ONE WHALE'S TALE
One Whale’s Tale is a multidisciplinary production company that creates, fosters, and generates new independent work with an appreciation for magic and the preservation of culture. Our vision establishes a holistic approach to our annual programming which involves our audience and community from creation to performance, giving them full access and a deeper connection to our work and resources.
We create work that organically and authentically reflects the experiences of immigrants, first-generation Americans, and people of color by creating space for them to tell their own stories. We are guided by Magical Urbanism, an aesthetic we’ve developed, which examines how the ancient traditions of our company members and collaborators exist within a modern urban landscape. Our performances are inspired by cultural festivals and ceremonies which incorporate live music, food, + participatory elements for the audience. We create dialogues within the communities we work in. We have partnered with organizations such as Lincoln Center, The Shed, the TEAM, The Bushwick Starr, The People’s Garden, Gowanus Dredgers, the Street Vendor Project, Tecuanes Quetzalcoátl, Make the Road NY, Hunter College Theatre Department, Maraca Bruja, Rehabilitation Through the Arts, After Incarceration, Art + Resistance Through Education, Solo Homies Car Club, + the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations.
Team One Whale's Tale
Ellpetha Tsivicos is a multidisciplinary, Cypriot-American artist, a dual identity that has inspired much of her work and desire to build community. Ellpetha graduated from NYU (2011) with a BFA in Drama, and a minor in Art and Public Policy that focused on Dialogical Art, a practice in which a dialogue with the audience is central to the work. In 2012, she co-founded a multimedia production company, One Whale's Tale, in which she implements her beliefs in community work, the ensemble, audience participation, bold colors and sounds, and creating art that meets the current moment. Through an August 2020 workshop of her show, QUINCE, Ellpetha helped innovate performance during the COVID-19 pandemic by integrating safety protocols into the artistic elements of the production. This workshop, which was a co-production with the TEAM as part of their Petri Projects was hailed for safely bringing audiences together at the People’s Garden in Bushwick to experience joy and healing during a time of global isolation. In June of 2022, a full production of QUINCE completed a sold out four week run at the Bushwick Starr, after a developmental residency at the SHED. Because of the community driven nature of the piece, Ellpetha was commissioned by Lincoln Center to adapt QUINCE into QUINCE en La Plaza for their Summer for the City series. This event brought together over fifty artists, community groups, local vendors, and the characters, music, and aesthetics of QUINCE to convert Hearst Plaza into an immersive quinceañera themed festival. Ellpetha’s other work includes Night Descends on Svalbard (Director/Performer) as part of the Exponential Festival, Persou (Creator/Director/Performer) at the cell theatre, Primer for a Failed Superpower (Associate Producer) the TEAM, Leonora’s World (Designer/Performer) at Double Edge Theatre, the Art in Embassies Gala (Producer/Performer) and MoMa PS1 Gala (Producer/Performer) with Mariah Robertson, her book, A Life Into Lands, published in English and Cypriot, and a series of award winning short-films, documentaries, and music videos. Most recently she is building community by leading free ensemble workshops which create a space for group exploration and deep listening practices. Ellpetha believes every problem has a solution, that all people deserve a helping hand, and that art can change the world. She loves her grandmother and all the spirits and souls that seem to show her the way.
Camilo Quiroz-Vázquez is a Chicano theater artist, filmmaker, and visual artist from Los Angeles, California. He began his artistic journey at community arts center, Plaza de La Raza, which inspired and empowered him to study at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2012, Camilo co-founded multimedia production company One Whale’s Tale, with Ellpetha Tsivicos. Camilo first collaborated with Brooklyn based ensemble the TEAM, filming and editing a short documentary about the creation of Primer for a Failed Superpower. In August of 2020, he wrote and co-created a workshop of QUINCE, as part of the TEAM’s Petri Project Series, which was performed outdoors at the People’s Garden in Bushwick. QUINCE was then commissioned to be a part of the Bushwick Starr’s 2022 season and was developed through a residency at The SHED. QUINCE has inspired a series of community events including two Dia de los Muertos celebrations with the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, a piece at the Summer Arts Festival hosted by OYE! Group and the Bushwick Starr, and culminating QUINCE en La Plaza. QUINCE en la Plaza was commissioned by Lincoln Center as part of their Summer for the City series. His other credits include the outdoor immersive spectacle Leonora’s World (Designer, Performer) at Double Edge Theatre, Persou (Writer, Co-creator) at the cell theatre in Manhattan, Night Descends on Svalbard (Writer, Co-creator) which was part of the Exponential Festival, and Dolores (Co-writer) a short film about colorism in the Mexican-American community. Camilo’s crafts stories, masks, puppets, and large sculptural objects inspired by the stories, songs and dances of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, godparents, friends, neighbors, and spirits who intimately shared the spaces of his childhood.
