Hi! I'm Allie.
I'm a multi-hyphenate artist living in New York City. My queer, feminist, fantasy creations are driven by a passion for learning and a deep allergy to the status quo.
A classically trained singer gone rogue, I began producing experimental cabarets while in grad school for Opera at Mannes, The New School for Music. I now act, sing, dance, write, produce, coach other artists on producing their own work and establishing their creative identities, and run my queer, feminist, fantasy production company Vǫlva Productions. All this, to pursue my dream of busting genres and blowing up paradigms by creating inclusive and risk-taking work that will change the world.
For a more in-depth background of myself and my work, please scroll down to read my full bio.
Third person bios are weird.
Hi, I'm Allie, and I'm writing this bio about myself, so I'm going to do it in the first person. I'm a multi-hyphenate creative and I want to change the world.
Maybe the standard third-person bio is in place so we feel less awkward about listing our own accomplishments. Let's see how awkward this can get! I'm a professional singer, actor, writer, and producer. In 2019 I wrote an original cabaret/play hybrid show, Hetaira, and performed it at Edinburgh Fringe with my friend and regular collaborator, the incredible harpist/pianist/dancer/aerialist Steph Babirak. In 2020 I am writing a pilot based on the same concept. Hetaira is my passion and my cornerstone project. I aim to create it as a major series that I get to write, produce, and perform, with a budget like GoT. It is epic and I embrace a huge dream. Everything is possible. Especially if no one has done it before.
As I work on that, I'm also creating micro-content, like short stories, songs, and films. I'm passionate about autonomy as an artist, self-distribution, and exploring the future of the arts and the future of what it means to be an artist. I deeply believe that artists should have independence, and I'm driven to help craft a future in which "Artist" is as legitimate and stable a career choice as any other. In order to serve this passion, I coach other artists and I run my non-profit production company Vǫlva Productions, which focuses on queer, feminist, inclusive, and diverse content, primarily in the genres of fantasy, sci-fi, and historical fiction, and which seeks to provide new career avenues for independent artists.
I trained as an opera singer for a total of 10 years before I realized my conviction that art, to me, must be an act of activism. My art must reach people and change their hearts, and it must also feed my soul. So, I became the poster child of the Arts Entrepreneurship program at Mannes, winning a Marin Alsop Entrepreneurship Award during its inaugural year, and producing my first experimental cabaret project Operesque or Operotic, during which I sang a concert of opera, folk, and cabaret music while slowly taking off my clothes. For my final Master's project, I challenged the standard recital requirement and created a complex cabaret show, Femmes Fatales, with an original story-line, and 10 other performers, including a 7-piece band, burlesque artist, and pole-dancer (Steph Babirak, my rock). I sang the entire show and performed burlesque and aerial hoop, including one piece during which I did all three simultaneously. At my jury (final exams for the Masters in the form of an audition-like performance in front of a panel) I broke the rules and performed Portuguese Fado, which, as my voice teacher Beth Roberts later told me, changed the mind of a particularly conservative board member and resulted in a major policy change that allowed students at Mannes to work on non-classical repertoire.
I am a questioner and a change maker at my core. If something has already been done, I'm not interested.
I sang before I could talk. Being a singer was never a choice. I grew up doing musical theater and went to an arts highschool to study it. But as I got older, I started to feel lost. I didn't know why, but the Broadway path didn't call to me. I didn't write my own music, didn't want to be a pop artist. Singing came so naturally to me that being an actor, without the music component, never occured to me. I didn't see an existing path that spoke to my heart. (Since discovering who I am creatively, I now feel confident that I'd be delighted to be on Broadway, on my own terms, and I pursue serious acting, without the music, as well.) I sang in a jazz band and in choir at junior college, and that's where I discovered opera. But... I can't do music theory for shit. I was a straight-A student who consistently got D's in music theory and musicianship. I am a performer and an embodied, not intellectual, singer, and the academic music world did not understand me. So I went to university to study my second love, Philosophy. But I couldn't stay away from music so I auditioned for the opera program, got in, and that's how I found myself starring in operas while earning my Philosophy degree.
The unbelievable team behind the contemporary opera company Opera Paralelle in SF, Brian Staufenbiel and Nicole Paiement, also ran the opera program at UCSC. Under their direction, I performed the roles of Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, Jo March in Little Women, and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte. Without a conservatory undergrad experience, or even a degree in music, I managed to land a place at Mannes, The New School for Music, in NYC.
It was there that began exploring the nagging feelings in my heart that told me I had to carve my own path. I cannot live a life on other peoples' terms. I cannot enjoy the lifestyle of asking for permission to participate in other peoples' work. I can't sit by and watch artists juggle two full-time jobs, the one that makes money, and the one that makes art. And I can't idly and watch artists spend their entire creative lives preparing auditions or worrying about what will sell.
I did the work to figure out what my path was and who my heroes are. My heroes are the ones who found success through their own means, through creating their own work, through playing the leads in their own lives. Brit Marling, Issa Rey, Rachel Bloom, and Phoebe Waller Bridge, for instance. And my future heroes are the ones who will pioneer the arts industry of the future.
I'm here to help build it.