“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

~Arundhati Roy

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

~Arundhati Roy

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

~Arundhati Roy

Kala Iversen Smith

For 30 years, Kala has practiced theatre as a field for playfully expanding consciousness. After experiencing traumatic losses as a teenager, Kala found refuge in nature and theatre, which illuminated the unseen connection between all beings, and offered her a space for renewal between darkness and light.

As an actor, Kala’s empathic portrayal of edge-dwellers led to collaborations with many NYC theatre visionaries, including Joe Chaikin, Adrienne Kennedy, John Belluso, and Estelle Parsons. Most influential was Arthur Penn, who directed her at the Free Theatre in a two-year improvisational process Penn described as “organized chaos.” Influenced by Black Mountain College, Stanislavski’s final years, and Playhouse 90, this approach departs from analytical mechanisms and hones trust of the actor’s impulses.

Liberated by this more feminine way of working, Kala founded Visible Theatre in 2000 to provide a space for a diverse community of actors and writers outside commercial constraints. For over a decade, Kala learned alongside artists with and without disabilities in weekly labs, developed new plays, and launched five groundbreaking True Story Projects, which debunked disability tropes and received NYSCA, DCA, and NEA grants. Visible created intersectional dialogue and happenings in shelters, cafeterias, hospitals, farms, lounges, New York City Hall, storefronts, galleries and sometimes, theaters. Creating social and political theatre led Kala to a faculty position at Johns Hopkins University in support of its mission to humanize future leaders in the Theatre Arts and Studies program.

By 2007, Kala had become a mother of three, which began to restore her connection to her Danish lineage. In order to create in direct relationship with the Earth, she re-launched Visible Theatre as Hearthfire, a non-profit retreat center on traditional Munsee Lenape and Wappinger land, near the Hudson River. Hearthfire offers a home for creatives to remember their sacred role as change-makers, and to nourish their gifts in nature.

Over ten years of animist wisdom training, mentoring, and guiding retreats and labs with women, artists, justice leaders, therapists, ecologists, and educators, Kala continued to stretch outside convention. Collaborating primarily with trauma survivors, she began sculpting clay masks and scoring group experiences. These collage-like designs synthesize theatre-making, eco-spirituality, clowning, and grief tending into a distinctive form of interactive, communal ritual theatre: Wonderstory.

Kala (Krista Smith) has her BFA in Acting from Boston University, and an MFA in Acting from The New School for Social Research. She is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.


Kala Iversen Smith

For 30 years, Kala has practiced theatre as a field for playfully expanding consciousness. After experiencing traumatic losses as a teenager, Kala found refuge in nature and theatre, which illuminated the unseen connection between all beings, and offered her a space for renewal between darkness and light.

As an actor, Kala’s empathic portrayal of edge-dwellers led to collaborations with many NYC theatre visionaries, including Joe Chaikin, Adrienne Kennedy, John Belluso, and Estelle Parsons. Most influential was Arthur Penn, who directed her at the Free Theatre in a two-year improvisational process Penn described as “organized chaos.” Influenced by Black Mountain College, Stanislavski’s final years, and Playhouse 90, this approach departs from analytical mechanisms and hones trust of the actor’s impulses.

Liberated by this more feminine way of working, Kala founded Visible Theatre in 2000 to provide a space for a diverse community of actors and writers outside commercial constraints. For over a decade, Kala learned alongside artists with and without disabilities in weekly labs, developed new plays, and launched five groundbreaking True Story Projects, which debunked disability tropes and received NYSCA, DCA, and NEA grants. Visible created intersectional dialogue and happenings in shelters, cafeterias, hospitals, farms, lounges, New York City Hall, storefronts, galleries and sometimes, theaters. Creating social and political theatre led Kala to a faculty position at Johns Hopkins University in support of its mission to humanize future leaders in the Theatre Arts and Studies program.

By 2007, Kala had become a mother of three, which began to restore her connection to her Danish lineage. In order to create in direct relationship with the Earth, she re-launched Visible Theatre as Hearthfire, a non-profit retreat center on traditional Munsee Lenape and Wappinger land, near the Hudson River. Hearthfire offers a home for creatives to remember their sacred role as change-makers, and to nourish their gifts in nature.

Over ten years of animist wisdom training, mentoring, and guiding retreats and labs with women, artists, justice leaders, therapists, ecologists, and educators, Kala continued to stretch outside convention. Collaborating primarily with trauma survivors, she began sculpting clay masks and scoring group experiences. These collage-like designs synthesize theatre-making, eco-spirituality, clowning, and grief tending into a distinctive form of interactive, communal ritual theatre: Wonderstory.

Kala (Krista Smith) has her BFA in Acting from Boston University, and an MFA in Acting from The New School for Social Research. She is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and a lifetime member of the Actors Studio.

"Fashioned from clay, we carry the memory of the earth. Ancient, forgotten things stir within our hearts, memories from the time before the mind was born. Within us are the depths that keep watch.”

~John O' Donohue

Mermaid

"Fashioned from clay, we carry the memory of the earth. Ancient, forgotten things stir within our hearts, memories from the time before the mind was born. Within us are the depths that keep watch.”
~John O' Donohue


"Fashioned from clay, we carry the memory of the earth. Ancient, forgotten things stir within our hearts, memories from the time before the mind was born. Within us are the depths that keep watch.”
~John O' Donohue