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Our Town
The cast of OUR TOWN 2010  - Photo: Peter Blandori for PS21

About Us - The Company

"Transformation-that is what the actor's nature, consciously or unconsciously, longs for." - Michael Chekhov

Mission statement:

Walking the dog Theater creates theater events that inspire, entertain, and
build community.

Vital aspects of this purpose include: engaging children, youth, and adults
in their own creative potential, stimulating artistic life in underserved
areas, supporting the work and growth of professional artists, and staging
plays, with a special passion for the works of William Shakespeare.

Walking the dog Theater Board of Directors:

David Anderson, President
Benedicta Bertau, Vice President
Nigel Harrison, Secretary and Treasurer

Walking the dog Theater Advisory Board:

Peter Armour
Sue Chiafullo
Helen Suter
Mark Fingar
Linda Gatter
Michael O'Hara
Rose Ross
David Sassoon

Walking the dog Theater Staff:

David Anderson - Executive Artistic Director
Benedicta Bertau - Associate Artistic Director
Melania Levitsky - Associate Artistic Director
Carolyn Polikarpus - Administrative Assistant
Louise Drosse - Communications and Development Director

Youth Program Directors:

David Anderson
Laurie Portocarrero
Benedicta Bertau
Eddie Allen
Nancy Rothman
Rob Roy

Deena Pewtherer - Resident Lighting Designer

Jonathan Talbott - Resident Music Director

Marilan Lund - Graphic Design

Daniel Region BLUE MESA PRODUCTIONS - Website

Nitin Vadukul, Daniel Region - Photography

Dan Udell - Filming

Ralph Bedard - Construction Master at Basilica Industria

Director biographies:

David Anderson
Photo by Nitin Vadukul

David Anderson, actor, director, playwright and poet, was born in Beloit, Wisconsin, USA. In 1991 he received a Bachelor's degree in writing from Lakeland College. He taught English in Weimar, Germany, for three years before completing a post-graduate degree in Waldorf Education at Emerson College, Forest Row, England.

He studied Speech and Drama at Threshold Theater in Christchurch, New Zealand, and has performed throughout North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. An adaptation for the stage of his 45-part poem "Walking the dog" led to the founding of Walking the dog Theater in 1997.

In 2001 David Anderson and John McManus inaugurated Shakespeare Alive!, a yearlong course for youth in the art of acting. The college-accredited
course completed its third year of training in 2004.

This year David played Leontes in Walking the dog Theater’s (WTD) The Winter’s Tale and collaborated in WTD’s fall production of fire.  In the last few years he has performed in the Off-Broadway production of Chekhovek, WTD’s The Death Show, WTD’s The Lost Frontier of America, has played Claire in Genet’s The Maids for New Stage Theatre, and the Stage Manager in and directed Our Town for WTD/PS21.  In 2009 he played Anton Chekhov in I Take Your Hand and Malvolio in Twelfth Night for WTD. Favorite roles include: Hamlet in the collaborative production of Hamlet – a performance The Independent gave Best Male Actor for 2007; Pale in Burn This, Sceparnio in the U.S. premiere of The Storm, and Roxane in Cyrano.  He annually performs a one-man A Christmas Carol, tours with The Gospel of John, and is a member of WTD’s OFF LEASH! Improv Ensemble.  For film: lead roles in Coda, Understudy, Various States of Repose, Sky, Within A Forest, and Evil Twin. He has directed over 50 productions—twenty-three Shakespeare plays (including Julius Caesar with inmates at the Greene County Correctional Facility, as part of WTD’s Prison Outreach Program), WTD’s The Cherry Orchard in 2012, Long Ago and Far Away in 2013, and the world premiere of the umbilical point in 2014.  David has published poetry and written three plays: The Lost Son, Walking the dog, and The Lost Frontier of America.  He spends half the year in Asia, giving workshops, directing and performing, and facilitating 3-year part-time courses on Drama and Inner Development.  He serves as Executive Artistic Director for WTD (www.wtdtheater.org).

Benedicta Bertau
Photo by Dan Region

Benedicta Bertau: Director, actor, clown and Associate Artistic Director for Walking the dog Theater, Benedicta Bertau was born in Germany into a French/German family. She received her Waldorf Teacher Training Certificate from Emerson College, England, in 1996 and her B.A. in Dance/Eurythmy from Helicon College in The Hague, Netherlands in 2000.

