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FOUNDERS

Dan Cotterall

Pedras no caminho? Guardo todas, um dia vou construir um castelo

Dan studied literature in Wellington, New Zealand (BA 1st class Hons) and at Oxford (M.Phil). Prior to getting involved in Já, he was a management consultant for over 25 years, living in the UK, China, France and Tunisia. He is also the author of four books published in China on language learning.

His decade in China saw him flex his acting chops on stage as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, ‘A’ in Beckett’s Rough for Theatre 2 and Tito in Lend me a Tenor. His most recent appearance on the Chinese cultural scene was as UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie in the tv series Diplomatic Situation, due for release in October 2020.

In Já productions, he has played Smirnov in The Bear, Simone in A Florentine Tragedy, Lambert in Pinter’s deliciously acerbic Celebration and the Salesman in Iphigenia in Orem.

Margarida Rocha e Melo

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action”  – Hamlet, Act III Scene II

Margarida is an actress, journalist, scriptwriter and stage director. After a literature degree at NOVA University, a journalism course at Cenjor, and drama studies at the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema in Lisbon, she completed an MA in Text & Performance at King’s College and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

Margarida runs Drama workshops at Católica University. Recently she wrote and staged the original play Pessoa, First Person Plural. She also created an original play for her students called Bill.

She has played Lady Anne in Shakespeare’s Richard III, Rosalind in As You Like It, Christine in Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and the title role in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata among other roles. But it was as Elena Popova in Chekov’s The Bear that she met her ‘matches’ and together founded Já International Theatre!

Suresh Nampuri

And time sped like a falcon on wings from its eyrie in the past into the zephyrs of history

Suresh is a wandering ragamuffin whose primary occupations involve asking what lies inside a black hole as a researcher in string theory at IST and, in the theatre and on film, as a writer, director, actor and producer, probing the many facets of human architecture. He frequently finds himself cross-pollinating ideas between these two activities. He has had directorial and thespian training and experience in various continents, producing and directing political theatre related to the Arab spring and urban American angst, waltzing with modern adaptations of Greek tragedy as playwright, director and workshop facilitator, directing short movies in Paris and Lisbon, and shooting an anthropological movie in Iceland. Recently, he has directed his own original adaptations of Jean Genet’s The Maids and plays by Ibsen, and conceived new multi-genre explorations of Harold Pinter, Tennessee Williams and Neil LaBute.

Tania Kumeda

From heart to script and from script to stage

Tania Kumeda is an artist, actor and director from Ukraine. Her passion for stories led her to a Master’s Degree in Foreign Languages and Literature at National Taras Shevchenko University in Kyiv. She then completed a FIFA/CIES program in Sports Management and dedicated seven years to teaching, sports management and event management before refocusing on her art.

After three years as a leading actress in Kyiv Theatre of Comedy, Tania made her directorial debut in Lisbon with a staged reading of her own adapted version of Erich Maria Remarque’s A Night in Lisbon. In 2017 she directed JÁ’s inaugural show “RED” at Teatro do Bairro and in 2018 a show based on short stories by Vladimir Nabokov.

Apart from her work in film and theatre, Tania also works as a translator of scripts & voiceover material.

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Click on the photos for bio details

Alexia Kalteis

Alexia Kalteis is an actress, painter and theatre producer from Austria who has spent much of her life moving from country to country: India, Macedonia during the Kosovo War, Greece, Washington DC, and then 13 years in China. Her adventures, joys, hardships, blessings and mistakes all fused in the “Middle Kingdom” to form her philosophy: Love must continue to steer you, come what may.  Alexia loves to draw eyes, because they are “the window to the soul”, and loves to lay her eyes on new ones. After years of wandering, she is re-establishing herself in Austria as a talent broker.

Allie Mazon

Allie Mazon is a multi-disciplinary performing artist. She earned her Master’s in Classical Voice at Mannes Conservatory in New York City. During her time in NY, she created two original shows, Operotic and Femmes Fatales, combining her love for singing, burlesque, and aerial dance. After graduating she moved to Europe to act, sing, do cabaret and create one-woman shows like the one she is taking to Edinburgh Fringe in 2018.

