Schkapf incubates and produces curious performances & other experiences. The word “Schkapf” is a nonsense word but it bears a close similarity to the Russian "шкап" which could be translated as a "wardrobe," "armoire," "cupboard," or any variation on this theme.
Schkapf's particular penchant is best described as non-dramatic theatre. We have a real relish for crafted experiences that mix and fuse oft-archaic forms of clown, bouffon, magic, and puppetry into various styles of presentation such as cabaret, farce, vaudeville, carnival, street parade, immersive theatre, a wedding or a wake. Our curiosity is most piqued when a project disrupts or blows apart entirely the conventions of theatre with the use of other human canons: anthropology, architecture, physics, animation, cinema, folk traditions, poetry, etc.
Our mission is to produce experiences to instigate wonder. For audiences to be drawn to hidden treasures onstage and for artists to discover what they have to share. We incubate performances through our School of Embodied Acting, supporting our Artists-in-Residence, maintaining Resident Laboratory Companies, and providing support to local and international artists here in Los Angeles.
Welcome to Schkapf - we're a home for the curious.
Formerly located in Los Angeles, Schkapf is now freely roaming the world of curiosities. We are indebted to our many Californian colleagues and cohorts that inspired, created and built our colletive home for a decade or more. May we now take that energy into building bridges across the globe.
To learn more about our activites please continue reading below.
Who Is Schkapf?
Bryan Brown (Co-Artistic Director) is a theatre artist, researcher and teacher. Originally from Maine, he was exposed to the experimental and dance theatre scenes of New York City and the classical theatre training of RADA in London before moving to Los Angeles. Together with Olya Petrakova, he cofounded ARTEL(American Russian Theatre Ensemble Laboratory) and Via Corpora which hosted a variety of local, national and international performance training sessions. He completed his PhD studies at the University of Leeds, where his thesis refined conceptions of the theatre laboratory by tracing the history of the scientific laboratory, the visual artist’s studio, and manifestations of the theatre laboratory in Russia. Artist-in-residence in Hooyang, South Korea, collaborator with Studio Matejka in Poland, and advisor to young artists in the UK and USA, Bryan is committed to the creation of sustainable training and residency programs at Schkapf.
Olya Petrakova (Co-Artistic Director) is a theatre artist, event director, performer, teacher and producer. Born in the former Soviet Union, she spent her early childhood in Batna, Algeria went to Art and Music school in Chisinau, Moldova, studied Applied Mathematics in St. Petersubrg, Russia. And in 1991, two weeks before the collapse of the Soviet Union, she headed to the USA to study eastern philosophy at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa. There she received an AA in Science of Creative Intelligence, along with a more pragmatic and always useful MBA. This eclectic education was crowned with ongoing theatre studies that she initiated in 1997. Several years later, Olya organized an American Russian Theatre project in LA, which became known in 2006 as ARTEL. She conceived, devised, directed and performed in critically-acclaimed productions (We Play Devil’s Advocate, Legendary Times of Bulgakov, Kharmful Charms of Daniil Kharms) and Gogol-Mogol TeaRoom Salons. Olya has also produced a number of events, such as the Los Angeles Physical Theatre Arts Festival (LAPTAF), and the first Russian Cultural Festival in West Hollywood. For the last four years she has also worked internationally, most recently organizing and directing the Snow Children Festival at Crecy La Chapelle (France) with the world-renowned clown Slava Polunin in May 2013.
Future Artists-in-Residence and Resident Laboratories
Schkapf cultivates, presents, and produces artists whose work disrupts or dismantles the conventions of theatre and performance. By offering an artist-in-residence program and hosting resident laboratories in Los Angeles, we provided assistance to performers so that they could grow, experiment, and thrive. We aim to continue this work wherever we are in the world.
We understand that every artist and company has invidual needs and match our programs accordingly. Our services range from hands-on mentorship (directing, producing, designing, dramaturgy) to simple feedback and publicity assistance.
If you are interested, please send an email here and include a resume with a short synopsis of your idea or how Schkapf might assist you.
While making art, running theatre ensembles, facilitating venues, writing PhD's, dreaming up festivals, singing songs, and learning from others while traveling North America and Europe; Olya Petrakova and Bryan Brown (the Co-Artistic Directors) decided to bring all their diverse experiences and share their knowledge and passion for performance culture in Los Angeles.