ANCRAM, NY [April 28, 2022] – Co-Directors Jeff Mousseau and Paul Ricciardi are delighted to once again be able to offer free, interactive community workshops at the Ancram Opera House this spring, with the artists behind our 2022 summer season. No previous experience is necessary!

AOH workshops are designed to engage with artistic expression in all its forms. Participants will receive personalized guidance and feedback from the teaching artists. Folks of all levels of experience are encouraged to attend, from seasoned professionals to theatre newcomers.

“Central to our work is the opportunity to connect community members with the many gifted, talented artists creating performances at AOH,” Co-director Jeffrey Mousseau explained. “For the artists, the workshops provide an opportunity to explore ideas relevant to their projects; and for the participants, the sessions offer a chance to engage in creative expression in a supportive, welcoming environment.”

This year, our workshops will take place LIVE at Ancram Opera House. In order to maintain a safe environment, and provide participants with plenty of individual attention, workshop enrollment will be limited.

Participants ages 18+ can sign up for one, two or all three workshops.. All three workshops are free, but registration is required. Sign up now to secure your spot! Visit for registration links and more information, or call AOH at 518-329-0114

Ricciardi starts off on Saturday, May 21 from 11 am-1 pm with a STORYTELLING WORKSHOP. Everyone has a story to tell. Learn how to organize your story, and how to create that deep performer/audience member connection that can only happen through the intimacy of storytelling.  Using techniques developed in Ancram’s REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES series, Ricciardi will guide participants through fun exercises that will lead to a dynamic story.

Then from 10 am- noon on Saturday, May 28, the SUNWATCHER creative team offers a CREATIVE MOVEMENT WORKSHOP. Director Nana Dakin will guide participants through a series of simple exercises to awaken physical awareness. Next learn more about the team’s creative process and the inspiration for SUNWATCHER, including scientific information about the Sun and sunspots. Composer Tidtaya Sinutoke and librettist Isabella Dawis will share some of the music they created based on this sun data. Participants will then be guided by Dakin on how to use these scientific facts and musical material as inspiration to create their own one-of-a-kind SUNWATCHER movement.

Participants in the Creative Movement Workshop may want to stay the afternoon of the 27th to explore the Ancram area and then return to AOH for the 8 pm work-in-progress showing of SUNWATCHER. The evening event is not a part of the workshop and tickets must be purchased separately.

Finally, on Saturday, June 18 from 10 am-3 pm Celeste Lecesne, writer/performer of POOF!, leads a STORYMAKING WORKSHOP designed to explore our individual myths, give voice to emotional, political, and personal truths, and create a structure that will carry your story into the world. Whether you are working on a screenplay, a TV pilot, a stage play, a one-person show or a novel, knowing the basic rules of story can help you discover both the story you want to tell and the best way to present it.

Ancram Opera House asks that the following COVID-19 guidelines are observed when visiting our space. All patrons, staff and company members are required to be fully vaccinated and masked for indoor events at AOH. When you arrive for your workshop, we’ll ask for proof of vaccination status which you can provide by showing your CDC vaccination card or a photo image of it, NY State’s Excelsior Pass or any other status app. A photo ID will also be needed in case the staff person at the door doesn’t know you. Visit for more information. We thank you for your understanding, and look forward to seeing you soon!

The 2022 AOH summer season kicks off with SUNWATCHER, a part of Ancram’s Summer Play Lab series, with work-in-progress showings May 27-29 at the Opera House. For tickets and more information on this and the rest of the season, visit


Storytelling Workshop with Paul Ricciardi

Saturday, May 21 from 11 am-1 pm

at AOH, 1330 County Route 7, Ancram 12502


Creative Movement Workshop with Nana Dakin, Isabella Dawis, and Tidtaya Sinutoke 

Saturday, May 28 from 10 am-noon

at AOH, 1330 County Route 7, Ancram 12502


Storytelling Workshop with Celeste Lecesne

Saturday, June 18 from 10 am-3 pm

at AOH, 1330 County Route 7, Ancram 12502



Paul Ricciardi (he/him) is co-director of the Ancram Opera House and teaches the theater’s acting and voice classes. He is an Associate Professor on the theatre faculty at the City University of New York/Kingsborough CC. Previously he taught at Siena College, The University at Albany, and Rhode Island College. He is Immediate Past Co-Chair for Region I of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, and a two-time recipient of the Kennedy Center National Teaching Artist Award. He received his MFA in Acting from Trinity Repertory Company, and studied with renowned vocal coach Kristin Linklater, receiving his Linklater Teacher Designation in 2012. Paul is also a director and voice/speech/dialect coach.  Paul has designed dialects for countless college theatre productions, as well as for professional theatres including Stageworks/Hudson, WAM, America-in-Play, and others.  Memberships:  AEA, VASTA.

