The Creative Collective was established after the tragic and unexpected passing of Dragone’s dear founder and Artistic Director, Franco Dragone. The five-person council meets weekly to review current Dragone initiatives as well as prospective and upcoming endeavors. As a group their vast experience encapsulates Franco’s values and principles, and they work collaboratively to ensure that those ideas are embodied in every facet of the company moving forward. While the collective has been working since November of last year, this is the first time the member’s names have been publicly disclosed.
The Creative Collective consists of:
Lucas Dragone is an award-winning visual artist and storyteller. He studied at the Lassaad International School of Theatre in Brussels, and continues to maintain close ties with Lassaad, who he considers one of his life-long mentors. He worked with the Compagnie Barbiana in Belgium as a performer, director and teacher and has explored theatre throughout Italy and Brazil. His work has moved beyond theatre into visual-arts and music as he evolved into Looka Loopa, making music videos, documentaries, short films and visual experiments. His work is inspired by his honest outlook on life, and he equally emphasizes the people and captured situations as he does the style.
Matthew Jessner is a dancer, singer and percussionist who has performed extensively all over Europe and the United States. His theatrical career began as a scholarship student at the San Francisco Ballet School; he performed works from the classical and neoclassical Balletic repertory with the Oakland, Cleveland and Houston ballet companies in the United States from 1976 to 1986.
Matthew studied classical vocal technique, music theory and languages at a Musical Conservatory in Marseille, France from 1990 to 1993.
He worked as Assistant Choreographer for the Dutch Musical “Joe, the Musical” produced by Joop von den Ende Theater produkties in Amsterdam.
He was the artistic director for a Buena Vista International stage show based on “Mulan” in Madrid in 1998 with the Beijing Acrobatic Troupe. He also worked with Disney as interim creative director for Special Events, Trade and Convention Shows in Disneyland Resort Paris.
He worked extensively in the full scale casting of actors, dancers and specialty performers for the opening of the Walt Disney Studios in Paris.
Matthew was artistic director for the Cirque du Soleil touring show; Saltimbanco for over four years. He joined Dragone as Production Artistic Director for the entire creation and production of The House of Dancing Water in Macau, China.
Katja Mack is a Show Producer & Creative Consultant at Europa-Park Entertainment Department, and the Founder & Head of Europa-Park Talent Academy.
Since 2007, Katja has worked for the largest seasonal amusement park in the world and the market leader in Germany – Europa-Park. She has a Master of Arts degree in Directing Theatrical Performances (Master’s Thesis: “Franco Dragone’s theatrical Aesthetics in world culture of spectacle”). Since 2013, she has been supporting the Europa-Park entertainment department with the planning, execution, and follow-up of artist castings worldwide. Among other things, Katja Mack continues to be responsible for show quality in all the company’s creative projects in the entertainment department.
In 2014, she founded an institution called “Europa-Park Talent Academy”. This educational platform for Performing Arts, offers young artists an opportunity to develop creatively and diversely. On her own initiative, a cooperation partnership with the “Broadway Dreams Foundation” in New York was created, which brings together performers from all over the world in Rust and offers a high-level event with an exchange of knowledge and a large final show together with Broadway celebrities.
She is creative director of large projects such as Futuristic Fine Dining Restaurant EATRENALIN, Europa-Park Dinner-Show, etc.
Filippo Ferraresi is a Senior Creative Director at Dragone. He was born in Rome in 1985 and he obtained a Master’s degree in Performing Arts at the University of Rome. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Paris Sorbonne-Nouvelle, he conducted research on silent Shakespearian performances in 19th century Parisian circuses. During this period of study, he became familiar with the Lecoq acting method. In 2012, he began his ongoing collaboration with Franco Dragone. For 6 years, within the Dragone group, he assisted in the staging of major permanent shows in China, the United States, Russia, Turkey, as well as the new creation of the iconic Lido de Paris. In 2017, he was Director of Creation for Dragone’s new permanent show in Dubai, La Perle. It was designed for 2,000 spectators, with 60 artists on stage and amazing integrated technology. Parallel to his work with Dragone, Filippo directs theatre and opera, making his own creations in the most important European theatres.
Damien Long is a Senior Creative Director at Dragone. With vast experience in production and stage management, since Le Rêve, he has been deeply involved with the process and production of multiple Dragone shows and creations. He is one of the foremost authorities on Dragonian theatre and process as it relates to contemporary spectacle and the challenges of practical production. He often finds himself bridging the gap between continents, disciplines, and production phases and driving the process forward through seemingly impossible odds.
A Las Vegas native, he studied Theatre at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Some of the projects Damien has worked on include La Perle, Land of Legends, The Dai Show, The Han Show, and Le Rêve.
Perhaps best known for reinventing a genre of spectacle theatre that forever changed the face of live entertainment around the world (A New Day, Le Rêve, House of Dancing Water, La Perle, etc.), Dragone’s creations play to sold-out houses and receive standing ovations each and every night. Creating shows of all shapes across continents, Dragone continues to humbly embrace local cultures to entertain and wow global audiences. Its vast portfolio includes permanent shows in tailor made spaces, and other signature experiences.
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