Glynn convenes creative chaos for Audacious Raw Theater


The participating performance artists — starting from upper-left corner, going clockwise — are Aurelia Clunie,  Laura Gentry, Catherine Glynn, J Pankaj Jha, Paula Ramirez, Hilary Williams, Jerome Yorke and Lewis Youngren.
The participating performance artists — starting from upper-left corner, going clockwise — are Aurelia Clunie, Laura Gentry, Catherine Glynn, J Pankaj Jha, Paula Ramirez, Hilary Williams, Jerome Yorke and Lewis Youngren.

Seven professional performers and musicians from across the country will come together for seven days to create seven devised works for two stagings of innovative, inspiring and thought-provoking performances at the historic St. Mane Theatre in Lanesboro on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m.

Inspired by the collaborative and experimental work done by theater companies such as the Rude Mechs, the Neo-Futurists, and the Saratoga International Theater Institute, Audacious Raw Theater (A.R.T.) was conceived by Lanesboro-based performing artist Catherine Glynn as a multi-year initiative to foster the creation and development of new works. The theme for year three is “Inside, Outside, Upside Down.” Jerome Yorke, who has been a part of A.R.T. since its inception, chose the theme “because of its seemingly inexhaustible potential, and the ability to flip norms on their heads.” As Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, who worked on the physical nature of unified field theory, has said, “The task is … not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees.”

The artists include Jerome Yorke Jr., a devised theater maker and clown from Cincinnati; Hilary Williams, a Chicago–based actress, writer and educator; Laura Gentry, an artist and laughter ambassador from Marquette, Iowa; J Pankaj Jha, an actor, activist and storyteller originally from India; Aurelia Clunie, an Evanston, Ill.,-based actress, director and teaching artist; Paula Ramirez, an activist, actor, improviser and educator originally from Venezuela; Lewis Youngren an actor, director and educator originally from Hastings, Minn.; and Catherine Glynn, who divides her time between performing and producing theater and executive coaching at Fortune 500 companies around the world.

Prepare to be surprised and delighted by seven, or more, newly devised works of A.R.T., while also gaining insight into the creative process and embracing the spontaneous. Together the group will be revising and recreating throughout their time in Lanesboro. Audiences are encouraged to come for both stagings as each performance is unique and will never be repeated again! Year three of A.R.T. is happening in conjunction with the annual Rhubarb Festival in Sylvan Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 1. People of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Tickets are $20 or $15 for Lanesboro Arts members and are sold online at, at Lanesboro Arts Gallery by calling 507-467-2446, and at the St. Mane Theatre box office, as available, beginning one hour prior to the event. The St. Mane Theatre is located at 206 Parkway Avenue North in Lanesboro. This activity is made possible through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council in cooperation with a private foundation.

Yorke is a theater maker and educator specializing in ensemble-based physical theater and devising performance. As a faculty member for the University of Dayton’s Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program (TDPT) he teaches theater appreciation, acting, voice and movement, and is the faculty advisor for On The Fly improv troupe. His performance-based study of clown as shaman began with a solo performance entitled “Welcome Goodbye” and premiered for the TDPT program in 2015. While using puppets in collaboration with Zoot Theatre Co., his directorial debut at UD, “And A Child Shall Lead,” was chosen by Russell Florence ( as the region’s best collegiate production of a play for the 2015-2016 performance season. He holds an MFA from Dell’Arte International and his training is rooted in mask, and acrobatics. He is also a core ensemble member of the San Francisco-based UpLift Physical Theatre.

Williams is a Chicago-based actor, writer, and filmmaker represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent, Inc. Williams recently played the role of Honey in Steven Dietz’s “Mad Beat Hip and Gone” directed by Jess Hutchinson with Promethean Theatre Ensemble. She also did production design, co-produced and co-wrote for the film “Atoms of Ashes” which shared its premiere with The Women of the Now at its anniversary showcase. A film in which she starred and did the voiceover for, titled “Dear Frankie,” was a part of Cannes Film Festival. Her other work includes serving as a social justice educator for Catharsis Productions and teaching sexual assault prevention for the Navy.

