimental plays include "The Diana Tapes" (2016), "Four Sisters" (2017), "Beauty Freak" (2018), "MEDEA/BRITNEY" (2019), "Ellis Island" (2021), "The Aliens Make Thanksgiving Dinner" (2022), "TRACES" (2023) and "Brothers in Arms" (2023). These plays have been described by critics as "magnifying" (TimeOut), "intricate" (BroadwayWorld), "compelling" (The Guardian), "affecting" (Playbill) and "intellectual" (Theatre is Easy), and have been performed in cities across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. He has taught at CUNY Queens College and the Wuhan Institute of Design and Science and is an Affiliated Instructor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He is Co-Founding Artistic Director of What Will the Neighbours Say? and Teaching Artist-in-Residence and Entrepreneurship Fellow with the NYU Production Lab and the Brookyln Arts Council. Previous residencies include The Cell, Culture Lab and BRIClab. His work has been recognised by the Queens Council for the Arts, DCLA, NYFA, A.R.T./NY and Creatives Rebuild New York, amongst others. He is repped for film and television by WSM Talent, and recent credits include voicing a national commercial for the 2022 Super Bowl. www.james-clements.com.

SAM HOOD ADRAIN


Sam (he/him) is an actor, director, and producer based in New York City. As a theatre artist, Hood Adrain has worked on stage and off at companies across the country including Trinity Repertory Company, Infinity Theatre Company, Dramatist Guild Foundation, Missoula Children's Theatre, Ithaca Shakespeare Company, HERE, IRT, MITU580, The Flea, Theatre Row, Strongbox Theater, Chickenshed NYC, FRIGID New York and Audible to name a few. He is the recipient of the 2021 BroadwayWorld Best Director of a Regional Production Award for his direction of The 39 Steps at Strongbox Theater. He is a published playwright whose works have been called "heartbreaking ....complex...and thought-provoking" (Theatre is Easy), have been presented in NYC at HERE, The Nuyorican Poéts Cafe and IRT Theatre, toured to Providence and Toronto and produced as a radio play by the Cleveland Radio Players. Recent TV credits include "Search Party" and "Law & Order." Sam is proudly a Co-Artistic Director of WWTNS? BFA NYU: Tisch School of the Arts, Experimental Theatre Wing. He is repped for film and television by WSM Talent and recent credits include a print campaign for Santander Bank. www.samhoodadrain.com

RESIDENT ARTISTS



JOHANNA PAN


Johanna (she/they) is a Costume and Scenic designer for Theatre, Film, Dance and Opera, a textile and visual artist, host and co-producer of the podcast "Dirty Laundry: Unpacking the Costume Closet." Born and raised in Singapore, they currently split their time between New York City and home. They first discovered theatrical design while competing in the creative thinking competition Odyssey of the Mind and has never looked back. They are a proud feminist, lover of vintage clothing and all things related to textile arts. Johanna's artistic practice is centered around decolonizing the imagination, breaking down the notions of feminized labor, and anti-racism. They continue to harbor hope for a more sustainable humankind in the face of adversity and dreams of a future filled with equity, inclusion and diversity. As part of their artistic practice, they are building the curriculum for a decolonized costume history survey class, which was put into practice as a Guest Lecturer at UC Santa Cruz in the Spring of 2020. Johanna is one of the 2022 recipients of the 1/52 Project Grant, the Resident Designer for WWTNS? and a proud member of IATSE United Scenic Artists Local 829. MFA NYU/TISCH, BFA Ithaca College.

PABLO CALDERÓN-SANTIAGO


Pablo (he/him) is a multimedia artist from San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2015 he received a BA in film production with a focus in film photography from Emerson College. He's currently based in Brooklyn and works doing lighting and tech for fine art and commercial photoshoots. Calderón-Santiago started his creative life as an actor with Puerto Rican theater collective Jóvenes del '98 as well as appearances on TV and in commercials. Outside of photography, Calderón-Santiago has directed two shorts, a music video and conducted research and translation for feature-length documentaries.

ELIZABETH STEWART


Elizabeth (she/her) is a New York City based lighting designer whose work has been seen in New York, London, Philadelphia and more, in venues ranging from art gallery basements to off-Broadway theatres. Elizabeth is an Associate Consultant for Charcoalblue LLC, and an alumna of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College in Performance & Interactive Media (PIMA). She is a proud member of the Ring of Keys.

