White Pines is based on the performance creativity of our ensemble Bright Invention. All White Pines programs and classes are facilitated and led by Bright Invention actors.
Bright Invention incorporates improvisation, movement, silence, texts, music, site specificity and other artistic mediums and creative forms of expression to create completely original material unique to every audience and never duplicated.
Bright Invention seeks to compose a unique group of individuals willing to rehearse and create in an atmosphere of acceptance, growth, professionalism, dedication and creativity. Ensemble members share equal responsibility for teaching, learning, and mentoring and contribute to a “beginners mind” ethos. Bright Invention is dedicated to the deliciousness of the work, we love being together, and we have fun rehearsing and performing.
Bright Invention extends the gift of personalized improvised performance which, in the best moments, feels scripted and leaves audiences stunned, moved to tears and laughter, and unified in their humanity. Bright Invention believes that our stories, relationships, and personal truths are connective tissues that, when crafted and shared, bring seemly disparate people together across racial, social, economic, age, gender, and geographical boundaries.
Bright Invention does not wish to simply create more improvised theater, but rather, to expand the boundaries of the form through experimentation, incorporation of varied artistic mediums, and new ways of interacting with, and soliciting information from, audience members. We are a longform improv company expanding the genre, and dedicated to deepening the connection between the ensemble and the audience in all we do.
Bright Invention works within the mission of White Pines Productions: dedicated to transforming people's lives through performance creativity, by nurturing the citizen artist who is committed to using his/her gifts in service to communities. We are that group of citizen artists, and we are blazing a new trail for the lives of American performing artists.
Aimee Goldstein (Rising Leader, Executive Assistant) is a Philadelphia based singer, actor, and a big dreamer. She graduated from Temple University in 2014, where she earned her B.A. in Theatre with a concentration in acting. While at Temple, Aimee because the founder and President of Jewkebox, a Jewish a cappella group on campus. After graduation, she went on to become the founder of a post-collegiate group, The ChaiLights: Jewish A Cappella of Philadelphia. Aimee has been an assistant teaching artist for acting and musical theater at the Walnut Street Theatre, a summer intern at The Arden Theatre, and the Arts Management/Company Management intern at Bucks County Playhouse for their award winning 2015 season. Aimee is also extremely grateful to have been the Company Manager for the world premiere of A Taste of Things To Come, directed by Broadway’s Lorin Latarro at Bucks County Playhouse in 2016. Aimee brings her multifacetedskills from being both a performer and a company manager to White Pines and Bright Invention as a Rising Leader and a member of Bright Invention! When she isn’t in the theatre or the a cappella world, Aimee enjoys playing classical guitar. Aimee strongly believes in making all types of music, theater, art, and dance readily available for people of all ages and from all walks of life. She is excited to this by working with Bright Invention!
Benjamin Lloyd (Artistic Director Bright Invention, Founder White Pines) created White Pines Productions on 2009. A year before that he performed in the 2008 Philadelphia Live-Arts Fringe Festival in LEAP, a long-form improvisation show directed by Bobbi Block. So in 2013 he co-founded Bright Invention with former Artistic Director Jennifer MacMillan. Ben has produced and directed several independent theater productions: in New York; Beckett3, Extras and Q1 Hamlet; in Philadelphia, Psycho Drama, Eccentrics and William di Canzio’s Johnny Has Gone for A Soldier, the first White Pines Production; in New York City, Life Without Parole, Please!; in Scotland, Psycho Drama; in The Czech Republic, The Dreamer Examines His Pillow. In 2013, he directed White Pines’ two world premieres: Jerry Perna’s The Music You Remember and Martha Kemper’s Luckiest Kid. Since 1994, Ben has performed major roles at many of Philadelphia's finest theaters, including the Wilma, Bristol Riverside Theater, Walnut Street and People's Light. His second novel, The Deception of Surfaces, was published in July 2011. It is a follow up to his first book The Actor’s Way: A Journey of Self-Discovery in Letters, published by Allworth Press in May 2006. He is also the author of various articles and pamphlets on theatre and Quakerism. He has a B.A. in Theater Studies from Yale College and an M.F.A. in Acting from the Yale School of Drama, and he lives in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
