Anisa is a singer, pianist, music teacher and music therapist, from London, UK. Her love for performing on stage stemmed from Ballet school, and her first major musical theatre role as a young teenager was playing Liat in South Pacific with Farnborough Dramatic Society. Anisa studied Music Performance at university and continued this through to her Masters at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Alongside her passion for singing and playing, she’s the Head of Music at a British school in Dubai and directs musical productions, arranges music for ensembles and conducts choirs. She has been involved in choirs and ensembles all her life, and more recently before COVID struck, she was lucky to perform at the Dubai Opera as part of the Dubai Opera Festival Chorus. Since then, the performance opportunities have increased as she performed on the Jubilee Stage at the EXPO2020 alongside artists such as Tania Kassis and featured in a solo with the Bollywood musical maestro, AR Rahman. She is also a part of the award-winning theatre group MTDXB and has performed in three shows with them. Anisa is excited take part in Antigone Retold and can’t wait for more collaborations to come!
Anisa was asked to be a part of Antigone Retold after working with Lauren on a recent project at Mawaheb and she is thrilled that she did! Anisa is playing the role of Hera; she feels this allows her to truly channel her constant battle to balance and manage her emotions - it’s like the part was written for her! The role allows Anisa to showcase her acting, singing and dancing skills; she has especially enjoyed learning Sashin’s incredible choreography. She is grateful that a powerful song has been chosen for her to sing. Anisa is also arranging and directing the music for the production, allowing for collaboration opportunities with singers, who will be featured on the musical tracks. Overall, Anisa has found the whole experience of working with such a talented group of people extremely pleasurable and can’t wait to do hopefully justice to the incredible writing of the script!
Ivana Vajman Jackson
Ivana, born on a sunny October day under the influence of Venus and Mercury watched over by Saturn with no chance ever to be exempt from the world of art. Gained her formal education at Belgrade university again not accidentally with a Master degree in Stage design. Nearing the end of frolicking Venus years she is changing her rather introvert stage angle for the more extrovert one. Putting her self under the blinding spot lights and scrutiny of critique as a performer she digress, or better progress on her artistic journey. Amid relocation and funding the family into different cultures she performs in two languages and was a part of various projects inside the Dubai expat community. On a winding road of personal and professional exploration she finds time to obtain a dynamic family life with her husband and two children.
When I was little my grandad got me a children's version of The Odysseus. I got hooked on The Greek mythology, instantly. I enjoyed Odysseus travels so much and was always fascinated by Goddess Athena his patron&savour. It was possible my first strong female role model. I was very excited to audition for this part. Upon joining the cast of Antigone, I discovered so many more layers to this character, that I was not aware of. I had the privilege to share a stage with Lauren in the past but watching her direct Antigone is truly mesmerising, it is such a learning curve for me. Her and Sashin have created such an inspiring environment for us all. It is an absolute pleasure being a part of this show.
Gauri Chadha is an award winning filmmaker, event planner and an active member of the theatre community both in scripted and improvisational theatre in Dubai. She is formally educated in Film and Theatre from the University of Miami and Met Film School based in London. Her time is spent as a company member at the prestigious Courtyard Playhouse as a professionally-trained improviser, diving into year-round scripted theatre productions at The Junction where she has been nominated and appreciated for her work, castings for various commercials such as McDonalds and Rizek, role playing for brands like KFC and performing during live immersive murder mystery experiences. Her most notable performance would be playing the lead role in the comedy/horror production of Scary Bad at the Junction in 2021. With over 10 years of experience, working between Hollywood and Bollywood, time travelling through events and telling stories through the world of the stage, Gauri’s world is one that is consumed by the arts, seeking every opportunity to try and push her own boundaries and tell stories that seek the truth. ”A dreamer, storyteller & believer”.
When Lauren contacted me with the opportunity to audition for this play, I was very excited. We had interacted together during my last production, The Wolves, and I was very honored to hear that she thought of me right from the birth of Aphrodite and always had me in mind for the part. I have truly enjoyed the exploration of different art forms coming together such as dance, music and theatre, and am especially grateful that Lauren knew that I enjoyed to dance and integrated that into my monologue. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Sashin who is an absolute superstar! Aphrodite has given me an opportunity to unleash myself. She has given me a sense of freedom and playfulness that I have not explored yet. Aphrodite is removing my layers and expanding my exploration as a performer that is untouched leaving me to gain awareness of the way I navigate my own life as a woman in today’s world.
