Executive Director White Pines Productions, Artistic Director Bright Invention
Benjamin Lloyd founded White Pines Productions in 2009 with his production of William di Canzio's play Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier (which gave the company its name.) Since then it has grown from a small company presenting play readings and classes, to a more substantial non-profit offering
- studio classes in the performing arts for youth, adults, and people with special needs,
- public performance series in several disciplines
- original work in long form improvisation
- gallery shows for graphic artists and installations by multimedia artists
- White Pines Access programs off-site, such as corporate training, programs for schools, Stepping Out, and the Senior Theater Initiative.
With Jennifer MacMillan, he co-founded Bright Invention: The White Pines Ensemble in 2013. Bright Invention performs long form improvisation, and Ben is currently the Artistic Director of the ensemble. From 2009 to 2012, White Pines was in residence at the Elkins Estate, a 42 acre gilded age mansion and estate in Elkins Park, PA. Under Ben’s direction, White Pines initiated many site-specific programs to compliment the estate and engage with its extraordinary beauty. This work culminated in a 68 page Business Scenario Planning Report White Pines commissioned to study the possible scenarios in the estate’s future. From 1994 - 2013 Ben acted professionally on every major stage in the Philadelphia region, as well as in New York City, Edinburgh Scotland, Portland Oregon and other places. 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.
Director of Education
Dani Bryant is an experienced process facilitator, community arts educator and devised method playwright. In addition to creating and teaching theater, she is passionate about facilitating social practice events and discussions on the topics of mental health, gender parity, and food & body politics. As a facilitator & community arts educator, she specializes in leading community conversations through adaptive listening, dialogic practice, devised theater techniques, and radical engagement strategies. Originally from Tennessee, she attended The University of North Carolina School of the Arts , received her BFA from the Hartt School of Theater and spent 9 years in Chicago working in the store-front theater scene and arts education field. She is the proud founder of Knife & Fork and is the former Education Manager at Adventure Stage Chicago. www.danibryant.com
Director of Finance
Robert Stineman (member, Bright Invention). Bob 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: 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 original company members of Bright Invention, White Pine’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 serves as an accountant and paralegal for Simon & Simon, a personal injury firm based in Philadelphia. He has had over seven years of experience in accounting and finance within the for-profit and nonprofit worlds, and looks forward to bringing insight, new understanding, and profitability to White Pines Productions as its Director of Finance.
Director of Senior Programs
Jerry Perna (member, Bright Invention) is a Philadelphia playwright/actor, the creative director of the PLAYING FOR LIFE! company, and White Pines Productions' Director of Senior Programs. As a facilitator of collaborative creative arts programs for the Senior population at all levels of cognition, as well as, persons living wth physical & intellectual challenges, Jerry aids in giving creative expression & empowerment, to often-neglected and voiceless populations. His work, featured in local publications and NBC-10 TV, has served nearly 20 different assisted living communities and non profit organizations, including The Alzheimer's Association, Inglis House, The Gershman Y, Easter Seals and Federation Housing.
Education Outreach Coordinator
Alexandra Spadoni is a working actor and teacher in Philadelphia. She recently returned to her hometown after six years of working and training in Chicago. Her work as the lead role of Charlotte in Curio Theatre's production of Antagonyms put her on DC Metro Arts Best Performances of 2016 list. She can be seen in the feature film The Falls Covenant of Grace as the role of Adina which is available on Amazon, Vimeo and Netflix. In Chicago she has worked with such companies as Theatre Wit - Midwest Premiere of Completeness by Itamar Moses, Dog and Pony Theatre Co - Whole World is Watching at Victory Gardens, Oak Park Festival Theatre Seascape by Edward Albee, as well as Chicago Dramatists, Adventure Stage Chicago, Straw Dog and The State Theatre. She is highly influenced by the ensemble traditions of Chicago theatre, her extensive study of the Meisner technique and her training in numerous physical theatre pedagogies which include Williamson, Michael Chekhov, Le Coque, Fitzmaurice, Alexander, Viewpoints and Clown. She has also trained at iO in Chicago. Alexandra has had a fortunate upbringing as an actor under the direction of some of America's legendary acting teachers. She spent two years as an intern for Master teacher Janice Orlandi at The Actor's Movement Studio in NYC, a mentorship which lead her to attend some of the final classes taught by the great Robert X. Modica at Carnegie Hall. She also studied privately with Suzanne Shepherd of Soprano's fame. In Chicago she has studied with directors Dexter Bullard and Shade Murray as well as Shakespeare with Jeffrey Carlson and Susan Hartt. Alee completed the two year Meisner professional training program at Gately-Poole Conservatory under the direction of Kathryn Gately and Richard Poole. She holds a BFA from the University of the Arts. Alee is passionate about new play development. She loves reading new plays and prides herself in having a large ever growing library of fresh contemporary text available for her students. When she's not acting she enjoys combing thrift and vintage stores for treasures, drag queens, finding treats in chinatown and cooking homemade meals some of which she shares recipes for on Instagram @soupwitches in collaboration with one of her best friends.
Lighting Design Consultant
Julia Novack is a Brooklyn-bred, Philadelphia-based lighting designer and technician. She graduated from Skidmore College in 2015, with a BA in Psychology along with a French minor, where she was also adopted into the theater community, fairly late in the game. She fell into lighting design, discovered a love for it and ended up co-designing the second production in the world of Stupid F**king Bird (A sort-of adaptation of The Seagull) with her friends. It was fully student run, and really demonstrated how a group of artists with different skills could get together and create a successful result. This is something that drew her to White Pines and she is excited to be a part of the company! She moved to Philadelphia in September for a Board-Op gig, with the hopes of staying and furthering her lighting design and theater tech career. She must have gotten lucky, because she appeared in the city having never patched a light to a console and could now teach basic console programming, skills she brings with her as a Rising Leader! Assistant design credits include: Ephemeral (Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet, 2016), Jamaica (New Freedom Theatre, 2016), Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope (New Freedom Theatre, 2016). Lighting design credits include Once Upon A Mattress (Bristol High School, 2016), Twelfth Night (The Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, 2016) and most recently, Much Ado About Nothing (White Pines and Pulley and Buttonhole Theatre Company, 2016). She is excited to be a part of the White Pines and Bright Invention team, where she gets to do what she loves: to have fun with lights and be part of a creative community.