Nana Dakin (she/her) is a queer Thai-American director of new work, classics and devised performance based in NYC. Her work pursues social equity by examining the way culture is constructed and unsettling dormant biases. Upcoming: LOST COAST (The Playwrights Realm INK’D Festival) and MAMMELEPHANT (Superhero Clubhouse/122CC). Recent: PASSAGE (University of North Carolina School of the Arts), SORRY/NOT SORRY (Ars Nova ANT Fest), SUNWATCHER (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Global Forms Festival, Ancram Opera House Play Lab, Civilians FINDINGS Series), LOVE LETTER TO A SEED (Clubbed Thumb Winterworks), WHITE PEARL (Royal Court Theatre), an all-women and non-binary production of Shakespeare’s RICHARD III (Lenfest Center for the Arts). She has developed new work at Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYTW, The Song Collective, The Tank and Columbia University’s International Play Reading Festival. MFA Theatre Directing: Columbia University. 

Isabella Dawis (she/her) is a Filipina-American playwright and performer. As a librettist and lyricist, she is the recipient of the 2022 Kleban Prize, the 2021 Fred Ebb Award, and the 2020 Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award. Isabella currently holds a 2021-23 Composers and the Voice Fellowship with the American Opera Project. Her musicals written with composer Tidtaya Sinutoke include HALF THE SKY (5th Avenue Theatre Digital Radio Play/First Draft Commission, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Theater Mu’s New Eyes Festival, Theater Latté Da’s NEXT Festival) and SUNWATCHER (Civilians’ R&D Group, Goodspeed’s Writers Grove, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Ancram Opera House Play Lab, Tofte Lake Center). Isabella’s writing has been supported by the Primary Stages Rockwell Scholarship, the Kurt Weill Foundation’s Lotte Lenya Songbook, Musical Theatre Factory, Coalition of Asian American Leaders, and more. B.M. summa cum laude, piano performance, University of Minnesota, with vocal study at New England Conservatory.

Tidtaya Sinutoke (ฑิตยา สินุธก) (she/her) is a Thailand born, NYC-based composer. Composition credits include HALF THE SKY (The 5th Avenue Theatre’s First Draft Commission & 20/21 Digital Season, Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Richard Rodgers Award finalist); SUNWATCHER (The Civilians R&D Group, Weston Playhouse’s Songs for Today, Ancram Opera House Play Lab, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater Global Forms Festival); and DEAR MR. C (NYFA’s City Artist Corps Grants, Polyphone Festival). She was awarded the 2017 Jonathan Larson Grant, the 2020 Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, the 2021 International Theatremaker Award and the 2021 Fred Ebb Award. Her works have been supported by the American Opera Project, Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project, Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, EtM Con Edison Composer-in-Residence, MTF’s Makers Cohort, and the Kurt Weill Foundation. A proud member of ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, Maestra, MUSE, and Thai Theatre Foundation. MFA: NYU.

Celeste Lecesne (he/they) wrote the short film Trevor, which won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short, and he is co-founder of The Trevor Project, the largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention Lifeline for LGBTQ+ youth.  He has written three novels for young adults, and created The Letter Q, a collection of letters by queer writers written to their younger selves. An actor of stage, screen and TV as well as a writer, Celeste is best known for his award-winning Off Broadway solo shows including The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey for which the NYTimes ranked him “among the most talented solo performers of his (or any) generation.” He is also the co-founder of The Future Perfect, a national arts initiative for LGBTQ+ youth.


The 2022 season at the Ancram Opera House is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


The Ancram Opera House in southern Columbia County, NY,  is an intimate showcase for fresh, contemporary work by visionary theater and musical artists where audiences can connect with performers in immersive, immediate ways. 

The Opera House was erected in 1927 as Ancram Grange #955, a chapter of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, to address the social, educational and economic concerns of the region’s farmers.  In 1972, the building was repurposed and renamed the Ancram Opera House as an arts venue focusing on light operatic fare.  

Today, Ancram Opera House rededicates itself to aspects of its origins, producing and presenting inventive contemporary theatrical performances to be shared by a rural community.

For more information visit

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