concept & direction
Patrick Mueller & Kristine Whittle
creation & performance
Danielle Dugas, Hannah Kaufman, Conrad Kehn, Patrick Mueller, Caroline Sharkey, Luke Wachter, Sarah Whitnah, Kristine Whittle
sound design & score
Conrad Kehn, Luke Wachter, and Sarah Whitnah of Playground Ensemble
Tuning Meditation and Sonic Meditation V
additional design elements
Kristine Whittle, with support from Michelle Walser
After the Flood relies on histories of the 1965 flood and South Platte Park as told by journalist Alan Prendergast (Westword), H.F. Matthai (US Geological Survey), Mark & Dave Mueller, City of Littleton, and South Suburban Parks & Recreation District. The work also activates ideas and quotations from Pauline Oliveros, Starhawk, Mary Oliver, and Robert MacFarlane.
Special thanks to Skot Latona, South Platte Park, and South Suburban Parks & Recreation for hosting the creation and performances of After the Flood.
This project is made possible through support from the Scientific & Cultural Facilities Districts of Denver and Arapahoe Counties, Colorado Creative Industries, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Denver Foundation’s Arts Affinity Group, and many generous donors (full list in digital handbill).
Want to help steward the Platte River?
Contact these excellent environmental organizations about opportunities to volunteer, join digital campaigns, and identify actions you can take on your own or drive within your community:
South Platte River Waterkeepers
Control Group Productions is a malleable platform for live arts research, development, distribution, and advocacy. Under the direction of Patrick Mueller, with associate direction by Kristine Whittle, we pursue deep inquiry and dynamic innovation in the creation of compelling, immersive live performance events.
Our work traverses intersections of immersive theatre, site-specific performance, and socially engaged artistic practice. We create collaboratively, and each project takes place at a unique location, intertwining historical and community research into rich immersive experiences. Recent projects have explored darkness and death in a Globeville slaughterhouse; ghosts and 1950s sci-fi at the Aurora Fox theater; and Greek rites of spring in the wilds of Boulder County.
Through our Artist Services Program, Control Group has presented the works of several hundred local and touring artists, first at venues the company founded and directed (2008-14), and now at local venues and found spaces across the Denver metro area. This programming also offers production support, immersive design consulting, and subsidized training opportunities to local artists.
Control Group’s works and activities have been presented in partnership with Immersive Denver, MCA Denver, Denver Startup Week, Denver Theatre District, Denver Office of Arts & Venues, the Biennial of the Americas, RedLine, and other local arts presenters. Additionally, we’ve received project support from the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, the SCFD, Colorado Creative Industries and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Denver Foundation’s Arts Affinity Group, the Denver Music Advancement Fund of Denver Arts & Venues, the Broomfield Community Foundation, several family funds, and many individual donors.
The Playground Ensemble, in residence at Metro State University of Denver, is the Rocky Mountain Region’s premier new music group. We are professional musicians, composers, educators and fans dedicated to presenting chamber music as a living art form.
In addition to concert seasons that feature the work of recognized and emerging composers, we work to cultivate a thriving local composition community. With exciting outreach programs like our innovative Young Composers Playground we are showing young people that classical music is vibrant, adventurous and relevant. We hope to inspire our audiences to not only listen, but to create!
Collaboration is at the heart of the Playground’s artistic vision. We commission new works by living composers, perform in support of touring improvisors, and perform regularly. We work with dancers, poets, spoken word artists, visual artists, and multimedia artists, finding inspiration across disciplines and exploring new, hybrid artistic forms.
Recent activities include participating in the creation, premiere, and promotion of two multimedia online theater events with Emancipation Theater and From Allies to Abolitionists, two live streamed string quartet concerts from Denver’s premiere recording and production studio, Mighty Fine Productions, and two RemoteLab calls for collaborators and concerts featuring collaborative works designed to be performed in a Zoom-like environment.
The Playground has performed at many notable venues and festivals including the Biennial of the Americas, the National Performing Arts Convention, the International Society of Improvised Music Annual Conference, Mile High Voltage Festival, MCA Denver, Boettcher Hall, the Clyfford Still Museum and the Denver Art Museum.
We have performed with, or worked directly with a diverse cast of new music luminaries including Eyvind Kang, Morten Lauridsen, So Percussion, Evan Ziporyn, Roomful of Teeth, Caroline Shaw, Jace Clayton (DJ /rupture) and Tatsuya Nakatani.
