NEW WORLD

   
Artistic Producer
Cecilia Nadal is founder and Executive Director of Gitana Productions. Since 1997 she has provided the creative vision for all programming including theater, musical and educational investments. Prior to Gitana she started and managed a successful social enterprise for 22 years known as Productive Futures Inc. Cecilia merged all of her interests into the Gitana mission of global healing through the arts receiving local, state and national attention from such organizations as Leadership St. Louis, Women of Achievement, YWCA Women in Leadership, the St. Louis Visionary Award, the national Encore. Org initiative and most recently the “Ethics in Action Award.” In 2017 she was inspired to write “Between Worlds: An American Journey” to provide hope and optimism about the future of American democracy.  

Playwright

Patton Chiles is a playwright, director, actor and educator based in the St. Louis region. During her long career as an artist and arts administrator she has collected four Kevin Kline nominations for Best New Play, a Regional Emmy for Best Video for Young People, and a Marconi award for Best Female Vocal Talent. Patton was the Producing Artistic Director of Historyonics Theatre Company from 1991 until 2005. She has been the Playwright in Residence for Gitana Productions for a number of years earning two Kevin Kline nominations for “best new play.” She loves teaching theater and diversity at Saint Louis University and Washington University.

Vivian Anderson Watt
Actors
Vivian Anderson Watt, Co-Director and Choreographer, Educator, Actress, Dancer, Writer, is a native St. Louisan who trained under Katherine Dunham, Norman Davis, Lenwoo Morris, Archie Savage, and Tommi Gomez in East St. Louis where she worked as Theater assistant/Arts in Education Director at SIUE. She has taught classes for the Dunham Seminar, Lula Washington Dance, Judi Best Dance Academy, Marla Gibbs Academy of Dance, Wren Academy, COCA Arts Institute, Riverside Regional Dance, C.H.I.P.S. (Community Health In Partnership) every Performing Arts Magnet school in St. Louis and at such landmark sites as the historic Inner City Cultural Center in Los Angeles; creating choreography for the 1987 Olympics in Los Angeles. Vivian has been associated with Gitana since 1997 working with such greats as Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Melba Moore, China National Orchestra, Brazilian Virginia Rodriguez, and Japanese Violinist Aska Kaneko, not to mention being dance coordinator for Gitana’s Global Education through the Arts program. Gitana’s production “Complacency of Silence: Darfur” in which she acts and choreographs was nominated for 5 Kevin Kline Awards.

Vivian Anderson Watt
Natalie Walker is an actor, writer and aspiring storyteller earning her BFA in Acting at Webster University’s Conservatory of Theater Arts. Her past credits within the Conservatory include Macbeth, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, and Stage Door. Fascinated by language from a very young age, Natalie runs a self-designed poetry blog and was recently published in Grown Upz magazine.


