About the Company
The Red Ladder company is made up of a troupe of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, professional actors who are committed to serving the community in positive ways through the art form of theatre. These talented individuals, who possess a wealth of experience and training, are uniquely suited to serve the broadly diverse spectrum of participants within our community, nurturing life-skills critical to the healthy development of youth, and fostering life-long learning by allowing its participants to re-ignite their creativity.
By working with the professional actors in the company, participants are encouraged to explore the issues that affect their daily lives. By applying the tools and techniques of improvisational theatre, participants develop the ability to make positive choices, solve problems creatively, focus on tasks, and work collaboratively. Through their workshops, Red Ladder helps participants to understand that by employing their creativity and believing in their own imaginations, they have the power to accomplish anything.
Red Ladder engages with the community in a number of ways. If you are interested in Red Ladder workshops, partnerships, or just connecting with us, please contact us here. We'd love to meet you.
Karen Altree Piemme
KAREN ALTREE PIEMME is an accomplished director, actor, dramaturg, workshop facilitator and acting instructor, specializing in social justice theatre and community access to the arts. Ms. Piemme is the Director of the Red Ladder Theatre Company, a nationally-acclaimed, award-winning company, which empowers marginalized populations in our community by helping them develop positive life-skills through the art form of theatre. Ms. Piemme spent 21 years with San Jose Repertory Theatre, where she was the Director of Outreach and Resident Dramaturg. Prior to that, she spent five years at Arena Stage with the Living Stage Theatre Company, Arena’s groundbreaking community outreach company. As a theatre professional, Ms. Piemme has directed productions for both youth and adults, taught classes and conducted workshops locally, nationally and internationally for nearly thirty years. As a teaching artist, Ms. Piemme has held residencies through Young Audiences of Northern California, and TheatreWorks’ Young Playwrights Project. She has conducted professional development training at the Marion Cilker Conference on Arts and Education, Montalvo Arts Center’s Arts in Your Classroom Conference, CCSESA’s Creativity at the Core Summer Institute, and will be presenting at the One Theatre World Conference in 2017. She also serves as the Associate Director for 2nd Stages at Dragon Productions Theatre Company, and the Artistic Associate for Playwrights Foundation where she produces the annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She teaches in the Department of Television, Radio, Film and Theatre at San Jose State University where she started an improv troupe to train the next generation of teaching artists, and serves on the Theatre Services Committee (the advisory council) for Theatre Bay Area. Ms. Piemme is the recipient of the 2011 Champion of Arts Education Award, awarded by the Mayor/City of San Jose and the San Jose Arts Commission, and in 2012 she was named one of the 35 Faces of Theatre Bay Area.
TASI ALABASTRO is an actor, filmmaker, and content creator on YouTube and Twitch. His hobby includes photography, bookstore diving, painting and sculpting. Mr. Alabastro is a proud member of Red Ladder Theatre Company where he delights in sharing the art of Theatre with children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience it. As part of Red Ladder, he also works with inmates as part of California's Arts-in-Corrections. His work with the Arts-in-Corrections program in Salinas Valley State Prison has allowed inmates to re-engage their creativity and imagination through carefully selected theatre and improv activities.
Roman Anthony Gonzalez
ROMAN ANTHONY GONZALEZ is a Bay Area theatre artist, and extremely proud to be a part of the Red Ladder Theatre Company. He is most content when helping others and sharing his gift of entertaining. Mr. Gonzalez is grateful to be working with inmates through the California Arts-in-Corrections programs. He enjoys engaging with the participants and strives to make a positive impact in their lives.
DAVIED MORALES is an actor and rapper born and raised in the Bay Area. In 2018 he received the Leigh Weimers Award for being an emerging artist in his community, and began working for the Red Ladder Theatre Company, a social justice company that teaches improv workshops in correctional facilities. Mr. Morales received most of his training through Foothill College where he earned his AA in Theatre Arts and was featured in their productions of Angels in America as Belize/ Mr. Lies and First Person Shooter as Daniel Jamison. Since then he has worked for companies such as City Lights, where he played Nelson in The Siegel and Anthony in I and You, and Shotgun Players, where he played Tray in Brownsville Song (B-side for Tray). Mr. Morales has also understudied at TheatreWorks in their productions of Calligraphy and Proof.
