Blessed Unrest

About the Members of Blessed Unrest

Jessica Burr

Artistic Director
Founding Company Member
Board of Directors

Jessica Burr has been honored with the 2019 Kennedy Center ACTF Commendation for Distinguished Leadership, First Prize at the 2016 Secondo Festival (Switzerland), the 2011 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award, and NY Innovative Theatre Awards including Outstanding Production, Choreography/Movement, and Caffe Cino Fellowship Award among eight total nominations. She was a featured panelist in the 2016 Brave Summit, a forum of women leaders, experts, and scholars to drive cultural change. The founding artistic director of Blessed Unrest with whom she has directed and choreographed over 20 productions (13 world premieres), she directs, choreographs and teaches at theatres and universities around the world.

Matt Opatrny

Managing Director
Founding Company Member
Board of Directors

Matt is a playwright and actor. He has written Refuge (in collaboration with the ensemble), The Snow Queen (based on Andersen, winner of NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production, nominee for Outstanding Original Script), A Christmas Carol (adapted from Dickens), Burn, Crave, Hold (NY IT Award for Outstanding Production, nominee for Outstanding Original Script), Body: Anatomies of Being (in collaboration with the ensemble), co-wrote The Sworn Virgin and Doruntine (with Lirak Çelaj of Teatri Oda, Kosova), co-wrote Eurydice’s Dream and ArtCamp SexyTime FootBall, and co-adapted Lying and Certain Things Which I Will Call Sacred. He has performed in the Balkan tours of The Sworn Virgin and Doruntine, 365Days/365Plays, Lying, Peer Gynt 1:16:19, Certain Things, All’s Well That Ends…Well, Life Is a Dream, and Come if You Dare 1 & 2. He appeared Off-Broadway with the Roundabout and Mint Theater Companies, and has played with National Shakespeare Company (NYC), Theatre By the Blind (NYC), Fulton Opera House (PA), Vermont Stage, North Carolina Stage, Georgia Shakespeare Festival, The Warehouse Theatre (SC), Hampstead Players (NH), the outdoor drama Tecumseh (OH) and at Columbia University. Matt has taught workshops in physical and devised theatre at Clemson University, Western Washington University, Presbyterian College, Stephens College, Centenary College, Texas Tech University, Prishtina University (Kosovo) and at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (region 2 & 7). He has served on several grant review panels and taught workshops in grant writing. He has trained with the SITI Company and at Clemson University, where he also received a degree in Biological Sciences, and owes much of who he is to the sea turtles of Costa Rica.

Sora Baek

Associate Artist

With Blessed Unrest, Sora has performed in 400 Parts per Million, The Storm, and workshops of The Storm, As You Desire Me, and The Sworn Virgin. Her other New York credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Curious Frog), The Vagina Monologues (Abingdon Theater) and O-Yu-Ran (7 train theater). In San Francisco, she performed Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (Calaveras Repertory Theatre), The History of the Devil (Ragged Wing Ensemble), Terminally Female (Jump Theater) and her two solo shows Return (Eth-Noh-Tec Theatre), and Comfort (The Marsh). She has trained with SITI Company and Dell’arte International School of Physical Theater. Sora has an MFA from the Academy of Art at the University of San Francisco. She also received a Best Actress Award at the Epidemic Film Festival in San Francisco.

Jessi Blue Gormezano

Associate Artist

With Blessed Unrest she has performed in the Balkan tour of The Sworn Virgin, a bilingual co-production with Teatri ODA, and a workshop of As You Desire Me. She has performed at numerous venues across the country including Actors Theater of Louisville, Round House Theatre, and the Off-Center Festival in ReEntry with American Records Theater Company. ReEntry has also been performed at military bases across the US, Germany and Italy as a form of resiliency training for military personnel. Her self-written solo show, Mark My Words, was accepted into the 2011 United Solo Theatre Festival in NYC and has been performed at The Drilling Company Theatre and The Landmark Studio for The Arts. She is the Associate Artistic Director of Project:Theater and the Creative Director of OUR BAR, a site-specific monthly performance event. BA Greensboro College & MFA FSU/Asolo Conservatory.