Allie loves exploring the many facets of the performing arts and dreams of working on a major TV project. Subscribe to her YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/c/alliemazonmusic.

António Pedro Lima

António Pedro Lima was born in Lisbon in 1984. He started writing prose, poetry and plays at the age of 13 and began his acting journey when he was 16. In 2006, he graduated from the University of Lisbon with a degree in literature.
For António, training and professional experience go hand in hand. While involved in professional projects, he has continued to attend workshops and professional courses and complete academic studies. He has worked with many different teachers and artists, in particular Jean-Paul Bucchieri, João Brites and João Garcia Miguel. In 2019 António took part in a Já reading of In a Foreign Country.

Cátia Delgado

Cátia Delgado is through and through, a Lisboner. She has a degree in engineering and makes cartoons when she’s in the mood. Her romance with English, both the language and culture, began in her adolescence when she discovered Agatha Christie’s novels… and the inimitable Patricia Routledge as Hyacinth ‘Bouquet-not-Bucket’.

She’s been happily crooning with the University of Lisbon Choir for the last five years, but essentially she loves to sing classical jazz. She made her English theatre debut in 2017 with Filipe Thomaz’s musical Freedom Again at the Lisbon Players, and in 2018 played Julie in Celebration with JÁ Theatre.

Damien Sousa-Murphy

Damien is a philosopher and budding media producer. His passions include speculative thinking and epistemology. Pursuing opportunities in Canada, Ecuador and most recently Portugal, Damien thrives in a variety of cultures and work environments. His work with JÁ International has ranged across audio-editing, theater/media production, podcasts and online theatre productions including AFTERMATH and Chekhov’s SWANSONG in 2020. Future goals include the exploration of philosophy in the context of interactive media, as a lifelong student of philosophy, psychology, and game development.

Dave Earl

Dave is an English-born New Zealander who started in theatre at the age of 8. He ran away to sea at 16 but returned to the New Zealand stage in 1999. Theatrically he’s been loved, hated, drunk, married, sung to, knighted and beheaded. Dave’s globetrotting lifestyle has seen him perform in England, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Germany and Portugal. He has played in a diverse range of productions including The 39 Steps, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Glen Garry Glen Ross, A Man for All Seasons and An Inspector Calls.

 

Derman Gulmez

Derman is an author, director and translator from Ankara, Turkey. She has a bachelor’s degree in writing for theatre, a Master’s in Women and Gender studies, and is working on her PhD. One of her English-to-Turkish translations was selected for the Eurodram 2021 theatre festival. Several of her original short and full length plays have been performed at festivals, and her take on contemporary media landscapes in ‘YouTuber Meloş’ won the playwright’s award at the International İzmir Theatre Festival. She prizes theatre that deals with issues of feminism, gender representation and oppression, and is interested in independent filmmaking.

 

Diogo Velez

After studying Management at NOVA University and working for several years in this field, Diogo opted to take a Drama Course. He chose the ACT Escola de Actores Course in Lisbon and fell in love with the world of acting. He is now embarked on a career as a professional actor. He played Guiderius in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline at Teatro do Bairro, and has also appeared in shows such as Molière En Vers et Contre Tout, directed by Petronille de Saint-Rapt, in both Lisbon and Paris, and Casos do Beco das Sardinheiras produced by the Aloes theatre company.

Dora Guedes

Hailing originally from Santarem, where – in the 15th century – Portuguese kings planned their ocean-going expeditions, Dora moved to Lisbon to pursue her passion for Portuguese literature and language. Graduating from Lisbon University with a Master’s degree, she decided to make use of her skills in the service of a new-found purpose, the dissemination of Portuguese culture to the world at large. She became one of the co-founders of SAUDADE, a language and literature school for those keen to explore the lusophone world.

