While both hail from the high peaks region of the Adirondack Park, Simon and Caitlin's artistic collaboration, as well as the creation of The Space We Make, began over many cups of coffee in Caitlin's small Brooklyn kitchen, along with numerous fire escape brainstorming sessions. They bonded over shared childhood experiences in a mountain community where sense of place is at the fore of local identity, as the community's survival in every sense of the word is both dependent upon and in spite of the landcape. This innate sensitivity towards the connection between "space" and those who inhabit it spurred their decision to create a performance collective in which the exploration of non-traditional audience/performer relationships exist, and where performance can be experienced in unique, historical, surprising and non-traditional spaces.
Thus, The Space We Make was born, and they haven't looked back since. While Simon's passion for raw physicality and storytelling drives his continued participation in the project, and Caitlin's interest in collage and fluency across mediums keeps her hooked, both share a deep commitment to collaboration and doing the "deep work" that makes their partnership and the collective's projects both so challenging and rewarding.
So be warned: Simon and Caitlin are brimming with ideas on how next to invade a community and space near you.
Simon Thomas-Train, originally of Keene Valley, NY, received his BA in Dance with a minor in Architectural Studies from Middlebury College in 2009. Simon’s introduction to dance came through an extensive past in competitive athletics and an interest in the visual arts. After competing nationally and internationally as a cross-country skier, Simon was recruited to ski for the Division 1 ski team at Middlebury College. Shortly after reaching Middlebury Simon wandered into his first dance class. He continued his dance education there under the direction of Andrea Olsen, Penny Campbell and Tiffany Rhynard. His dance education was also profoundly affected by numerous summers at the Bates Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival. He studied at the MADE in France program, interning and creating with various European dance and theater artists including Compagnie Au Cul du Loup and Cie Blicke, and spent a semester studying under David Dorfman and Lisa Race at Connecticut College.
Post-college Simon continued his working relationship with the Vermont-based dance company Big Action Performance Ensemble (Big APE), under the direction of Tiffany Rhynard. As a founding member of the company he performed across the country and continues a working collaborative relationship. Following his work there, Simon made his way to Belgium where he worked for nine months with Brussels-based dance company Studio Eclipse, performing across western Europe at festivals in Holland, Belgium and France. Upon returning to the United States in late 2010, Simon took up work with Pittsburgh-based Attack Theatre, a company with a strong tradition of community engagement, musical collaboration, and educational outreach.
Simon moved to New York City in 2012 to begin work with Alexandra Beller/Dances and has continued with her company as well as taking on roles in works by Megan Bascom/Dancers, Kendra Portier of band|portier, and Tiffany Mills and company.
Caitlin Scholl is a writer and artist originally hailing from the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University. Her first novel, Mocemoce, Na Vanua (The Land Abiding), was published in 2006 by IPS Press in the Fiji Islands. Makebelieve, a "a multi-genre & mixed media archive of memory, tall tales, & poetic collage" published by UNO Press in 2012 as part of their Contemporary Poetry Series, is her second book. Her writing has appeared in Sonic Eclectic, Edna, r(e)volve, manifest animists, Adirondack Life Magazine, not enough night, and is forthcoming in The Spirit of Black Mountain College (a book anthology from Lorimer Press) and SPACER. Presently Caitlin is working on a three-book collaboration of young adult fantasy/fiction with Irish storyteller Neil Mullins and editor/agent Matt Wise.
While primarily a writer, there are many intersections in Caitlin's work and processes, bridging that which is language-based, visual, aural, spontaneous or laboriously rendered. She tinkers away on experimental film shorts, photographic journals, songwriting and performances, and with acrylic on canvas. Her first community-based group project - DISCLOSURE HAPPENS - showed in New York's Lalita's Loft in 2008. Working with filmmaker Joey Carey (of Sundial Pictures) and visual artist and papermaker Yilis Suriel, Caitlin directed this interactive installation that involved handwritten "disclosures" from those who lived and worked within a few city blocks, transparencies and ink renderings of secret moments in these places, an exploratory film, and a "disclosure booth" for live secrets to be told - all of which begged the question: how do we reveal ourselves, especially to those we rub shoulders with in familiar spaces, day after day.
Since then Caitlin has continued to perform both her writing and music throughout New York and beyond, preferring to work collaboratively rather than alone. In addition, she has held positions as a teacher, editor, nanny and horticulturist, and presently writes and resides in Brooklyn, NY