Catherine Gowl

Company Member

Catherine has performed as an actor with Blessed Unrest in Body: Anatomies of Being, ArtCamp SexyTime FootBall, 365 Days/Plays, and workshops of ArtCamp, Nick, and The Storm. Regional credits include Electra at the Pittsburgh Public Theater; King Lear, Six Degrees of Separation, Coriolanus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Two Gentlemen of Verona all at The Old Globe; Taming of the Shrew and Othello at Virginia Shakespeare Festival; and The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later at the La Jolla Playhouse Reading. Her New York credits include Oh The Humanity and Other Exclamations, The Director, and ’Twas all at the Flea Theater; understudying all the female roles in Theater for a New Audience’s New York production and national tour of The Merchant of Venice; and many new works. Catherine received her BA in the History and Literature of France and America from Harvard, and her MFA from The Old Globe/University of San Diego.

Jason Griffin

Company Member

Jason has performed with Blessed Unrest in Eurydice’s Dream; Burn, Crave, Hold: The James Wilde Project; The Storm; the workshop production of Nick; and Doruntine. Past NYC and regional theatre includes Puck in Chicago Opera Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Robin Starveling in Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III in Andre Serban’s Richard 3, El Diablo in the NY Metropolitan Opera’s Benvenuto Cellini, Nico in Straight on ’til Morning at 78th Street Theatre Lab, Go-Go boy in Packawallop’s Expat Inferno, and Peggy Lee in Mabou Mines’ Lost Box of Utopia. He received his BA in Theatre Arts from University of Oregon in Summer of 1995 and his MFA from Columbia University in Spring of 2002.

Tatyana Kot

Company Member

Tatyana has performed with Blessed Unrest in Body: Anatomies of Being, Doruntine, Eurydice’s Dream and A Christmas Carol, and workshops of A Christmas Carol and The Greeks. She was born and grew up in the Soviet Union, where she trained and performed with a local ballet company in Kazakhstan. When it was time to get a “real” job she moved to NYC, where she could continue to dance, act on stage and screen, and model. Tatyana was a Blessed Unrest groupie for a couple years before starting to train with them. Her awards include Best Actress in Midtown International Theater Festival in 2012 and Best Actress in Planet Connections theater festivity in 2013. Tatyana Kot is a breast cancer survivor and advocate. She has several plays and dance projects dedicated to her.

Beth Lake

Associate Artist

Beth is a freelance Sound Designer and theater practitioner. With Blessed Unrest, she has designed Body: Anatomies of Being and Doruntine. Her design aesthetic incorporates sound design early in the development phase, and relies heavily on collaboration with both text and movement. Beth holds an MFA in Sound Design from the University of California-Irvine. She represented the program at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design, and Space. She also holds a BA in Theater Arts and Design from the University of Northern Colorado. She is the resident Sound Designer of Team Awesome Robot, and proud member of United Scenic Artists Local #829.

Eunjee Lee

International Affiliate

Eunjee has performed with Blessed Unrest in the workshop production of Nick, CoMotion, Burn, Crave, Hold: The James Wilde Project, Measure for Measure, 365Days/365Plays. Her other NYC credits include: Oph3lia (HERE Arts Center), Ah, My Dear Andersen (Urban Stages), March (Bank Street Theatre), The Three Gods (Westbeth Theatre), Euridice’s Abandon (The Brick Theatre). She also works internationally as a performer, teacher, and director. She has an MFA in Acting from The Actor’s Studio Drama School at The New School.

Poppy Liu

Associate Artist

With Blessed Unrest: Body: Anatomies of Being and Doruntine. Poppy Liu exists in the space where art meets activism. Her modalities range from storytelling, interactive performance arts, dancing Butoh, and puppeteering to conscious sexuality education to facilitating workshops that deal with intimacy, embodiment, and consent. Poppy has appeared on the NY stage at The New Ohio Theater, Interart Theater, The Box, The McKittrick Hotel, The Wild Project, Irondale, Theater for a New City, New Oxford Space, and The Drunk Shakespeare Lounge. She is the founder of the storytelling movement The Collective Sex which hosts monthly performances in Williamsburg.

Nick Micozzi

Company Member

Nick is an actor, director and producer of theatre, video, and television. Acting credits include Lucio and Pompey in (separate productions of) Measure for Measure, 365 Days/365 Plays, FringeNYC, Bernard in Death of a Salesman, and Iago in Othello. He trained and worked with Shakespeare & Co and Jim Slowiak of Grotowski’s Objective Drama. He has been a member of Esperance Theatre Company and Pure Pop Rep, and he is a co-founder of The New York Innovative Theater Awards (The "IT Awards").

