About Vertebra

Visual & Physical Theatre 

Multidisciplinary Performance - Practice - Research

Our work takes inspiration from life as we see it, experience it and imagine it to be. Taking Movement and the Poetic Body as a starting point, as an ensemble of actors - creators, musicians, puppeteers, choreographers and visual artists we create a constant dialogue between our artistic forms and practises and strive to go beyond their boundaries blending Physical Theatre, Dance, Puppetry and the Visual Arts to tell stories that are relevant to a rapidly changing physical and social environment. We research and express the artistic vision of life within us and outside of us. 

​Since its founding year in 2013 the company has collaborated with various theatres (ex. Little Angel Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, etc) and festivals (Voila Europe, Migration Matters) in UK and abroad (Castillo Theatre NY) and been supported by The Arts Council and other organisations. In 2015 we’ve been a residency company at Institute Internationale de la Marionette researching Bunraku Puppetry for community development. In 2017 we made our debut as company in Edinburgh Fringe with our puppetry show ‘Dark Matter’ and was a sold out show at Greenside Venues engaging intergenerational audiences including people living with dementia, carers and professionals raising awareness around End of Life and Dementia and opening dialogues for the taboo subject of death and dying.

 

We are currently developing two projects for Summer and Autumn 2021 season: cHords, a devised piece under the Direction of David Glass (David Glass Ensemble) and Electra, an RnD project under the mentorship of Director Savvas Stroumpos and the guidance of Theodoros Terzopoulos (Theatre Attis).
 

Meet  the Ensemble

Mayra Stergiou

Founder and Artistic Director

Mayra was born in Evia, Greece. She is a Theatre Director, Scenographer and Performance Artist. She trained in Lecoq Devised Theatre and Performance at London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) and in Dramatherapy at University of Derby. She also trained in Bunraku Puppetry and collaborated with prominent artists such as David Glass, Robin Guiver (War Horse), Mem Morrison (Arts Admin), and with the Institute Internationale de la Marionnette as resident researcher. Over the years she has trained in a variety of Physical and Ritualistic Theatre Practices such as Theodoros Terzopoulos Method, Voice Coordination with Grzegorz Bral (Song of the Goat), Directing with Sergei Ostrenko, Choreographic Theatre with Enrique Pardo, Tholpavakoothoo Puppetry, in Martial Arts (Taekwon-Do, Wing Chun) and Contact Improvisation. 

Recent Directing Credits include: Sisyphys Distressing by Metapraxis Ensemble, Two Heads on a first date (Chelsea Theatre), Maggie (Lost Theatre) and Assistant Dir. 'Fine and Dandy' (Arcola Theatre).  She also works as Dramatherapist in social, health care, prison and mental health settings. She is teaching workshops on Devised Physical Theatre,  Embodied Imagination, Bunraku Puppetry and has been a Visiting Lecturer at MA Dramatherapy, Roehampton University (2018). She is currently a PhD candidate at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

www.mayrastergiou.com 

Gregory Emfietzis

Composer / Sound Disigner

Emfietzis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. He has a degree in Music Science and Art at the University of Macedonia. He studied composition with Christopher Fox at Huddersfield University and with Fox, Richard Barrett and Jennifer Walshe at Brunel University.

His music has been performed by leading musicians and ensembles across Europe and North America. Recent performances include, the quintet Fear (not) premiered by ensemble WienBerlin at the Wiener Konzerthaus, the solo cello The Dark Art of Obscurantism -a commission by the London Sinfonietta- performed by Olly Coates, the opera The Darkness of Mistico staged at the Greek National Opera House (Athens), the solo piano DIY 1: the pianist & the lamp performed by Philip Thomas, and Sisyphus Victimised for 9 musicians and video projection premiered by the London Symphony Orchestra’s Chamber Ensemble. Other groups he has worked with include Apartment House (UK), Asamisimasa (Norway), Greek Contemporary Music Ensemble (Greece), London Contemporary Orchestra (UK), Orkest de Ereprijs (Netherlands) and the Quasars Ensemble (Slovakia). In one of his latest projects, Music Impossible, a ‘magnified’ shadow theatre piece funded by the London Symphony Orchestra’s Soundhub scheme and Arts Council (England), a fairytale story is narrated by musicians themselves as acoustic and visual puppets. 

https://metapraxisensemble.com

Piedad Albarracin Seiquer 

Dancer / Choreographer

Piedad is a Spanish artist, born in a city in the south of the country called Murcia. She studied dance at the Professional Conservatory of Dance and Dramatic Art of Murcia. Titled in classical technique (2000-2006) and in contemporary technique (2006-2009). She has a Law Degree (2006-2011), university studies that she carried out at the same time as dance studies.

