Shaman‐Artist by Mandi Lynn.
CV (pdf format 2.8MB) (download to view)
STEPHANIE SINCLAIRE LIGHTSMITH
Stephanie is a film maker who has forged a diverse multi-media award winning career in film, theatre, art and writing. She began as painter and poet, publishing her poetry in anthologies as well as the solo volume BURNT OFFERING and attended the noted California College of Art studying Fine Art and literature. Her life has been a continual creative journey with quite a few unexpected twists and turns.
As Associate Artistic Director of the Kings Head Theatre, which she ran with her husband, founder Dan Crawford, she oversaw the creative elements of 6 theatrical productions a year from development to production–choosing the plays, dramaturgical development, casting, finance, assembling production teams and co-producing, working with playwrights such as Steven Berkoff, Tom Stoppard, and Anthony Minghella, (another theatre to film crossover). In the early 90’s she began writing and directing her own plays and musicals. In the late 90’s she found the fulfillment of her vocational and career aspirations when she crossed from theatre to film. Here her background as an artist, story teller and theatrical practitioner merged into her ultimate medium of expression for her world view.
Stephanie’s first film (Co-Producer) THE DANCE OF SHIVA was an Academy Award Finalist, 2000 and featured Kenneth Branagh, Sam West, Sanjeev Bhasker & Paul McGann with Academy Award winning DoP Jack Cardiff (A Matter of Life and Death, The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus). It told the little known story of the Hindu involvement in the WWI and won many awards in the Asian community. She developed the story, cast and financed and learned a great deal from the luminary advisors, BAFTA and Academy Awad winners, John Box, Production Designer and John Mitchell.
Stephanie adapted, directed and produced THE TELL TALE HEART, based on Poe’s short story, with Jack Cardiff as DoP and Production Designer Peter Murton (Bond films, Lion in Winter, Dr. Strangelove) which was presented at the Art Institute of Chicago’s 7th European Film Festival.
In 2004 she wrote, produced and co-directed A MAVERICK IN LONDON, a documentary about The Kings Head Theatre, featuring Joanna Lumley, Alan Rickman, Sir Tom Stoppard, Steven Berkoff, Sir Antony Sher and many others. A MAVERICK IN LONDON was presented on SkyArts for three years and as a Channel Four special.
In 2004/5 she wrote, directed and co-produced SILENCE BECOMES YOU (feature) with Alicia Silverstone and Sienna Guillory distributed in the US through First Look Entertainment and internationally through Sequence/ Handmade and now Moviehouse Entertainment UK. She had developed the two leads with Thora Birch and Juliette Lewis, creating her own modality for creating character arcs with her actors but due to circumstances had a change of cast who brought their own individual mystique to the roles.
Stephanie has exhibited her paintings internationally and was artist/ curator of two International exhibitions in London, AMERICAN’S ABROAD at The Slaughterhouse Gallery, which examined artists born in or identified with America who had greatly influenced European art including Man Ray, Niki de Saint Phalle, Cy Twombly, Alexander Calder and others, (catalogue by art historian Keith Wheldon) & THE LONDON EXPERIENCE at Smith’s Gallery, drawing together International artists from the Turner prize winning to the newly emerging who were living and working in London.
After Dan’s death, she returned to the theatre as Creative Director for many years. Compelled to leave her film career to save the Kings Head, she applied her knowledge gained in the film industry creating theatre slates along the film model. Her own highlights during that time include adapting Peter Pan using out of print books of deleted scenes and an actual lost screenplay by Barrie and convincing Leonard Bernstein’s estate to allow the first ever world stage premiere of Bernstein’s brilliant early score to accompany it. With a costumier from Harry Potter, choreography by Marc Urquhart and a chamber orchestra led by the noted West End musical director Mike Dixon, Barrie’s masterpiece was restored to the dark, moving tale he had intended, an antidote to the pantomime it has become.
She founded STAGE TO SCREEN, a development lab to encourage longer and deeper development for film using theatre methodology, supported by Patron Si Alan Parker, then head of the BFI and also Lord Attenborough, more affectionately known by London film and theatre world as Dicky Attenborough, the great actor and director.