Artistic & Administrative Associate
Alicia Piemme Nelson
ALICIA PIEMME NELSON is an award-winning San Francisco/Bay Area based physical actor and teaching artist. Originally a ballet dancer, she has strong foundations in dance and a deep love of physical comedy. She is a graduate of Boston University where she acquired a BFA in Acting, and in the spring of 2016 she traveled to Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy where she studied physical theater and Commedia dell'Arte. As a teaching artist, she specializes in working with students in preschool and kindergarten. Ms. Nelson is passionate about all things that spark the imagination. She is an avid believer in playing pretend, making a fool of yourself, diving in head-first, and increased diversity in theatre. She hopes to make theatre accessible to its youngest audiences and, in doing so, inspire creativity in the generations to come.
OLUCHI NWOKOCHA has been a part of the Red Ladder Theatre Company on and off for the past six years. Oluchi first joined the company while working at the San Jose Repertory Theatre as an Outreach and Education Associate under the guidance of Karen Altree Piemme. She created and improvised with children and learned the business aspect of running a theatre company. Oluchi left Red Ladder when she went off to the graduate school to receive her MFA in Acting from the University of Florida. Upon completing graduate school Oluchi taught with the New York Film Academy in Orlando, Florida at the summer Disney program. She then moved to New York City to pursue her career in theatre. While there Oluchi worked for Second Stage Theatre as an Assistant House Manager. Upon returning home to California Oluchi was last seen in We are Proud to Present at San Jose Stage. Currently, Oluchi works with Karen and Red Ladder at the Salinas Valley State Prison in a weekly improv workshop with the inmates.
JED PARSARIO is an actor and teaching artist based in Oakland–Bay Area, CA. Bilingual, bicultural, bicoastal by nature, he dreams about ice-creamed realities in technicolor with dramatic musical haikus, undulating Hapa Belly Dancers, and the peculiarities perpetual propriety brings between polite peers and antiquarian acquaintances. He aspires to inspire in the likes of W. Shakespeare, Hozier, Dr. José Rizal and the Brave Artists, Theatremakers, and Everyday Warriors around him.
KYNDALL RHANEY is an actor, singer, and sound technician from the Washington D.C - Maryland area. They are a graduate of St. Mary’s College of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and with minors in Film and Media. Passionate about music, you can always catch them busting out a tune or maybe in a musical near you. New to the Bay Area, they hope to manifest a successful performing career. They aspire to spread diversity within theatre. For their senior project, they created, produced, directed and starred in their production of “Awakening”, starting an ongoing conversation within their own community about the transphobia towards queer folks. They hope to expand on this project more. Kyndall looks forward to working in the art-in-corrections programs exposing the arts to the different generations and cultures with the prison walls.
SAMANTHA RICCI is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College of California with a double major in English and Theatre and additional training in clowning, devising, improv, and Commedia. Sam began her career with a year-and-a-half touring the US, Canada, and southeast Asia with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, followed by over two years teaching and performing with the California Theatre Center. She has also taught with the Tabard Theatre and the Arabian Shakespeare Festival. Sam believes in theatre as not just entertainment, but as a tool for grasping life skills and influencing change. She is grateful to continue building a life and career in the arts while supporting social justice.
KAYLAMAY SUAREZ is a Bay Area based teaching artist for Red Ladder Theatre Company. She is an actor, singer, dancer, and sometimes model. Kaylamay attended the Pacific Conservatory Theater where she received her acting training and East Bay Arts where she cultivated her love for many dance styles including hip hop, ballroom, ballet, jazz, and modern to name a few.
JOHN MCCLUGGAGE is a theater artist with over 30 years of experience as an actor, director, teacher, and writer. He has served in leadership roles at San Jose Rep (Associate Artistic Director), Seacoast Rep (Artistic Director), and Andy’s Summer Playhouse (Interim Artistic Director) and has directed at theaters across the country, including San Jose Rep, Cleveland Playhouse, Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose, Seacoast Rep, Western Stage, Studio Arena, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Barnstormers, CenterRep and City Lights. He has taught at Webster University, Evergreen Community College, University of New Hampshire and in other venues. He is Artistic Director of Buck Hill Productions and ShakesBEERience San Jose.