Bob Stineman has been an actor/musician/producer /director/writer/performer for the better part of two decades now. An honors graduate from the University of the Arts with a focus in Acting, he has been seen performing throughout the Tri-State area with groups including Candlelight Dinner Theatre, The Bradywiners, Plays and Players, The Covered Bridge Theatre, Luna Theatre Company, as well as participating in workshops, readings, and full productions of new work through Philadelphia New Play Workshop, Philadelphia Theatre Company, and The Philly Fringe Festival. Some past credits include: Soldier Bear (Peytr; World Premier); This is Not About 9/11 (The Voice; Philadelphia Premier & New York run), Broken Wing (Adam), Traveling Light (Brian Epstein; Philadelphia Premiere), Mosque (Felix; World Premiere), LoneStar (Roy), Measure for Measure (Angelo), The Shape of Things (Adam), Travesties (James Joyce), Pippin (Pippin), The Crucible (Proctor), and Bachelorette (Jeff; Philadelphia Premiere). Bob is also one of the founding company members of Bright Invention, White Pines Production’s long-form improv troupe. From 2012 to 2014 he served as the Managing Director for Simpatico Theatre Project, working hand-in-hand with the Producing Artistic Director, Allen Radway, and helped them bring to the stage The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey, The Lysistrata Project by P. Seth Bauer, The Brothers Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney, and In a Dark, Dark House by Neil Labute. Bob also serves as both an associate producer and casting director for Common-Factor Studios, an independent film company operating out of the Greater Philadelphia area. When not working in the theatre world, Bob can be found serving as an accountant and financial consultant. He has had over seven years of experience in accounting and finance within the for-profit and non-profit worlds, and looks forward to bringing insight, new understanding, and profitability to White Pines Productions as its Director of Finance.
Brian Anthony Wilson is thrilled to be a new member of Bright Invention! Recent Theatre: I Am Not My Motherland (Orbiter 3 @ Lantern) , The Last Jimmy (The Drake/Grand Performances, L.A.), A Fierce Kind of Love (Christ Church Theatre), Driving Miss Daisy (Act II Playhouse) & All My Sons (People's Light). Film/TV : How To Get Girls, Title VII, Sollers Point, Creed, Crooked and Narrow, The Benefactor, Voiceless, Zombie Killers, Limitless, Keeping The Faith, The Postman / The Jim Gaffigan Show, Blue Bloods, Allegiance, Broad City, Unforgettable, The Sopranos & The Wire.
Daniel Ison has been loving his time working in Philadelphia as an actor, musician, and videographer. He holds a bachelor degree in music composition from Eastern University. He has worked as an actor in theatre on Three Sisters, Stick Fly, Metamorphoses (The Adren); Tartuffe (Commonwealth Classic Theatre); Luckiest Kid (White Pines Productions). As an actor in TV and film in The Great Experiment (History Making Productions); Discover This! (Mike Rowe); It's Always Sunny (RCG), Take 5, and My Own. As a sound designer he has sound designed For Colored Girls, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Marate/Sade, Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Temple University Theatre). He has written music for The Glass Menagerie, Tartuffe (Commonwealth Classic Theatre); The Matter of Frank Schaeffer, Othello (Curio Theatre); Our Town (Eastern University Theatre); Luckiest Kid (White Pines Productions); and Living in Exile (Philadelphia Experimental Theatre Ensemble).
He is looking forward to creating with Bright Invention!