As a dancer Piedad has worked with national and international artists. In her time in Spain Piedad was a dancer of the Saorin dance company (2006 -2011). Since she moved to London has danced for different choreographers and in different projects and companies. Among them are Abundance (2012), SQxdanza (2012-2015), Watkinsdance (2012), New Movement Collective (2013), Gobbledegook (2013), Protein (2014), Estela Merlos (former Rambert dancer) (2014-2015) and Mbulelo Ndabeni (former Rambert Dancer) (2015), Darren Ellis (2015), Hand Made Dance (2015-2016), Urja Thakore (2016), Terabac Company (2017), Vertebra Theatre (2017/2018) and Patricia Okenwa Dance (2018).

As a choreographer Piedad has done works for both scene and dance videos. Her works have been toured in Spain, England, Holland, Brussels, France, Mexico and Finland. She is currently organizing a project in Murcia as curator for an Alternative Art Space.

Jennie Rawling

Puppeteer /

Production Assistant 

Jennie is a puppeteer, actor and Associate Artist of Vertebra Theatre. She trained at East 15 Acting School, the Curious School of Puppetry and Little Angel Theatre, and has worked throughout the UK and in Australia, Sicily, Russia and Spain. Along with performing she is a drama workshop facilitator, and works in particular with non-native English speakers, teaching English through drama and puppetry. 

jennierawling.com

Our Associate Performers

Depi Gorgogiani

Dancer

Depi is a Dancer and Movement Director. She trained in Ballet and Contemporary Dance at Rallou Manou Professional Dance School in Athens. Depi holds an MA in Movement Studies from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. In 2016 she trained with Jasmin Vardimon Company. Aside her dance training she studied Mathematics at the University of Athens. Depi worked aside the choreographers Imogen Knight and Siân Williams and her theatre credits as choreographer include projects in the UK and in Greece. As dancer she has worked with the choreographers Jorge Crecis, Polly Bennett, Lucy Cullingford, Jo Meredith, David Lakein and Mariela Nestora being former member of her company YELP (2010-2012). She has performed at the Tate Modern for the Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey and she has collaborated with artists from other disciplines such as the visual artist Monika Oechsler. Depi has been part of the Vertebra Theatre Ensemble since 2017. She has also led dance and movement classes at The Place, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Arts Ed, East 15 and other university departments in the UK.  

Aurora Adams

Puppeteer/ Performer

Aurora is an experienced puppeteer, performer, Director and writer. having trained at the famous Little Angel Theatre and working in various forms of puppetry (table top, glove/rod, shadow, object and marionette) in theatre and on screen since 2014. Aurora is confident with lip-synch and monitor work. With a BA in English Literature and Film- Aurora wrote, directed and puppeteered the short puppetry film The Fishsticks in 2016.​ Aurora also wrote, directed and puppeteered the short sci-fi film Preservation in autumn of 2019. Preservation is nearing completion of post-production, but is currently on hiatus due to Lockdown.

Sofia Calmicova   Performer

​Sofia has been engaging in theatre for most of her conscious lifetime. Starting with a regular attendance and participation in children’s shows through to a five year intense participation in a youth theatre program at JES – a renowned Youth and Children’s Theatre in Stuttgart, Germany to finally graduating with a BA in World Performance at East 15 Acting School and working on a variety of projects in different London Fringe Theatres. 

Sofia believes theatre is a strong medium of expression and can reach diverse audiences. It is her mission to tell stories of varied content and cultural background, while focusing on universal human and emotional content. 

Sofia’s training and personal multi-cultural upbringing has taught her that the expression of the body can often mean more than words. Hence striving to create content that can be easily performed everywhere and communicate its message without verbal dialogue.

Stella Evangelia Performer

Stella Evangelia is an Architect, Set Designer and a Physical Theatre Performer. She studied Architecture (University of Patras), at London International School of Performing Arts and “Improvisation & Performance Method” of Marina Mavrogeni. At the moment she studies at the Alexander Technique Center Athens. Clowning is her performing “gymnastic”. She is experimenting in the streets, in varieties and had trained with Gozde Attalay Kokkoris & Panagiotis Kokkoris, Esther Andre, Spymonkeys, John Wright, Mick Barnfather and Maria Pavlidi. She is practicing ballet, contemporary dance, acrobatics and had participate in workshops of Tapa Sudana, Norman Taylor, Song of the Goat, Kitt Jonshon, Jean Jacques Lemetre, David Glass, Stefan Metz, Kosta Philippoglou and received training in mask masking with Alfredo Iriarde. She has collaborated with with Vertebra Theatre (London), Lyrebird Theatre Company (Edinburgh), Up&Down Theater (New York & New Mexico), Ha! Theatre ensemble (Athens), Blue touch Paper&London Sinfonietta (London) and as a guest artist of Dell’ Arte International (California). 

Our Creative Collaborators 

Iria Pizania 

Filmmaker /Producer

Iria Pizania is a London-based award-winning film director and producer with a strong focus on fictional short films. Iria was born and raised in Athens, Greece and studied Fine Arts at the University of Ioannina, Greece where she developed an interest in the history of cinema and in filmmaking. She moved to the UK in 2009, studied Filmmaking at Kingston University and has been producing fictional shorts and films for charities, community organisations and corporations alike since. Thematically, her work as a writer/director focuses on the fears and phobias of children and how they overcome these, frequently with the help of magical elements, a deus ex-machina or an imaginary 'friend'. Iria received the Best Director award in 2012 for her graduation film 'China Doll' from the International Digital Film Festival of Athens,Greece and the Bronze Award for Best International Film from the Kala Samruddhi, India for her film 'Tutu & Pointes' in 2018.

https://www.iriapizania.com

Kelly Frost 

 Puppet Maker

​Kelly Frost is a puppet maker. She has collaborated with Little Angel Theatre as a puppet,  prop  and costume maker for several productions. Most recent "The journey home”, "Paper dolls" and “The night before Christmas”,  “Macbeth"and other. She has also collaborated with Around the Glove for the show “Angeleta and Etelvina.” This is the second time she works with Vertebra after “Dark Matter” in 2015. She is a cat mother, flat shoe wearer and a fabulous auntie that organises puppet workshops for children in schools and community settings. 

Elisabeth Leau

Scenographer

Elisabeth Leau born in the early 90s Athens, Greece, is an artist, architect and scenographer. After studying Architecture at Central Saint Martins in London, she launched her own design brand. The brand focused on the design, production and curation of sculptures and intricate design objects. Elisabeth completed the Scenography and Costume Design course under Maria Chaniotaki with honours. She is currently developing her artistic and scenography projects through various commissions and theatrical productions. Her main artistic focus is on Ancient Greek Drama and Mythology. Her artworks consisting mainly of paintings and large scale indoor and outdoor sculptures, can be found in private collections around Europe. Her work has been described as fresh, eccentric and ahead of its time.

Associate Participatory Artists

Chryssi Janetou

Drama Facilitator

Chryssi Janetou is the founder and creative director of Leadership Studio - a signature experiential journey for leadership development through theatre and the arts. She is also a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins / Birkbeck MBA on the Unit of Leadership & Effecting Change. She also works as a creative coach & drama facilitator as part of Vertebra Theatre.

Chryssi has trained in applied theatre at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and also as an actress with Anastasia Revi (Theatre Lab), Catriona Clancy (City Academy), Mark McGann (Drama Direct Ltd), and Valerie Colgan (London Actors Workshop). She is currently finishing her training to obtain the ILM Level 5 Certificate in Coaching & Mentoring.

As a creative coach and drama facilitator Chryssi works with entrepreneurs, university students, young people and professional execuves to unlock their leadership potential through theatre and the arts.

Erene Kaptani   Participatory Artist

Erene Kaptani is a participatory performance artist, Anthropologist and Dramatherapist and currently a PhD candidate in Sociology and Theatre in University of Greenwich. Her main focus is on participatory theatre as social intervention and as embodied pedagogy. She employs narrative and movement-based methods in her research practice inspired by improvisation, physical and Forum theatre.  She is a member of Playback South Theatre Company and devises performances at Studio Upstairs arts community since 2008. She produced, wrote and performed in Suspended Lives, a play about migrant and refugee lives at Refugee week, Tara Arts and Rich Mix. She is currently creating 'Me? Ijust put British!' ​with ‘Margins to Centre Stage’ Black mothers group. She has published academic papers, visual storytelling and spoken word in journals and media and runs workshops internationally. https://erenekaptani.wordpress.com/

Associate Puppeteers

 

Adam Courting

Almudena Adalia Calvo

Alicia Britt

Doug Router

Daniel Finn

CONTACT US

Vertebratheatre@outlook.com

Registered in England: 13235328

Vertebra Theatre CIC

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon