The Company

Tyson Forbes

(Writer, Creator, Producer, Emerson). Tyson is the Co-Artistic Director of TigerLion Arts where he serves as a writer, performer, creator and producer. TigerLion’s past productions include The Buddha Prince, KIPO!, The Flame Brigade, and The Dragons are Singing Tonight. Local credits include performances at the Guthrie in Nice Fish, The Crucible, 1776, Arsenic and Old Lace, Peer Gynt, The Winter’s Tale, Edgardo Mine, The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde, Macbeth, and most recently Harvey. He was seen in the Ordway’s production of Cabaret, the Jungle’s productions of Detroit and The Night Alive, Ten Thousand Things productions of The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Fiddler on the Roof, and has performed in regional theaters throughout the US. Other credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, Terra Nova, Arcadia, The Homecoming, Equus, Don Juan in Hell and Fully Committed. Tyson has collaborated on numerous original productions, with Nature being especially close to his heart, as he is the great great great grandson of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Markell Kiefer

(Director, Writer, Producer). Markell has toured, performed, and directed nationally. She is a pioneer of "outdoor walking plays" such as The Buddha Prince, which has performed in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and New York City’s Central Park. She has worked with Guthrie Theater, The Southern Theater, Theater Forever, Puppet Farm Arts, Stages Theater Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, NY Theatre Workshop, Jobsite Theatre, The Actor’s Loft, American Stage Festival, and National Theatre of the Performing Arts. Producing/directing credits include: All TLA productions, Crimes of the Heart, The Cosmic Equation, Thunderstorm, The Adventures of Hucklebery Finn, Uncle Sergei, The Proposal, The Life of Milarepa, Fully Committed, and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Training includes: a M.F.A. in Lecoq Physical Theatre (Naropa University), a B.A. in Religion and Environmental Ethics from Middlebury College, Circle in the Square Theatre School, and European Clown with Giovanni Fusetti.

Sam Elmore

(Writer, Creator). Sam served as creative producer on the 2010 production of Nature and originated the role of Thoreau. Sam has been working in theatre for over 20 years and has been guiding people into nature for 15 years. As a guide Sam specializes in connecting people to their own unique relationship to nature. He has acted in over 40 productions across the country. He currently tours a show titled 52 Pick Up. He is a member of Playback Theatre West, a Colorado based improvisational theatre company dedicated to leveraging the power of story. Sam heads a boutique consulting group called OrgDev which supports companies and organizations to evolve and grow through experiential learning and improvisation.

Dick Hensold

(Lead Composer). The foremost player in North America of the Northumbrian smallpipes (a quiet bagpipe from Northeast England), Hensold has played and taught in Scotland, England, Canada and Japan, and has toured throughout the United States. He performs the traditional music of Scotland, Northumberland, Ireland and Cape Breton Island; also early music, and Nordic folk music. Hensold has appeared at the Guthrie Theater (Peer Gynt, A Christmas Carol), Children’s Theater (Buccaneers, Snow Queen, Hansel and Gretel, Robin Hood, plus playing a number of recorded shows), Theatre de la Jeune Lune (Hunchback of Notre Dame), and numerous independent productions, most notably Ruth MacKenzie’s hit show Kalevala, Dream of the Salmon Maiden. At the venues above he has appeared as a musician both onstage and in the pit, and has worked as arranger, conductor, and music director; this is his first show as composer. He is a 2006 Bush Artist Fellow.

Jason Hansen

(Composer). Jason is a musician in the Twin Cities with a reputation for his work in the theater. Jason has held positions of music director, composer, arranger, educator, and/or performer at Theater Latté Da, Mixed Blood Theater, Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things, the Children’s Theater Company, Theater Mu, TigerLion Arts, Open Eye Figure Theater, FLiP! Theater Company, University of Minnesota, UofM Centennial Showboat, MN Fringe Festival, and the Hennepin Theater Trust’s Spotlight Showcase. Jason co-directs Alive & Kickin, the Twin Cities premier senior rock ensemble and is a resident composer of the newly-formed Catalyst Theater Company. He is heavily involved with educational and community organizations including the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, Easter Lutheran Church, Eagan Community Theater, and Twin Cities area school districts. Jason is a commissioned composer and arranger developing new music for choir, cabaret and theater whose works can be found with both Hal Leonard and Alfred Music. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife Alise.

Kimberly Richardson

(Choreographer). Kimberly is an actor and dancer around town. Recent credits include The Music Man, As You Like It, and Dirt Sticks with Ten Thousand Things and The Clumsy Man, My Life as a Fairytale (as Hans Christian Anderson) and To the Moon (as Ed Norton) with Open Eye Figure Theatre. Kimberly received a 2006 Sage Award for Dance and a 2012 Next Step Grant to study clown and voice in Switzerland and France. Recent: My Life as a Fairytale with Open Eye Figure Theatre, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown with Ten Thousand Things.

Christine A. Richardson

(Costumer Designer). Christine has worked as a freelance Costume Designer for over 25 years, and designed the costumes for TigerLion Arts production of The Dragons are Singing Tonight, The Flame Brigade, as well as the 2010-2016 productions of Nature. She is currently the Costume Director for Portland Opera. Christine has designed for other companies such as: Guthrie Theater (Juno and the Peacock, Uncle Vanya, Skiing on Broken Glass, An Iliad, Embers, Time Stands Still, The Edge of Our Bodies, Arsenic and Old Lace, Faith Healer, Happy Days, The Caretaker, The Ugly One, Pen), Portland Opera (Hansel and Gretel, Songs of Love and War) Stages Theatre Company (The Mitten, Owl Moon, Aladdin Jr, 20+ productions), Mu Performing Arts (F.O.B., Soul of the Drum, Cowboy Versus Samurai, The Romance of Magno Rubio).

Nathan Gebhard

(Tour & Company Manager, Ensemble, Percussionist). Nathan is honored to be a part of this stellar storytelling team! A recent graduate of Hamline University, he just finished his third year in the MN Fringe Festival this summer as a dancer in Strangetalk. Other regional credits include productions with Penumbra Theatre, Red Eye Theater Works-in-Progress Series 2013, and 20% Theatre’s Q-Stage Series. In addition to numerous shows at Hamline University, he also performed at the John. F Kennedy Center for Performing Arts with the Hamline Dance Ensemble at the National College Dance Festival in 2012. When he’s not on stage, he enjoys playing music and finding waterfalls.

Chelsie Newhard

(Assistant Stage Manager, Swing, Guide). Chelsie is thrilled to be a part of the Nature company for a second season, after appearing as Margaret Fuller last Fall. She is originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania and a graduate of the University of Minnesota BFA Actor Training Program Class of 2013. Credits include Talley’s Folly and All My Sons (Artistry MN), I and You (Public Theatre MN), Blue Stockings and South Street (Dowling Studio), The Sparrow (Live Action Set), The Heiress, Macbeth, & The Fully Monty (Illinois’ Festival 56) among others. As a long-time admirer of the Transcendentalists, she’s over the moon to be able to explore them and nature in such a joyful and immersive way!

Katia Cardenas

(Community Outreach Coordinator). Katia is a singer, actor, dancer and teaching artist from Sacramento, California. A graduate of Macalester College (2006), she works administratively with numerous arts organizations across the Twin Cities including Pangea World Theater, Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, Jazz Central Studios, Teatro Del Pueblo, St. Paul Public Schools Community Education program, and the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network. As an actor, she has performed with Teatro del Pueblo, Pangea World Theater, Theater Unbound and Eat Street Players, and she has taught theater to youth through Stages, Stepping Stone, blank slate theater and the St. Paul Parks and Rec. As a professional jazz and R&B vocalist, Katia sings regularly at clubs and venues around the Twin Cities, with her jazz combos, cover bands, and Casablanca Orchestra, the Midwest's premiere show band. She also released her debut EP, "I'll Be Seeing You" in June 2016. Katia is honored to be a member of the TigerLion team since 2013, and was delighted witness Nature come to life, and touch so many people.

Robin Gillette

(Marketing & Fundraising Manager). After several years in New York working as an off-Broadway stage manager and general manager, Robin became Associate Producer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. From 2006-2013 she was executive director of Minnesota Fringe Festival. Robin was instrumental to the success of the 2014 remounting of Nature at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum as marketing, fundraising, and project manager and helped TigerLion Arts secure key grant funding to allow for the 2015 tour. Robin founded and runs Arts Progress, a consulting agency which works with nonprofits (mostly arts) on project/event management, executive search and retention, marketing, fundraising and more.

Jeremiah Zortman

(Fiscal Consultant). Jeremiah is proud to once again join the TigerLion Arts team for a fourth year, ensuring budgets get made and people get paid! When not consulting for TigerLion Arts, Jeremiah provides event production services for arts organizations including Northern Spark, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Art.

Andrew Schelling

(Writing Advisor/Contributor). Andrew grew up in New England's Transcendentalist country. He moved west to Northern California in 1973. There he explored wilderness regions of the Coast Range and Sierra Nevadas and studied Sanskrit and Asian literature at U.C. Berkeley. An ecologist, naturalist, and explorer of wilderness areas, he has travelled extensively in North America, Europe, India, and the Himalayas. In 1990 he relocated to Colorado to join the faculty at Naropa University where he teaches poetry, Sanskrit, and wilderness writing. Poet, amateur naturalist, mountaineer, and translator of India's classical poetry, he lives in Boulder, along the front range of the Southern Rocky Mountains.

