About
The Bellwether Project

The Bellwether Project is a company of young theatre artists who are passionate about telling inclusive stories through the exploration of new forms. The company first united to produce a show at Carnegie Mellon University's 2015 Playground festival. Since then the company has produced pieces at Carnegie Mellon's Playground and Dance/Light festivals, CollaborAction Studios in Chicago, IL and in New York City at Ars Nova’s ANT FEST, Project Y’s Women in Theater Festival, and for FringeCLUB at Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe. They are currently in development for season 2 of their webseries, (in)alienable. 

 

The mission of The Bellwether Theatre Project is to create a culture of understanding and empathy for its community through personal, intersectional storytelling.

Founders

Nikki "Nix"

LoPinto

Describe The Bellwether Project in 5 words or less. 

Family, Perseverance, Curiosity, Equity, Passion.

What Does the Bellwether Project Mean to you?

It means lasting partnerships, incredible ideas, deep, unnerving, important questions, the freedom to create whatever we set our minds to. It's creativity, it's hard work, it's fun and it's laughter and it's tears and it's light. 

 

What was the first show you ever worked on?

The first show I ever worked on I was actually an actor - I was four years old and I starred as Max in Where the Wild Things Go. After the performance, my mother came up to me and asked me if I wanted to be an actor, and I remember saying with utter certainty that I hated acting, hated theater, and would never want to do this again. Funny how things work out! 

Which celeb would you love to collaborate with?

Either Celine Sciamma or Desiree Akhnavan - would love to have such smart and sharp LGBT minds as advisors, producers, directors! 

 

Why The Bellwether Project?

Because it gives me the opportunity to tell stories I wish I could have seen when I was younger, stories that inspire me and explore and celebrate the beautiful diversity of the world - our world. 

What Does the Bellwether Project Mean to you?

The Bellwether Project, to me, is home. It's a collection of people who can trust that they'll be supported by one another, no matter how crazy their idea sounds. It's about constantly searching - for a story that needs to be told, a question that is both crucial and challenging, an audience to speak to. It combines my love of experimentation and probing elusive questions with the need to make the world a brighter, fairer, and more equitable place. 

 

Describe The Bellwether Project in 5 words or less. 

Radical Nuance, Radical Joy.

 

What was the first show you ever worked on?

A Christmas Story in a local community Theatre Production. I played Flick, the kid who gets his tongue stuck to the pole.

 

Why The Bellwether Project?

Combining the tradition of ensemble with tearing down hierarchy. Pushing past an obvious "message" to explore complex questions that don't have clear answers. Unabashedly making sociopolitical work that values speaking truth to power over vague "both-sides" neutrality.

 

What piece do you wish we had conceived? 

I think about Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means to Me, and how that piece was able to dive into the radically nuanced space between the constitution, supreme court, and the personal stories of three generations of women in a single family, all while playing with form and structure in innovative and approachable ways. That's an aspirational project to me, but I don't really wish we conceived it. 

 

Jack Dentinger

Timiki Salinas

What Does the Bellwether Project Mean to you?

A creative home where I am pushed to be a better person and artist by our community and vice versa. 

 

What was the first show you ever worked on?

The Legend of Polar Mountain. I wanted to be/was cast as the village leader….. he wasn’t the lead...but he was the leader...Is that too much insight to young Timiki?

 

What's your favorite Bellwether Memory?

Being asked to be a part of it. As an insecure college freshman I was dumbfounded anyone would find my perspective interesting or important. I was caught so off guard and so validated and learned to grow so much into the person I am today because of BWP. That’s what I take with me as I strive to empower other artists we work with and I love seeing others challenge the ingrained practices and take up the space they deserve to have. 

Which celeb would you love to collaborate with?

Michaela Cole, Michaela Cole, Michaela Cole!

The Wachowski Sisters for a Dr. Rees Ziti franchise.

Anne Bogart is a high-profile celebrity to me.

Also if any casting directors are reading this please cast me as Jessica Chastain’s younger lover - or paper boy even . 

 

Why The Bellwether Project?

It allows me to continue to grow as an artist and collaborator in an industry that wants me to jump whenever they say jump. 

How Do You Build community?

By initially offering our own vulnerability—and then, by asking for generosity and honesty, even when it is inconvenient to one of us.

What Does the Bellwether Project Mean to you?

The Bellwether Project is my artistic spine, voice, compass, and joy. The BWP is the confluence of my creativity and activism.

Describe The Bellwether Project in 5 words or less. 

Tenacious. Investigative. Generous. Kooky. Glitter.

What was the first show you ever worked on?

A comedic, film Noir inspired, short play written by my fabulous improv teacher titled "The Key To Her Heart." Spoiler: the key was to my heart. 

 

What's your favorite Bellwether Memory?

Panic editing an episode until 3am after an actor dropped out, leaving us in the lurch before filming (in)alienable. We learned the actor would be out of town when Timiki and I were LITERALLY getting into costume for a performance of "A Bright Room Called Day"--the six of us proceeded to edit the episode during and after the performance, only to take a break a little after midnight to dance to Taylor Swift's "22" because I turned 22 when we were writing. We then got up at 6am and had a delightful, exhausting, exhilarating day of filming (which turned out to be one of my best birthdays to date). 

 

 

 

 

Aubyn Heglie

Jacob Wesson

What Does the Bellwether Project Mean to you?

The Bellwether Project has always meant a home for artists from all walks of life to come together and create art that speaks truthfully to their lived experiences, give voices to those often left silent, and to always do so fearlessly.

 

Who's your favorite character in any of our projects?

Renner from Ziti, to this day I think a rollerblading eulogy is one of the most interesting things to come out of this company 

 

What's your favorite Bellwether Memory?

Walking into a trashed venue in Chicago with Jack and essentially overnight transforming the space into what would be the home for Night Witches.

 

Describe The Bellwether Project in 5 words or less. 

Truth through art via collaboration

 

How Do You Build community?

I would say I build community via hopefully creating and nurturing processes that ensure that no voice stands above all and that every thought is given equal weight, is interrogated equally, and is allowed to blossom to maximum potential.

What's your favorite Bellwether Memory?

My favorite Bellwether memory is the original workshop for Night Witches. I was amazed at the power that could come from collaboration and the content that the actors created. I specifically remember a silence falling over the room as a woman told a story about a coat she loved. 

What Does the Bellwether Project Mean to you?

The Bellwether Project means a lot of things to me. It means a commitment to truthful, empathetic storytelling. It means investigating many sides of history letting intersectionality be at the heart of the work. It means working with my best friends, who challenge me every day to be a globally conscious artist. It means innovative collaboration. It means an evolving, listening community. 

Which celeb would you love to collaborate with?

I would love to collaborate with Awkwafina or Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Set those sights high. 

Describe The Bellwether Project in 5 words or less. 

Sizzling, Specific, Sociopolitical, Transformative, Bright. 

Megan Forster

THE TEAM (minus Jacob)

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CONTACT US

Phone: (412) 254-3147
Email: bellwether.theatre.project@gmail.com

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