OUR BOARD



SHANI MATOAKA BEKT


Born in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn), Shani Matoaka Bekt (she/her) is a New York-based actor, dancer, choreographer/movement director (Intimacy Captain Certified), singer, and writer. Shani has performed at Radio City Music Hall, Park Avenue Armory, Fortmakers Art Gallery/Studio, The New York International Fringe Festival, The Women in Theater Festival, NJPAC, and Alvin Ailey. She has appeared in the short films "Jenny Joined a Cult" and "Marcy Learns Something New", in addition to choreographing for Perfume Genius' music video "Without You." Most recently, Shani completed the program, Theater of Change, with Broadway Advocacy Coalition and Columbia Law School, combining her love of activism, community engagement, and the arts with a focus on the rights of incarcerated folks.

Shani received her B.F.A. in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and studied in the Meisner, Experimental Theater Wing, and Stonestreet studios. In addition to her film, theater, and vocal training, she has had over 20 years of dance training including ballet, pointe, modern, improvisation, Williamson Technique, post-modern, Gaga, and trained with the Leimay Ludus ensemble.

CORAL COHEN


Coral Cohen is a director, writer, and performance deviser based in Brooklyn. Her work spans multiple forms, mediums and subjects, but is largely defined by an emphasis on creative collaboration and deep engagement with the people and subjects she approaches. In Winter 2019, she produced, conceived, and directed "Between the Threads," an ensemble created movement-theatre piece about Jewish women exploring their relationship to their Jewish culture, traditions, spirituality, and intergenerational trauma at HERE Arts Center. The piece also had a short run in the DC area in Summer 2019. In Fall 2019, she directed a live performance of Hannah Goldman's In the Kitchen, featuring personal storytelling about Arab-Jewish women and culture passed down through food. In Fall 2020, they adapted In the Kitchen into an audio play paired with a recipe box designed by Awafi Kitchen. In Fall 2021, excerpts of the audio play were featured as part of a group installation "I Mean...How Do You Define Safety?" as part of the exhibit "A Fence Around the Torah: Safety and Unsafety in Jewish Life" at the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Most recently, Coral co-created and directed "Third Law," a new immersive game-based performance which was developed at BRIC as part of their Performance Lab Residency and had a workshop production at MITU580 in late 2022 (What Will the Neighbors Say?). Coral also wrote and directed short film "Wresting Place," which is slated to premiere in 2023.

Assistant Directing credits include: Fefu and her Friends (Theatre for a New Audience, dir. Lileana Blain-Cruz); My Heart is in the East (La MaMa E.T.C, dir. Jen Wineman); S 16 Luna Nera (La MaMa E.T.C, Gian Marco Lo Forte). She is part of the SDCF Observership class 2015/16 and 2017/18 and a member of the inaugural Director's Track at the legendary SITI Company Summer Training Intensive in 2018. She is also a freelance events manager who has worked at the Park Avenue Armory, Theatre for a New Audience's Polonsky Shakespeare Center, Lincoln Center, and The Shed. BA-Theatre Arts/Directing, Pace University.

DEVANTE LAWRENCE


Devante Lawrence (he/him) is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. He is originally from East Elmhurst, Queens. He studied acting at Tisch School of the Arts and at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He believes the power of storytelling can help bridge the gaps across humanity. He is thrilled to serve on the board of What Will The Neighbors Say?

THALIA ROMINA


Thalia is an NYC based performer originally from Queens, NY. Graduating from the Experimental Theatre Wing at Tisch School of the Arts, Thalia has been an actor and theatre maker all around NYC and has been a long time collaborator of WWTNS? Since its inception (3rd Law, Agua, Vida y Tierra). When she is not acting Thalia performs stand-up comedy at Broadway Comedy Club and the Tiny Cupboard. Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

JACQUELINE SCALETTA


Jacqueline Scaletta (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based lighting designer, writer, and performer who creates spaces of shared wonder, spirit, and vulnerability. With a background informed just as much by dramaturgy as by optical physics, Jacqueline approaches every design as an investigation, a pursuit of bigger questions, and an occasion for knowledge to be created. A collaborator at heart, she is guided by the beautiful ideas that arise between minds.

Her production of The Universe Will Not Save Me, an exploration of grief, cosmology, and the meaning of eternity, was developed as part of the 2019 FringeCLUB @ Nuyorican, produced by What Will the Neighbors Say?

Select Lighting Design credits include: ONE NIGHT (Target Margin Theater), Galatea 2.0 (Brooklyn Art Haus), Weasel Festival 2023 (The Brick), Third Law (What Will the Neighbors Say?), Ashkenazi Seance (Union Temple, The Brick), His Is A Cage (Columbia University), Alcina REVAMPED (Philadelphia Fringe), MEDEA/BRITNEY (HERE Arts), The Most Oppressed of All, there's a shewolf (Dixon Place), The Universe Will Not Save Me (NYC Fringe). Assistant credits: Die Zauberflöte (New School), P*ssyc*ck Know Nothing (Target Margin Theater), An Iliad (Long Wharf Theater), Witness (West End Theater).

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