Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Deviated Theatre: Fundraising

Photography by Enoch Chan, 2008

Previously, I mentioned an internet fundraising campaign for Deviated Theatre. Well now I can regale you with the specific details.

Here is the low-down:

-- The product is Magazine subscriptions/renewals sponsored by Reader's Digest
-- Over 650 different popular magazine titles, available at up to 85% off newsstand prices
-- 40% of sales go right to Deviated Theatre
-- A good idea for those of you who have yet to get someone a gift for the holidays! But worry not, the fundraiser won't disappear after the new year, so you can still make purchases past Dec. 31st, 2008
-- For further questions or if you would rather donate to Deviated Theatre directly, check out Deviated's "support" page or contact choreographer Kimmie Dobbs at kimmie[@]deviatedart[dot]com.

If you own or are a part of a company or business that may be interested in purchasing a program ad for our January or March shows or donating an item toward our silent auction at American Dance Institute in March, please download the appropriate paperwork below:

Program Ad Form

Paperwork and ad image due to Kimmie Dobbs by Jan. 10th, 2009 (for Jan. ad), Feb. 22nd, 2009 (for March ad)

Silent Auction Form

Paperwork and auction item(s) due to Vanessa Strickland by Feb. 22nd, 2009

After you have filled these out please snail-mail or e-mail them to Kimmie Dobbs and CC me as well (strickland[dot]vanessa[@]gmail[dot]com). Address information is indicated on the forms.
Please indicate in your mail that you found out about donating through me.

Thanks everyone, and have an awesome holiday!


Thursday, December 4, 2008


The first six months of 2009 are all lined up for me and I’m happy to say that my hard work is really paying off!

As I previously posted, my next show is "Aspiro" with Deviated Theatre. We have been rehearsing for the past month and I also accepted an offer from them for their brand-new original show in April: "LORE," which is playing at Dance Place in DC. Working in shows without dialogue have pushed me to be more specific not only in my character body, but with the actions I take as the character. I’m also working at keeping the physicality of my character in each show dissimilar, so I’m not playing the same character.

Rehearsals for Ma Lien and the Magic Paintbrush with Maryland Ensemble Theatre is fast approaching. We don’t begin until January, but I have been anticipating this show since I was cast back in September. I just heard from the director today and am eager about getting started.

My most recent casting has been for the Maryland Shakespeare Festival’s “Shakespeare Alive!” tour. The cast gets to tour middle schools in Maryland, performing a short “Best Of” Shakespeare presentation to get the kids interested, followed up by workshops dealing with Shakespearian monologues and scenework. I begin in February and wrap in June.

So visually:

Jan 12 – Ma Lien at MET begins rehearsals
Jan 23 – Aspiro runs for a weekend at Clarice Smith
Feb – Shakespeare Alive! begins rehearsals and training
Feb 14 – Ma Lien opens at MET in Frederick
March – Shakespeare Alive! begins touring
March 7 – Aspiro runs for a weekend at American Dance Institute
April 4 - Ma Lien closes at MET in Frederick
April 25 – LORE runs for a weekend at Dance Place
June 2 – Shakespeare Alive! tour wraps up

...Frankly, I’ll probably reward myself in the summer by taking a week’s vacation out of town, as I’ll be just too busy to skip town until then!

Also, Deviated Theatre has created a new way to fundraise via the internet. I’ll post more information about that on here once I set up the system for myself.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Where is the bride?

The viral video I did with Brillhart Media for the Adventist Review has gone live! Click the photo below to check out the video on my brand-spanking new videos page.

The Brillhart site has a beautiful, hi-def version of the video. It was filmed with a Red One HD Camera, so the quality is really great.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November rolls in...

Greetings, all!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween and productive election day. During Halloween day I spent some time doing some makeup work for Roger Riggle of Roger Riggle Makeup, LLC. When I got home, however, I dove headfirst into my makeup for the night. I spent the week prior working on my costume: "Viscera Lace" (as seen below):

My initial idea was to create a full-head mask to conceal all of my facial features, my ears, and hair, just like with the Silent Hill nurse I did last year. Time constraints, experimentation and overall ease-of-application caused me to resort to constructing hair pieces and painting my face instead. Perhaps another time you'll see me with a latex heart for a head. :) You expect to see this original idea in my concept drawings that are in the makeup section of the site.

