The Players & The Purpose
As Exchange Artists we create theatre inspired by cultural exchange at home in Austin, TX and abroad. Through international collaboration and community engagement we empower our artists and audiences with fresh perspectives, new experiences and a strengthened sense of connection.
The Exchange Artists debuted as a company on World Theatre Day, 2010 with a citywide festival of guerilla theatre in Austin, TX. Since then, the company has grown into an innovative theatre and multidisciplinary performing arts group, offering immersive, experimental performances in unique venues. With full-scale theatrical productions, one-time only performances and special events, The Exchange Artists have earned a reputation for being both “thoughtful and courageous” (The Austin Chronicle).
The Creative Team
Rachel Wiese, Producing Artistic Director
Rachel is an avid creator, collaborator, and performer. She initially studied theatre while at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN and continued her education in New York as an actor and dancer. She now holds a graduate degree in Education from Texas A&M University with an emphasis in teaching English as a Second Language through theatre. As a teaching artist she directs English Language Learners in the US and Italy. Rachel practices puppetry, kung fu and tai chi, and is a stunt fighter for film.
Katherine Craft, Producing Exchange Artist
Katherine Craft (Playwright) is a Texas native currently enrolled in the MFA Screenwriting program at the University of Texas in Austin. She has written and co-written numerous plays for The Exchange Artists, including The Story Seekers, Order of the Elm, The Man Who Planted Trees, and short plays forCircle the Wagons. Her short play That Road won Best of Fest at FronteraFest in 2013.
Katherine has also worked extensively in arts education. She founded Conspire Theatre, a nonprofit that uses theatre to work with women during and after incarceration, and was a teaching artist for arts education organizations in Austin, Chicago, and London. She has worked for several nonprofits in Austin, including SafePlace, No Kidding: Straight Talk from Teen Parents, and is currently the Hotline Coordinator at the Lilith Fund. Katherine lives in Austin with her husband, Dan Solomon and her willful husky, Dio. She’s available for writing projects and workshop facilitation.
Bridget Farr, Producing Exchange Artist
Originally from Montana and now based in Austin, Bridget graduated with degrees in drama and linguistics from the University of Montana-Missoula and continues that combination of interests by working as both a professional actor and an English language arts teacher at Fulmore Middle School. In Austin, Bridget has worked in theater, film, and commercial productions with a variety of local companies as well as graduate film students at the University of Texas. At the Exchange Artists, she co-created the Austin Chronicle nominated series Hot Nights which pairs short plays with hot local bands.
Why the Elephant?
Our logo serves to remind us that as artists, it is up to us to offer many perspectives of the world that we share.
The Blind Men and the Elephant
By John Godfrey Saxe (1816–1887)
It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”
The Third approach’d the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he,
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said, “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!