Amara Janae Brady(she/her/hers) is a generative artist and cultural dramaturg hailing from the Windy City, Chicago. Her artistic goals are to show the humanity and divinity of Black women and connect underserved communities with experiences that mirror their own. She is a current fellow of WP Theater's Playwriting Lab (2022-2024) and The Public Theater's Devised Working Group (2023-2024). Favorite credits: "my dick is david duke" or... (Ars Nova's ANTFest; actor, writer, producer), This is Where We Go (MCC; actor, writer), and Jillian Walker's SKiNFoLK (New York Times' Critic's Pick; The Bushwick Starr; assistant producer). Her YouTube series is "'Skinny & White' Aren't Character Traits." She is a proud member of Joe Iconis & Family and frequently collaborates with Dominique Rider and Xander Browne. She currently resides somewhere between Brooklyn and Chicago, where she spends her days playing Just Dance, perfecting her coq au vin recipe, and hanging out with her Grandma. All Power to all people. Ashé.
Jasmine Espinal (Pinturas) is a visual artist, arts educator, and Tecuanes dancer from Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Through her artistic and cultural work, Jasmine connects with her community and ancestral roots. She exhibited her work in various spaces such as The Museum at FIT, La Bodega Gallery, and The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center. Currently, she works with preschoolers using recycled and repurposed materials.
Talisa Velazquez is a graduate from CUNY BA with a BA in Latin American Art & Performance. A multidisciplinary artist, Talisa holds a deep devotion to play, language, community and social engagement. Talisa recently collaborated with One Whale's Tale in QUINCE ( Abuela & Jaguar) at The Bushwick Starr, QUINCE en la Plaza (Jaguar) at Lincoln Center, Quince in residence (Jaguar) at The Shed, and Persou at Cell Theatre. In addition she leads and helps organize One Whale's Tale's OPEN TRAINING sessions. Talisa also works as a Teaching Artist with many institutions in Nyc and loves creating playful, bilingual, artistic places for young people. Talisa enjoys going for long walks around the city with her camera, talking to strangers and dancing to the rhythm of life.
José A. Pérez is a poet, actor, and foster-care reform/abolitionist advocate, and educator. A native New Yorker, he grew up in Queens as a systems-impacted person in foster homes, group homes, and other juvenile institutions. For Pérez, the arts have been synonymous with freedom, fostering spaces where relationships are forged under the common love for lyrics and unfettered expression. He especially found writing poetry and acting on stage to be his catalysts not only to survive in those institutions but also to thrive. While incarcerated, Pérez earned an AA from Bard College, a BS from Nyack College through HudsonLink, and capped his academic career with an MPS from the New York Theological Seminary. He has facilitated theater and poetry workshops, including the Harvest Moon Poetry Collective with Beat poet Janine Pommy Vega, and hosted poets like Naomi Shihab Nye and Amiri Baraka. As an actor, Pérez recently performed at the Bushwick Starr Theater in "QUINCE" (One Whale’s Tale Productions, 2022) and "QUINCE en La Plaza" at Lincoln Center. He has also been a servant leader as an alternatives-to-violence facilitator, including work with gang-involved youth at the Center for Alternatives Sentencing and Employment Services as a community Benefits Project Supervisor. Currently, Pérez is Project Manager of YouthNPower: Transforming Care for the Children’s Defense Fund. He is excited to co-lead One Whale's Tale newest initiative, "I WishI Knew How" a creative arts and healing workshop series for formerly incarcerated individuals.