Celli Pitt

Associate Artist

Celli received her MFA in Acting from Brandeis University and her BA in Theatre from Spelman College. Her Blessed Unrest acting credits include: Machinal; Burn, Crave, Hold: The James Wilde Project; Measure for Measure; 365 Days/365 Plays; and the workshop production of Nick. She has performed nationally in National Tours, Regional Theatre, and Off-Broadway. Celli recently directed This Train is Bound for Glory at the Cherry Lane which won the 2008 Downtown Urban Theatre Festival’s Best Play Award. Additionally, Celli was a member of the vocal composition team and provided vocals for the score of the 2008 American Black Film Festival’s HBO Best Short Award Winnig Film PreMature which begins airing on HBO in February 2009. A lover of the craft, Celli is also a private vocal and acting coach.

Damen Scranton

Company Member

Damen has directed Blessed Unrest’s productions of Machinal; Burn, Crave, Hold: The James Wilde Project (2008 NYC I.T. Award for Outstanding Production of a Play); and Lying. He also performed in 365Days/365Plays and the blessed workshop of Nick. Damen has an M.F.A. in acting from U.C. San Diego (1997), and was the recipient of one of two national Princess Grace Awards for acting in 1996. He is currently in his 14th season with the Irondale Ensemble Project, and in his second season with the Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble. Damen has taught Shakespeare and improvisation in New York City high schools for 14 years, and has spent the past seven summers teaching Shakespeare to students in Europe with the Putney Excel Student Travel Program. He has taught acting courses at Carnegie Mellon University, U.C. San Diego and Manhatanville College, and writing courses at Marymount Manhattan College. He also spent three summers in Ireland and Northern Ireland training as an actor and playwright with the Exiles Theatre Programme. Damen is from Pasadena, California, and desperately misses camping and climbing in Joshua Tree National Monument. He wears glasses.

Vaishnavi Sharma

Company Member

Vaishnavi has worked and trained with Blessed Unrest since 2008, performing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ArtCamp SexyTime FootBall, and a workshop of As You Desire Me. Her other credits include the World Premier of The Death of The Novel at San Jose Repertory; Brainpeople, written and directed by Jose Rivera; Romeo and Juliet, Around The World In 80 Days, and Hamlet, all with The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; As You Like It and National Tours of A Comedy of Errors and The Iliad: Book 1 with Aquila Theatre Company. Vaishnavi has an MFA from The New School For Drama.

Darrell Stokes

Company Member

Darrell has performed with Blessed Unrest in Platonov, Body: Anatomies of Being, Eurydice’s Dream; The Storm; Machinal; Nick; Burn, Crave, Hold: The James Wilde Project; All’s Well That Ends…Well; Lying; and Life is a Dream. Other New York credits: The Misanthrope (Boomerang); Quake (Hypothetical). Regional credits: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merchant of Venice, Timon of Athens and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Gross Indecency, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Cherry Orchard and An Ideal Husband (Court Theatre); The Midnight Circus (Ivanhoe Theatre); Life in the Trees and Charlotte Cushman (SummerNITE); The Blue Hour, Spoon River Anthology and The Actor’s Nightmare (Hatfield International Theatre Festival, England). Darrell studied at Wayne State University and Northern Illinois University.

Vida Tayebati

Associate Artist

Vida is a NYC-based theatre actor and director, born and raised in Tehran, Iran. She aims to mobilize discussion and action through live theatre that transcends national borders and exposes social wrongs. Vida received the Hope Fellowship and Kennedy Center Honors Scholarship in 2013 and Carlo Mazzone Scholarship in 2014–2015 for studying theatre. She co-founded Peydah Theatre, an Iranian-American Theatre company in NYC in 2019 and international female troupe Til Lalezar Theatre in 2016, where she developed an art studio/space for the community in Western MA. She is a member of Blessed Unrest’s ensemble and was assistant director of Body in the New Ohio Theatre’s Obie Award–winning Ice Factory Festival. Her most recent projects include We Are More at Pregones Theatre, Tosca Tehran at Atlantic Theatre, NYTW residency at Adelphi University, titlepoint festival at the Brick Theatre, Bee at HB Studios, and Red Wednesday at Mabou Mines. She received an MFA in Physical Theatre at Dell’Arte International in northern California and is currently continuing her education in Data Science at Columbia University in New York.

Jaimie Van Dyke

Company Member

Jaimie is Blessed Unrest’s resident stage manager, and has worked on all of our productions since A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2010. Originally from Seattle, she is a graduate of Hunter College. While there she was the recipient of an annual scholarship to intern at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2006 and upon graduation, received an honorary stage management award. She also interned with Greenstage, Seattle’s traveling Shakespeare in the Park, during their 20th annual season. Stage managing her way around New York, she has had the privilege to work with such various companies as Wizard Oil Productions, The Flying Machine, Coffee Cup (a theatre co.), Eungene Lang College at The New School, and The American Composer’s Orchestra. She has also served on the Outstanding Stage Manager Award committee for the Innovative Theatre Awards.

