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Mike Sears's WHEN IT COMES Gets Workshop at The Old Globe This December

The Old Globe will present WHEN IT COMES with free public workshop presentations, marking the culmination of Mike Sears's 2015 San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Grant. Inspired by writer Sears's real-life experiences, the piece was developed in collaboration with a team of local artists: four San Diego actors, puppetry by Animal Cracker Conspiracy (Iain Gunn and Bridget Rountree), music by Clinton Davis, and direction by Sears's wife, Lisa Berger.

There will be four free workshop performances -- open to the public -- Friday, December 11 at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, December 13 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.; all at The Studio Theatre at University of San Diego. Seating is by general admission. Admission to WHEN IT COMES is free, but reservations are recommended. Reservations available now and can be reserved by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE, or by visiting the Globe Box Office. Subject to availability, tickets will be available at the door of the Studio Theatre at University of San Diego half hour prior to each performance.

WHEN IT COMES is a folktale with music about Buck and Erma, a young, optimistic, blue-collar couple who build a house only to discover they need the moon to make it complete. They begin a journey to retrieve the moon, one that will test the very fabric of their love.

The cast features Samantha Ginn as Erma, Jeffrey Howard Ingman as He, Li-Anne Rowswell as She, and Connor Sullivan as Buck, with stage directions read by Molly Maslak. Clinton Davis and Batya MacAdam-Somer serve as musicians. The puppeteers of Animal Cracker Conspiracy are Iain Gunn and Bridget Rountree.

The creative team includes Andrew Layton (Scenic Consultant), Liz Shipman (Movement Consultant), Sammy Bauman-Martin (Stage Manager), and Taylor Todd (Production Manager/Assistant Stage Manager).

Mike Sears (Playwright) is an actor and playwright. Regionally, he has performed at The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Cygnet Theatre Company, San Diego Repertory Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre, New Village Arts, Lamb's Players Theatre, Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company, and Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company. As a playwright, Sears has written Felt and The Corpse Bride, both of which received Best of the Fest Awards at the Actors Alliance of San Diego Festival. He has also written The Pied Piper: A Punk Opera, which premiered at Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego. His most recent play, Cowhead, part of three-play trilogy inspired by his home state of South Dakota, is scheduled for a private reading in early 2016.

Lisa Berger (Director) has many local directing credits, including 2014 New Voices Festival reading of Skeleton Crew (The Old Globe), The Car Plays: Incident Row (La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival), The Car Plays: We Wait (La Jolla Playhouse, Moving Arts), the reading of The Whale and Paper Cities (La Jolla Playhouse), Parlour Song (Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company), Anatomy of Gray, Eurydice, and A Streetcar Named Desire (University of San Diego), The Collector (Animal Cracker Conspiracy), Righteous Exploits (So Say We All), A Behanding in Spokane (Cygnet Theatre Company), Buried Child, Simpatico, and Things We Want (New Village Arts), Killer Joe (Compass Theatre, Patté Award), Miss Julie (Stone Soup Theatre Company), Crimes of the Heart and Anonymous (Canyon Crest Academy), Buried Child (UC San Diego), The Long Christmas Ride Home (Patté Award) and Looking for Normal (Diversionary Theatre), Handbag (Actors Alliance of San Diego), and Islands of Repair (New York International Fringe Festival). Her additional directing credits include The House of Blue Leaves, Our Town, The Boys Next Door, Picnic, Laughing Wild, and several children's musicals for The Metropolitan Opera Guild's Creating Original Opera program.

Bridget Rountree and Iain Gunn (Puppetry) are San Diego-based artists who comprise Animal Cracker Conspiracy, a contemporary collaborative hybrid puppet company invested in peering under the surface of things and pushing the boundaries of live kinetic performance. Joining forces in 2004 with a shared desire to pursue puppetry as a radically unfolding art form that decenters expectations, they revel in diversity and artistic inquiry. Their ongoing work is based in fluctuating frameworks for the creation of community, thus facilitating collaboration, investigation, and questioning the status quo. They have explored visual and fine art, video, street performance, circus, and dance for inspiration and to find the best forms for transmitting their ideas. Their hybrid puppet performances are inspired by poetic, personal, and global phenomena, and they respond by creating emergent structures of layered symbols, images, film, sounds, movement, puppets, installations, and objects. They traverse movement-defined abstractions of the material to immaterial, folklore to contemporary, and intellectual to intuitive. They actively cultivate the suspension of disbelief by employing immediate choreography, embracing the unknown, and using the manipulation of puppets in the creation of mystery. They have performed around the U.S., winning awards at several fringe festivals and performing at puppet theatres as well as at HERE Arts Center in New York.

Clinton Davis (Original Music) recently served as musician, composer, and music director of the 2015 Globe for All tour of Much Ado About Nothing. These productions have toured the United States, Europe, and South America. Most of his current projects and pursuits involve sifting through America's vernacular musical past in some way or another. With the G Burns Jug Band, Davis arranges iconic country, blues, and jazz recordings of the 1920s and '30s for a five-piece ensemble that tours the West Coast. They have performed with American roots music giants like Jim Kweskin, Del McCoury, and Michael Doucet. In 2015, the G Burns Jug Band released its second album, which iconic roots music publication No Depression called "a joyous and soulful restoration of one of the lost treasures of American musical tradition." At UC San Diego, Davis serves as an associate instructor and leads a survey course on American roots music. He also works as an audio engineer, producing recordings for students and faculty that have been released on Naxos, Mode, Populist, and pfMENTUM record labels.

The San Diego Foundation recently funded 10 local artists -- whose work ranges from experimental theatre to klezmer music to installation art -- with a 2015 fellowship from The San Diego Foundation under its Creative Catalyst Fund. Each artist received a 12-month, $20,000 grant to advance their careers while encouraging civic engagement in San Diego. They will each complete significant new work over the course of the year. In addition to Mike Sears, they include choreographer Alicia Baskel; actor, producer, director, and playwright Todd Blakesley; artists Brian Goeltzenleuchter and Matthew Hebert; engineer-turned-artist and storyteller Bhavna Mehta; film producer/-director Ron Najor; sculptor and multimedia artist Noe Olivas; public art installation artist Roberto Salas; and violinist and composer Yale Strom. The San Diego Foundation was founded in 1975 to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving. The Foundation manages more than $666 million in assets and has granted more than $897 million to the San Diego region's not-for-profit community.

The Studio Theatre at University of San Diego is located in Sacred Heart Hall 163, 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110. Directions: enter the campus via the west entrance off Linda Vista. Take Marian Way to the top of the hill. Park in any white-lined space not marked "Reserved." Proceed to the courtyard between Camino Hall and Founders Hall. Pass through the courtyard to the back, which opens into the Studio Theatre courtyard, part of Sacred Heart Hall.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country's leading professional regional theatres and has stood as San Diego's flagship arts institution for 80 years. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barry Edelstein and Managing Director Michael G. Murphy, The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary, and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe's Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theatre's education and community programs. Numerous world premieres such as the 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Allegiance, The Full Monty, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the annual holiday musical Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country.

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