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We are a member of the Intersection Incubator, a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting services to artists. Donations made through Intersection are tax deductible.


Thank you to everyone who came to our benefit party!

And a particular thanks to our performers and volunteers:

Our ace party-planning dynamo, El Beh

Magician Christian Cagigal

Magician Luigi Anzivino

Auctioneer Jason Brock

Pianist Tal Ariel

The Matinees

DJ Anne Allison

Ray Oppenheimer

Greg Wrenn

Maryssa Wanlass

Kelli Zehnder

Cassidy Jamahl Brown

Sandra Pulley

Eve Uberman

Mugwumpin is "reinventing the very model of a theatre season"--read more!

About Mugwumpin

Mission: Mugwumpin is a San Francisco-based ensemble that devises collective live art.  We celebrate and shine a light on subjective experience, with a focus on questions, not answers.  By recognizing our own and others’ autonomy, we navigate the space in between and thereby develop empathy and sensitivity within and beyond our ensemble.  Our collaborative process of making performance is reflected in the public’s experience of the work, and ripples outward from there.

History: Mugwumpin was formed in San Francisco in 2004 by founding member Joe Estlack and founding co-artistic directors Christopher W. White and Denmo Ibrahim, with the aim of reinvigorating live performance as a communal event.  The visceral nature of Mugwumpin performances constantly reminds the audience that they are right here, right now, participating in something unique.  We hope that this sense of presence spills out the theater doors, bringing a deeper awareness of our surrounding community.

Mugwumpin, currently under White’s sole directorship, is among the leading young American companies interested in creating a visual experience, questioning the primacy of text and narrative in theater.  We strive to embody common creative values, emphasizing collaborative creation through play, honoring our different aesthetic perspectives and recognizing the strengths to be found in bringing them together.

Since 2004, Mugwumpin has created and produced 12 full productions and many smaller scale performances. Our production of Rabbit Causes Dog was recognized as the Best Play of the San Francisco Fringe Festival in 2004. In 2008, Mugwumpin thrilled international audiences at the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre with our original work super:anti:reluctant. In 2010, This Is All I Need, played to packed houses and universal critical acclaim in San Francisco, being named a Best Play of 2010 by both the SF Weekly and SF Bay Guardian. It subsequently toured to Paris and Bonn, Germany.  Future Motive Power had a completely sold-out run at the San Francisco Old Mint in January, 2012.  In March, 2013, The Great Big Also premiered in a co-production with Z Space to universal acclaim.

Since 2010, Mugwumpin has been creating events—mostly performances and critical engagement events—that feed into the creation of our evening-length works.  Most of these are conceived for non-theater spaces.  These “Occurrences” take place out in the world, with the intention of reshaping boundaries of performative space, challenging performer/audience relationships, and bringing a bit of transformative magic into the world.  The year's centerpiece will be a piece for theater that takes the various strands introduced in the Occurrences and weaves them together.

In addition, the roster of Mugwumpin members has grown, introducing new vitality and energy to the company.  All the work that we create is the product of the strong artistic visions of our members.  Read about them below!

What We Have To Say For Ourselves


Christopher W. White, Artistic Director 

Performance and theater artist, puppeteer, musician, and writer. Work with Mugwumpin includes directing the epic dissection of prophecy in America, The Great Big Also (2013), performing the role of Nikola Tesla in Future Motive Power (2012),  co-creating and performing in super:anti:reluctant (2008), which toured to Cairo, Egypt, and co-creating and performing in This Is All I Need, both in SF and internationally.  

In SF, I recently originated the role of Lance in Richard Montoya’s The River, with Campo Santo.  I work regularly with EmSpace Dance, co-creating A Hand In Desire and Monkey Gone to Heaven.  I designed and built puppets for the West Coast premiere of David Greenspan and Stephin Merritt's musical adaptation of Coraline at SF Playhouse, and directed the performers in the manipulation of his puppets.  I've worked with the Magic Theater, Shotgun Players, Banana Bag & Bodice, foolsFURY, Lunatique Fantastique, the SF Opera, and others.

In New York, I was a member of the resident acting company at the Flea Theater, where I assistant directed the Obie-winning Benten Kozo.  In Dublin, Ireland, I served as Play Director in Residence and, later, Script Development Officer at Project Arts Centre, as well as directing several works at Project and various Dublin companies.

My articles have appeared in American Theatre Magazine, Theater, TheatreForum and Howlround.com. MFA in Lecoq Based Actor-Created Theater: Naropa University/London International School of the Performing Arts; BA: Yale University.

