goat island





education /





goat island : biographies : funding/credits :


Karen Christopher is a collaborative performance deviser, performer, and teacher. She was a member of Goat Island for 20 years until the group disbanded in 2009. In addition, she initiated devised performance works in collaboration with Michael Thomas & David Kodeski (Solid Decent Happy, 2003), with Mark Jeffery (Distance = a camel caravan on a grain of rice, 2007), and with Mark Booth & John Sisson (Quiet (a disruptive fog (or a hogshead full of vapor called memory)), 2010). She also worked with The Neo-Futurists (founding member) and Lucky Pierre.

She taught at the Goat Island Summer Schools in Britain and at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1996-2008); Winter Schools at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (2003,’05, &’08); as well as numerous workshops in collaboratively devised performance composition over the past 20 years. She continues to conduct extended performance workshops most recently at the University of Sussex, Dartington College of Art (Devon, England), and in the MA programs at Aberysthwyth University (Wales) and Laban Centre (London).

Essays on performance and related topics by Karen Christopher have appeared in TDR, Frakcija , (performing arts magazine) and in Small Acts of Repair: Performance, Ecology and Goat Island (Stephen Bottoms & Matthew Goulish, eds. Routledge, London and New York, 2007) Her essay on patient narrative videos appears in Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Health Illness and Disease, Rodopi, Amsterdam/New York, 2004.

Karen now lives and works in London.

Matthew Goulish (performer/collaborator) received his BA in theater from Kalamazoo College. He co-founded Goat Island in 1987, and has toured extensively with the company. 39 Microlectures - in proximity of performance, a collection of his writings, has been published by Routledge, London. He teaches in the Liberal Arts Department and the MFA Writing Program of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Lin Hixson (director/collaborator) received her undergraduate degree in education and political science from the University of Oregon, and her MFA in performance from Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design. She was a founding member of the Los Angeles performance collective Hangers (1978-1981) and has mounted over thirty interdisciplinary performances since 1981. She co-founded Goat Island in 1987. She is a full Professor in the Performance Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has received three NEA fellowships in New Genres, one NEA fellowship in Choreography, and three Illinois Arts Council fellowships.

Mark Jeffery (performer/collaborator) received his BA(HONS) in Visual Performance at Dartington College of Arts, UK. He was awarded Junior Fellowship in Live Art at the University of the West of England in collaboration with Arnolfini Live and funded by the Live Art and Higher Education Program of the Arts Council of England. The fellowship addressed the themes of site and audience, and two commissioned solo works were made. In 1997/1998 these two works were toured across the UK (including ICA (London), the National Review of Live Art (Glasgow), Green Room (Manchester)), through a Combined Arts Award of the Arts Council of England. In 1999 he presented mutt, a commissioned solo from Chapter Arts (Cardiff). He joined Goat Island in 1996. He is currently a visiting part-time lecturer at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Bryan Saner (performer/collaborator) received his BA degree in sculpture and religion from Bethel College in Kansas. He studied improvisational and modern dance, choreography, and performance at the MoMing Dance and Arts Center in Chicago. His solo performance works were performed in festivals and theaters throughout the United States. He was founding member, collaborative choreographer and performer with the Chicago performance group Sock Monkeys from 1989-1993, and performer with Kast and Company from 1993-1995. He became a member of Goat Island in 1995. Bryan is a carpenter and runs a small furniture making/contracting business. He teaches performance with Goat Island's annual Summer Schools and has been involved in alternative education throughout his whole career. From 1980 to 1990 he was the arts director at the Lake View Academy, an alternative high school in Chicago. In 1996 he collaborated with his wife Teresa and their neighbors to develop the Sunflower Community School. A family cooperative child directed elementary school for their children. Bryan and Teresa have one son, Jacob. They live in Chicago in a co-owned housing collective with some old Bethel College friends.

