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“The creative act is not hanging on, but yielding to a new creative movement. Awe is what moves us forward."

~Joseph Campbell

Who We Are

BEGINNERS


For 30 years, KALA IVERSEN SMITH has practiced theatre as a field for expanding consciousness. After experiencing traumatic loss as a teenager, Kala found refuge in nature and theatre, which illuminated the unseen connection between all beings, and offered her a space for wild renewal between darkness and light.

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As an actor, Kala’s empathic portrayal of edge-dwellers led to collaborations with many NYC theatre visionaries, including Joe Chaikin, Adrienne Kennedy, John Belluso, and Estelle Parsons. Most influential was Arthur Penn, who directed her at the Free Theatre in a two-year improvisational process Penn described as “organized chaos.” Influenced by Black Mountain College, Stanislavski’s final years, and Playhouse 90, this approach departed from analytical mechanisms and honed trust of the actor’s cellular impulses, to open spontaneous reciprocity with the audience.

Liberated by this non-linear, more feminine way of working, Kala founded Visible Theatre in 2000, to provide a process space for a diverse community of actors and writers outside commercial constraints. For over a decade, Kala learned alongside artists with and without disabilities in weekly labs, developed new plays, and launched five groundbreaking True Story Project, which debunked sentimental tropes and received NYSCA, DCA, and NEA grants. Visible created intersectional happenings in shelters, cafeterias, hospitals, farms, lounges, New York City Hall, storefronts, galleries and, sometimes, theaters. Creating social and political theatre led Kala to a faculty position at Johns Hopkins University and the opportunity to support the mission of its Theater Arts and Studies Program: to humanize future leaders.

By 2007, Kala had become a mother of three, which began to restore her connection to her Danish wise-woman lineage. In order to create in a more direct relationship with the Earth, she re-launched Visible Theatre as Hearthfire, a non-profit retreat center on traditional Munsee Lenape and Wappinger land, near the Hudson River. Hearthfire offers a home for creatives to remember their sacred role as change-makers and to nourish their gifts in nature.

Over ten years of animist wisdom training, mentoring, and retreats with women, artists, justice leaders, somatic therapists, ecologists and educators, Kala continued to stretch outside convention. Working primarily with survivors of trauma, she began scoring group experiences. These designs synthesized theatre-making, eco-spirituality, clowning, and grief ritual into a distinctive form of communal interactive theatre: Wonderstory.

Kala (Krista Smith) has her BFA in Acting from Boston University and an MFA in Acting from The New School for Social Research. She is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.

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MICHAEL QUATTRONE is a singer, songwriter and seeker whose greatest curiosity and most profound learning are sparked at the threshold between inner life and outward expression. By honoring his journey in music and poetry, and sharing his passion for the creative process, Michael encourages others to raise their voices, express their gratitude, and live in harmony.

(expand)

Michael's background in performance and theatre includes a degree from Northwestern University and training from the best master teachers in New York City. His exposure to the innovative rehearsal process of Arthur Penn led to eleven years with Visible Theatre, where, as an actor, teacher and producer, he witnessed and helped catalyze the courageous growth of a diverse company of actors and writers dedicated to authentic presence and spontaneity.

Each of us is an artist of our days;
the greater our integrity and awareness,
the more original and creative our
time will become.
~John O' Donohue

On the visiting faculty of the Theatre Arts and Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, Michael developed a curriculum for his class on the history of modern theatre and drama to support Director John Astin's mission for that program: to foster humanity, compassion and imagination in future leaders of the world.

Michael's study and practice of poetry include a fellowship and Masters degree from the New School, many publications, including an award-winning chapbook, Rhinoceroses, and four years as a curator of the KGB Poetry series in Greenwich Village, during which time he hosted more than one hundred emerging and established poets who shared their poetry before an intimate audience at a legendary venue.

Michael's twenty-year practice of singing and writing songs has been a crucible for personal discovery and devotion. To share that practice more widely, he performs with Hearthfire's cross-disciplinary ensemble, One River.

Most vital to his work with Hearthfire is Michael's experience as co-creator and father of a family of five. Ongoing conversations with his ancestors, his wife, Kala, and his children teach Michael about what it means to carry forward a meaningful legacy, participate fully in the human family, and how to create a home.

(collapse)

STEWARDS


JACK ALGIERE was born and raised in southern Rhode Island on a family homestead. Exposed to the depth of nature and music at a young age, he has continued to maintain his practice in these fields. As a young naturalist, he worked as a park ranger in RI State Park and volunteer in Costa Rica, and began to work as a greenhouse grower and vegetable farmer.

(expand)

Finding relationship to the natural system in this work, he developed organic, ecological and biodynamic practices to complement his philosophy. During this time, Jack continued to study and perform as a drummer and percussionist through a variety of classical and jazz ensembles. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in plant science and horticulture, he continued with his wife and partner Shannon to develop various sustained agricultural projects in Colorado, California and Connecticut. As agriculture absorbed his life, the music became a mode of personal expression.

Jack and Shannon moved to New York in 2003 to develop and manage the farm system at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture including greenhouse, field crops, flower and herb production and natural system management. This environment has allowed Jack to expand the development of his practice and share the work with others through various forms of training, apprenticeship and volunteer opportunities, as well as public awareness concerning the health of our community and food system. He and Shannon have two young sons, Sedge and Ojiah.

After many years as an ecologically-minded farmer, educator and husband, he continues to develop this holistic approach to life and work through related family, community and artisanal activities.

(collapse)

SHANNON ALGIERE brings her earth element to the Hearthfire as an herbalist in the Wise Woman tradition, with 16 years of experience in organic gardening and community building through food and farming.

She brings her fire to the hearth with her connection to drumming and lifelong training in dance. Her study of traditions in weaving and spinning fiber is translated into the gift of movement and fluidity throughout group space.

(expand)

She brings her air to the hearth with her love of yoga, and daily practice of mindfully mothering her two beautiful children. Shannon also brings her experience of more than 15 years in a loving partnership with Jack, and with this the co-creative process of intimacy within the sacred and the mundane.

Shannon's spirit is warmed by the sharing at Hearthfire, as we acknowledge and discover the interconnected way that we may walk our dream visions.

(collapse)

PETER LYONS has found connection with the natural environment throughout his life. Peter grew up in the Boston area and after graduating from the University of Vermont ventured west, seeking a setting where he could immerse himself in the endeavors he loved most: back country skiing and windsurfing. He called the Teton Mountain Range and the Columbia River Gorge home before returning to Boston and beginning his professional life.

(expand)

A sailor and windsurfer since childhood, Peter wanted to share these passions with others. Once back in Boston, he served for four years as the executive director of Community Boating, the nation's oldest and largest public sailing school with the long held mission to advance "sailing for all" by minimizing the economic and physical obstacles of the sport. Under Peter's direction, the summer youth program cost just $1 and served approximately 1500 kids. The adult sailing program taught more than 3000 adults to sail each season. During his time on the Charles River, Peter also sponsored the first competitive girls rowing program, offering inner-city high school girls the opportunity to row, develop a better understanding of themselves, and use the experience as a springboard to college.

Eventually, Peter's interest in the creative process led to a career change. After studying at Mass College of Art, Peter spent twelve years working for WGBH, Boston's public broadcasting station, and the largest producer of TV and Web content for PBS. Beginning as a graphic designer, Peter eventually became associate creative director. His clients included many of WGBH's award-winning productions: Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, Design Squad, Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, Martha Speaks, Peep and the Big Wide World, ZOOM, and Boston Public Radio. While at WGBH, Peter received two Emmy nominations for his creative work.

Peter brings to Hearthfire his interest in using the creative process, heart and earth centered energy work, and a shamanic inspired practice as tools to access individual wisdom and awareness of the universal web that connects all things. He also sees this work as a vehicle to support conscious leadership and the evolution of environmentally and culturally sustainable practices.

(collapse)

CHRISTOPHER REED is in hot pursuit of being fully alive on the sacred earth, day by day, and devotes himself to learning and teaching how to walk with gratitude for all that life, and the wonders and rhythms of nature, have to offer. He is the co-founder of Jersey City Lacrosse, a non-profit, youth sports organization committed to enriching and nurturing the lives of boys and girls through experiences of personal growth, community, and alternatives to consumer culture and mass media, while teaching and honoring the Native American origins of the great game of lacrosse.

(expand)

Christopher's journey of heart opening includes twenty years as an actor, which took him to London for classical training and to New York City for an MFA. He appeared in many commercials, plays and independent films, but found deepest satisfaction with Visible Theatre, where his intention to embody his vitality on stage was met with an open-minded approach and fierce commitment to the creative process.

Christopher's work as a mentor began with a life-changing initiation in the Catskill Mountains with Richard Rohr and Males As Learners and Elders, and has deepened and blossomed over the course of two intensive rites of passage with the Hero's Journey Foundation in West Virginia.

Christopher is grateful for his wife and partner of twenty years, their creation of a life and home together, and for their three children, who are beautiful, soulful and wise companions.

(collapse)

Next: Our Board
“The creative act is not hanging on, but yielding to a new creative movement. Awe is what moves us forward."