Gavin Whitt is a performer/writer who holds a BA in Theatre from Temple University and a Master in Acting from East 15 Acting School in Loughton, U.K. He has appeared inproductions with Everyman Theater, Fraction of Fools, JazzBridge and Ambassador Theater in D.C where he was afforded the opportunity to perform for the Embassy of India for writer and poet Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birthday celebration. He presented an original man showThe Orange Hair at the 5th Annual Solow Fest in 2014. When not performing Gavin enjoys running competitively in various cross country and road races
Jerry Perna (on hiatus through 6/15/17) is a founding ensemble member of BRIGHT INVENTION, and is also the Director of Senior Programs for White Pines. Our premiere Senior Initiative project, WHO WE ARE, a collaboration between White Pines and Federation Housing was directed by him. As a member of Actors Equity Association and SAG/AFTRA, he has appeared in dozens of professional theatre productions, award-winning films, commercials and TV shows, alongside many renown performers. For the past 15 years Jerry has been a facilitator/director of creative arts programs for the Senior and Special Needs populations, through his company PLAYING FOR LIFE! Creating opportunities for people to give voice to their own stories, much of Jerry's work as a playwright also deals with the issue of 'Human uniqueness and the struggle for Personal Dignity in a rapidly changing world'. Among the over 20 Devised Theatre projects Jerry has facilitated are a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Lodz uprising, for Teatr Horcyzy of Torun, Poland, as well as projects for The Arc of North Philadelphia, Upper Darby Performing Arts, West Catholic High School and Senior Community Services of Delaware County, Pa. Jerry has enjoyed creative residencies with The Field, the Philadelphia Dramatists Center and The Rotunda at The University of Pennsylvania. A produced playwright since 1996, his original show/play SEVEN MEN FROM NOW, was presented by the Intrepid Theatre Company of Philadelphia and produced as a live webcast by the NEW CENTURY TV Network. His fantastical serio-comedy with music, THE MUSIC YOU REMEMBER premiered in October, 2013. Produced by White Pines Productions through a Wyncote Foundation grant and directed by White Pines' founding producer, Benjamin Lloyd, THE MUSIC YOU REMEMBER has since been acquired by The Great Stage Publishing Company. Among his teachers, Jerry is a student of groundbreaking artists such as Florence Keady Ullrich, of The American Lab Theatre; Phoebe Brand, of The Group Theatre; avant garde theatre pioneer Joseph Chaikin; actor and performance artist Anna Deveare Smith; off-Broadway pioneer Gene Frankel and Frances Chaney-Lardner of The Neighborhood Playhouse. He holds a graduate degree from the American Conservatory Theatre, in San Francisco.
Katherine Perry is a Philadelphia based actor and teaching artist. She is absolutely elated to be joining the White Pines family and to work with these incredible people! In her non-White Pines time Katherine is a company member of Simpatico Theatre Project and serves as the Director of Audience Services & Engagement. She also works in the marketing department of Arden Theatre Company and is a teaching artist with Arden Drama School. Katherine teaches with Theatre Horizon in their after school and Autism Drama Outreach programming. She's busy. Get over it. Katherine graduated from Lehigh University with a BA in Psychology and Theatre and has studied with the British American Drama Academy. Things that make her happy: bourbon, dogs, and minty fresh breath. Pet peeves: when someone's nose whistles with each exhale aka nose flute - gross. Follow her on twitter! @KayPear.
Kelly McCaughan, born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been working in Philadelphia as an actress, teaching artist, and writer for the past 6 years. Kelly graduated with a BFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is an actor and writer for an award winning sketch comedy group and has participated in NYC, Montreal, and Baltimore sketch fests. Kelly most recently wrote her own one-woman show called Catholic Guilt and performed it for this year’s SolowFest in Philadelphia. Catholic Guilt will also be performed at White Pines for Bright Nights in November and is currently being submitted for Fringe Festivals in the US. This fall, Kelly will be playing the role of Katerina in EgoPo Classic Theater’s Philadelphia premiere of Delirium.
John Schultz is a Philadelphia based actor and theatre maker, or something like that. He studied theatre at Eastern University and has been freelancing about Philadelphia ever since. In last year's Fringe Festival, he produced and directed his first independent project, Till Birnam Wood... an immersive take on Macbeth where the audience experienced the play completely blindfolded. He has worked with various companies in Philly, including Quintessence Theatre, Curio Theatre, Philadelphia ShakespeareTheatre, Theatre Horizon, SCTC, Brainspunk Theatre, Hedgerow Theatre and Walking Fish Theatre. He also spent three seasons touring abroad with Teatro delle Due, an Italian Shakespeare company.
Leah Holleran has felt so lucky these past two years to find an artistic home in the performance community of Philly! She graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2012 with a major in Theatre and minors in Music and Creative Writing. Since then, she spent the past 3 years performing in national tours with Enchantment Theatre Company (and last year, Company Managing the tour of Harold and the Purple Crayon in addition to playing Harold!). Now that she’s off the road and settling in to Philadelphia to stay, she is so grateful and excited to be able to make Bright Invention a part of her life. She is trained in acting, dance (ballet, tap, jazz), voice (she will always have a soft spot for musical theatre, her first doorway into the performance world), and since recently, circus aerials (trapeze, ropes, silks), and has worked and performed in Philadelphia with Enchantment, Tribe of Fools (Antihero, Two Street), Luke Allen Productions, Curio Theatre, The Stagecrafters (catch her now through Oct. 11 in Mauritius!), and Vulcan Lyric (regional premier of Heathers: the Musical). Her latest endeavor has been co-creating a satirical sort-of-but-not-quite-counter-protest/street performance in support of Planned Parenthood, which has really affirmed for her that art can make a difference; and she can’t wait to continue giving back as a part of Bright Invention!