Our efforts have been recognized and supported by numerous regional and national organizations including The Amphion Foundatio, Colorado Creative Industries, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Chamber Music America, The American Music Center, New Music USA, the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, the Singer Foundation, and the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD).
Adrienne Deloe uses materials from nature including seedpods, pressed flowers and encaustic. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Multimedia from the University of Colorado in Denver, and is the owner and jewelry designer of Winter Gardens Studios. She has been a member artist of the NEXT Gallery in Denver since 2014 and her work has also been exhibited at the Denver Art Museum (Untitled Final Friday: In/Visible) Core New Art Space, ReCreative Denver, Arts Brookfield (Denver), Denver Pavilions, Kanon Collective and the Denver County Fair. She has worked as a graphic designer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Baxa Corporation, PRIDE Marketing, and Echter's Greenhouse.
Danielle Dugas has performed and taught throughout the US and abroad for the past 28 years. She holds a BFA in Contemporary Dance from North Carolina School of the Arts, and a Pilates certification from the Pilates Center Boulder.
Danielle has performed with Ivy Baldwin, Dixie Fun Lee, and Elizabeth Haselwood in New York; Kim Olson, Cara Reeser, and others in Denver; and in collaborative and solo projects in Spain, Germany, and the U.S. She has taught Meditative Movement and Pilates internationally. A Colorado-transplanted Louisianian, she is also an avid outdoorswoman and single mother of two teenagers.
Hannah Kaufman is a Los Angeles native and dance artist who is currently setting roots on the east and west coast in hopes of becoming a bi-coastal artist. She graduated with a BFA in dance from Rutgers University-Mason Gross School of the Arts and a BA in sociology. She has been fortunate to study at other programs including Northwest Dance Project, San Francisco Conservatory, Ate9 Dance Company, and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Hannah has collaborated and worked with Jordan Lloyd, Benny Royce, Erik Thermond, Genna Moroni, Roni Chadash, and Noa Tzuk, performing at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv. In 2015, she presented a dance film at DanceCameraWest and was awarded first for her efforts. She is interested in continuing to explore and expand her own movement vocabulary and create more work in the future. In her near future, she see's combining her environmental research and outdoor love with her passion to move. She currently is a movement artist with Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement and is excited to work with Control Group Productions on After the Flood.
Conrad Kehn is a composer, performer, educator, and an arts administrator. He is the founding Director of The Playground; a chamber ensemble dedicated to modern music.
An award-winning composer, Conrad’s output includes traditional and contemporary chamber music, experimental and multi-media works, and popular music. His work has been performed across the U.S. in concert halls, festivals, clubs, galleries and DIY warehouses.
Conrad also works in digital formats and the visual arts. His graphic scores have also been displayed in galleries. He has numerous electronic compositions- many accompanied by his own video creations. He collaborates regularly with film-makers and these collaborations have appeared at festivals world-wide.
As a vocalist, Conrad specializes in electronic music, improvisation, and contemporary chamber music. He gigs regularly with a quasi-improvised Ableton set that combines digitally manipulated live vocals and found content from older media formats. He participates regularly in low latency networked music performances, a process allowing performers in different locations to make music as if they are in the same room.
An advocate for arts education, Conrad believes that issues of equity and access are solved by balancing the current focus on performance with a heavier integration of creativity and composition. He is a teaching artist and administrator for Young Composers Playground and Very Young Composers. His efforts have resulted in hundreds of K-12 new music premieres. In 2019 Conrad became the director of the Lamont Summer Academy, a two-week live on campus intensive for 14-18 year old musicians.
Conrad holds a Master of Business Administration (2010) from the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. He also holds a Master’s degree in Composition (2000) and Bachelor’s in Commercial Music/Recording Technology (1996) from the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music.
Conrad has two beautiful daughters, Brianna and Eris, a loving wife, and a 200 pound Mastiff named Hank.
More information, scores, videos and recordings can be found at www.conradkehn.com.
Patrick Mueller grew up in Colorado and studied dance and performance art at Pomona College (Claremont, CA). He spent a year as a Graduate Fellow at Ohio State University, and holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University & American Dance Festival.
Patrick served as a member of various dance companies in New York and Europe, including Ben J. Riepe Kompanie (DE), Mancopy Danse (DK), and Troika Ranch Dance-Theatre (NY). He has also performed in projects by Paige Martin, Mark Jarecke, Kim Olson, and Wild Heart Dance. In 2016 he originated a role in Sweet & Lucky, DCPA Off-Center's immersive opus by Third Rail Projects (NY).