Natalie Walker
Jessica Alvarado expressed a genuine flare for performing so her mother enrolled her in Janet’s Ballet Dance Studio, a local dance school in Brooklyn. At 17, Jessica decided to enroll at TVI Actor’s Studio in Manhattan where she began taking classes honing her skills. Her multi-cultural background helped her earn spot with Between the Lines Production Company to star in their Audelco Award winning Off-Broadway play called Platanos and Collard Greens. In 2008, Jessica’s dedication and commitment earned her the Sonny Rollins Award for Outstanding Performance. The highest level of recognition one could earn as a member of Between the Lines Production Company. Her recent credits include: “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler, “8” by Dustin Lance Black, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” by Ntozake Shange. Jessica is an original cast member of NEW WORLD and was a lead actress in SOY YO! (I AM ME). Jessica Alvarado
Léerin Campbell is an actor based out of St. Louis, MO. She is a member of the Actors' Equity Association's Equity Membership Candidacy Program (AEA-EMC) and is eligible for her union card. She’s a proud company member with both Fourth Wall Down (St. Louis) and Starbound Theatre (London). She also works as the Director of Advancement with Upstream Theater (AEA Theater, St. Louis). Léerin graduated Cum Laude with a BA in theatre and music minor (harp and voice) from Rhodes College (Memphis, TN.) She has received additional acting training from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (London, England; Acting Shakespeare), Shakespeare & Company (Lenox, MA; Month-Long Winter Intensive), and acting coach Tom Todoroff (Weekend Intensive). Since relocating to St. Louis in 2015, Léerin has worked on and offstage with Upstream Theater, St. Louis Actors' Studio, Bankside Repertory Theatre, Metro Theater Company, Fourth Wall Down (formerly Cocktails & Curtain Calls), because why not? Theater Company, and First Run Theatre. sleerin-campbell
WE THE PEOPLE OF THE PLANET
Musicians
Baba Mike Nelson is a world-travelled veteran of the STL music scene having been shaped by strong family and community influences he now dedicates his time performing , teaching, recording and project based world travel. His present research is ethno musicology and environmental resilience, he is an award winning environmental educator. Starting formal music instruction in the 6th grade by noted Saxophonist Oliver Lake he began his career in the pursuit of being a jazz trumpeter. While in college he began playing professionally. On returning to STL he was introduced to Katherine Dunhams’ training center. There he spent 10 years learning African, Afro Cuban and Haitian drum and dance. He worked with Mrs. Dunham until her death. Baba Mike is noted for his versatility in combining indigenous instruments within modern music and theatrical frameworks. He is bandleader for three working ensembles he has formed and is well known for his shellhorn performances in jazz and traditional settings. Considered a "renaissance man" by his colleagues because of his interest in the arts and science he now spends time traveling to the Caribbean to complete work on a book and multi media project on shell horns.

Baba Mike
Tung is a St. Louis area bassist of jazz, metal, Motown, R&B, alternative, rock and pop. He is also a songwriter, teacher, composer, producer. Tung is in demand for several styles of Latin music. He experiments with development of innovative designs to expand the bass aural range,


Tung
 
Tahira Mari, born Tierra Marie, is from St. Louis Missouri. She is a local Storyteller and founder of Around the World Musical Stories LLC. Her family is of indigenous Native American descent. She founded the business upon her passion for youth, stories, languages and culture. She attended Webster University and studied Scriptwriting, Playwriting and Spanish. Tahira has been exposed to several cultures. Throughout her college years and beyond she made friends with people from over 90 countries all over the world. Upon her yoga teacher training and beyond she submerged herself with Indian and Arab culture throughout learning Arabic, Hindi and visiting mosques and temples.

Vivian Anderson Watt
Gary Sykes is regarded as one of the most versatile and experienced drummer/percussionist in the Region. He is a veteran of the STL jazz and R&B music scene and was a major participant in the Black Arts Movement or BAG of the 1970s. He has been the drummer for “Tracer’ the well-known and popular jazz fusion group. For at least 30 years he has backed up too many famous singers and musicians to name here. He performs regular gigs at the STL jazz hotspot “The Dark Room “with the Ptah Williams Trio.

Gary Sykes
Jerome 'JDubz' Williams is a product of public school music education and private instructions at the then, Community Music school (later renamed, CASA). JDubz, as known by contemporaries, sound is rooted in St Louis' R&B, traditional and avant-garde jazz legacy. In the late 1970's, his co-founded group Millennium opened for the likes of Johnny Griffin, Art Ensemble of Chicago, and many other jazz notables. After a short stint with music luminaries Luther Thomas and Joe Bowie's Human Arts Ensemble, he relocated to New York and performed as a member of world renowned trumpeter Lester Bowie's Sho' Nuff Orchestra, an assembled vanguard of 59 of the most respected living mavericks, now legends of contemporary music. JDubz has been a lifelong student of Diaspora African music, assimilating in his sound both the melodic and rhythmic modalities imbued in the soul of improvisational Black music. In recent years, JDubz performed with the BAG II (Black Artist Group II), Spiritual Revolution Ensemble, Avant Guardians, and performed and recorded with STL Free Jazz Collective as well as working on composing and recording his own works. Besides playing with other instrumentalist, JDubz is improvisationally skilled at accompanying both vocalist and spoken word artist.

Vivian Anderson Watt