She continued to paint for herself and her work changed direction and became a record of visions and dreams. She wrote THE SHORES OF GRACE, later reprinted as GOD’S THEORY OF CREATIVITY which was distributed to all the UK prisons through the Prism Project who chose it as their book of the year and to all U.S. women’s prisons through the Edgar Cayce Foundation. A visionary work and an odyssey, it is also a philosophical treatise on the true nature of inspirational creativity and what that means to humanity’s evolution. In London she was represented by The Moving Gallery, concentrating on large works for corporate venues. Stephanie painted all the art work for the film SILENCE BECOMES YOU, an interesting experience of painting as another—in this case, a sociopathic fictional character.
In New Zealand, where she is now permanently based, she co-founded Sea Star Studio, a multi arts venue presenting music, theatre, concerts, film lab, fashion photography and fine art. She curated CIRCUS OF THE SOUL, 12 NZ artists creating new work examining where reality collides with dreams, combining noted artists with newly emerging.
Stephanie and Dan developed the Kings Head Theatre Young Directors Training Scheme which has trained countless young directors and was for many years the largest and most successful scheme in the country. It continues to mentor young directors who leave the programme fully trained in all aspects of theatre with the skill set and contacts to begin their own careers or their own companies.
In 2002 she was co-recipient, with Dan Crawford, of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Award for ‘contribution to the arts and pursuit of excellence’ in the field of direction for the Kings Head Theatre, presented by Her Majesty, Richard Eyre and Lord Attenborough. Kings Head Theatre Patrons include Joanna Lumley, Sirs Alan Parker CBE and Tom Stoppard OM CBE, Joanna Lumley, Maureen Lipman, Don Black OBE and Victoria Wood.
Stephanie remained Creative & Managing Director of The Kings Head Theatre & Pub until 2014, home to the internationally noted, award winning theatre that has enjoyed over 40 transfers to the West End, National Tours and Broadway and has presented significant productions of major playwrights as premieres or classic revivals. The theatre is currently leading a movement of ‘opera for the people’ under the artistic directorship of Australian Adam Spreadbury-Maher, appointed by Stephanie in 2010. She ran her film companies Dragonfly Films and Dragon Lady Film and Theatre in one of the large windowed Victorian rooms of the theatre, overlooking St. Mary’s church where the clock’s bell rang out the hours .
As a teacher of the healing power of creativity she created a system called Source Alignment which she presented in American schools. Stephanie was later invited to trial the programme in London for a twelve-week pilot at The Stress Project, a project that aligned medical doctors, psychotherapists and alternative therapists working with suicidal individuals.
Believing there is shamanic element to art–making the invisible idea visible, she has studied various shamanic traditions with Black Elk, grandson of the author of Black Elk Speaks, Arwyn Dreamwalker, Rain Queen Mother and the Shipibo shamans of the Amazon in Peru.
In 2013 Stephanie’s paintings were presented at the United Nations with 41 other artists. In 2014 the NZ artist Cat Auburn curated a retrospective of her work in film and painting under the title SISTER SELVES. The story of her painting My Muse was featured in the CoSM International Journal of Visionary Community.
Stephanie has come full circle and returned to developing, writing, producing and directing film. She is currently writing a screenplay for young adults called EMMIE AND THE 17TH KINGDOM and CLARA AND THE MANATEE about a woman who wants to be a mermaid, whose sister will do anything to stop her. She has developed Christina Rossetti’s THE GOBLIN MARKET and created versions for radio, film and theatre. Her screenplay for THE SHADOW MASTER is in an accelerated slate of development and has the support of WETA Digital Special FX and other members of the NZ film community.
Her creative journey continues to inform all aspects of her life.
Stephanie has partnered with her daughter Katherine Wyeth to found a film production company, Sea Star Creations. Their aim is to make films with the suspense of Hitchcock and beauty of classical dark fairy tales and Eastern psychological horror. They have launched the company with a short film homage to Christina Rossetti’s 19th century masterpiece, Goblin Market, which Katherine directed. Makaro Press has printed a special edition of the poem with stills from the film to celebrate the launch. Their slate includes EMMIE AND THE 17TH KINGDOM, CLARA AND THE MANATEE, the story of a woman who wants to be a mermaid, and LAND WITHOUT HEROES, a paranormal war thriller.
Stephanie delights in her 4 year old granddaughter, the magical sea moments from her home, moving from the imaginal realm of story development to the collaborative wold of film making and looks forward to the time when finance permits full time film making when she can actualise a slate of commercial but meaningful films.
Stephanie Sinclaire Lightsmith
Wellington, New Zealand
+ 64 223152549