the team

Bess Welden Bess Welden (writer/performer/workshop facilitator) lives and works in Portland, Maine. After graduating from Oberlin College and earning an MFA from the National Theater Conservatory, Bess went on to perform at the Denver Center Theater Company, Williamstown Theater Festival, Mabou Mines, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Hangar Theater, and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. In her adopted home state of Maine she has appeared at Portland Stage, the Opera House at Boothbay, Mad Horse Theatre, Freeport Shakespeare Festival, Freeport Factory Stage, Dramatic Repertory Company and with the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She is the co-writer and performer of four other one-woman plays including The Passion of the Hausfrau, which premiered at Portland Stage in 2009 before touring around the country. Bess wrote the libretto for A Little Miracle, a piece for mezzo soprano and chamber orchestra by David Stock, which premiered at Lincoln Center. In August 2011, she collaborated with Stock again and wrote the book for, Eagle Girl, which premiered at the Steamboat Strings Music Festival in Colorado. During her NYC days, Bess performed frequently as a storyteller, in venues such as the 92nd Street Y, and has taught voice and speech for actors at Vassar College, The School for Film and Television, and the University of Southern Maine. She is currently a Teaching Artist and Guest Director in the Theater and Dance Department at Colby College and performs and teaches regularly in Portland Stage's Theater for Kids program.

Jennie Hahn Jennie Hahn (director/dramaturg/workshop facilitator) is a producer, director and performer with a career focus on community-based practice. Her most recent project was Farms & Fables, an original play and 2011 Map Fund recipient developed in collaboration with Maine farmers. Jennie is the Artistic Director of Open Waters Theatre Arts. Other projects include Choirspeak: The Maine Woods, developed from 50 interviews conducted in five Maine towns, and FeverFest 2008, which included a production of Wallace Shawn’s The Fever and several public events exploring poverty in Maine. Jennie worked from 2002 through 2005 on several productions with Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles, including Center of the Star by Yehuda Hyman and A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters by James Still. Jennie was a student at the inaugural Cornerstone Institute in 2004, and she has trained in Suzuki and Viewpoints with SITI Company members in Los Angeles. Jennie joined the Big Mouth team in January of 2012, and directed the original production for Portland Stage Company's Studio Rep, as well as readings of the play for Little Festival of the Unexpected and the Portland Fringe Festival. She is honored to continue as a part of this timely and relevant project's development. Jennie was born and raised in Thomaston, Maine.

Reba Short (artistic collaborator/workshop facilitator) is the Theatre Artistic Director at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine where she directs young actors in theatre made specifically for kids by kids in a museum setting. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer, serving in Morocco from 2004-2006. Reba recently completed her Masters Degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College and is a freelance director and actor in Portland Maine. Reba is thankful and excited to join the Big Mouth crew in 2014.

Original Production Creative Team

Stacey Mancine Koloski (set/props designer) is a freelance director and designer in Portland. Recent design credits include Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, Lieutenant of Inishmore, and The Late Henry Moss - all for Mad Horse Theater Company; Topdog/Underdog - for Dramatic Repertory Company; Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and The Birthday Party -- both for Acorn Productions; and The Seafarer for AIRE. Stacey studied production design at Susquehanna University, is a co-owner of STAGES: The Performing Arts Academy for Kids and a proud co-founder of the PortFringe theater festival.

Christine Nilles (costume designer) is a designer, fiber artist and illustrator. She designs costumes for Colby Theater and Dance (Metamorphoses, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Cuchulain Cycle, Lysistrata, among others). Christine and Bess' first collaboration was on a 17th-century period production of Tartuffe at Colby College. She also designs regularly for the Waterville Opera House (Jesus Christ Superstar, The Full Monty, Cabaret, Camelot, Oliver and most recently Jekyll & Hyde). Christine is a member of the Costume Society of America.

Chris Fitze (sound designer) has designed sound for Portland Stage Company (main stage and studio), Phoenix Theater Company, the Children's Theater of Maine, Winter Harbor Theatre Company, Boothbay Opera House, AIRE, and is the in-house sound designer for Dramatic Repertory Company. Chris is the Technical Director at Morse High School in Bath and at Waynflete School in Portland.

Emily Dixon (stage manager) has been a very active stage manager in Portland for the past two seasons. Recent credits include: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo with Mad Horse Theatre, Nutcracker Burlesque with Vivid Motion, Topdog/Underdog with Dramatic Repertory Company, and Pink! in PortFringe 2012. She is currently the Technical Director at the Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, VT.

Alex Adams (puppet designer) is the founder and lead puppeteer/ puppet designer of Paper Bull Puppets of South Portland, Maine. Alex has performed in puppet shows in ME, VT, MA and NH and has served as a puppet builder and consultant on productions from Fiddlehead Center for the Arts and other local theaters. Most recently her performed, directed and produced Hansel and Gretel: a puppet opera.

Deborah Freedman (flamenco choreographer) began her dance training at the Atlanta Ballet with dancer and choreographer Marta del Sid. From 1999 to 2000, she worked for The Carlota Santana Spanish Dance Company in New York City in the Arts in Education outreach program. She has since studied in Spain, Canada, and the United States with many renowned flamenco artists. Deborah is a company member of The Flamenco Dance Project in Boston, and performed at the Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out Series in 2011. She teaches both group and private flamenco classes, as well as cultural enrichment classes in public schools throughout New England. In addition to flamenco, Deborah has also studied classical Indian dance both in India and in the United States.