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Artists in Residence




Kaleena Newman and Sydney Jackson will collaborate as two artists combining their individual knowledge and perspectives, not to create an interdisciplinary piece, but rather create an interdisciplinary artist, the Third Artist, who will produce its own work. The team is interested in exploring how two individuals can combine their varied skills to create an artist that is unique from both of them. Sydney, a movement artist, and Kaleena, a theatre artist, will use their formal training in different practices to push one another and develop the Third Artist. The collaborators will utilize their experience in stream of consciousness as a creation tool to inspire and inform their work. Considering the focus on specialization in our current society, the idea of the Third Artist explores what can happen if two individuals push past boundaries and create a new Artist that transcends both of them.


May 26th, 6:30 & 8:30 PM​


2nd Floor, Acting Studio




Kaleena Newman  is a professional actor and teaching artist specializing in Theatre for Young Audiences. She was born and raised in Arizona and has since shared her art across the country. After beginning her theatre work as an assistant stage manager and stage manager for Black Theatre Troupe, Kaleena transitioned into teaching theatre to young people. In 2008, she began working with Childsplay as both a teaching artist and actor, and has remained an ensemble member with the company since. While getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Arizona State University,Kaleena studied American Sign Language and spent a semester studying at Gallaudet, the deaf university in Washington, D.C., where she was immersed in

the language. After returning to ASU, she used her Sign Language skills to collaborate on graduate theatre work, including devising, translating, and starring in a multi-sensory performance of Seagirl. In addition to the MainStage at ASU, Kaleena has performed with Stray Cat Theatre, Nearly Naked Theatre, Rising Youth Theatre, and The Phoenix Fringe Festival. She received a Best Actor award for her work in Cordones, a short film produced for the Phoenix Film Institute, and has been nominated for two AriZoni Awards for her performances with Childsplay.


Kaleena performed on stages across the United States and in Canada with Childsplay’s national tour of The Cat in the Hat in 2015/2016, and spent the past two summers as a teaching artist with Northwest Children’s Theatre in Portland, Oregon where she wrote and directed work for children as well as taught creative play classes and ensemble building workshops. Kaleena is currently the first artist in residence at Bay Area Children’s Theatre in Oakland, California. There she is performing in The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show and The Night Fairy, as well as being mentored by the company’s Executive Artistic Director, Nina Meehan.


In addition to her theatre work, Kaleena is also a visual artist producing line drawings and zines (homemade magazines). She works primarily in collage art using vintage Life Magazines as the basis for her collages. Her work is showcased on her artist instagram account, @notcutezine, and her #feminism zine, pairing collage with a selection of tweets hashtagged feminism, is for sale at Wasted Ink Zine Distro in Phoenix.


Kaleena is a published author with writing in The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian magazine, where she also served on their GenQ Advisory Board. She is interested in continuing to expand her artistic practice beyond theatre, and has recently delved farther into physical movement, training in Jiu-Jitsu and exploring contact improv as well as exploring mixed media watercolor and ink.


Sydney Jackson is a movement artist based in Tempe, AZ. She has worked throughout the valley since 2012, serving as a collaborator and performer for much of her professional career. More recently she has expanded her work as a facilitator and teaching artist, and has been trying her artistry in visual mediums. While earning her BFA in Dance at Arizona State University, Sydney was involved in a myriad of projects. She had the opportunity to produce her own work, choreographing a piece chosen for the creative project “At Home in the Desert: Youth Engagement and Place;” collaborate with Allyson Yoder on a site-specific performance titled Welcome; and present her work A Flamboyance for numerous productions during her final year.


Although Sydney came to Arizona intending to work solely as a choreographer, she has had the great fortune to perform with many artists over time and expand her interests both on and off stage. Sydney performed numerous graduate works including Denise Stein’s The Now Creature, in which she had the opportunity to work with wearable technology created by

composer Garrett Johnson. She later performed in Jenny Gerena’s Flesh Narratives, from which a piece was selected for the American College Dance Association Conference West Region; Sydney was credited as both performer and the lighting designer. During her undergraduate career, Sydney worked with ASU faculty including Jessica Rajko, Eileen Standley and Mary Fitzgerald, the latter of which introduced her to somatic practices and bodywork techniques that greatly influence her current movement practice. She also credits practitioners Tim

O’Donnell and Richard Goldsand for her studies in the somatic field.


Since graduation, Sydney has had the pleasure to continue working with many of these artists as well as numerous others across the valley and beyond. Her work with Eileen Standley led her to professional work and study abroad. In 2015, Sydney performed with Susanne Marx at the WhyNot Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands as a member of a moving choir, one of her few forays into marrying dance and vocal performance. She also studied with performer and

singer/songwriter Lily Kiara in Skinner Release Technique. The following year, Sydney returned to Amsterdam to perform numerous improvisatory pieces including one with Kiara and other local artists, and a durational work for Rajko. Earlier this year Sydney performed in Rajko’s premiere of Me, My Quantified Self, and I, and more recently in the remount of her work I’m Not as Think as You Drunk I Am, both of which Sydney was credited as a co-collaborator.


Other local work has been with artists including Julie Akerly, Steven Redondo, Jordan Daniels, and Liliana Gomez to name a few. These projects have allowed Sydney to perform in various venues and festivals over time some of which include the Phoenix Art Museum, the Phoenix Center for the Arts for the Beta Dance Festival, FORM Festival in Arcosanti, and Breaking Ground Dance Festival. This summer, Sydney was a featured choreographer for Phoenix’s first BlakTina Dance Festival. She collaborated with fellow choreographer Reyna Montoya, as well as composers Ileana Salinas and Raquel Denis. The We in the I was premiered for BlakTina at the Black Theatre Troupe. In January 2018, Sydney will return to Breaking Ground performing in work by Gerena and Gomez, and being featured in a dance film titled Floating Chronologies by Fitzgerald and photographer Dimitri Von Klein.


Recently, Sydney has broadened her work as a facilitator. In November, Sydney taught a series of movement workshops for mixed level groups through [nueBOX]. In Spring 2018, Sydney will be co-hosting workshops for inter-generational participants and families alongside Yoder, made possible with the Vibrant City Grant they were recently awarded through the City of Tempe. Sydney will expand her teaching to work with older adults once completing Arizona Commission on the Arts’ Creative Aging Teaching Artist Institute next year.

Photography by [nueBOX] documentation volunteer Ashley Baker

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