“Be brave enough to live creatively. The creative is the place no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You cannot get there by bus, only by hard work, risking and by not quite knowing what you are doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” ~ Alan Alda, to his daughter
Originally from Los Angeles and then attending school in Massachusetts Jessica has been performing for many years from one end of the US to another with various Theatre Companies and playing a range of roles from Olivia-Twelfth Night, Shelly-Buried Child, Julius Caesar-Julius Caesar, to roles in The Laramie Project. Throughout her life she has been teaching Theatre Arts through schools and non-profit organizations and is currently living and teaching in Abu Dhabi. Recently performing in the Dubai Theatre scene as Katherine in Proof, Jessica has been enjoying connecting with other Theatre Artists throughout the UAE.
Jessica’s role as Calliope has been a rollercoaster experience in the best ways possible. Working with Colaboratory Co, she appreciates how every voice matters in the telling, or re-telling of these stories. Discovering the magic of this Muse while learning how to ground her in the relationships within this performance, has been a creative challenge. However, being given the chance to share this experience with this group and their support, has been incredibly rewarding. Jessica would like to thank this cast & crew, her friends & family for their love, laughter and support.
Kyra first fell in love with theatre with a Drama development course at the blooming age of 4 years old and for the past 13 years, the stage has been her best friend. Continuing her passion, she has starred in numerous school productions, working with co|laboratory for a 10-minute play The End for Short+Sweet Festival 2021 as well as the award-winning, post-modern play Checkmate for the Theme 8 festival in 2021, a project which brought about her interest in devising. Additionally adding to her portfolio, Kyra has been taught in different areas of theatre, acquiring training in improvisational acting and having completed Trinity College examinations in musical theatre and drama. Wanting to share her love for the stage, she assistant teaches drama classes for 4-year-olds on the weekend at the esteemed Courtyard Playhouse. Kyra is profoundly passionate about social issues, particularly gender equality. In order to combine both things, she has created a club: Girl Up On Stage, a coalition of the Girl Up campaign. She has dedicated this to empowering creatives, fighting for equality through the arts. You can follow the club at @girluponstage on Instagram!
Medusa is a figure known to be a vicious monster, with a dreaded ability to turn people to stone with just a glimpse in their direction. Kyra is eager to prove this depiction as faulty, Antigone Retold shows her for what she truly is: a fierce and courageous woman, daring to fight back against the patriarchy and all of the wrongs it has done to her. Playing this character means so much to Kyra as she gets to channel her advocation for gender equality into Medusa. Being guided by a group of strong women who play the parts of the other devils has been the best part of this process, as she has been inspired in more ways than one!
Sarah is delighted to be part of Antigone Retold, a play which encompasses her love of singing, acting, dancing and feminist icons. A primary school teacher from Ireland, Sarah studied and completed all of her grades, including her Senior Certificate, in Musical Theatre and Popular singing. She has been involved in choirs and musical theatre groups all her life, most recently, performing in MTDXB’s last two shows, Everyone’s Talking About MTDXB and Return to the Musical with MTDXB. In Ireland, Sarah was a member of the award-winning, all-female choir, Diva Voces. She was previously a Performing Arts teacher here in the UAE.
Sarah has always dreamt of playing the part of a Disney princess. In Antigone Retold, Sarah is playing the part of Megara, mortal wife of the mighty Hercules, gifted to him by her father King Creon. This role allows Meg to tell (in fact, sing) her own story. Meg has been a plot point of Hercules’ story for far too long and she can’t stay silent any longer. Megara is a part of the ‘Seven Devils’ chorus, a group of Goddesses and mortals, all with the same goal... to stick it to the man.
Vaibhavi or (more conveniently) Vaibs was first on stage at age 5. Through years of performing in acting-related assignments, a short film, and some rare student productions onstage, she earned a reputation as an actor in school, and - as she was about to graduate - her first acting nomination. She carried this reputation to college, where she took part in Street Plays and Mimes, representing her college at state-level cultural events. Once, she wrote in her journal that there is nothing in the world that makes her feel more alive than the realization that she has a show to perform. However, she hid away her wish to take up theater professionally, out of uncertainty and self-doubt. It took living alone, and some reflection during the lockdown, for Vaibs to realize that it's time to make public her passion for the performing arts… it doesn’t matter what people say!
Vaibhavi briefly took up Hindustani Classical Singing before returning to Sharjah, where she grew up. She yearned to go back to complete her training, but as fate would have it, she discovered a blossoming theater scene right here in Dubai (albeit several kilometers away but closer than New York, nevertheless!). Antigone Retold was the fourth production she auditioned for in the UAE, and her first ever role in a professional stage production - a role she still thinks arrived maybe a decade too early, given her novice status. She is in awe of Lauren and her impeccable judgment for seeing Pandora in her after just one short meeting. After all, Vaibs’ own story is a classic tale of finding her voice - just like Pandora in Antigone Retold!