Photo by Enoch Chan, 2008

I was recently cast in Deviated Theatre's production of "Aspiro," which is going up at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland, College Park in January, and then at the American Dance Institute in Rockville in March. I was fortunate enough to catch the show when it premiered at Dance Place in DC back in July and was blown away. I feel lucky to be joining such a great ensemble of dancers, some of which are old friends of mine from college. I'll be sure to give more information closer to opening, but whatever you do, you do not want to miss this show. It is a truly beautiful original creation by an up-and-coming, edgy professional company.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hallmark & Paramount's "Unorthodox"

Last Tuesday (which is quickly becoming my main filming day, interestingly enough), I did some background work for the upcoming Hallmark TV-movie "Unorthodox," starring Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under) and Adam Kaufman (Without a Trace). I met a lot of new people as well as came across familiar faces in the DC/Baltimore area. At one point in filming, a family sneaked a photo of one of their relatives standing near me. Apparently they thought I was the lead as I was in the middle of the train station right in the path of the camera. Boy, are they going to be disappointed! :)

Thankfully, I managed to take some time to catch two plays last week: Bay Theatre Company's "True West" and 1st Stage Spring Hill's "The Suicide." Both were definitely "worth their salt," in their own ways. Two bordering-on-absurd shows from two different time periods, originating in two different parts of the world. I haven't been able to catch many plays recently, so seeing two in a week was a real treat.

Tomorrow I'll be doing some makeup work downtown at the International Spy Museum for the annual Operation Undercover: Secrets of Disguise kids event. This will be my third year helping out at this event and it's always great fun to see what the kids come up with as their disguises.

All I have to figure out now is what I'm going to be for Halloween!


Monday, October 6, 2008

The Witching Hour

Remember that video I filmed last Tuesday? It's already up and running at the website!

I'm proud of this video as I've gotten more on-camera experience in the past year and I feel it more fully captures my abilities. Also, the makeup is truly transformative, especially when accompanied with the costumes. I had fun with this one, as you can probably tell just by watching.

This video series can also be seen on YouTube: Witch Makeup.

Also this weekend I saw Lucy Rose... Here's the Thing About Me at the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick. Prior to leaving, one of the Associate Artistic Directors, Gené Fouché, approached me about being involved in their February children's production and I accepted the offer! So in a few months, keep a look out here for information about Ma Lien and the Magic Paintbrush.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Already?!

Where did September go?

I suppose it's a good thing to say I've been busy this past month, hence the lack of updates. But now that I have a moment, I can divulge what I've been up to!

I attended several auditions throughout September and began teaching my Shakespeare class on Thursdays. The students in class are really sharp and are completely diving into the Shakespearean language.

Last month I also attended the 3rd annual Actor's Center Expo. I love going to these as I feel I get a lot out of them and meet new people every year. This time around I focused on taking voice-over and on-camera workshop panels and suffice to say, I learned a lot.

That following Sunday, I was did a shoot with Brillhart Media for a viral commercial for the Adventist Reader Magazine. The crew was really delightful and sought to keep us all very comfortable and entertained, even!

Just this week I filmed another how-to video for It was another makeup video with local artist Roger Riggle, specially filmed for halloween. I figure it ought to be up on the site within the coming weeks. I feel I did a much better job this time around as I've gained so much more film experience since this time last year.

I've got a shoot coming up next week as well as a wedding-- so I'll be signing off for now and hopefully will update a bit sooner next time (or is later better?)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Hey, gang!

I've been out of town for the beginning of September, but now I've returned with renewed vigor for art and life. I guess the west coast will do that to an east-coaster.

In any case, I began my music theatre class this week at the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory in DC. I've only been to one session, but judging from the vibes, I think I'm going to enjoy it and everyone seems very eager to learn. No egoes, all heart.

In addition to that, I begin teaching my Shakespeare after-school class for elementary school students next week. I feel very good about my planning and how I've structured the class, all I need now are the eager students.

Also, next week I'll be dressed up as this cuddly guy:

in Fairfax, VA. Should be pretty fun!

Lastly, I hope you've noticed to the left of these entries you'll see my new headshots (if you're viewing this in Wordpress, go here to see them). I've resized and uploaded a few to randomly come up every time the site is accessed and will soon update the headshots page with the new shots. Please enjoy!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Musical Theatre Homework

I've begun this week by completely immersing myself into the world of musical theatre! I'm taking a musical theatre auditioning class for 12 weeks at the Studio Theatre. This means I've been pouring through sheet music and checking out CDs by the handful to find some good pieces that I'd like to use.

This class is exciting for me, as I've not taken an extended theatre course since college. The fact that it's an area of theatre I don't know as much about makes me nervous, but I'm looking forward to learn.

I've had some updates in the works on the site, but have yet to reveal them. Fall will bring about a busier schedule on my end, but I'll do my best to keep up to date with all happenings in my career. Thanks for coming along for the ride!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TiPS to solve your "issues" with HORROR!

What a week it's been!

This past Monday I did a shoot with CAS Video Productions for an alcohol intervenion procedures (TiPS) DVD, which was great fun. I got the chance to catch up with some old friends and make some new ones.

I spent the middle portion of my week taking a break from acting and spending some time camping with my family.

On Friday I shot a short commercial for 720 Strategies in which the theme was people's "issues" with various things. I played a total weirdo; how can you go wrong when your wardrobe is "ideally... a straight jacket?"

