But man, proud man, Drest in a little brief authority… Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, As make the angels weep.
A literary aficionado, Dan studied literature in New Zealand (BA 1st class Hons) and at Oxford (M.Phil) before spending 25 years as a management consultant, living in the UK, Tunisia, France, China and now Portugal.
In JÁ’s first production in Lisbon in 2017, he played the role of Smirnov in The Bear and Simone in Wilde’s A Florentine Tragedy. The following year, he was Lambert in Pinter’s acerbic Celebration and in 2019 the Salesman in La Bute’s Iphigenia in Orem.
In 2020, when the pandemic began and theatres closed, he and his JÁ colleague Tania decided to create a series of podcast about books. They now have more than 30 episodes on their Cover2Cover platform, https://www.buzzsprout.com/1132658
Dan is an Associate Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Shanghai International Studies University.
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!
Performance is a promise, you accept me, I accept you, leave no one behind.
Suresh is a wandering ragamuffin whose fixation with narrative interiority has him probing black hole interiors in string theory at IST, in the theatre and on film, as a writer, director, actor and producer, tapping into the many facets of human architecture with frequent cross-pollination of ideas between these activities. With directorial and thespian training and experience in various countries, he has conceived, written, produced and directed a range of theatrical interventions including political theatre of the Arab spring, modern adaptations of Greek tragedies and other classics, movies in Paris, Lisbon and Iceland, online theatre, originals for international theatre festivals, and a radio play ‘Luz Diafana’ on Voz Online (https://open.spotify.com/episode/35ZblqSU0J8pBhrx1AXZZq?si=aw40wHyDSai5NDygt_v-Gw&utm_source=copy-link)
Post-pandemic, he has staged Orpheus as an exploration of grief, based on Grotowskian work with U.Lisboa psychologists and co-facilitated a festival celebrating the Queer experience.
Filling the barrel of the ‘movie’ with the wine of your life – Michelangelo Antonioni
Tania is an artist, stage director, event manager and avid movie-goer who draws her inspiration from words, images and memories.
A native of Kyiv, Tania completed a Master’s degree in Foreign Languages & Literature in Ukraine, as well as an FIFA/CIES program in Sports Management. After 12 years’ experience of teaching and sports & event management in Kyiv and Lisbon, she decided to refocus on her art. For three years, she was a leading actress at the Kyiv Theatre of Comedy. In 2017, she directed JÁ’s inaugural show “RED” in Lisbon.
Apart from projects ranging from stage directing to podcasting and video poetry, Tania will be involved in the EU-funded “Theatre in PALM” initiative spanning the period 2022-2024.
Tania is also a certified translator of scripts, sports literature, subtitles and voiceover material.
Click on the photos for bio details
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 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.
Arnolda Noir is an artist, filmmaker, Viewpoints technique instructor and Theta Healing Practitioner. Her education began with theatre and film studies at the New York Conservatory for dramatic arts. Through film, sound, dance – or whatever medium is available to her – she dreams creations into being. From teaching in performance art academies across Europe to consulting creatively cinema or theatre companies, Arnolda has gathered knowledge for her Creator’s Gym: mind, soul and body integration workout sessions. Interested in the act of unlearning, she encourages conversations about time, synchronicity, spatial analysis, paradoxical realities, and human behaviour.
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.
According to Chiara CRISAFULLI, life works out in mysterious ways. She has been riding her life, travelling, and savouring different countries without an agenda for 13 years. Originally from
Sicily, she wrote her first poem aged 7 and has never stopped. She is currently looking for a publisher that loves her first poetry manuscript as much as she does. A long-time friend of JÁ, Chiara assisted Tania with “Insomnia” in 2019, has featured several times on the literary podcast hosted by Dan Cotterall and created and led the Walking Tour segment of JÁFest 2023.
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 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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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
el_class=”talenthover”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, 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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
The 22 year-old Pernille Schulte (they/them, she/her) is a Belgian student in social arts who interned at JÁ under the Erasmus program to work on socially engaged projects. As part of their internship they co-developed a queer performative event with an emphasis on creating a “safe-space” where the queer experience could be dissected. This opened a new avenue for JÁ to play an active role in the current socio-political landscape.
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.
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.
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”.