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Ferry Beach Park & Retreat Center
Ferry Beach is a place of unsurpassed
beauty with 900 feet of beachfront in Saco, Maine (close to Portland,
ME airport, and not far from Boston and other airports) offering respite
away from the everyday world. It is a collection of meeting spaces,
wide porches, an art and pottery studio, an outdoor chapel, a
performance space, many gathering places and a wonderful dining hall.
For over thirty years Joseph has been creating poetry, short stories, novels, anthologies, and music that reflect his Abenaki Indian heritage and Native American traditions. He is the author of more than 120 books for children and adults. The best selling Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children and others of his “Keepers” series, with its remarkable integration of science and folklore, continue to receive critical acclaim and to be used in classrooms throughout the country.
True Story Theater
Christopher and Anne Ellinger founded, direct and perform with the 24-member improvisational Playback Theatre ensemble, True Story Theater. True Story has done hundreds of shows and workshops in the greater Boston area, including with the inner city youth, cancer survivors, climate action groups, social justice organizers, expressive therapists, global philanthropists, and more. Christopher and Anne started Playback North America, a network serving 76 Playback Theatre companies in the U.S. and Canada. Previously, they ran two national nonprofits focusing on transforming the culture of generosity: More Than Money and Bolder Giving. Their book, Getting Along: Skills for Life-Long Love, shares lessons from 30+ years living and working together. They also co-authored A Playback Theatre Toolkit, with 300 pages of handouts drawn from artistic, company, and business development aspects of being part of their artistic ensemble.
Ensemble members joining TST for the conference include Tonia Pinheiro, Jason Jedrusiak, and Mary Elizabeth Wheeler:
Tonia Pinheiro (upper right headshot) is an intuitive improvisational actor, singer, sound healer, group facilitator, and author. Tonia is founder of Wake Up! Works, Iseeu Theater, is a founding member of True Story Theater, and is author of Sweet Water Shadow Woman, a memoir by Toni Kelleher.
Jason Jedrusiak (left) is a performance and multi-media artist, improvisational actor/director, yoga and meditation instructor, photographer, poet, and clown. Jason also directs Laughing Matter, a non-profit dedicated to spreading laughter to those in need.
Mary Elizabeth Wheeler (right) is an improvisational songwriter, song leader, singer, and teacher with 22 years in Authentic VoiceWork. Co-creator of the SpiritSong process and the Mystic Soul CD, she directs Indigo River, an organization dedicated to bringing the authentic voice to life.
Mahogany L. Browne
Mahogany is an Executive Editor at The Offing, a Cave Canem, Poets House & Serenbe Focus fellow and author of several books including NAACP Image Award nominated Redbone. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and Australia. Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada's The Word and UK's MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Apogee, Literary Bohemian, Joint & The Feminist Wire. She co-organizer of #BlackPoetsSpeakOut, founder of Women Writers of Color Reading Room (housed on Pratt Institute) & is an Urban Word NYC Poet-in-Residence (as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices). Mahogany earned her MFA degree from Pratt Institute (inaugural class) and serves on the Board of Trustees for Pratt Institute. Mahogany is currently co-editing Black Girl Magic (Haymarket, 2017), is the Poetry Program Director of the Nuyorican Poets Café and lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Susan Bennett-Armistead, PhD
Susan is an Associate Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Maine. She completed her doctorate in Teacher Education, Curriculum and Policy at Michigan State University with an emphasis in early literacy, while serving as the the Program Supervisor of the MSU’s Child Development Laboratories. Prior to doctoral study, she was a preschool teacher and administrator for 14 years. Dr. Bennett-Armistead speaks internationally on literacy development in young children as well as on the role that families can play in that development and is the co-author of several published books. She is the early literacy consult both to Maine's Raising Readers and Save the Children. Dr. Bennett-Armistead lives in Bangor with her husband and four of her 6 children.
Musician in Residence
In some ways Roots R&B/Americana singer/songwriter/piano player/guitarist Kelley Hunt is a rarity and a challenge to the music industry's penchant for easy artist definitions -- a woman who has muscled her way onto the scene on her own terms with an identity steeped in blues/roots/gospel traditions and a refreshing originality. She makes music with it's righteous roots intact that also crosses boundaries, has an open-minded, exploratory attitude, and takes on social and political issues. Together with a commanding, passionate stage presence and superior vocal, keyboard, and songwriting skills, she has earned the respect of critics and fans across North America and Europe.