~Joseph Campbell

Who We Are

BEGINNERS


For 30 years, KALA IVERSEN SMITH has practiced theatre as a field for expanding consciousness. After experiencing traumatic loss as a teenager, Kala found refuge in nature and theatre, which illuminated the unseen connection between all beings, and offered her a space for wild renewal between darkness and light.

(expand)

As an actor, Kala’s empathic portrayal of edge-dwellers led to collaborations with many NYC theatre visionaries, including Joe Chaikin, Adrienne Kennedy, John Belluso, and Estelle Parsons. Most influential was Arthur Penn, who directed her at the Free Theatre in a two-year improvisational process Penn described as “organized chaos.” Influenced by Black Mountain College, Stanislavski’s final years, and Playhouse 90, this approach departed from analytical mechanisms and honed trust of the actor’s cellular impulses, to open spontaneous reciprocity with the audience.

Liberated by this non-linear, more feminine way of working, Kala founded Visible Theatre in 2000, to provide a process space for a diverse community of actors and writers outside commercial constraints. For over a decade, Kala learned alongside artists with and without disabilities in weekly labs, developed new plays, and launched five groundbreaking True Story Project, which debunked sentimental tropes and received NYSCA, DCA, and NEA grants. Visible created intersectional happenings in shelters, cafeterias, hospitals, farms, lounges, New York City Hall, storefronts, galleries and, sometimes, theaters. Creating social and political theatre led Kala to a faculty position at Johns Hopkins University and the opportunity to support the mission of its Theater Arts and Studies Program: to humanize future leaders.

By 2007, Kala had become a mother of three, which began to restore her connection to her Danish wise-woman lineage. In order to create in a more direct relationship with the Earth, she re-launched Visible Theatre as Hearthfire, a non-profit retreat center on traditional Munsee Lenape and Wappinger land, near the Hudson River. Hearthfire offers a home for creatives to remember their sacred role as change-makers and to nourish their gifts in nature.

Over ten years of animist wisdom training, mentoring, and retreats with women, artists, justice leaders, somatic therapists, ecologists and educators, Kala continued to stretch outside convention. Working primarily with survivors of trauma, she began scoring group experiences. These designs synthesized theatre-making, eco-spirituality, clowning, and grief ritual into a distinctive form of communal interactive theatre: Wonderstory.

Kala (Krista Smith) has her BFA in Acting from Boston University and an MFA in Acting from The New School for Social Research. She is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.

(collapse)


MICHAEL QUATTRONE is a singer, songwriter and seeker whose greatest curiosity and most profound learning are sparked at the threshold between inner life and outward expression. By honoring his journey in music and poetry, and sharing his passion for the creative process, Michael encourages others to raise their voices, express their gratitude, and live in harmony.

(expand)

Michael's background in performance and theatre includes a degree from Northwestern University and training from the best master teachers in New York City. His exposure to the innovative rehearsal process of Arthur Penn led to eleven years with Visible Theatre, where, as an actor, teacher and producer, he witnessed and helped catalyze the courageous growth of a diverse company of actors and writers dedicated to authentic presence and spontaneity.

Each of us is an artist of our days;
the greater our integrity and awareness,
the more original and creative our
time will become.
~John O' Donohue

On the visiting faculty of the Theatre Arts and Studies Program at Johns Hopkins University, Michael developed a curriculum for his class on the history of modern theatre and drama to support Director John Astin's mission for that program: to foster humanity, compassion and imagination in future leaders of the world.

Michael's study and practice of poetry include a fellowship and Masters degree from the New School, many publications, including an award-winning chapbook, Rhinoceroses, and four years as a curator of the KGB Poetry series in Greenwich Village, during which time he hosted more than one hundred emerging and established poets who shared their poetry before an intimate audience at a legendary venue.

Michael's twenty-year practice of singing and writing songs has been a crucible for personal discovery and devotion. To share that practice more widely, he performs with Hearthfire's cross-disciplinary ensemble, One River.

Most vital to his work with Hearthfire is Michael's experience as co-creator and father of a family of five. Ongoing conversations with his ancestors, his wife, Kala, and his children teach Michael about what it means to carry forward a meaningful legacy, participate fully in the human family, and how to create a home.

(collapse)

STEWARDS


JACK ALGIERE was born and raised in southern Rhode Island on a family homestead. Exposed to the depth of nature and music at a young age, he has continued to maintain his practice in these fields. As a young naturalist, he worked as a park ranger in RI State Park and volunteer in Costa Rica, and began to work as a greenhouse grower and vegetable farmer.

