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Featured Artist: Nomadic Theatre Co

Sarah Lianne Foster and Michael O'Neill in their most recent show, "Terrifying Shrubbery."
Sarah Liane Foster and Michael O’Neill in their most recent show, “Terrifying Shrubbery.”

We recently caught up with Michael O’Neill of Nomadic Theatre Co, a veteran Young Audiences ensemble of 11 years! Together with Sarah Liane Foster and Heather Pearl, Nomadic Theatre Co offers a residency in physical theater, movement and circus skills as well as three fast-paced, fun and educational performances. Looking for a performance for Women’s History month or one with connections to history and science? We recommend “How to Fly”!  In addition to working with students, Nomadic Theatre offers a teacher workshop where you can learn to direct your students in movement exploration or work on team building.

How does Oregon inspire your art making? The artist atmosphere is amazing, so much can and has happened in is town since I made it my home in 1999. Every time I turn around there is a new company creating and producing art of some kind, How can you not be inspired to produce!

What fuels your creative practice? The colleagues I have the privilege to collaborate with, and the abundance of theatre I can attend.

If you could be any animal, what would you be? Elephant, their beauty power and kindness are overwhelming!

What is one of your earliest art memories? I think my earliest is connected to sports. I look back at watching Gerry Cheevers, the goalie for the Boston Bruins, in the Boston Garden with my father and realize the artistic specificity of the athlete was mesmerizing.

Sarah Lianne Foster in “How to Fly”

What’s the best thing about being a Young Audiences teaching artist? Working with all ages and populations in the art of clown and circus.

Why is art important to kids? I feel it gives all ages the opportunity to express themselves in a new and interesting venue. The empowerment of self expression through clown and comedy is invaluable. The reaction I have seen when people succeed walking stilts or making an audience laugh is amazing!

What teacher or artist was inspirational to you as a kid? My first clown teacher Yann Montelle back in undergrad was truly a gift to me. He gave me the beginnings of the heart and soul of clown that I have carried around with me for over 20 years.

Sarah Liane Foster
Sarah Liane Foster

Who is your art hero now? Lou Costello is my hero; at a very young age my mother introduced me to him through film and radio shows. I do believe I am who I am today because of watching and listening to Abbott & Costello!

What is a favorite memory of creating or performing? There are so many! I was working with Patrick McGuire and we were juggling 7 rings together and I remember thinking, “I do this for a living.” That was a great moment.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? Math teacher.

To schedule a residency, workshop, or performance with Nomadic Theatre Co, contact School Liaison Josephine Kuever at 503-225-5900 x231 or [email protected].


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