Gentry, also known as Laughing Laura, is an internationally known motivational speaker, musician, clown, improv artist and the founding director of the Iowa School of Laughter Yoga. She has been a pioneer in spreading the laughter movement throughout the United States and around the world. She has presented Laughter Yoga on six continents and was selected by Laughter Yoga University as the first woman in America to become a master trainer of Laughter Yoga.

Jha is a transgender, asylee/refugee from India who is practicing the art of storytelling while finding what their own story is. Disrupting a post MBA life, Jha jumped into the MFA acting program at the University of Washington, graduating class of 2014. Settled in San Francisco, some of the other stories she has told across the Bay include “Three Fat Sisters” at Cutting Ball, “Down Here Below” at Ubuntu Theatre Project, “Straight White Men” at Marin Theatre Co, “The Box” at Z-Space, “Peter & the Starcatcher” at Berkeley Playhouse, “Rickshaw Girl” at BACT, “Eat the Runt” at Altarena, and “Seagull” with Utopia. Coming up in 2019 is “The Good Person of Szechwan” and the solo telling of “Mahābhārata.”

Clunie is an actress, director and teaching artist from Evanston, Ill. She holds a Bachelor of Science in theater from Northwestern University. There, she was a founding member and artistic director of Spectrum Theater Company and directed “The Exonerated” steps away from the home of the Medill Justice Project. She has performed in multiple devised works including “Mirrors” with Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and the Collaboraction ensemble at Luftwerk’s Luminous Field installation in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Her solo piece, “Who/Where is Sarah Bartmann?” examines voyeurism of the black female body in Western popular culture. Acting credits of note include “Doubt” (Mrs. Muller), Chestnut St. Playhouse; “Ebeneeza” (Marlene/Francesca/various) and “Asylum Hill: Meet Us Where We Are” (multiple roles), Hartbeat Ensemble; “Romeo and Juliet” (Lady Capulet), Capital Classics, Victory Gardens Biograph Theater; and “The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights” (Alaya u/s), Writers’ Theatre. When not performing, Clunie is a teaching artist.

Originally from Venezuela, Ramirez spent the last two years touring the country performing scripted and improvised material as a sexual assault prevention educator with Catharsis Productions. Ramirez moved to Chicago after receiving her B.F.A in theater arts from Nebraska Wesleyan University. During that time she’s had the pleasure of working with a number of theaters, including Rivendell Theatre, where she’s an ensemble member. Through her work with companies like Teatro Luna and F.Y.I Ramirez ignited her interest for theater and storytelling as a means for social change and became passionate about the creation of new work through devising and collaboration.

Originally from Hastings, Minn., Youngren is an actor, dancer and dreamer that received his B.A. in theater performance from UW - La Crosse. He is overjoyed and honored to return to Lanesboro and take part in A.R.T.! A Commonweal Theatre Company apprentice from the 2016-2017 season, Youngren currently works at Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minn., as a substitute teacher, director, choreographer, and speech coach. When he’s not on stage or in front of a class, you can catch him binge-watching Netflix, chugging an iced latte, or jamming out to a Broadway playlist!

Glynn has been living in Lanesboro since 2011. She shared the stage in six Commonweal productions — some of her favorite roles include Tracy Lord in “Philadelphia Story” and Elvira in “Blithe Spirit.” She has also performed the solo shows “The Belle Of Amherst” and “Miss Myrna Davenport’s Poetry in Motion” with Lanesboro Arts. She has MFAs from UT Austin and the University of Delaware. She currently divides her time between creating on stage and executive coaching with the Ariel Group and Voce Veritas. She shares her home with her talented husband Jeremy van Meter, and their circus of cats.


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