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 Cypriot-American dialogical artist and performer whose work is driven by Magical Urbanism, an exploration of how ancient traditions exist and evolve in modern urban landscapes. As the cofounder, producer and director of the work of One Whale’s Tale she creates maximalist work that blends the sensations of music, dance, film, puppets/masks, food, vibrant color, narrative storytelling, a night out at a bar, a family party, and a festival into undefinable multidisciplinary performances. She graduated from NYU (2011) with a BFA in Drama, and a minor in Art and Public Policy. Ellpetha prides herself on the institutional autonomy she and her co-founder have established with One Whale’s Tale and knowing how to properly break the rules. As a director, Ellpetha takes a holistic approach, working closely with each department, having dialogues and giving layered inspiration to build a cohesive piece while always allowing each collaborating artist to experiment, create and bring themselves to the work. In August of 2020, she directed a workshop of QUINCE at the People’s Garden which became the first live theatre to happen in New York City during the COVID pandemic; through this production she innovated safety protocols that were integrated into the aesthetic elements of the production. Most recently with One Whale’s Tale, she has been building community through free physical ensemble workshops that create a space for group exploration, deep listening practices, and free form movement through live music and play. She is inspired by both the permanence and ephemera of nature, bright colors, form, broken forms, and community. Conversation as art, and culture as an act of resistance. Her work includes Directing and Co-creating QUINCE at the Bushwick Starr, QUINCE en la Plaza at Lincoln Center, Night Descends on Svalbard as part of the Exponential Festival, Persou at the cell theatre, and I Wish I Knew How, a creative arts program for formerly incarcerated people, as well as a series of award-winning short films, documentaries, and music videos. She is the Co-founder and Creative Director / Producer of the first ever Brooklyn Cumbia Festival, an annual music and community event. She was the Associate Producer for Primer for a Failed Superpower with the TEAM, and long term collaborator with Mariah Robertson for several performances including the Art in Embassies Gala, MoMa PS1 Gala, performances at PS 1, and Art Basel. Ellpetha performs in her original work, in jazz clubs, films, and will be premiering her new band Other World this winter. Her book, A Life Into Lands, was published in English and Cypriot by Phaneromenis70. She has developed work through residencies at The SHED and the TEAM’s Petri Projects, Onassis Stegi and is currently part of the Devised Theater Working Group at The Public Theater in Manhattan. As a dialogical artist, she considers every conversation to be part of the art and part of the work: an opportunity for a real connection, deep listening, creation, and an invitation to join in her pursuit of bringing people together.
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.
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.