Benedicta Bertau trained in Physical Theater in Chile, the Chekhov Acting Method in Berlin, Germany, and Clowning in the Netherlands. She speaks six languages, and also works as a translator/editor.

In the US Benedicta Bertau has directed plays with children and youth, led workshops for people of all ages and abilities and performed with The Actors' Ensemble and Walking the dog Theater, from 2000 – 2004 on a volunteer basis, and from 2005 until 2011 as the Producing Artistic Director/Outreach Director for Walking the dog Theater. She is a trainee in the Spacial Dynamics® method in Venice, Italy.

Benedicta Bertau is an accomplished dancer of many styles, a passion often reflected in productions she directs. In the US, Ms. Bertau was a member of WTD's Improvisation Ensemble OFF LEASH! and co-directed Clown workshops with Laura Geilen of Nose to Nose. Benedicta Bertau has served on the board of directors of Walking the dog Theater since 1998.

Stage appearances include Our Town, Twelfth Night, Virtue, Desire, Death and Foolishness-An Evening of Tales by Anton Chekhov and Under Milk Wood.

Ms. Bertau conceived and directed Bon Appétit!, a 2010 theater and opera production in homage to Julia Child. Other directing credits include Les Miserables, Cymbeline, A Tale of Two Cities, I Take Your Hand In Mine, Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Gospel of John, and Red Carnations x 2.

Since August 2011, Benedicta Bertau has returned to Europe and lives in Venice, Italy. She is engaged in teaching movement and theater workshops and creating multi-disciplinary performance projects in Venice and the Veneto region, while maintaining a close connection to Walking the dog Theater and the US.

Her blog is With the Flow.

Melania Levitsky
Melania Levitsky is the Associate Artistic Director of Walking the dog Theater Company, Inc., and on the Board of The Actors' Ensemble.  Recent roles include: Rosalind in As You Like It, Cyrano de Bergerac, Anna in Burn This, Amira in the Drama Desk nominated production of Pentecost, Lady Macbeth, Sarafina in The Rose Tattoo, Touchstone in As You Like It, Gertrude, Ophelia, Claudius, Ghost, and Guildenstern in a three-person production of Hamlet. 

She has served on the faculties of Shakespeare Alive!, The Michael Chekhov Acting Studio in NYC, and as guest teacher at the Geert Grote and Constantine Huygens schools in Holland, and the Baobab College in South Africa. 

Her seven-character, one-woman play, Blue Arches, premiered with WTD, and was remounted five times in NYC and in Columbia County.  Recent directing credits include The Taming of the Shrew, The Gold in the Ground, The Tempest, and assistant director of Macbeth and As You Like It. Melania was the drama director for Side by Side for five years, a youth leadership training program and summer camp for underserved children in Harlem and Rockland County. 

She has sung concerts of the music of Silvio Rodriguez, Kurt Weill, Jacques Brel, and many Elizabethan composers.  She lives in New York City with her husband Richard and her daughter Nikita Lev. Melania is a member of Actors' Equity Association.

A Little History:

Founded in Australia in 1997, and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in 1998, Walking the dog Theater (WTD) established itself by creating avant-garde theater performances which incorporated movement and live, original music, and through successful children’s productions employing the same style.  The touring ensemble gave performances and workshops in venues as varied as festival theaters, universities, schools, and prisons, before landing in Columbia County and deciding to make a home here. 

In 2004 WTD developed its Shakespeare in Schools program.  Since its inception this program has created over 25 productions and a Midwest Shakespeare Festival with young people.  In addition to its ongoing workshops for youth and adults, its in-school, after school, and summer intensive programs, the professional company produces original, new, and classical plays, with a special passion for Shakespeare.
WTD creates theater events that seek to inspire as well as entertain.  In 2010, the company presented 10 educational programs, 10 Improvisational Theater evenings, and 5 critically acclaimed professional productions, totaling over 80 performance events.

Walking the dog Theater (WTD) bases its educational work on the experience that creating theater offers young people a unique opportunity for development. Since its founding, WTD has reached over 43,000 children and young people with its performances, workshops, and education programs. Under the guidance of experienced, trained teaching artists, every student is challenged to reach her/his individual potential, while the group is led to form a vibrant ensemble. Through acting exercises, speech/voice work, and theater games, as well as through the rehearsal process itself, the students acquire skills that enable them to communicate constructively, take responsibility for their actions and reactions in a larger context, and celebrate the uniquely human ability to create.