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Theatre, Dance and Performance Technology

Guest Artists and Residencies

Guest artists and artist residencies enhance the learning experience of our students in a rich, diverse and collaborative spirit.

Spring 2018: Guest Artist Steve Connell

Steve Connell is an actor, poet, and transformative entertainer whose live performances are as dynamic as the words he delivers. He has entertained at private performances for President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, and Norman Lear, amongst many others. His work has been seen on ABC, HBO, MTV, and performed live at places such as Sundance, TEDMED, Kennedy Center, and The White House. Corporate giants like Sony/Universal, Pioneer, Farmers and Gap Inc. are just a few of the many organizations amazed by Steve’s ability to be highly entertaining while explaining key messages and complex thoughts.

Steve’s newest major work, Transit Space, touring the world in two languages, was commissioned by the Music Center and created with the renowned Diavolo Dance Theater, and he just completed his first film, the universe is chewing, co-starring Troian Bellisario. His latest spoken word piece We Are the Lions, amassed over 8 million views before being performed live at the United Nations and he is actively working with his band Kill The Poets on their debut album. You can learn more about Steve and his work at

Spring 2017: Collaboration with UpLift Theatre

Guest artists from UpLift Physical Theatre spent a five-week residency with the theatre, dance, and performance technology program in spring 2017. The group worked with students and faculty as they prepared to present "Enmity of the People."

About UpLift Physical Theatre

"We're challenging the students on so many levels: to approach theatre physically instead of psychologically; to rehearse with a highly diligent work ethic; to be present and active for 3-5 hours at a time; to think critically about Ibsen's play as written; and to devise a well-crafted adaptation. Not only are they meeting these challenges with enthusiasm and grace, but they're constantly surprising me and inspiring me as an artist. This is a true pleasure."

- 2017 UpLift Managing Director, Nicholette Routhier

Founded in 2013, UpLift Physical Theatre is comprised of a group of actor-acrobats trained in ensemble-based physical theatre at Dell'Arte International in Blue Lake, California. The ensemble's work focuses on human interaction and relationships through image-based storytelling.

UpLift is a collaborative collection of international movement theatre artists whose stories are told through the momentum and visceral engagement of our living bodies. Our unique style pushes the edge of human ability by weaving original, ensemble devised works of theatre with hand balancing, tumbling and equilibrium into compelling stories of human interaction, where a simple intake of breath becomes an uplifting cathartic experience. The visual, physical language of uplift expresses a poetry of the senses, which envelops the audience in a sensuous, image-rich world, which will evoke laughter and tears and is always suitable for all ages.

UpLift’s 5-week residency was put into motion because of the benefits we as the TDP saw for our students. This opportunity gives the students the rare chance to work in a setting that resembles that of a professional company. By working in ensemble, the students work side by side with UpLift and Zoot Company members. The nature of devising an adaptation brings the entire cast and crew together in the rehearsal room to create the piece together, each having equal representation throughout our process. Each ensemble member has the freedom to study and express their views on the characters, costume, lighting, set, and sound design, writing, deciding which scenes are important to develop, and which themes compel us the most. We are a liberal arts institution that truly believes in the preparation and growth of our students into functioning and prosperous members of our society. Having our students work with highly regarded artists respected in their field is as good as it gets for all involved.


Nicholette Routher is a founding core member and 2017 Managing Director of UpLift Physical Theatre. She received her MFA in Ensemble-based Physical Theatre from Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre in 2010 and worked as the School Administrator and faculty member until 2014. She has since produced “The Vagina Monologues” in three U.S. cities as a part of V-Day, the global movement to stop violence against women, and lived in a tipi in the Wisconsin woods for a year at ReWild University. She currently lives on an urban farm in Oakland.

Alyssa Hughlett (2017 Artistic Director) holds a BFA in Acting from Texas State University, San Marcos, and an MFA from Dell’Arte International School of Physical and Ensemble-based Theatre. Alyssa was an actor and education artist at Shakespeare & Company (2005-2009). In 2013, she assisted Irina Brook at the National Theatre of Nice on the production Peer Gynt. She is a faculty member at Dell’Arte International teaching movement and acrobatics.

Hannah Gaff is an international movement-theatre creator, clown, and teaching artist based in San Francisco. Compelled by the transformative power of the theatre, Hannah seeks to create visceral poetic work with the capacity to shift perspectives and provoke a deeper understanding of our shared human experience.


Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program

Fitz Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2945