Some things I obsess over:    Awkwardness    Twins and doubles    Catchy, catchy music    The epic, galactic struggle between rationality and irrationality    The difficulty of performing oneself    Food (really delicious food) and the ways it gets to our tables    Déjà vu    Empathy and subjectivity, balanced against each other like playing cards    Unreliable narrators    The old, weird America, as Greil Marcus calls it    Ghosts and hauntings    How to cope with or face down injustice    Grammar, and the real patterns of how we speak

Wolfgang Wachalovsky, Managing Director

In addition to being Managing Director of Mugwumpin, I work as a freelance director and producer in the SF Bay Area and LA.  I have self-produced most of my work, including  Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Bremen Freedom, Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit, and Charles Mee's Bacchae v3.0, a version of Euripides' Bacchae.  I have also adapted and directed Wolfgang Borchert's Draussen vor der Tür and directed an adaptation of Marlowes' Dr. Faustus.  Bay Area credits include Noah Haidle's Mr Marmalade (Renegade Theatre Experiment), Romeo and Julien (Boxcar Theatre). I developed and directed the world premieres of Rent Boy Ave: a musical (Boxcar Theatre), Killer Queen (Burning Monk Collective), A Hand in Desire (EmSpace Dance), and most recently Transient Theater's Owners of Nothing. For the past year I have been collaborating with directors in NYC and London, building a completely online performance event. 


Joe Estlack, Founding Company Member

Joe trained in Lecoq-based Actor-Created Theater at Naropa University.  He has acted and danced extensively throughout the Bay Area, including with Shotgun Players, the Magic Theatre, the ESP Project, and Golden Thread Productions.  Joe is also a poet and visual artist.





Madeline H.D. Brown, Company Member

Madeline H.D. Brown is a San Francisco based performer whose focus is collaborating on and performing in professional, ensemble-devised theatre. Recent productions: Mugwumpin & Z Space,The Great Big Also, Shotgun Players production of Tom Wait’s and Robert Wilson’s Woyzeck, directed by Mark Jackson, Aurora Theatre Company’s Metamorphosis and Salomania and Cutting Ball Theatre’s Tontlawald. She has also performed locally with Brava! for Women in the Arts!, CenterREP, Firefox, Golden Thread Productions, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, The Marsh, Noir City Film Festival, Playwrights Foundation, Psychopomp and Circumstance Dance Theatre,  SF Playhouse and Vertical Pool Productions. Before landing in the Bay Area, she traveled as a cabaret performer in Europe performing at London’s Institute for Contemporary Arts, Hayward Gallery & Sadler’s Wells, Stockholm’s Sodra Teatern, Oslo’s ACTS and Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe and many muddy rock festivals.

She holds a BFA in Acting from the College of Santa Fe and a Three Year Diploma in Corporeal Mime from Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique. Madeline a co-founder of Psychopomp and Circumstance Dance Theatre and a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Sarah Elovich, Company Member

Sarah has been part of the Mugwumpin family since their Bay Area debut in 2004. She has played various roles in the company's unique collaborative creation process including company manager, documentarian, prop builder, assistant lighting designer, and most recently front of house designer for The Great Big Also. The love affair between Sarah and Mugwumpin revolves around her playful approach to an audience's beliefs and expectations. 



Denmo Ibrahim, Founding Co-Artistic Director

Denmo is an award deserving writer, actor, and eco business owner based in San Francisco, CA.  She studied with Chris and Joe at Naropa University where she became a Master of the Fine Arts.  After losing the bet on locale, she moved to SF with the two aforementioned and formed mugwumpin.  Audiences loved them to pieces.  As Co Artistic Director through 2009, you can partially blame Denmo for the slew of creative projects that came through as she partook as actor, writer, designer, prop mistress, producer, and professional stage sweeper.

Currently, she’s writing GLYPH a play inspired by the findings of the Rosetta Stone in Rashid, Egypt, generously supported by TBA’s CASH panel.  This fall check her out in Crowded Fire’s rendition of the Five Lesbian Brother’s hilarious play, The Secretaries.  You can also stop by EarthBody in Hayes Valley to find her healing bodies and bossing people around.  www.earthbody.net denmo@me.com


Julia Lynton, Company Manager

Julia served as Mugwumpin's manager from mid-2009 through mid-2011.

Liz Lisle, Associate Artistic Director

Liz has worked in theater arts production and administration with companies throughout the Bay Area. She’s been Managing Director for The Shotgun Players since 2001, and has dramaturged for SF Playhouse, Word for Word, Mugwumpin and The Bay Area Playwright’s Festival. Liz is also the Publisher of the literary magazine Watchword. Her past writing projects include EAT(Shotgun Theatre Lab, 2003), Matterless Fact (Just Theater, 2007), & Mutable Platen (Whole Story, 2008).


We are a Member of the Intersection Incubator, a program of Intersection for the Arts providing fiscal sponsorship, incubation and consulting services to artists. Intersection is San Francisco's oldest alternative arts space, presenting groundbreaking works in the literary, performing, visual and interdisciplinary arts. Visit www.theintersection.org.