Michelle Pauls is an actor, director, singer and Managing Artistic Director of B. Someday Productions. She currently oversees and helps facilitate Of Mythic Proportions, the Barrymore Award-winningstorytelling performance project with students from Kensington high schools, and The Family Theatre Series, an interactive, literature-based performance program for children (2-7) and their caregivers. This summer she travelled to New Mexico, where she started a summer acting camp on the Navajo reservation in Thoreau, NM. She has worked as an actor and director with many Philadelphia area companies including Iron Age Theatre, Curio Theatre, Luna Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theater. Recent acting credits include Fool for Love, Twilight’s Child, The Good Puppet of Szechwan, Adventures in the Skin Trade, The Rocky Horror Puppet Show, Electra, Moby Dick - Rehearsed, and more. Michelle attended LaMaMa Umbria Directors Symposium in Spoleto, Italy where she worked with world class directors and designers such as Anne Bogart, Joanne Akalaitis, and trains in para-theatrical work with Theatre Dzieci in New York. She teaches acting and playwriting in various schools and community centers in Philadelphia and works as an Acting and playwriting teaching artist. Coming up: a starring role in her first horror feature film, DEADLY GAMBLE, performing her Cabaret act at various venues in the city, developing new works with the Philadelphia Dramatist Center. Michelle lives and works with the writer/director Stan Heleva and their daughter, Astrid Heleva above their theatre, The Walking Fish in the New Kensington section of Philadelphia.
Shea Sonsky is a Philadelphia-based actor/singer/all-around creative-type. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Theater with a concentration in acting and a minor in English Literature from Skidmore College in 2015, where she discovered her love of improv and sketch comedy as a member of the Ad-Liberal Artists. With the Ad-Libs, she participated in the Chicago Improv Festival College Tournament, the Brown University Comedy Conference, and four National College Comedy Festivals. Outside of the Ad-Libs, Shea spent her time at Skidmore performing in theatrical productions, workshops and student films, while dabbling behind-the-scenes in directing and makeup design. She also spent a semester studying Shakespeare at the British American Drama Academy in London. Locally, Shea has completed internships at the Hedgerow and Arden Theatres, and taught theater at the Upper Main Line YMCA’s summer programs. During the Fall, you can find her among the ghosts and ghouls haunting Eastern State Penitentiary’s nationally acclaimed Terror Behind the Walls attraction. Outside of the theater world, Shea enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her rescue dog, Lulu, hanging out in nature, and picking apart TV shows on the internet. As someone who is passionate about improv and committed to making the arts accessible to all people regardless of gender, race, age, ability or socioeconomic situation, Shea is absolutely thrilled to be a part of Bright Invention.
Jennifer MacMillan, co-founder of Bright invention,
Artistic Director 2013 - 2015
Jenn is a full time working actor/director/theater educator. She holds a BFA in Acting with highest honors, from the University of the Arts, and is a founding and longtime member of premier Philadelphia based long form improvisation company Tongue & Groove. Jenn appeared as a special guest speaker and performance artist on WHYY’s Radio Times, and has performed improvised shows at Temple University, Ursinus University, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Wilmington Fringe Festival, at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts as a part of thePhiladelphia International Festival of the Arts (2011and 2013), at Philadelphia Theater Company, and for countless improv festivals and venues across the country.
Jenn has studied with master improvisers Joe Bill of the Annoyance Theater and Bobbi Block of ComedySportz, Lunch Lady Doris, and Tongue & Groove. Jenn has been teaching improvisation at The University of the Arts in the Pre-College and Saturday Institutes since 2005 where she is also undergraduate acting faculty teaching acting for non-majors, audition technique, business of theater, solo performance, and co-teaching Freshman Acting Studio. This spring Jenn will co-teach a new course entitled The Meditative Act alongside a long-time practitioner of Zen meditation, Steve Antinoff. Additionally Jenn is a member of the acting faculty at The Actors Cross Roads Studio, has led improvisation master classes at CAPA and Cherry Hill East High Schools, and coaches private acting students.
The following performers acted and rehearsed with Bright Invention and their contributions to the ensemble are lasting.
Langston Hamilton Darby, Eva Farrell, Daniel Student, Ed Swidey, Kristin Norine, Kevin Chick, Josh Totora, Martha Kemper, Emily Gibson, Sarah Knittel