Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts: “Bright Are The Stars-Cosmic Missions & Inquisitions,”8/2-8/4

Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts: “Bright Are The Stars-Cosmic Missions & Inquisitions,”8/2-8/4

The Telluride Academy‘s Mudd Butt Mystery Theatre Troupe presents its 32nd annual children’s theater extravaganza: “Bright Are The Stars – Cosmic Missions and Inquisitions” The production showcases the parallel tales of two brilliant scientists, Galileo and atmospheric chemist Susan Solomon, both determined to speak the truth. The shows is performed at Telluride’s Michael D. Palm Theater on Thursday August 2nd, Friday, August 3rd, & Saturday, August 4th at 6 p.m. A fundraising auction of the always amazing handmade props created by artist Mike Stasiuk takes place after the last performance. Purchase tickets at the door: adults $15; children $5. (Children 5 and under free). For more information, contact Telluride Academy at or call 970-728-5311.

Everyday, history tries to teach us something. But does it have pupils?

For the many fans of the Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Year after year for over three decades now, Mystery Drama Camp productions have borrowed heavily from the headlines, transforming key issues of the day into opportunities for highly engaging learning experiences.

And this year is no exception.

“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them,”  said Galileo.

We have a beautiful planet, and I feel very privileged to have the chance to work as a public servant in helping the public understand that planet,” Susan Solomon.

The theme of science under fire is timely and relevant in the world today as it was in the time of Galileo. Climate scientist, Susan Solomon, who is currently doing important research, is facing some of the same issues that Galileo did hundreds of years ago.

“Like Galileo, Susan Solomon is a creative intellectual who dares to think outside the box and share her knowledge, even in the face of criticism, or worse,” said Sally Davis, co-founder and artistic director, Mudd Butts. “We believe it is important to open up our artistic and intellectual minds, to explore how they can function in tandem to create a brighter future for humanity. This is a fragile moment on planet earth and some of our most brilliant minds deserve to be heard in a world of facts versus cries of fake news.”

“It is the tradition of the Mudd Butt Mystery Theater Toupe to encourage young people to be collaborative, as well as to be independent thinkers, to stand by what they have discovered, and to share their discoveries without being judged,” said Mudd Butts co-founder and artistic director, Kim Epifano.

Like all Mudd Butt performances, this production will feature handmade props designed by visiting artist Michael Stasiuk. They will be auctioned off after the final performance as is part of a longstanding Telluride tradition.








Cast List, Mudd Butts 2018:

Skylar Borof
Haley Brackett
Philip Brooks
Matthew Charlton
Henry Cohen
Ryan Colwell
Keller Gilliland
Sabrina Goldberg
Sofia Lanza
Nevita McCormick
Madeline McNamara
Sophia McNamara
Cristina Rabassa
Tirsa Sante
Ryann Singer
Lola Uehlinger
Gabe Waldor
Sarah Yates
Annika Zinn
Monica Zuzunegui

Adult Creative Staff:

Artistic Directors: Kim Epifano and Sally Davis
Theatre Specialist/Stage Manager: Mary Higgins
Artistic and Educational Staff:Trisha Clement
Advertising Angel: Sophia Watkins
Prop Master: Michael Stasiuk
Prop and Set Assistants: Uzanda Maleno, Jane Goren, Fiorella Coniglio
Costume Crew: Trisha Clement, Kim Epifano, Sally Davis, Sophia Watkins
Lighting Designer: Tree Priest of Night Circus
Script Team: Clay Frohman, Kim Epifano, Sally Davis, Pamela Zoline, Ramona Gaylord, Special thanks to San Francisco Youth Theatre
Musicians: Bart Hopkin, Clay Frohman, Sally Davis, Kim Epifano and the Mudd Butts
Technical and Artistic Support: Ashley Boling
Poster and Program Design: Barbara Kondracki
Prop Shop Angels: We thank you all!

