Physical theatre artist and she-wolf-in-training Laura Careless was born in the UK and received her early training at the Royal Ballet School, White Lodge. She moved to the US to attend The Juilliard School Dance Division, and upon graduation joined New York’s Company XIV as a Founding Member. She performed with XIV for over a decade as a Principal Performer, creating lead roles in shows recognized by the Drama Desk, New York Independent Theatre and Bessie Awards. Other recent appearances include Rusalka with the Metropolitan Opera including a live international broadcast, and Kes Reimagined with Choreographer Jonathan Watkins and Director Ross MacGibbon for the BBC.
Her own one-woman works tell the stories that she wishes she had grown up with, but didn’t. They have toured extensively from a fishing village in Alaska, to a rooftop in Capri, Italy, to a church hall on the Isle of Wight. Support for this work has been generously provided by The Turkeyland Cove Foundation, Acadia Projects, and Upstate Production Services/THE CHURCH. Her choreography has been performed by Circus Juventas at the National Mall, Washington DC as part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival; by Eliot Feld’s Ballet Tech at The Joyce Theatre NYC; and in Nero, an original opera by Jonathan Dawe at Columbia University.
Laura is a passionate educator who believes that self-expression through movement is our birthright. She was on the faculty for the New York Public School for dance for ten years, and now serves as a Dance Curriculum Specialist and Dance Faculty Lead for Juilliard Global’s K-12 programmes. She has choreographed and coached movement for performers at the Donmar Warehouse, Canadian Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, Theatre For A New Audience (NY), and Circus Juventas. Body Story, her album of movement meditations for all, is now available on iTunes. She teaches physical storytelling workshops for people of all ages and movement backgrounds, and enjoys frequent kitchen dance parties with her husband, conductor Ryan McAdams and their baby son Owain.
She-Wolves is dedicated to Caroline Fermin.
Helen Castor is a historian of the middle ages and the sixteenth century and a Bye-Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. Her book She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth was widely selected as one of the books of the year in 2010, and was made into a television series for BBC Four in 2012. Since then, she has written on Joan of Arc (2014) and Elizabeth I (2018). She has worked extensively for BBC TV and Channel 4, and presents Radio 4’s Making History.
Jonathan Watkins recently reimagined George Orwell’s modern classic 1984 as a new full length production for Northern Ballet. It went on to win him the award for ‘Best Classical Choreography’ at The National Dance Awards (Critics Circle) 2016 and ‘Best New Dance Production’ at The South Bank Sky Arts Award, 2016. It was broadcast on BBC Four.
Born in South Yorkshire, Jonathan trained locally before attending The Royal Ballet School. He graduated earning a place with The Royal Ballet in 2003 where he danced and created many roles. Jonathan made his international debut at the New York Choreography Institute in 2008 with his creation of NOW on New York City Ballet; this piece was subsequently nominated for presentation at The Linbury Studio Theatre in 2009 by The Royal Ballet. Further international commissions include Eventual Progress for Russia’s Ekateringburg Ballet Theatre, with a new orchestration of Micheal Nymans ‘Water Dances’ in 2013; Present Process for Ballet Manila, Philippines in 2014 and CRASH for Texas Ballet Theatre in 2015. He created A Northern Trilogy for Northern Ballet’s 45th Anniversary Gala and Mixed Programme, 2015 and Musance a collaboration with The Hackney Colliery Band and dancers from The Royal Ballet performed at Sadlers Wells Theatre for The Ann Maguire Gala. His original dance theatre work Kes, based on A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines, premiered at the Sheffield Crucible in 2014, with Laura interpreting the role of the kestrel.
His far-ranging artistic interests have also led to choreographic work such as; Beyond Prejudice and Free Falling created for The Curve Foundation and performed both at The Brunton Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Abstract Balance with East London Dance, combining ‘street dance’ styles with classical vocabulary and and Together Alone for Ballet Black in 2012. He has also directed movement for plays at the National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and Royal Court.
Learn more at www.jonathan-watkins.com
Belle Mellor is an award-winning freelance illustrator and animator working from Brighton. Her most prolific area to date has been the editorial field, where she relishes the speedy deadlines, idea generation, and interaction between text and image. A growing passion for movement and sequential thinking led her to an MA in animation at the Royal College of Art, and her films have been screened at animation festivals worldwide.
Jeff Takacs is a writer and actor based in Dallas, Texas. As an actor, his credits include the movie Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen Brothers, and Girl’s Guide to Depravity on Cinemax. He has written and adapted many plays and live performance texts, including nearly a dozen shows for the award-winning Company XIV. He and Laura worked and performed together there for many years, including originating the lead roles Nutcracker Rouge, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience.
Bisan Toron is a vocal artist and voice teacher. Born in Syria and raised in Paris and New York, Bisan studied classical voice performance at NYU and holds masters in Ethnomusicology from the University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, where she focused on the topic of music, identity, and the ‘search for home,’ through the fusion music of refugee populations and ethnic minorities. She did further studies in voice and improvisation with the Roy Hart-based company, Pantheatre, in France.
Bisan’s music is informed by a multitude of cultures and vocal traditions, which she threads with vocal articulations that arise from the moment. Her debut CD is entitled Backstage Reveries, Voice Sketches by Bisan Toron and her second album, Toward the Roar was released in 2015. Recently, she was the featured vocalist on the soundtrack for the acclaimed film, NYsferatu, which she performed live at the 2017 Rome Film Festival.
Bisan was voice professor at ESADIB, National College of Dramatic Arts in Mallorca, Spain from 2008-2010. She currently performs and teaches independently across the United States and Europe and makes her residence in Richmond, VA.
Learn more at www.bisantoron.com
Anne Careless has been making clothes and costumes for her daughter for over thirty years, from Laura’s first stage costume (a very expressive demon for Carrabosse in the Sleeping Beauty) to her wedding dress. Her costumes have appeared on the stages of the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. Anne loves being involved in creative projects; these have ranged from running a Performing Arts Department in an Isle of Wight school with extra curricular groups receiving recognition at national level, creating a parterre garden for her Jacobean home which was featured in Good Housekeeping magazine and her current involvement as a Library Team Leader in Gloucestershire Libraries’ Art of Libraries initiative.