Megan Fae Dougherty

(AEA Stage Manager). Megan has been a stage manager, run crew, electrician, prop designer, and wardrobe supervisor in the Twin Cities theatre scene since 2008. She has been seen working with a variety of companies including TigerLion Arts, Park Square Theatre, Stages Theatre Company, CLIMB, Artistry, Mixed Blood, and The History Theatre. Prior to moving to the Minneapolis/St. Paul she traveled on two national tours with Troupe America Inc, and worked west at Utah Shakespeare Festival, and The Santa Fe Opera.


Michael Wieser

(Henry David Thoreau). Michael is so happy to be making his debut with TigerLion Arts in this production of Nature. He has worked in theater, musical theater, television and film around the country, and in the Twin Cities he has worked with The Guthrie, The Playwrights Center, The Jungle and New Epic Theater Company, The Children's Theater Company and more. Michael was honored to be a part of two productions last year that won Ivey Awards: Le Switch and Now or Later. He is so excited for this new adventure with such an amazing group of artists.

Shana Berg

(Lydian, Ensemble). Shana is honored to be joining the cast of Nature, her first with TigerLion Arts. She was most recently seen in The Diary of Anne Frank (Miep Giess) at Park Square Theatre. Other performances include the Ivey Award-winning production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Maria Elena Holly), Lonely Soldiers: Women at War in Iraq (Anna Peterford), This Side of Paradise, and Sisters of Swing at The History Theatre; Motherhood Out Loud, and Voices with Theatre Unbound. She earned her M.M. from McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul in 2013.

Kevin Fanshaw

(Bronson Alcott, Eddy, Ensemble). Kevin is a Twin Cities based actor making his TigerLion Arts debut with Nature. Locally, he has performed with Park Square Theatre (The Diary of Anne Frank), Theatre Coup d’Etat (Equus, The Crucible, The Glass Menagerie, Art), Illusion Theatre (Keepin’ it Real), Savage Umbrella (The Awakening), and more. In 2016 he and his co-star, Charles Numrich, were honored with an Ivey Award for their performances in Equus. Kevin was also named Best Emerging Actor 2016 by City Pages. Following Nature, he will be making his Penumbra Theatre debut with a new play titled This Bitter Earth. Kevin is also an avid traveller and explorer of the natural world, and excited to meld that passion with his love of performance.

Andrew Forbes (Piper)

Known among his musician peers as “the Octopus,” Andrew is one of the most highly regarded and innovative highland pipers in the world. A resident of New York City with 25 years experience, he has achieved fame for his transcendent performances, his command of technique, and his rhythmic prowess. He has released four albums in the last decade, as a solo recording artist and with his own bands Scottish Octopus, Iona Session and Cosmos 88. He has been featured on PBS’ Charlie Rose, and serves as an activist piper for peaceful demonstrations and marches, including the recent Women’s March and Climate March in Washington D.C. Recording with groups and Grammy winning producers like Mark Ronson, Alfonso Rodenas, Kate Copeland, Andy McEwen, TFMC, Ritual, and Burning Bridget Cleary in some of the best studios in the United States, Andrew plays consistently in collaboration with some of the planet’s finest musical talents. Some of his theatrical credits are Shakuntala (2012), Samaya (2012), Why Don’t I Have a Girlfriend? (2014), and Mandala II (2017). This is Andrew’s third year performing with Nature.

Aeysha Kinnunen

(Margaret Fuller, Ensemble). Aeysha is a native of Minnesota and a 2013 graduate of the University of MN/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program. Since graduating, Aeysha has worked with The Guthrie Theater, Theater Latte da, The History Theater, Park Square Theater, 10,000 Things Theater, and Walking Shadow Theater. In addition to her work as an actor Aeysha builds puppets, refurbished clothing, writes, and produces her own work. She has been with Nature since 2014 and is delighted to rejoin the company as they “go to the woods” and “live deliberately.”

Tony Sarnicki (Theodore Parker, Ensemble).

Tony is so happy to be joining the beautiful Nature family for a second year. He is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and an on going student with Raye Birk's Actor's Workout at the Guthrie Theater and Jon Ferguson's clown workshops. Tony has worked with: The Guthrie Theater, The Moving Company, Live Action Set, Theatre Forever, Red Eye Theater, Park Square Theatre and Carlyle Brown Company.

Matt Sciple (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ensemble).

Matt teaches by day, with Upstream Arts, working with adults and children of all abilities to improve social and communication skills through interdisciplinary performance. He has directed, performed in or written over 120 plays, in theaters large and small, colleges, homeless shelter, and even prisons across Minnesota and beyond. Returning to Nature for the fourth time, Matt is humbled and thrilled to join this extraordinary company of humans for Thoreau’s 200th birthday jam, conjuring rainbows, chasing chickens, singing with the sunsets and dancing through the storms.