Magpie Artists' Ensemble


About Us

Magpie Artists’ Ensemble is a collective of Queer artists who are passionate about collaboration, representation, accessibility, and creative storytelling.

FABLE: Tales from another world

Cross the mystical border to the land of FABLE - “a world not unlike our own,” where magic and mystery await.
FABLE is a 6 hour immersive worldbuilding experience, performing only on June 29th at Theatre Off Jackson.


BriarRose

BriarRose is the age-old story of a fairytale Princess banished by an evil Queen, with a twist: the “Princess” is actually Briar, a young trans man just discovering his identity.Now available to stream after our June 2023 run at Theatre Off Jackson.


The Myth Cycle

In this powerful series of retellings of the Greek canon, the Magpie ensemble takes on the roles of Gods and mortals, heroes and villains, as they explore themes of identity, belonging, and Pride - or hubris.

About Us

Magpie Artists’ Ensemble is a collective of Queer artists who are passionate about collaboration, representation, accessibility, and creative storytelling.Mission: Our artistic mission is to push the boundaries of print and performance mediums, bringing diverse stories to life in exciting and accessible ways.Vision: Magpie is building a community of intersectional Queer artists and audiences, connecting them across all barriers. We give Queer stories a voice and create opportunities to be seen for those who haven't heard their own stories told before.Magpie is proudly Powered by Shunpike. Make a tax-deductible donation today to support our boundary-breaking work!


james t. washburn

James T. Washburn (he/him) is a gay, trans, and disabled Storyteller-Activist based in Seattle. His work is deeply inspired by his community and experiences at the intersection of marginalized identities.Washburn is a multi-hyphenate artist, with works spanning from the immersive epistolary novella Sealed with Honey to Achilles + Patroclus, a chamber opera commissioned by the Seattle Opera. He takes inspiration from folklore, mythology, and queer history; his work focuses on discovering queerness in traditional stories and reimagining familiar tropes and archetypes through a queer lens.

Washburn is resident director and playwright at Magpie, and currently serves as Founding Artistic Director.


jae kinsman

Jae Kinsman (they/them) is a Seattle-based jack-of-all-trades. Graduating from Cornish College of the Arts in 2020 with a BFA in musical theatre, they helped found Magpie Artists' Ensemble amidst the artistic chaos of the pandemic. Their work at Magpie and with other collaborators has found them onstage, on both sides of the camera, and folding and shipping hundreds of Victorian-style handwritten letters every month.Jae is a Founding Core Company Member, fulfillment coordinator, and resident DP at Magpie.


alexandra angelova

Alexandra Angelova (she/her) is a Bulgarian American stage manager and event coordinator based in Seattle. She has been stage managing James' crazy ideas since 2016, when she co-founded their first company, Bellevue Teen Productions. Favorite projects include the NYE festivities at the Space Needle and Magpie's BriarRose.Alexandra is a Founding Member and resident stage manager at Magpie.


michelle marais

Michelle Marais Goodwin (she/her) is a Native American (Ojibwe) actor, painter, and costume designer. Originally from the rural Midwest, she studied theater and visual art at the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley, MN, graduating in 2016. In 2020, Michelle received her BFA in Theater from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, where she presently resides.Michelle is a Founding Core Company Member, resident costumer designer, and visual artist at Magpie.


rowan gallagher

Rowan Gallagher (he/they) is a graduate of Cornish College of the Arts where he majored in Original Works with a focus on Directing. He wears many hats in the Seattle theatre community as an actor, dramaturg, fight choreographer, dialect coach, writer, and director.His recent projects include dialect coaching for The Whickhams at Taptroot Theatre, assistant directing for Born Yesterday at Theatre 9/12, Dramaturgy for Hello Girls at Taproot Theatre, and most recently acting in Monstrous Regiment at Latitude Theatre as a part of their inaugural production.

Rowan has been involved with Magpie since before its official formation, as he participated in several generative theatre projects which would help lay the groundwork for what Magpie would become. Rowan is overjoyed to be an official member of Magpie Artists’ Ensemble and looks forward to creating amazing art with exceptional people moving forward with the company.


Rust

RUST is a tense, claustrophobic exploration of the cycles of patriarchal violence and what happens when tradition and a mythologized past cloud our understanding of the present. Hamlet and Macbeth meet Gormenghast and The Woman in Black (+ homoerotic swordfights) in this haunting supernatural revenge thriller.

Join Magpie Artists' Ensemble for a unique and magical "musical in concert-style" spin on a staged reading. Recommended for ages 13+Audience members are invited to share their thoughts on the show with the playwright in-person after the performance, or via a form that will be shared in the lobby.Performing November 12th at 18th+Union.

Cast & Crew

The Myth Cycle

In this powerful series of retellings of the Greek canon, the Magpie ensemble takes on the roles of Gods and mortals, heroes and villains, as they explore themes of identity, belonging, and Pride - or hubris.

ICARUS FALLS
One of two world premier Ensemble-generated works. Icarus Falls is a heartwrenching love story that explores generational tensions and the complicated grey area between Pride and Hubris.
MEDUSA'S BLESSING
The second world premier Ensemble-generated piece. Medusa's Blessing reimagines Medusa's origin story to become one of empowerment and connection between queer women in the face of patriarchal violence.
PHOENIX RISING
A fresh addition to the Greek canon, Phoenix Rising follows a "forgotten" child of Zeus as he dares to defy his father and live as the man he knows himself to be. Drawing inspiration from other mistreated mythological figures, he finds the strength to rise again in the face of adversity.
BONUS: ACHILLES + PATROCLUS [Workshop Documentary Performance]
An intimate retelling of Achilles & Patroclus’ relationship from childhood to the Iliad, exploring the nonlinear nature of relationships & memory. Achilles + Patroclus deals with themes of fate and choice, and the intersections of loyalty, grief, and sacrifice.

