Executive Artistic Director
Katie Beck is a creative community builder, director, writer, actor, and teaching artist who works to build performance that gives platform to underrepresented voices. After graduating from Allegheny College in 2014 with a BA in Theatre and Community and Justice Studies, she moved back to her hometown of Akron. Since establishing Gum-Dip Theatre in 2016, Katie has produced or directed nearly 70 performances of community-based theatre. This year, she co-wrote and played the Tour Guide in Rebranding the City: a Humanizing Tour of Akron, a play that is 75% based off of interviews with people from Akron's 24 neighborhoods and serves as a humorous (and sometimes serious), self-reflective look at where Akron came from, where it is now and where it plans to go all while giving a platform for the voices of its residents. Recent directing credits include My North Hill, Imprisoned, Namaste-WHAT?, In Search of Alternative Dreams, Girls Studio, and Into the Mold. Katie is the recipient of the 2018 Arts Alive Award for Outstanding Artist in Theatre, the 2017 Akron Fellowship for League of Creative Interventionists, and a 2016 Knight Arts Challenge Grant for the “Nepali Applause” festival. Her published writing credits include: “Developing a Community-Engaged Scholarly Identity” in Publicly Engaged Scholars and “Connecting My Academic Studies with Community Practice” in the fall 2016 issue of Diversity and Democracy.
Manager of Nepali Natak Ensemble
Neema Tamang is a theatre artist and Nepali interpreter who grew up in a refugee camp in Eastern Nepal for 17 years. While in Nepal, he co-founded Suruwath Theatre, a theatre company that provided artistic opportunities for theatre artists living throughout the seven camps in Nepal. In 2013, he came to the United States and attended North High School. He started performing with his friends again when the Nepali community began to organize yearly events. Recent acting credits include The Story of Friday (short film), Romeo and Juliet (North HS), In Search of Alternative Dreams, and Namaste-WHAT? (Gum-Dip Theatre). He has a passion for helping his Nepali community survive and thrive in the United States.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Autumn is child of rivers, bridges, and steel. Autumn migrated north to Meadville, PA to attend Allegheny College where she studied Psychology and Values, Ethics, and Social Action, and has remained in Meadville ever since. She considers herself a community organizer who uses theatre as a tool to bring a community together, illuminate stories, give a voice to the silenced, and inspire. Autumn is particularly interested in how community performance can inspire social change, such is explored in an article currently under review: Activist Theatre: The Effects of Community Performance on System Justification and Willingness to Engage in Activism.
Lee Scandinaro began acting in high school in North Huntingdon, PA, where he lived until moving to Meadville, PA four years ago. His Meadville theatrical experience has, up until now, mostly been at Allegheny College in the Playshop Theatre and the Student Experimental Theatre, where he served as managing director. Some of his favorite roles have been Barfee in the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, Jack in “The Importance of Being Ernest”, and as one of the cast members of an original devised show entitled “Playing Dirty.” It is this devised show which really opened him up to a new type of non-traditional way to create theatre.
Nepali Natak Ensemble
A group of Nepali theatre artists who continue to create original productions after the success of the "Nepali Applause" festival, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For the past two months, the ensemble has performed scenes from Namaste-WHAT? at the BCAA Annual Festival, Global Village Festival, Ingenuity Fest in Cleveland, Reimagining the Civic Commons Conference, and the Electric Pressure Cooker.