(expand)

Finding relationship to the natural system in this work, he developed organic, ecological and biodynamic practices to complement his philosophy. During this time, Jack continued to study and perform as a drummer and percussionist through a variety of classical and jazz ensembles. After graduating from the University of Rhode Island with a degree in plant science and horticulture, he continued with his wife and partner Shannon to develop various sustained agricultural projects in Colorado, California and Connecticut. As agriculture absorbed his life, the music became a mode of personal expression.

Jack and Shannon moved to New York in 2003 to develop and manage the farm system at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture including greenhouse, field crops, flower and herb production and natural system management. This environment has allowed Jack to expand the development of his practice and share the work with others through various forms of training, apprenticeship and volunteer opportunities, as well as public awareness concerning the health of our community and food system. He and Shannon have two young sons, Sedge and Ojiah.

After many years as an ecologically-minded farmer, educator and husband, he continues to develop this holistic approach to life and work through related family, community and artisanal activities.

(collapse)

SHANNON ALGIERE brings her earth element to the Hearthfire as an herbalist in the Wise Woman tradition, with 16 years of experience in organic gardening and community building through food and farming.

She brings her fire to the hearth with her connection to drumming and lifelong training in dance. Her study of traditions in weaving and spinning fiber is translated into the gift of movement and fluidity throughout group space.

(expand)

She brings her air to the hearth with her love of yoga, and daily practice of mindfully mothering her two beautiful children. Shannon also brings her experience of more than 15 years in a loving partnership with Jack, and with this the co-creative process of intimacy within the sacred and the mundane.

Shannon's spirit is warmed by the sharing at Hearthfire, as we acknowledge and discover the interconnected way that we may walk our dream visions.

(collapse)

PETER LYONS has found connection with the natural environment throughout his life. Peter grew up in the Boston area and after graduating from the University of Vermont ventured west, seeking a setting where he could immerse himself in the endeavors he loved most: back country skiing and windsurfing. He called the Teton Mountain Range and the Columbia River Gorge home before returning to Boston and beginning his professional life.

(expand)

A sailor and windsurfer since childhood, Peter wanted to share these passions with others. Once back in Boston, he served for four years as the executive director of Community Boating, the nation's oldest and largest public sailing school with the long held mission to advance "sailing for all" by minimizing the economic and physical obstacles of the sport. Under Peter's direction, the summer youth program cost just $1 and served approximately 1500 kids. The adult sailing program taught more than 3000 adults to sail each season. During his time on the Charles River, Peter also sponsored the first competitive girls rowing program, offering inner-city high school girls the opportunity to row, develop a better understanding of themselves, and use the experience as a springboard to college.

Eventually, Peter's interest in the creative process led to a career change. After studying at Mass College of Art, Peter spent twelve years working for WGBH, Boston's public broadcasting station, and the largest producer of TV and Web content for PBS. Beginning as a graphic designer, Peter eventually became associate creative director. His clients included many of WGBH's award-winning productions: Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, Design Squad, Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, Martha Speaks, Peep and the Big Wide World, ZOOM, and Boston Public Radio. While at WGBH, Peter received two Emmy nominations for his creative work.

Peter brings to Hearthfire his interest in using the creative process, heart and earth centered energy work, and a shamanic inspired practice as tools to access individual wisdom and awareness of the universal web that connects all things. He also sees this work as a vehicle to support conscious leadership and the evolution of environmentally and culturally sustainable practices.

(collapse)

CHRISTOPHER REED is in hot pursuit of being fully alive on the sacred earth, day by day, and devotes himself to learning and teaching how to walk with gratitude for all that life, and the wonders and rhythms of nature, have to offer. He is the co-founder of Jersey City Lacrosse, a non-profit, youth sports organization committed to enriching and nurturing the lives of boys and girls through experiences of personal growth, community, and alternatives to consumer culture and mass media, while teaching and honoring the Native American origins of the great game of lacrosse.

(expand)

Christopher's journey of heart opening includes twenty years as an actor, which took him to London for classical training and to New York City for an MFA. He appeared in many commercials, plays and independent films, but found deepest satisfaction with Visible Theatre, where his intention to embody his vitality on stage was met with an open-minded approach and fierce commitment to the creative process.

Christopher's work as a mentor began with a life-changing initiation in the Catskill Mountains with Richard Rohr and Males As Learners and Elders, and has deepened and blossomed over the course of two intensive rites of passage with the Hero's Journey Foundation in West Virginia.

Christopher is grateful for his wife and partner of twenty years, their creation of a life and home together, and for their three children, who are beautiful, soulful and wise companions.

(collapse)

Next: Our Board