Eli Nixon

Growing up in South County, Rhode Island as the child of an oceanographer, my life and creative pursuits have always converged with coastal issues. I am an advocate for public access to and stewardship of our local waterways. I'm a lover of swimming, beach-walking, kayaking and eating fish. However, my primary interest in coastal issues is as a theater-maker. Living in Pawtucket and often working in windowless black-boxes and church basements many of the communities I work with do not see themselves as part of "nature." Often in my circles, environmentalism is seen as less urgent than racial and economic justice work. I approach activism and theater-making from an interdisciplinary and intersectional lens, focusing on connections and relationships to our context and each other, all unavoidably linked. I work to create theater that engages with the audience and artists as earthlings, dependent on our natural world and its limited resources, because we are. I am interested in using art to illuminate our connection to and reliance on the various beasts and systems that can be easy to ignore when you sit in a classroom or a theater focusing on humans as the centerpiece.

With puppets, I challenge myself and others to think in unfamiliar ways about scale (in both time and space), and the transformation of everyday objects (recyclables and trash) to become animals and environments. I'm interested in ways that theater can move itself and our audiences outdoors (both actually and imaginatively.) Last summer I was a leader of a community dance project performed for the ocean on First Beach in Newport (https://www.strangeattractor.org/the-sea-pageant/). The play I'm currently in the process of readying for production focuses on the relationship between horseshoe crabs, Red Knots, and the biomedical industry. I am eager to learn more about coastal issues facing New England and explore other ways of translating those issues into complex but accessible, family friendly, original theater. I would relish the opportunity to connect with scientists and other people engaged in learning about, protecting and enjoying our coast and its inhabitants.