Teaching Artists

ShadowLight Teaching Artists are professional artists trained in the art of shadow theatre and have worked as ensemble members in ShadowLight’s large-scale productions. With masterful improvisational skills and tremendous enthusiasm, these individuals create a dynamic environment that fosters creativity and a sense of community within the classroom. The teaching artist team also participates in on-going professional development throughout the year to further enhance their skills and provide high quality shadow theatre activities.

Meet our Team:

Leonidas Kassapides

Leonidas Kassapides

Leonidas Kassapides (kassapides.com) is a native of Thessaloniki Greece and has been performing and teaching Traditional Greek Shadow Theater and modern shadow theater in the United States and Europe since 1989. He has a BA in Theatre Arts from Berea College Kentucky (with an emphasis on education). He has been teaching shadow theater at elementary and middle schools in the SF Bay Area since the early 1990s.  As a core company member of ShadowLight Productions, Kassapides has performed in In Xanadu, The Wild Party, Coyote’s Journey, Seven Visions, Monkey King at Spider Cave and Ghost of the River.  He was also the shadow artist for Lou Harisson’s opera Rapunzel at the Cabrillo Music Festival in 2001 and has performed in puppetry festivals in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Minneapolis and Savannah, GA.

Caryl Kientz puppeteering

Caryl Kientz puppeteering

Caryl Kientz s a writer, performer, theater practitioner, and visual artist living in Oakland CA. Her practice includes performance, installations, puppetry, art direction and props for film. A focus on illusory environments, integrating art and performance into daily routines has led her to experiment extensively and collaborate with a diverse number of groups. 

Caryl has been working primarily with ShadowLight Productions in San Francisco since 2008 on multiple productions as ensemble member, assistant director, shadow theater designer and consultant. Her show credits are Ghosts of the River, The-Good-For-Nothing-Lover, The Magic Flute (Ballet Austin), Jana & Baladoor (dir. Bahram Beyzaie), Poro Oyna, Poison Fish shadow scenes for the documentary film, Finding Kukan (dir. Robin Lung) and ensemble in Feathers of Fire (dir. Hamid Rahmanian). 

She has also worked with ShadowLight creating art installations, films, teaching workshops and classes for adults and children in museums, arts organizations and schools. Caryl teaches shadow theater technique and design for K12 students in Bay Area schools. She encourages students to be imaginative and to collaborate. It is important that her students see themselves as part of an ensemble working together to tell a story.

She received a BA in Rhetoric with a focus in Narrative and Image from UC Berkeley in 2014. In January 2016, she joined the Facing West Shadow Opera (art dir., Lydia Greer) to direct a shadow puppetry performance collaboration with live opera singers and projected stop motion animation.

I Made Moja is a prominent Balinese visual artist with a background in traditional ink and watercolor painting. His work has been shown internationally and featured in numerous books on Balinese art and culture. Since relocating to the Bay Area, Moja has been creating puppets, designing sets, and performing with ShadowLight Productions since the early 90’s. He is also a primary dancer with Gamelan Sekar Jaya.

Sarita performing in "Ghosts of the River"

Sarita performing in "Ghosts of the River"

Sarita Ocón is a professional actor, visual artist and media arts educator. Sarita has been performing on the national tour of "PLACAS" written by Paul Flores, developed with and directed by Michael John Garcés, and has been supported by the partnerships of community organizations, such as the San Francisco International Arts Festival, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, the Central American Resource Center and other collaborating Latino theaters of the National Performance Network (NPN). 

Theatrical credits include performances with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Bindlestiff Studio, BRAVA Theater Center, CAL SHAKES, Campo Santo, Golden Thread Productions, HERO Theatre, Intersection for the Arts, Los Angeles Theatre Center, The Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Playhouse, San Francisco International Arts Festival, ShadowLight Productions, Shotgun Players, South Coast Rep, Teatro Visión, Ubuntu Theater Project and many others. 

Sarita is a teaching artist for the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts' Learning Without Borders program, providing new innovative learning through digital media arts and stop motion animation. She is also a shadow theatre artist with ShadowLight Productions and is part of their education team, bringing shadow theatre to classrooms throughout the Bay Area. Sarita holds a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity from Stanford University. She is a proud company member of the Ubuntu Theater Project in Oakland and HERO Theatre in Los Angeles. She is a co-founding member of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network.

Fred C. Riley III has performed in groundbreaking puppet theater across America and abroad. The discovery of puppetry in high school set Fred on a long and ever widening journey. Bringing this wealth spring of practical knowledge to theater enthusiasts of all ages is what Fred specializes in. He has taught residencies for children all over Oregon, Washington and Idaho for Tears of Joys Theater. At the Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts, he taught classes for adults in puppet theory, and movement, as well as teaching a week-long residency for 12-17 year olds every summer. Fred has also spoken on the art at Western Washington University and Stanford University. “I want to give people, not just inspiration, but the tools to use that inspiration. This art has so much untapped potential.”

Teaching moment with Lorna Velasco

Teaching moment with Lorna Velasco

Lorna Velasco is a veteran San Francisco theatre artist whose training began at Bindlestiff Studio with co- founding director, Chrystene Ells. She continued her theatre training at UC Berkeley, where she majored in Anthropology, and at the Arts Institute of Indonesia, where she was trained in classical dance, mask making, puppetry and music. She was a long-time company member of ShadowLight Productions and has appeared as principal performer in productions such as the California Projects and 7 Visions. Locally, she has performed at the Magic, Zellerbach, Theatre Artaud, Brava, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Intersection for the Arts, and has been a resident theatre artist at Bindlestiff Studio for twenty years. Directorial credits include, A Pinoy Midsummer, Immigration Blues, Bienvenido Santo’s trilogy, Lakbay, and the short film Manicure. She was Co-Artistic Director of Bindlestiff Studio in 2003-2004 and the Artistic Director of The Third Annual Under 24 Festival. Most recently, she produced the U.S. premiere of Rody Vera’s The Guerrillas of Powell Street, based on Benjamin Pimentel’s award-winning novel, “Mga Gerilya sa Powell Street,” about the Filipino World War II veterans’ 50-year fight for equity.