Elena Vertegel

Elena Vertegel is a dancer, performer and choreographer from Ukraine, who moved to Lisbon in 2019. She has created dance performances for the Ukrainian Dance Theatre, and worked with Thomas Metler and dancers from the Batsheva Dance Company and Ultima Vez Company. She recently performed with Claire Huber at P.A.R.T.S. in Belgium. Beside her creative and stage experiences, Elena communicates her own vision of dance through movement-voice and movement-meaning.  She is currently working with Maeva Lambert in Belgium, putting together a performance of ”King Kongaaaaact5”.

Fiona Spreadborough

Fiona didn’t initially know that her father was an Irish singer/actor in Hollywood because she was adopted. She passed her L.A.M.D.A. exams including gold with honours, won Best Actress and Best Play in Surrey’s Youth Drama Festival, the seeds were sown. She has done theatre & fringe in the UK as well as TV favourites such as Eastenders and Beadle About, and many comedies for LWT/BBC. Fiona ran Portugal’s first Saturday Performing Arts School for 4 years, taught theatre to expats, also produced several plays. Great film script written about Garrincha called “Little Bird”. Currently writing “Lana McGee and Me” inspired by the life of Christina Noble.

Inês Chora

Combining Acting with Music is Inês’ idea of true bliss. She has been singing for the last two years at the University of Lisbon Choir as a Mezzo-Soprano, embodying Melpomene in the Breath of the Muses Project and is a founding member of the Teoria do Caos Improv Theatre. In 2017, she debuted on the English stage in Lisbon in Filipe Thomaz’s musical, Freedom Again, at the Lisbon Players, then acted in Luigi Pirandello’s Henry IV, and in 2020 fronted for the camera in Aftermath, a JÁ Digital Online Theatre event. In 2021 she appeared in two Já productions, At Zephyr’s Turn and Shaken and Stirred.

Íris Virgílio

Íris began studying the piano at nineteen at the Conservatório da Orquestra Metropolitana. She has performed as a soloist at venues such as the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Museu Oriente and Teatro Thalia. An alto in the vocal ensemble “As Musas”, she is also a member of several choirs. She taught Musical Expression at the EB1/JI School in Cova da Piedade and gives private piano lessons while working towards a degree in Music Composition at the Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa. She has composed music for short films in the MotelX Horror Film Festival competition as well as for Já online theatre performances.

 

João Harrington Sena

João Harrington Sena, from Lisbon, Portugal, stepped onto the stage for the first time at age 10 in a production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Help, Help, the Globolinks!”.  João was classically trained in the craft of acting at ACT Escola de Actores in Lisbon and has performed in many different styles – from Commedia dell’arte to Puroresu. He has also co-written and acted in television projects such as the feature film “Offline” and the award-winning digital series “Apaixonados”. João’s body work is often focused on physicality, stemming from his background in martial arts and stunt work; as a voice actor he has also worked on cartoons and advertising.

Jojo Hui

Jojo Hui, a Sagittarius from Shanghai, works as a senior merchandiser for a US retail chain. Her first opportunities to act came when she was at college. After graduation, she had roles in several Chinese plays. In 2014, she joined Shanghai Shakespeare, acting in both English and Chinese. She played Octavia in Antony and Cleopatra and Cressida in Troilus and Cressida and had roles in three short Beckett plays. She was also cast as Lady Macbeth, and Carol in Oleanna, but those projects were not performed in public. Passionate about theatre, Jojo’s heart beats for the stage.

Jorge Soares

If, at 45, someone had told Jorge that he would end up doing theatre, he would have considered that hilarious nonsense, since his professional life had no connection with the arts. Several years later, when he first stepped onto the stage, he was hesitant, then committed. He has acted in several short movies, a tv documentary, and in Dec 2018 made his feature film screen debut with Parque Meyer. But it is on the stage that he has been building himself as an actor: among other roles, he has played the Count in “La Ronde” (Schnitzler), Foldal in “JG Borkman” (Ibsen), Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Richard in Pinter’s “Celebration”.

