Nettles Artists to Present First Professional Play by Artist with Down Syndrome at UNICEF

Nettles Artists ensemble, co-founded by Debora Balardini and Sandie Luna, to present Apple of My Eye at UNICEF with writer and actress Tathiana Piancastelli, an artist and actress with Down syndrome.
By: Nettles Artists Collective
Nettles Artists Ensemble at Apple of My Eye
Nettles Artists Ensemble at Apple of My Eye
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Tathiana Piancastelli
Debora Balardini
Nettles Artists Collective


New York City - New York - US


NEW YORK - March 4, 2016 - PRLog -- The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund has invited the ensemble cast of Apple of My Eye (Menina dos Meus Olhos, in Portuguese) to present their work on March 21 to support the Global Partnership of Children with Disabilities as part of their program to end violence against children and adolescents with disabilities. The playwright of Apple of My Eye, Tathiana Piancastelli, is a Brazilian actress and artist who is the first author with Down Syndrome to have her work professionally produced.

Piancastelli plays the lead, Bella, a young woman who, despite her differences, earns social acceptance and the explores the gulf between love and fear.

The director of the piece, Debora Balardini, and the conceptual designer, Sandie Luna, and a panel of guest speakers will have a question and answer session with Piancastelli after the presentation. Balardini and Luna are the co-founders of the Nettles Artists Collective (NAC), the Production Company of Apple of My Eye, and the residential home of the company, Punto Space.

NAC takes pride in bringing new levels of inclusion in the arts as the only Latina-run physical theater company in New York City. The Nettles and Punto Space have served as a creative home for Tathiana and the AOME ensemble. Its production partner MetaSocial shares the enthusiasm in the inclusion that AOME promotes. To add to the notable achievement, AOME has also been nominated for a 2016 Brazilian International Press Award.

From the time Balardini and Luna first approached the play in 2012, they have worked closely with Piancastelli and the cast using experimental vocal techniques, video and movement.  “It’s an honor to present a play to UNICEF that began as a five-page stream of consciousness text.  It is a milestone for the project, the company and for inclusion.”

Luna, who also has a supporting role in AOME, was at the heart of interpreting the multi-layered, colorful environment and archetypical characters Tathiana originally created that touched on fears, violence, hopes and dreams.   “Tathiana's writing touches on the violence experienced by individuals with disabilities and puts the arts front and center of the conversation as a powerful form of expression to bring attention to this topic.”

With another play in development inspired by AOME, Piancastelli reflects on the current work and recent recognition, “I like the play even better now.”   AOME is slated to tour Europe and Brazil in 2016.


Nettles Artists Collective (Producer,

Nettles Artists Collective is a New York-based group of immigrant artists, performers and producers with a mission to imbue the American performing arts scene with authentic global voices and universal vision. They carry a commitment to diversify the U.S. audience through the donations of tickets to people that would not otherwise have access to, or be exposed to, theater. They work to create an approach to theater that is transparent, permeable and constantly changing. Instead of fighting against prejudice, they celebrate differences.

Debora Balardini (director,

Debora Balardini has been teaching and performing for the past twenty years in several countries, including Japan, Argentina, Chile, the United States, France and her native Brazil. She has an extensive dance background in ballet, jazz and tap as well as Hatha yoga. As an actress, she has been exposed to various physical theater techniques such as Grotowski, Stemwerk, Suzuki, View Points, and most recently Choreographic Theatre and Roy Hart Technique. Her directing credits include: Meu Vazio é o Movinento, Inside. Not Looking Out, The Serpent by Nelson Rodrigues and Infinite While It Lasts based on the life and works of Vinicius de Moraes. She is a workshop leader and co-founder and artistic director of the Nettles Artists as well as co-founder and director of Group .BR.

Tathiana Piancastelli (playwright, actress):

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Tathiana Piancastelli is an actress, activist and TV presenter. She began her career in the performing arts after studying theater in Campinas, Brazil, from 2003 to 2010. She has appeared in several plays, including Golden Mouth, A Man's a Man, Flare Stars and the musical Grease as well as commercials for GloboTV and EPTV. She was Brazil’s representative at the 2010 International Down Syndrome Day at the United Nations. She currently hosts the program To Be Different in conjunction with the nonprofit MetaSocial Institute.

MetaSocial Institute (Producer,

MetaSocial Institute has worked for over 20 years developing programs to promote social inclusion in the media. The group’s goal is to show a positive, cheerful and colorful representation of all people, regardless of their limitations, with the belief that all people have the same human value and therefore deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. MetaSocial is a nonprofit organization that works primarily through partnerships.

Sandie Luna, Nettles Artists Collective
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Location:New York City - New York - United States
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Page Updated Last on: Mar 04, 2016
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