Litó Walkey is an artist working in dance and performance. She was born in Vancouver, studied at School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam, and lives in Berlin. From 2002-2009 Litó was a member of the Chicago-based performance company Goat Island. She has created and toured her own initiatives in Europe and America: a solo ‘wings raised to a second power’; ‘The Missing Dance No.7’ with Boris Hauf and Katja Dreyer; ‘instanded i turn’ with Boris Hauf; ‘To fight a duel’ with inside-pianist Andrea Neumann and ‘Like that, like this’ with Carlos Pez. She has also worked with Paz Rojo, Sabina Holzer, Vera Mantero, Lucy Cash, Martin Nachbar, Martine Piscani and Alice Chauchat (u.a.). Litó is currently developing an individual and shared practice around 'performance directives'. She is associate professor of the SODA MA program in Berlin and advises BA and MA choreography students in Berlin and Amsterdam.
email / web


Cynthia Ashby (costume designer) has become a leading name in clothing design. She oversees a successful design business, specializing in linen, cotton, silk, and wool, finely detailed in design and construction, and garment dyed, creating uncommon depth and texture. She has designed clothing for the past three Goat Island performances.
email / web

Lucy Cash is an Artsadmin Associate Artist and an Associate Artist with South East Dance for 2010 - 2012. She lives in London, UK and works as an interdisciplinary artist in film, video and performance. Originally trained in performance and theatre, Lucy began her career as an artist in 2000 with a three minute commission from the BFI / FilmFour to make Three Minute Wonder. She also began working with Goat Island in 2000, collaborating on a film project - it's aching like birds. She was an associate member of the company between 2005 -2009.
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CJ Mitchell (development and fundraiser) joined Goat Island in 1998 as manager, administrator, and associate fundraiser, bringing with him years of arts administration experience. He is Executive Director of Links Hall in Chicago, and runs the False Walls CD label.

Judd Morrissey (writer and digital artist) is a writer and computer programmer whose work in electronic literature has been widely and internationally received and exhibited. With his hypertext, The Jew's Daughter, he introduced his unique form of digital narrative, an unstable, self-evolving, virtual page that continuously re-writes itself in response to the reader. My Name is Captain, Captain, a digital 'night-flight' poem created in collaboration with Lori Talley, was published by Eastgate Systems in 2002. Judd is now concentrating on a new work in progress, The Error Engine, an experiment in writing and artificial intelligence that reflects his ongoing concerns with the relationship of literature and accident and the nature and future of the book. He teaches in the Art and Technology Studies department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Judd received his MFA from Brown University. His work has been included in symposiums and exhibitions such as Anteroom Site Unseen Chicago from The Error Engine (London, Chicago and Providence), The Mooring of Richard Anynumber Taxi Gallery (Cambridge, UK), Nottdance 05 (Nottingham, UK), Cerisy 2004 (Normandy, France), Computers and Writing 2004 (Honolulu, Hawai'i), The Book Reconsidered (Boston), E-poetry 2003 (University of West Virginia), Language and Encoding (University of Buffalo), ELO State of the Arts Symposium (Los Angeles), WebRacket at the DeCordova Museum (Lincoln, Ma), DAC2001 (Providence), p0es1s: International Exhibition of Digital Poetry (Germany), File2001 (Brazil), and Digital2000 (NYC, Philadelphia). His pieces have been reviewed by The New York Times, The New Republic, RAINTAXI, The Iowa Review, and TENbyTEN magazine.
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Margaret Nelson (technical director). Margaret's design projects and production management assignments have taken her to every state of the USA and six continents, and have earned her both the Ruth Page Dance Achievement Award and a Joseph Jefferson Citation. She is Lighting Designer in Residence for Columbia College's Theater Department (Chicago). Recent projects include lighting design for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, for Notre Dame's Easter Special for NBC Juba, the Masters of Tap, and Dance Africa Chicago for WTTW, three years as production manager for Navy Pier's Skyline Stage, as well as producing benefits for Old St. Pats Church and the Children's Memorial Foundation. Margaret was also the PSM and lighting director for the 1997 through 2002 Dance Chicago festivals, and currently tours with Jump Rhythm Jazz Project and HSDC 2. Margaret joined Goat Island in 2002.

Chantal Zakari (artist and designer) was trained as a graphic designer and also as an artist. She has been designing personal work for the medium of the Web practically since its inception in the early 90s. She collaborated on a web journal The Turk and The Jew with her husband Mike Mandel while he lived in Pullman WA and she in Chicago IL. In 1998 they published the work as an artist' book.
In 2001 under the pseudonym Show-n-tell she began a 4 year long performance and documentation of an adult webcam community. Her book webAffairs, a photo/text narrative that she designed and authored was published in 2005.
Zakari is also collaborating with Mike Mandel on a body of work about the conflict between secularist culture and the Islamist movement in Turkey. Their journey which began in 1997, has resulted in photographic images, video interviews and public performances. They are currently working on compiling the work into an artists' book.
Zakari is a faculty member at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston..
email / web / webAffairs