Jana Zeller is a puppeteer and designer. As the daughter of puppeteers she started working for the theater at a young age. She has built countless sets, props and puppets. Her long training as a painter embraced many phases: years of producing her own paintings, portrait painting in Munich, set painting in the scenic artist union in San Francisco, and teaching art in Brattleboro, VT. As a puppet performer she has created a number of original works and presented them all over the US, in Canada and in Mexico. She has collaborated with other puppeteers, dancers, and circus artists in creating theatrical pieces. She is proud to be a second generation puppeteer.
Zak Grace is a sculptor who works in wood, wire, metal and hot glass. He first discovered puppetry when he began building sculpture that could be animated by the spectator. His strength in assembling objects brings a sense of mechanical humor to Spybird Theater that has become an integral part of the stories we present. Zak trained with Sandglass Theater’s Summer Institute, and joined their collaboration with Cambodian shadow puppet theater Sovanna Phum in Cambodia. Zak is the back bone of Spybird Theater, always prepared to channel Jana’s surreal vision into the materials and mechanisms it needs to manifest on stage.
Spybird Theater was founded in 2001 with the creation of General Tom Thumb, a toy theater show about the life of a midget who became famous under the guidance of PT Barnum. This show was developed and performed on the road while traveling throughout the United States. In the following years we made Egg Noir, an object theater piece about the down fall of the human eyeball, which played in Vermont, Chicago, and Mexico City.