THE COMPANY

David Bower

Artistic Director/Actor, David Bower is a Welsh/English performer. He studied Theatre of the Deaf at Bulmershe College of Further Education. He joined the Basic Theatre Company, played ‘Gary’ in Ray Harrison-Graham's award-winning production "Gary", winning an Edinburgh Fringe First. He studied the newly created art form Signdance as an apprentice performer at Common Ground Sign Dance Theatre from 1989. He tours extensively, performing at major street theatre and theatre festivals worldwide. His films have been screened across the globe at festivals and events. 'Rapid Intervention' was shown at Cannes Film Festival. Radio work includes Quasimodo, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame,’ BBC Radio 4, ‘Shall I say a Kiss,’ BBC Radio 4, ‘Dragonfly,’ BBC Radio 4, ‘A Small Piece of Silence’, 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter', 2020. In July 2013, he recorded the radio version of Bad Elvis with the BBC and played the lead in the stage production. He is an associate artist at the BBC. He played Hugh Grant's brother in Four Weddings and a Funeral directed by Mike Newell and written by Richard Curtis.

Isolte Avila

Isolte was born in Cuba and trained with the Cuban ballet and members of the Alvyn Ailey Dance Company. She has a degree in dance from the California Institute of the Arts. Isolte studied and danced with Ismael Ivo and spent many summers at the wonderful Tanz Impuls Vienna . Shhe also danced with Carlos Ortas's ChoreoArte in Venezula

She is the founder of the art form 'Signdance Theatre' and original pioneer of signdance™ created in 1987.


Since the beginning,Isolte has developed the movement for many of the company's pioneering and award-winning performances.

In 2001 Isolte formed Signdance Collective with Welsh actor David Bower.   Since then she has had the privilege of collaborating with Ana Monro Theatre Company. with Kate Lawrence UK and Ornella D'Agostino Carovana SMI.  Isolte is an international performer, collaborator and movement director at the Signdance Collective.
 

Angelina Schwammerlin (Associate Director)

Angelina Schwammerlin is a contemporary musician based in Graz in Austria. Lila is a sound artist and creates acoustic patterns and soundscapes using live, recorded, natural and digital elements. In 2006, Angelina finished her scientific work "Music as Expression" (Ways of Communication). Lila's band "Henry H" the first album was released in 2013. She trained in immersive theatre with Ana Munro in Slovenia and performed in "Alone in the Crowd".                                                                                
In 2015 she founded the umbrella organisation Transmitter Performance, which produces contemporary culture projects. Angelina has been working with the Signdance Collective since 2012. She composed the soundtrack for "Carthage/Cartagena" and is training with the company exploring methods of working as a musician within a dance-theatre process. The current project "In Between Spaces" is an interdisciplinary live performance that is emotional in both form and lyric.                                    
She says "I love developing work that engages different cultures and art professionals and to have the opportunity to write music and music concepts, especially for the Signdance Collective with their accessible way of creating contemporary live performance.

Lionel M. Macauley

(Sunrise; 1992-Sunset; 2020. RIP)

Lionel M. Macauley sadly passed away at the age of 27. He was born and raised in Franklin, NJ (Somerset County) by parents who migrated to the United States from Sierra Leone/West Africa.
His career in entertainment started back in high school when he was a member of the very popular New Jersey dance team, Team Franklin. His acting career spanned 11 years and he did various projects in and out of the Tri-State area. Lionel's career afforded him the opportunity to tour throughout Europe with Signdance Collective International performing before audiences in places like Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Turkey and London.
Lionel delivered spoken word poetry from 2015, performing at major events in Rutgers University as well as featuring in one of their open mic collectives called Verbal Mayhem. One of his last projects was a spoken word EP released in the summer of 2019.
Lionel was always honoured to have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Signdance Collective as we were honoured to have worked with this brilliant man. We are very humbled to have his art in the company's projects. Rest in Peace always, Dear Brother.