Sonia Villani

Company Member

Sonia is an Italian actress from Rome, who happily relocated in NYC in 2012. With Blessed Unrest she has performed in Body: Anatomies of Being, Lying, Eurydice’s Dream, 400 Parts per Million, and a workshop of The Sworn Virgin. Other credits include The Event of a Thread (Park Avenue Armory, NYC), One Heart for Two (Stranded VI: Laboratory, NYC), Polvere (Festival Exit4, Italy), Un pasticciaccio (Teatro studio Uno, Italy), Metamorphotel (Festival Castel dei Mondi, Italy). In NYC she has trained extensively with SITI Company. Sonia is also a tango dancer, and work with her company Tango di Pietra includes: Alizé En Danse (Teatro Eliseo, Italy) and Bel Vedere (Santarcangelo dei Teatri Festival, Italy). She also loves fencing and fighting on stage.

Nathan Richard Wagner

Associate Artist

Nathan has worked with Blessed Unrest in Body: Anatomies of Being, Lying, A Christmas Carol and 400 Parts Per Million. He is an actor, musician, teacher, and puppeteer. With his ensemble, The Roadsters, both Ohio, Revisited and What Happened in Ohio. Puppet work includes Hobo Grunt Cycle with the UNIMA award-winning puppet company Lone Wolf Tribe and GORMANZEE with anna&meredith. After Midnight and The Gray Notebook in Target Margin Theater’s Lab Series. BA from the University of Kentucky.

Ian Wen

Associate Artist

Ian has performed with Blessed Unrest in ArtCamp SexyTime FootBall and has participated in workshops of A Christmas Carol and The Storm. In NYC, he has worked at The Public, The Kitchen, La MaMa ETC, PS 122, HERE and Joyce Soho among others, and internationally in the Netherlands, Greece, Ukraine and Mexico. He is a butoh dancer and co-founder of the dance theater company, de novo dance. He is also on faculty at Brooklyn College where he teaches movement to the MFA acting students.

Laura Wickens

Associate Artistic Director
Company Member

Blessed Unrest credits: ArtCamp SexyTime FootBall, Machinal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nick, Doruntine (NYC and Balkan tour), CoMotion, Burn Crave Hold, Measure for Measure, 365Days/365Plays, and Lying (NYC and Prishtina). Laura has also performed at SoHo Rep, NYC Fringe, Theater Four, Ontological, Irondale, TNC, Perry St. Theater, and HERE. She has an MFA in Acting from Brandeis, and has trained with the American Mime Theatre, SITI, Noh Training Project, Song of the Goat, and Maly Theatre. Laura is the author of two Russian translations: Nick, based on Chekhov’s Ivanov, and The Storm, based on Ostrovsky’s The Storm.

Jessika Williams

Associate Artist

Jessika has performed with Blessed Unrest as Amerika in Eurydice’s Dream; workshops include The Greeks, Macbeth and Body. Jessika originates from Los Angeles. She went to high school at Interlochen Arts Academy and trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow (BA). NY Theater Credits include: Break Out (with Theater Uncut at the Clurman Theater); Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare Forum). UK credits include: The Bacchae (National Theater of Scotland with John Tiffany); Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Headlong/Almeida); Wig Out (Royal Court); Taggart (Scottish TV); Doctor Who (BBC); The Descent 2 (Celador Films). Jessika feels very blessed to be in this unrest and gives a big thanks to the company for allowing her to be apart of such tremendous group of artists.

Joshua Wynter

Associate Artist

Joshua debuted with Blessed Unrest in Body: Anatomies of Being and A Christmas Carol. Not only does he share his passion for acting and creating physical theatre with Blessed Unrest, he has been a featured artist at the Metropolitan Opera (Hamlet, Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci), is a performance artist/educator with Bond Street Theatre Coalition, and is a member of Broken Box Mime Theatre and Big Apple Playback Theatre. Beyond performing, Joshua has directed inner city children for the Police Athletic League (PAL), worked with the Girl Scouts of the USA, and lead physical theatre workshops in schools, churches, and theaters in the U.S. and Haiti. Joshua studied theater at SUNY University at Buffalo and Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.