SOPAC’s groundbreaking Creative Community Brain Trust is a committee of five advisors and industry experts that will guide SOPAC toward inclusively excellent, radically creative, and community-powered programming.
“This moment for SOPAC is about radically reimagining our relationship with our regional community, and lifting up voices and visions to power transformational change,” says SOPAC Executive Director Stephen Beaudoin. “These five individuals were selected for the SOPAC Creative Community Brain Trust to animate our community-powered programming. Each bring a commitment to inclusive excellence, as well as significant industry and community capital to the assignment. Both individually and together, this Brain Trust will envision an ever more creative, community-centric, connected, and empathic northern New Jersey, with SOPAC as its central beating heart.”
SOPAC launched it’s Creative Community Brain Trust in the spirit of community curation, which it would like to embrace in upcoming seasons. The five Brain Trust members will work as individuals and as a collective to create and curate SOPAC experiences, artists, acts, and gatherings across the SOPAC campus in the creatively kinetic downtown Village of South Orange, including on the SOPAC mainstage, in the Loft at SOPAC, and additional spaces across the campus.
Sign-Up for Updates
Meet the Brain Trust Members
Click on Brain Trust members’ photos to view their bios
Adam has curated immersive experiences at House of Yes, Public Hotel, Norwood Club, and Spring Studios. He is widely regarded in the industry as an artist, performer, curator, and producer working in the vanguard of experiential and immersive live performance. Based in Brooklyn, Adam is proud to be connected with the SOPAC regional community through this role.
Dr. Gardenhire started her career supporting social policy research at Harvard and MDRC. She is the founding executive of the South Orange/Maplewood branch of Best in Class Education, an organization dedicated to supporting all kids in achieving their fullest potential as learners and leaders. Her creative approach to community and change centers on breaking down paradigms and reconsidering norms.
Dana aims to make her theater company SOMA Stage the hub of live theatre and the development of important new theatrical works in South Orange/Maplewood, Essex County, and beyond. Her experiences include Creative Coordinator to acclaimed Broadway producers Barry and Fran Weissler, and producer of Broadway talent at industry staples such as 54 Below and Webster Hall in New York City. She is a proud Maplewood resident.
About SOMA Stage
SOMA Stage is a new non-profit theater company based in the South Orange/ Maplewood (aka SOMA), NJ area that provides our many local professional theater artists with a creative home in their backyard and allows our community to support and enjoy the talent of their neighbors.
Liz is an award-winning standup comedian, actor, and writer. She won first place in the Boston Comedy Festival and Ladies of Laughter of Competition and will be part of the upcoming HBO Women in Comedy Festival. Drawing from her own life as a lesbian, a rabbi’s wife, and a former lawyer, Liz uses her self-proclaimed “loud, unsecretive, and bold” style to connect with all those who simply want to FEEL. Liz and her wife call West Orange home.
An internationally sought-after bass player and producer, Mike has toured Europe and performed with the likes of Queen Latifah and Hezekiah Walker. Mike is proud to have founded SOPAC’s “In the Loft” series, and served for many years as curator of our “Blues in the Loft” events. He received the 2014 HANDS Community Leadership Award. Mike is proud to call Orange Valley his home.
Breathtaking, mind-blowing and astonishing are just a few words that describe The Heart & Soul of Magic. This show features two world-class magicians, Ran’D Shine and Jamahl Keyes, in a unique production that weaves a tapestry of psychological illusions, comedy and music to create an immersive amazing experience that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
The Great DuBois: Masters of Variety is a fast-paced, high-energy circus show for all ages showcasing incredible feats of juggling, hula hoops, unicycle, circus stunts, contortion, magic and audience interaction all wrapped up in a blanket of comedy.
Join WBGO Radio as it celebrates its 44th birthday and Jazz Appreciation Month with the return of the WBGO Kids Jazz Concert Series! The Jerome Jennings Sextet, led by Emmy Award-winning composer and drummer Jerome Jennings, will present a concert exploring Jazz melodies and inviting audience participation.