Streaming available on-demand through Ko-fi.

Past Projects

RUST (2023)

RUST: A Ghost Story is a tense, claustrophobic exploration of the cycles of patriarchal violence and what happens when tradition and a mythologized past cloud our understanding of the present. Hamlet and Macbeth meet Gormenghast and The Fall of the House of Usher (+ homoerotic swordfights) in this haunting supernatural revenge thriller.

Magpie Artists' Ensemble produced RUST as a unique and magical "musical in concert-style" spin on a staged reading on November 12th, 2023 at 18th&Union.


Sealed With Honey (2021-2022)

If you’ve ever spent your days gazing wistfully out the window, awaiting the evening post (or you’ve wished you were expecting a letter so you could); if you love to imagine yourself in the kinds of stories the Brontes and Jane Austen wrote; if you love queer romances written by queer people, then Sealed with Honey is for you.

Sealed with Honey is a queer epistolary* romance novel set in Victorian times, but it’s also much more than that. Instead of a traditional book, you get to experience each event along with the characters, at the same pace they do - every two weeks, one of their letters will be delivered to you in the mail.*Epistolary - adjective | (of a literary work) in the form of letters. "an epistolary novel"


Phoenix Rising Zine (2020)

Phoenix Rising is the epic story of a forgotten trans child of Zeus, dealing with themes of identity, intersectionality, and resistance. The ten-minute play was first workshopped for O!Fest 2019 at Cornish College of the Arts, and was featured in Third Citizen Theatre Company’s Digital Dionysia in December 2020.

The Phoenix Rising zine included a fully illustrated copy of the script, along with three brand-new illustrated short stories about the mythological figures Phoenix is inspired by: Echo, Prometheus, and Hephaestus. Backers also had the option to order additional prints and stickers designed by the contributing artists.

FABLE

tales from another world

June 29th, 4-10pm | Theatre Off Jackson

Cross the mystical border to the land of FABLE - “a world not unlike our own,” where magic and mystery await.Guests are invited to explore the world of FABLE at their own pace, moving through spaces inhabited by storytellers, gods, and beings less easy to define - all orbiting the endless, cosmic love story of the Sun and Moon as it plays out across time.While FABLE is rooted in our own world (featuring tales and figures drawing on Filipino, Slavic, Celtic, and Ojibwe traditions, among others), it exists in a unique time and space, with its own rules and mythologies to discover. Listen to the legends and creation myths of the world as told by its inhabitants in the Storytelling Room, consult with the Diviner to learn untold secrets, or pass a milenia watching the Sun and Moon chase each other across the cosmos.

More About FABLE

FABLE is a unique, experimental production that explores the nature and power of storytelling, especially oral traditions. It runs continuously for 6 hours, during which guests can come and go as they please, spending as much time as they'd like exploring each location within the world.Guests may consult the mysterious Diviner and her deck of cards for a unique tale improvised for their ears only; listen to storytellers reciting creation myths and legends from the land of FABLE; tell their own stories to the infamous Copyist, and hear him retell them with his own embellishments; or simply sit and watch the more "traditional" theatrical performance of the Sun and Moon's endless romance. They'll also be able to meet and interact with characters from some of the stories they've heard, who will be wandering the space alongside the audience - some more obvious than others.The show is a beautiful blend of the cultures and identities of not just the curators (Kyle Morrow and James T. Washburn), but every artist involved. Join us in a lovingly crafted a world that's deeply familiar yet full of surprises, where queerness is woven into the very fabric of the universe.

Accessibility Notes

FABLE runs for six hours, 4-10pm, June 29th at Theatre Off Jackson.Tickets are good for the full performance, and guests are welcome to come and go from the venue.All audience members are required to be masked when not eating or drinking. Performers will be unmasked.Noise and light levels vary from space to space, and there are many opportunities for interactions with performers. Guides with information on each room/performance will be available at the box office when you enter the venue.Two of the six performance spaces within the venue require climbing a few stairs.Please feel free to reach out to Magpie at [email protected] for more detailed information on any accessibility needs, which may include "spoilers" for the show!

Audition for FABLE

We are looking for performers to fill two open roles in the upcoming re-scheduled performance of FABLE.
Email us at [email protected] to schedule a Zoom or in-person meeting that fits your schedule!

Storyteller

Storytellers each memorize 4-6 short stories (~15-20min total) from the world of FABLE. They will perform their "sets" in a small, intimate space for a few guests at a time, and have freedom to improvise/embellish within the text of the story depending on audience interaction. Each Storyteller's character/persona is drawn from the stories being told, then tailored to the performer - so the performer can have a significant influence over the character they inhabit, as well as their origin story. Performances will be on a rotating schedule, and they will have the option to experience the show in plainclothes during ~45min breaks between sets.Compensation: $100 + share of profits from ticket + merch sales

Schedule:

  • 2x 2hr meetings with the curators, scheduled individually

  • Tuesday, June 25th 5-7pm

  • Wednesday, June 26th 6-7pm

  • Friday, June 28th 5-10pm

  • Saturday, June 29th (Performance)