About Mudd Butts:

The Telluride Academy’s Mudd Butts Mystery Theater Troupe is an intensive drama workshop founded by co-directors Sally Davis and Kim Epifano. The month-long intensive covers all aspects of theater including games, script- and song-writing, street theatre, improv, dance, prop-making, and marketing – sometimes even stilt walking.

But the program’s off-piste claims are what matter in the long run.

For years, performance artists/storytellers and educators Sally, Kim and their closest collaborator sculptor propmeister extraordinaire Mike Stasiuk have been harmonizing with the chorus of educators, who make strong arguments for the halo effect of theatre education and activities: enhanced creativity, problem-solving, focus and perseverance, non-verbal communication, ability to receive and metabolize constructive feedback, ability to work well with others, and an understanding that actions have consequences.

Learning those and other invaluable life skills is a leitmotif of the Mudd Butts experience.

Mudd Butts it should be noted provides a unique opportunity to work with special people from diverse backgrounds of different ages (10 to 50+ for the directors, staff, etc.), who share a common goal.

The camp, for years also international, is a chance for the kids to meet their inner artist and make friends.

Behind the scenes with key players on the Mudd Butt team:

Trisha Clement

Trisha Clement has been working with Sally Davis and the Telluride Academy for 20 years. She has assisted in Circus Holus Bolus for the past 15 years and is now excited for the opportunity to fully experience Mudd Butts.

Clement has just returned to the Telluride community after living in the Bay Area where she attended the California Institute of Integral Studies. In her creative endeavors, she specializes teaching preschoolers with a focus on child inspired learning.

After Mudd Butts Clements is looking forward to returning to her previous position as the Director at Mountain Sprouts Preschool.

Mary Higgins

Mary Higgins is a professional stage, film, and commercial actor based in Denver, CO. A California native, she fell in love with the Rocky Mountain Region after attending the University of Wyoming where she majored in Theatre & Dance and International Studies.

Since completing her Masters of Philosophy from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, Higgins has worked as a performer and theatre specialist nationally and abroad. Favorite roles include the National Tour of “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” (dir. Karen Carpenter); Charlotte Corday in “The Revolutionists” (BETC); “Mom in Moonsong” or “Mom and Son” (Yale School of Drama); and “The Mad Scientist” for Japanese Toy Company, Kotobukiya.

Commercial work includes spots for Buffalo Wild Wings, Best Buy, Honda, Toyota, and Safety Instructional Videos for the United States Air Force.

Higgins will be appearing this fall in BETC’s production of the critically acclaimed ensemble play “The Wolves.”

She has worked in youth theatre for over 10 years, from Duluth, MN, to Nairobi, Kenya. Most recently, she served as a Facilitating Artist with Creative Strategies for Change, an Non-Profit that mobilizes arts and education to affect social justice.

In 2013, Higgins co-founded the children’s theatre group “The Boogers,” which continues to deliver free performances to underserved populations in northern Minnesota as part of The Duluth Playhouse. She is beyond ecstatic to be working with the Telluride Academy this summer. Her biggest delight is to see children grow as performers and individuals, to walk alongside them as they explore their sense of self, become braver on stage and off, and remember internally how interconnected we all are.

Sophia Watkins

Sophia Watkins is a 15-year-old Telluride local. In the past, she has gone on two trips with the Mudd Butt’s international program to Bali and The Bahamas. Watkins grew up around the Mudd Butt family and it changed her life.

“Kim, Sally, Mike, and many others all are incredible artists whom I love. This is my second year behind the scenes at Mudd Butts and I am so incredibly excited to help share what these kids can do. They are such an amazing group and each one wows me everyday. I can’t wait for the show to begin! So sit back, relax, and here we go.”

Uzanda Maleno

Uzanda Maleno joined Mudd Butts to further her education in the arts and theatre.

“I have learned so much from Mike Stasiuk, like what can be created with something so simple as cardboard, a recyclable material. It can be turned into soft material like cla, or become hard as wood. Sculpting from simple boxes to details of art and spectacle is a new challenge.”


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