Saturday I spent the majority of my day at Horrorfind Weekend at UMUC. While I was there I got to network with a few independent film companies and attended a great film auditioning seminar run by Joe Ripple of TimeWarp Films. I also checked out a screening of Fearmakers Studios' "Dismal," which was a pretty high-quality film! The actors had a Q&A after the screening and I had the chance to meet them earlier in the day to talk about acting in horror films.

With the free time I had in between all these events, I took the time to meet some of the celebrities, specifically Tom Savini, Patricia Quinn, Tony Todd, and Conrad Brooks. I asked each of them a bit about the film business and recieved some good nuggets of wisdom. All of them were really down-to-earth and seemed like they truly love what they do. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 Joker Makeup Video

I was just notified that the "Scarred Joker" makeup video I modeled for last summer is the #2 most-viewed video on and the first video in the series has over 300,000 views on YouTube since being uploaded on July 15, 2008. It is also the current featured video on MonkeySee's YouTube channel page.

Now that the film has been released, the makeup design can of course be referred to as "Heath Ledger's Joker" or the "Dark Knight Joker," but at the time of shooting we had to be wary with what it was called because of copyrights. I'd like to try my hand at this joker look myself at some point, as I have training in 3d makeup and would be interested in an artistic interpretation of a female joker. Could be cool!


Friday, August 1, 2008

Makeup page now available

For the first time ever, I am displaying my makeup work online complete with my original design sketches. This is one artistic area that I hope to spend more time working on. I have a few sketches for future ideas, but please take a gander of what I have worked on in the past.

Please note that some of the designs may not be suitable for the squeamish!

Now is the trickier part; narrowing down which pieces of art to use for my "Artwork" page!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Truth About Bunny

Come check out "The Truth About Bunny," this Saturday, July 26th at the American Market at the National Harbor. Showtimes are on the hour at 10am, 11am, 12pm, and 1pm. Show runs approximately 20 minutes. Free admission!

Photography by Jillian Finkle, 2008

Here's a little synopsis of the show from the National Harbor events page:
"This original children's theater performance asks the question, 'Who really won the race between the tortoise and the hare?' It depends on who tells the story."

Performances take place at:
137 National Plaza, Suite 300
National Harbor, MD 20745


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

National Children's Museum & TiPS

I begin rehearsals this week for the National Children's Museum's preliminary "Museum Without Walls" programming. I'll be puppeteering in a short skit titled: "The Truth About Bunny," which teaches kids about news sources and media bias using the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.

It'll be a mighty quick rehearsal process, as the show goes up on July 26th, but after this month's show, we'll be beginning work on another performance for September and October. Check back for information on how you can come check out "The Truth About Bunny," which will be performed at the National Harbor during the American Market.

I was also recently cast in a TiPS industrial video, set to shoot in mid-August, filmed by CAS Video Productions. Further updates on that will appear here in the next month.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Shazam Magic DVD Shoot

I went to a shoot last night for two magic trick how-to DVDs, starring fellow UMBC theatre alumni, Peter Wood, who has been doing magic professionally as the founder of Shazam Magic for over 10 years.

Digital Bard Video Productions did a very professional job with managing the talent and equipment; I even got to serve as the 'Slate Girl'.

Keep your eye on this page for information on the DVD titles and their release date.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Oz review & Stonehenge audition video

My current show, the Wizard of Oz at the Puppet Co., was reviewed in the Montgomery Sentinel this past week. The article can be found in the June 26th issue of the Sentinel and is currently only available online if you are a Sentinel subscriber.

In other news, Team Jabberwocky has uploaded their audition videos from the most recent Stonehenge auditions on 5/18/08. My audition video can be found here. The piece is from the play "Independence" by Lee Blessing.



Wrapped up a shoot today for a University of Maryland University College adult education promotional DVD with Duet Communications, LLC. It was a very full day, but I got to meet a lot of local actors and worked with a very professional yet easygoing crew. Definitely looking forward to doing something like this again.

More information to come about the DVD when it is released.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Production Photos page is now live!

The production photos page is now up and running. Next, step: incorporating clips from my film/video work.

Major updates will be posted here, but be sure to check back often for new content.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Momotaro closes & the journey to Oz begins

Momotaro, my debut production at Classika Theatre, closed last weekend. Check out our Washington Post review here: Classika Mystery: Will Tickling Save The 'Peach Boy'?

This week I've begun rehearsals for The Wizard of Oz with The Puppet Co. at Glen Echo Park. Opening day is June 6th, so be sure to reserve your tickets now as these shows tend to sell out fast!

The Wizard of Oz
June 6th - July 20th
*No performances July 9th - July 13th*
Wednesdays - Fridays @ 10am & 11:30am
Saturdays & Sundays @ 11:30am & 1:00pm
Tickets: $8.00
Recommended for Kindergarten through Grade 6
For information and reservations cal 301-320-6668

-Vaness. NEWS BLOG

If you're interested in keeping track of what I'm up to with my career, please feel free to subscribe to this blog. It will contain all NEWS updates that are posted on my site, and perhaps some thoughtful posts on the arts if the mood strikes me.