Peter Ositadinma ANI

Peter Ositadinma is a Nigerian(Biafran), based in Sardinia. He's an actor, singer and dancer. He also works as an entrepreneur and is focusing on web development and graphic design. Peter is currently reading computer engineering at the University of Cagliari. When he was very young there was tragic conflict where his parents were killed by an Islamic terrorist sect. After this, Ositadinma lived with his Grandmother in a village called Nenwe in Aninri Local Government Area, Enugu State where he was able to rebuild his life. He recorded his first song when he was just twelve and was well known as 'Natty O', the song was played regularly on a mid-morning show by DJ Aka on Radio Coal City FM Enugu. He then joined the film industry with "Omenigbo" where he worked as an actor and as a collaborative composer/vocalist producing cinematic scores. Later he relocated to Italy and joined Carovana SMI and L'Aquilone di Viviana Compagnia Teatrale di Cagliari for several years before starting at Signdance Collective International. We are very excited to have him on board.

Rob Corcoran  

Rob is a filmmaker and creative producer from Wrexham, North Wales. He is the founder of production company 73 Degree Films and has produced numerous film, arts and community projects. He is currently a member of the BFI NETWORK x BAFTA Crew.
In 2017 Rob founded the non-profit arm of 73 and has also been recognized for his social entrepreneurship, in particular for projects focussed on helping people from North Wales enter the film industry. He is an UnLtd Award Winner and Social Business Wales Awards nominee.
Rob has worked with SignDance Collective since 2018, collaborating on shows including 'The Turtle Trials' and 'In Between Spaces' which have been developed and showcased internationally, including in Slovenia, Austria, Turkey, the USA, and Mexico.
Rob is a BAFTA Cymru member and producer of the FOCUS Wales Film Festival, supported by Ffilm Cymru.

Viviana F. Molinares

Viviana was born in Cuba but moved to the United States as an infant, spending her formative years in Nebraska and Virginia, the latter of which was to greatly influence her life, personality and art. She graduated from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree later taking numerous graduate courses at Florida International University and at Barry University, also in Miami.
Immediately after graduation, Viviana began working as a set/graphic designer for WLTV23, a local Spanish television station. Within a few months she was promoted to assistant art director to the National network (now known as Univision). Here she worked as a set designer locally and abroad as needed.
 

After 18 years of working in television there was a career change. This came in the form of teaching art to Florida Native Americans. It was a very special time in Viviana’s life as these wonderful People accepted her into their lives. This permitted Viviana to pursue her own art.
She was selected by Ford to do a one-woman exhibition in the prestigious Wynwood Art District; created a tabletop set for a Disney Halloween commercial; designed sets for Office Depot, Imagos, Sabor a Mexico, Ford, Homenaje a Lucho Gatica, Cheyenne. Was a featured artist in a Big Brothers Big Sisters “Under Improvement” fund raiser as well as in His House galas.
Viviana continues to paint and create, for commissions or sometimes for pleasure, in her studio in Miami, Florida USA.

artistic collaborators

 

Bianca is a Cuban-American poet and writer currently enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she is studying English and Film studies. She remains immersed in the literary community on campus and is active within the English Learning Community and English Honors Society. She has been published in Mineral Lit Magazine, Marias at Sampaguitas, and Stark poetry journal. She is currently working on her first poetry collection.

Bianca Braswell

Zoe Partington

Co/Director of Dis/Ordinary Architecture works predominately in architecture and design as a creative influencer, consultant and trainer for the cultural sector, as well as a researcher, auditor and creative equality trainer for museums and galleries to develop their skills and experience for meeting the needs of disabled visitors. She believes that in today's changing culture that our environment, both virtual and physical, would be more inspiring by placing disabled artists as creative professionals at the centre. Zoe is a practising artist who uses her sight loss to inform her approach. She uses her installations to develop viscerally-powerful audio-visual and tactile representations of disabled people’s journeys and experiences of moving through spaces using digital engagement.  

Soobie Whitfield

Soobie Whitfield graduated from Trinity/Laban in 1985 with a BA(Hons) in Dance Theatre from Laban. Having spent a few years touring as a founder member of Insight Physical Theatre company, she went on to post-graduate training as a teacher and has enjoyed many successful years in education, as a Performing Arts teacher, director, choreographer, and Head of Department in Buckinghamshire schools and community groups. With a masters from Goldsmiths and experience with some outstanding organizations, Soobie is focusing on freelance work, developing local , national and international  community projects with Signdance Collective, sustainable environment, education, and place. She has been  working with SDC as an international collaborator on the ACE funded TIME projects.  

David D Omni 

David Omni was raised in the Alamar district, east of Havana, which according to David D, is a “young city, formed in the 1970s, as a project.” David D joined Omni Zona Franca shortly after leaving school, feeling at home in a space where according to the artist “I could express my opinions, what I said was important.” Important indeed, as some of Omni Zona’s recordings, including Protesto or Protest, has become a rallying call for a growing pro-democracy, human rights movement on the Communist island nation. His music – which pounds with rap lyrics, but where the cadence of reggae, the energy of rock or techno music, the magic of new age and eastern music can also be felt, with even a touch of African rhythm or even reggaetón suddenly emerging – is contagious and highly enjoyable at the same time that it invites reflection.  Nonetheless, it has provoked scepticism from the more orthodox who refuse to accept it as Hip Hop. Nonetheless, David defends his right to transcend all limits. He terms his innovation “Free Hop".

Ozan Gökmen 

Ozan Gökmen is a director and actor, he is based at the Bornova Municipal Theatre in Izmir in Turkey. He has been working with SDC since 2003 on projects such as Caliban and Miranda and a series of music theatre works with young people.

 Recent projects include Lysistrata by Aristophanes, Happy End, Bertold Brecht, The Irresistible Rise Of Arturo UI, Bertold Brecht, Three Penny Opera, Bertold Brecht, The Little Black Fish, Samed Behrangi, Clacson Trombetta e Bernacchi, Dario Fo. He recently directed UBU ROI at the Municipal Theatre of Bornova to great critical acclaim.
He plays guitar, piano and percussion in several rock bands.

 Ozan straddles the worlds of dance and theatre evenly and is currently the director for the Signdance Collective's production of 'In Between Spaces' a music dance-theatre digital work.

Dr. Kate Lawrence   

 Kate Lawrence trained in dance at Thamesdown and Laban and ran feminist dance company Nomads in the 1990s. She lectured in dance and performance at Bangor and Surrey Universities. At the University of Surrey, she pioneered a vertical dance module fusing her dance background with her long-standing passion for rock climbing. She has taught, performed and choreographed  
throughout the worldIn 2014, Kate established her own company, Vertical Dance Kate Lawrence.  She is passionate about working collaboratively with artists from any discipline and loves working with Sign Dance Collective making vibrant expressive work across many languages and cultures.

Website: http://www.verticaldancekatelawrence.com/
Facebook: @verticaldancekatelawrence
Instagram: @vertical_kate

 

Margarite Kaplan   

Margarite Kaplan is an actress. an acting coach, diction coach, and cabaret Singer. She has a master's degree in theatre from the California Institute of The Arts. Maggie Is the founder of the Living Room Theatre and its artistic director. From 1995-1999 she was the executive producer and artistic director for the  Florida Shakespeare Theatre. From 2000 - 2005 she both produced and directed theatre for children by children and Miami Ensemble Theatre, in 2012 'Mags', directed Signdance Collective's BBC Radio 4 collaboration, ''Bad Elvis'', at The Actors’ Chapel run in Covent Garden and for the UK tour. She has toured with SDC in Austria, Italy, and Slovenia performing in our work for children, and greatly influenced its stylistic development. She supports the work Signdance Collective as an international collaborator. Currently, she is building an ensemble company of actors, writers, musicians, and designers dedicated to new works and offering my community ART. Theatre for everyone.  

Joke Menssink

(Theatre Scientist, Director, Film-Maker, Researcher, Web Site Developer, Archivist and Producer)   

Joke is from Holland. Joke was a part of the critically acclaimed Dutch theatre group, Werkteater focusing on production and background community-based research. She founded several theatre organisations including her favourite, The World of Diagonaal. My work is like an artistic labyrinth, I have my own methodology of process and realisation. With 'Invitation', I have acted as an advisor and director for SDC since they started. I am also a co-owner of an old monastery that has 50 guest rooms and holds an ongoing Performance Art Forum. 
I studied Information and Media and recently reapproached my many websites to produce an archive of my work. I have just developed a community-based movie house and monthly walk-in theatre in Groningen. I was previously based on a barge in Central Amsterdam for many years and now have relocated to Groningen where I have a studio.

 

www.ruebarree.com 

www.unlimitedartscompany.org 

www.menssink.com
 

Richard Pollock

Richard has been a practicing musician for over 40 years and has played lead guitar and keyboards in a number of bands. He ran his own music rehearsal and recording studio and is a sound engineer. Richard has composed music for both band and theatre performances over the years and is currently teaching electric guitar to a wide age range of pupils. His music career has been one of continual learning, exploring guitar technique, electronic instruments, and music theory in order to create a variety of moods and styles. His compositions are rich and complex layering as he builds a tapestry of music that is provocative and enveloping. He enjoys very much the challenge of working creatively with Sign Dance Collective and through improvisation, finding innovative and hopefully interesting ways to communicate additional meaning through musical composition.

 associate Directors

Dave Gray

Creative Entrepreneur Dave Gray has conceived, originated, and realised a unique series of artistic projects bridging business, local authority, education, and the third sector. He established Rampant Dragon Ltd in 2005, setting up collaborative workspace The Foundry, and launching a series of art and music events across North Wales to highlight the skills and talents of creative practitioners.
 

Goro Osojnik

Producer and actor Gorazd Osojnik (nickname Goro) was born on January 20, 1960, in Ljubljana. He studied Spanish and philosophy at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. He is an Actor, cultural manager, and trainer with working experience in Slovenia, Western Europe (the UK, Netherlands, and France), and the Middle East (Turkey, Ukraine). He joined the theatre in 1979 as a playwright. Since 1983, he has been a member, actor, and co-author of the Anne Monro Theatre. From 1983 to 2002, he played and co-authored most of the performances of the Anne Monro Theater in over 35 different performances. In addition, he acted in Slovenian films and in children's plays, several TV shows.
In 1995, he invented the concept of Ana Desetnica, the international festival of street theatre, and in 1996, with the support of the National House, they became a regular feature of the LENT festival program. Since 1998, the Ana Desetnica festival has been taking place in Ljubljana and other Slovenian cities, where he is the leader and chief selector. 

Pedro De Senna

Associate director writer in residence and performer at SDC. He is a theatre practitioner and academic. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, where he started performing in 1993. He has been a member of the Signdance Collective since 2010.

Pedro has worked as a performer and dramaturge for "New Gold", "Half-a-Penny" and "The Other Side of the Coin", he has also acted as assistant director for  "Carthage/Cartagena" and "Bad Elvis". Pedro is writing Oriente Plus and dramaturged the beautiful In Between Spaces for Signdance Collective

He is a lecturer in contemporary theatre and a programme leader on the BA theatre arts course with a special focus on theatre directing at Middlesex University. His academic research focuses on translation and adaptation looking at the relationship between directing, dramaturgy, and disability aesthetics. Pedro’s chapter on the company’s creative processes for "New Gold" is included in Katja Krebs' book, "Translation and Adaptation in Theatre and Film" (Routledge)
His award-winning play "A tragédia de Ismene, Princesa de Tebas" is based on the Theban myth of Oedipus and has been published by Móbile Editorial. 

Ruth Gunstone

Associate director Ruth Gunstone TCert; BEd Hons, MA Education; MA Dist Drama and Theatre Arts.  Ruth worked in higher education for 37 years as a lecturer, Head of Department, and Deputy Dean. Specialist teaching areas are English Literature and the Performing Arts. From 2010 to 2017 was the Director of Student services running a big team responsible for student learning and well-being. Current Trustee for HWBIDCo Town Centre Management Board and Bucks New University Students’ Union.
Ruth has been actively engaged in local Community Arts as a Trustee and Board Member for Wycombe Community Arts Centre. 
Since 2010 January 2018, Ruth took on the role of Wycombe Arts Centre Manager in a volunteer capacity overseeing the day-to-day running of the Centre and organising bookings and scheduling events along with developing the programme of music, performance and creative art initiatives.