Margarida Figueiredo

Margarida began her career as a public performer as a gymnast doing rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics. She then developed a passion for the piano, and studied at the Escola de Música do Conservatório Nacional in Lisbon. Her theatrical journey also began in Lisbon. She studied musical theatre at EDSAE, playing Prudy Pingleton in Hairspray, June in Chicago and the Wolf and the Stepmother in Into the Woods. In September 2018, after playing Suki in Já’s Staged Reading of Celebration, she left for IAB in Barcelona to study for a Bachelor’s degree in Musical Theatre.

 

Mick Greer

Mick arrived in Portugal in 1988 via Malta, Northern Ireland, England, Singapore and Greece (next time he hopes to find a more direct route*), and has been teaching at the School of Arts and Humanities at Lisbon University (FLUL) since 1992. He holds a PhD on James Joyce and theatre and is a researcher at FLUL’s Centre for Theatre Studies and Centre for English Studies. He is also a founder member of the Dublin-based Balloonatics Theatre Company, who specialise in adaptations of Irish writers, particularly James Joyce. Here in Portugal, Mick is a regular performer at the Lisbon Players.

 

Monika Valkunaite

Monika Valkunaite is an actress and singer from Lithuania with a degree from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After living and studying in Italy and London, she chose to base herself in Lisbon. Monika originally trained as a musical theatre performer, and then moved more towards drama. She loves the precision and detail of film and TV acting. Monika is interested in exploring truthful, relevant stories using simple, creative elements.

Nicole Hutcheson

Born and raised in Arkansas, USA, Nicole grew up doing theatre, painting, and playing music. Studying for a Media Communication and Theatre degree, she found she enjoyed the directing and production side of theatre and film as much as acting. She worked with Theatre@UAFS and film companies on a range of stage and film projects, being alternately manager, director, cast member and costume designer. After graduating, Nicole moved to Lisbon where she works with the International Mission Board and is excited to pursue opportunities with Já and in the artistic community.

 

Pat Butler

Since leaving her native England many years ago, Pat has lived and worked in various European countries. Wherever she has found herself, theatre and acting have always been a key part of her life. Her stage appearances have ranged from the sublime – Sister Aloysius in Doubt, to the ridiculous – Fritz in A Dog’s Life, and from the classical – Emilia in Othello, to the contemporary – Annie in Calendar Girls. She has also appeared on Flemish television and in the video installation Perhaps All The Dragons, by the Berlin Theatre Collective.

 

Paulo Vaz

Paulo Vaz has been teaching History for more than 30 years; he is also a published novelist and playwright. His passion for theatre has pushed him to experience the medium in many different ways: adapting scripts, acting, producing and directing. Always on the lookout for new opportunities, he leapt at the chance to take part in Já’s test reading of David Hutchison’s In a Foreign Country in September 2019, reading the role of Miguel.

 

Rosa Giulia Gavin

Rosa is from Ireland. Born with a creative mindset, she was drawn to the theater early on and has undertaken numerous roles, including the title role in Maxim Gorky’s Vassa Zheleznova, Helen in Brian Friel’s Living Quarters and Frenchy in the musical Grease. After moving to Lisbon in October 2017, she was cast as Helena Glory in the Lisbon Players staged reading of Karel Capek Rossum’s Universe Robots. In March 2018 her hunger for theater rumbled again and she performed in Já’s adaptation of short stories by Vladimir Nabokov.

 

 

Rugile Sabonyte

An artist and ThetaHealing® practitioner from Lithuania, Rugile is a graduate of LMTA (Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre). She has been involved with theatre productions as director, actor, dancer, writer and producer. She views every creative act as a channel to probe the truth at the core of the story that she wishes to share with her fellow beings. She is also a certified theta healer, and uses ThetaHealing® to connect, channel, and embody stories that go to the heart of who we are and who we could be.

Rui Vasco

After first treading the boards in 1985 at Estrela Hall, home of The Lisbon Players, Rui enjoyed six fun years in theatre before finding himself consumed by other responsibilities and unable to act. Finally, after a hiatus of 25 years, he returned to the stage in 2015, and since then has taken part in a handful of plays by authors such as Peter Shaffer, Noël Coward and Chekhov. Most recently, he played Don Pedro in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing. “I thank my family for their support and for putting up with my daydreams. I love you”.

 

 

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