As artistic director of Control Group, Patrick guides the conceptual and artistic development of company projects. He directs all major works, and regularly performs and designs lights and physical environments. His work stands at the forefront of Denver's contemporary performance scene, driving innovation and supporting a revolving team of extraordinary collaborating artists. Patrick's commitment to collaboration has yielded presenting partnerships with the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, The Biennial of the Americas, Redline gallery, Denver Theatre District, the Denver Office of Arts & Venues, Dance Initiative Carbondale, Naropa University, and others.
Patrick has created commissioned works for Open Dance Project (Houston, TX) and Dance Initiative (Carbondale, CO). He recently served as choreographer for DCPA Off-Center's immersive production of the musical The Wild Party.
As lead curator of two Control Group-founded venues, Patrick has presented over one hundred events featuring leading voices in the local dance and theatre scene, and select national and international touring artists. Through Control Group's artist residencies and co-producing activities he has helped birth several new local companies. He works regularly as a collaborator in other local artists, creating lighting designs and physical installations.
Patrick has taught dance technique and theory at Naropa University; Red Rocks Community College, where he helped establish an Associates Degree in Dance; the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive; Colorado Conservatory of Dance; Excel Summer Program at Williams and Amherst Colleges; and at various other studios, schools, and festivals. He lives in Lakewood, CO with his wife Kristine and their hilarious, adorable 7-year-old son Levi.
Caroline Sharkey is a freelance artist, dancer, and choreographer. Caroline is originally from Northwest Arkansas, which sits on the unceded native lands of the Osage, Caddo, Quapaw, and Sioux peoples. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy to further her formal dance training. Upon graduation, she received the Fine Artist award in dance. She has since spent time at the Alonzo King LINES BFA program and the Hubbard Street Professional Program under the direction of Alexandra Wells. Caroline has worked closely with artists such as Rena Butler, Peter Chu, Ryan Mason, Troy Ogilvie, Bobbi Jean Smith, and Johannes Wieland among others. Caroline has served as rehearsal director for works by Mark Morris and Joshua Manculich. She is currently a collaborator and performer with T2 Dance company and BODYSONNET. Caroline finds value and creative energy by training and learning through the lens of yoga, rock climbing, Capoeira, Qigong, and her fellow artists. Caroline is a recipient of the 2020 Artists 360 grant.
Find out more at carolinesharkey.com.
Sarah Whitnah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Violin Performance from St. Olaf College, and a Master’s Degree from the University of Denver where she studied with violinist Linda Wang. During her time at St. Olaf College she toured both domestically and internationally with the St. Olaf Orchestra, serving as its Concertmaster from 2007-2008. She continues her orchestral involvement, currently holding positions in the Sphere Ensemble, Boulder Chamber Orchestra, the Fort Collins Symphony, and the Greeley Philharmonic.
Taking an active role in supporting new music and today’s emerging composers, Whitnah performs as the principal violinist for the new music chamber ensemble, The Playground Ensemble, artists-in-residence at Metro State University of Denver. Ms. Whitnah has also performed with notable artists including Glee’s Daren Criss, Kygo, Tina Guo, and Mannheim Steamroller.
Additionally, Whitnah is an Adjunct Instructor of Music at the Community College of Denver where she teaches violin and viola, and also maintains a private teaching studio from her home in Arvada, CO, where she lives with her husband and small dachshund Stormaggedon.
Kristine Whittle holds a BFA in Dance from Arizona State University and has worked in the dance companies of Ann Ludwig (Phoenix, AZ), Barbara Grubel (NY, NY), Aura Fischbeck (SF, CA), and KC Chun/Fresh Blood (Denver, CO). She currently works with Denver-based Tara Rynders Dance and Wild Heart Dance. She is a licensed massage therapist and a yoga teacher and teacher trainer specializing in restorative practices, body-mind ball work, and aerial yoga.
Kristine is the founding Associate Director of Control Group Productions. She participated in every project 2009-14, including concept development, rehearsal direction, performance, and costume design. Over the last several years she served in an advisory role in order to balance demands of parenting and career development as a wellness practitioner. She has returned to Associate Direction to lead concept development for the Treeline project series, which focuses on building new relationships with nature.
HISTORY OF THE 1965 FLOOD
Here's the reading list that grounded our research: