Terra Diddle Collective is a cooperation of artists, actors, dancers and musicians
of all generations whose collaborative work produces original stage productions.
Led by visual artist and playwright, Kathryn Oliver and
classically trained actor, dancer and musician, Kristi Williamson,
the Collective integrates art and community, enlivening all those involved.
Oliver calls on the spirit of myth as ideas and images form for a production. "The language of myth is universal," she says. "We aim to awaken imagination and cultivate a place where miracles can become ordinary. And when the community participates in creating this for the stage or when they witness it as audience, the whole experience has the power to be transformative." Oliver's passion for nature is clear as many plays carry a theme of Earth as sacred.
Williamson gathers the images and ideas of Oliver's story line and translates them to the stage through original music, narration and choreography. Her talent and ability to inspire the performance of children is one of the unique aspects of any Terra Diddle production. Their current production, The Earth Maiden, calls on a cast of over 40 players, including 30 children, ages 5-15, who participated in dance and song workshops for several months to create the piece.
Sharing the stage and lending to the magical atmosphere of each play are the visual spectacles of Oliver's bigger than life-size puppets, some which require 2-3 people to operate.
Each production draws on a range of local talent to contribute to costuming, sets and performance. "They've got the best artists, dancers and musicians in the mid-coast involved," commented one recent audience member. "It's totally unique, no one else is doing this."
Inspired by a vision of bringing to life the words of Rumi and other timeless poets, this multi media performance combines visual art, modern and world dance and live music.
LEAP was originally created by Kristi Williamson as a short theatrical performance at a gallery opening, for the visual art of Kathryn Oliver. The piece was well received, inspiring Williamson to bring it to a variety of venues and educational centers over the next three years. In summer of 2012, the piece was further developed when commissioned by the Farnsworth Art Museum in alliance with New York City's Lincoln Center Institute. This opportunity allowed for the expansion of the project to include collaboration with other artists. LEAP has grown into a full length performance, centered around Williamson's work, enhanced by Oliver's visual and thematic contribution. Williamson envisions LEAP as an evolving work that serves not only as entertainment, but as an educational tool.