I'm Stephen

From the moment I sat backstage at an Ashe County Little Theatre production of “Annie”, I knew the creative pulse of live performance was the world for me.

After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1994 with a BA in Dramatic Art, I moved to New York City. Within three weeks, I landed a job as tour manager for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and traveled the world for the next four years producing live performance on a large scale.

Since, I’ve performed Off-Broadway, directed and produced my own work in NYC multiple times and, in 2012, founded and produced an annual performing arts festival in Brooklyn, titled the BEAT Festival.

With the BEAT Festival, I dove into the world of immersive performance head first. Our annual opening night event, was a massive and sprawling “Choose Your Own Adventure” style performance in the Brooklyn Museum. All artists in the festival were present, and placed in varying locales across the massive Museum building. Audiences in the thousands would enter and receive a “treasure map” of the Museum with all the artists locations marked with an “X”. To see video clips of our opening night events, please explore these three links (2013 | 2014 | 2015)

One of our signature events took place in 2014, and it showed me the power of immersive theater. The show, “Crossing Over”, was done in partnership with the Green-Wood Cemetery and invited audiences on a moving adventure through Green-Wood at night. Along the path, various site-specific dance performances took place including a stunning installation by “Leimay” and flamenco dancer, Elisabet Torras Aguilera concluding the trek deep in the catacombs. Needless to say, it was a fascinating experience and audiences loved it.

My view is that immersive experience and performance is the current space of mass innovation in theater and dance. More and more, people crave experiences outside the standard box of sitting and watching something play out on a stage or screen. My main interest now is creating performances where people can experience themselves, and others, in ways that pierce the individual veil allowing for a new and unique experience of ones self.

Currently, I am building the world of “Portal”, a moving immersive experience. Our first production took place in Boone, NC in the fall of 2022. My aim is to design and direct multiple “Portal” adventures around the world and have 5 in place by mid-2028. As part of this production, I am currently building a prequel show titled the “Luminaries Ball”. This is a more portable experience, taking place in one locale. This will premiere at the Apple Barn in Valle Crucis on June 8th, 2023.

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