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Steve Whitmire

Muppet creator Jim Henson invited Steve Whitmire to join his team in 1978 during the height of the popularity of The Muppet Show, and Whitmire had a hand in virtually every Muppet project for nearly four decades. He originated such characters as Rizzo the Rat, Lips the Trumpet Man, Miss Piggy’s dog Foo-Foo, and Bean Bunny, and also sustained Richard Hunt’s characters, the hapless lab assistant Beaker and codger Statler after Hunt’s death in 1992. Upon Henson’s death in 1990, Whitmire accepted the duty for the continuation of several of Jim’s characters and is best known for his 24-years as Ernie and his 27-years as Kermit the Frog. Projects include Sesame Street and non-Muppet films such as The Dark Crystal, The Witches, Dreamchild and Labyrinth, as well as the popular sitcom Dinosaurs and the classic 1980’s television series Fraggle Rock in which Whitmire originated Wembley Fraggle and Sprocket the Dog. After 19 films, 8 television series, numerous specials, multiple sound recordings, and volumes of unique live appearances, Whitmire carries forth the essential principles of the lineage as the foundation for a progressive approach to the art of puppetry in today’s world and looks forward to sharing that spirit in his future endeavours.

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Gordon MacLellan

Better known as Creeping Toad, Gordon MacLellan is an artist and a storyteller who works with environmental and historical themes. With more than 30 years of freelance experience, Gordon runs events, workshops and training courses with groups from activity days with schools and on holiday playschemes to training courses at some of Britain’s leading environmental centres. After training as a zoologist, Gordon combined his love of ecology and delight in people to create Creeping Toad which sets out to “help groups find ways of celebrating the relationships between people, places and wildlife”.

 

He is the author of a number of art and poetry books. Most recently, he has been the Arts Coordinator for the CelebrationEarth! project and is currently Arts Advisor for the 8 BILLION initiative.

Kelly Sweeney is a professional dancer and choreographer based in Los Angeles. She started off as a competition dancer, training and in all styles including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, and jazz funk, where she won several titles and scholarships. At age 15, she started working professionally and since then, you can see her dancing in movies such as “The Little Rascals Save the Day”, and the Netflix original “The Prom”, dancing alongside Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. She has also appeared on Disney Channel for “Holidays Unwrapped, a musical special”, “Hall Of Villains, a halloween special”, ABC’s show “Subergatory”, NBC’s “World of Dance” season 2, Nickelodeon/Jojo Siwa music videos, and the Brat channel show “Total Eclipse”.

 

She has also done live performances such as performing at Youtube’s convention “Vidcon” for 2 years - in 2018 for Jojo Siwa, and in 2019 for Disney Channel’s “Disney Descendants” performance. She choreographed a music video for Dreamworks production for the artist Ky Baldwin, assisted choreography for the Nickelodeon special “NickTok”, and has taught in Argentina and France. Dancing has always been Kelly’s biggest passion and love, and her goal is to spread positivity and inspiration to anyone working with her or learning from her.

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Christine Ahanotu

Christine Ahanotu is an actress, writer, podcast producer and certified permaculture instructor. She has extensive experience in a myriad of creative fields and is a firm believer in the power of creativity. Originally hailing from Boston, MA , she now travels the world interviewing people doing great things for the planet and its people. Her speech topics range from film to producing to the importance of sustainability in all creative fields.