TRANSFORMA Theatre, Inc.

Board Of Directors:

Tjasa Ferme

TJAŠA FERME - Creator-Performer-Producer - Tjaša is the Founder and Artistic Director of Transforma Theatre Inc., dedicated to creating interactive theatre experiences at the nexus of science, consciousness and ritual. She is the creator of The Female Role Model Project blending interactive theatre with neuroscience produced on Off-Broadway at the premier Art and Tech Center 3-Legged Dog, in New York in November 2018. They were also featured at the Ammerman Biennial of Arts and Technology 2018. She is the creator of a short film Ophelia’s Flip (Cannes Film Festival, 2012), a farce hit Cocktales-Confessions of a Nymphomaniac (The Cell, Abingdon Theatre, Art Basel Miami), an interactive solo show, Wild Child in the City, and a new play My Marlene. Wild Child In The City premiered in NYC (TheaterLab), filled houses on European Tours and received an Audience Choice Award at 46th TSD-Week of Slovenian Drama. Wild Child won a grant from Trust for Mutual Understanding for a tour at ITI-UNESCO MonoAkt festival in Kosovo, winning a Special Jury Prize, and “Northern Meetings” in Siberia. In Dec 2016 Ferme created a devised theatre piece about migrations West to West through the lens of the current refugee crisis in coproducion of Skogen, Sweden and Maska, Slovenia. Tjaša Ferme is a Slovenian National Film Award and Stane Sever classical stage award recipient. Interview on Huffington Post Arts & Culture New York Times review: more on her website Currently her BCI video game on gender identity is being developed at City Tech, CUNY as a Tech Spring Production.

JACQUES SEBAG - Executive Director - Jacob Sebag was born in Marrakech, Morocco and moved to the United States as a teenager. Although always a passionate student of acting, the realities of life interfered and he became a successful lawyer and devoted father. While stage and film have always been his passion, until recently he honed his theatrical skills in court. Jacob has been practicing law for thirty years. Prior to forming Jacob Sebag & Associates, P.C., Jacob was the founding partner of the Law Firm of Ochoa & Sebag, P.C. (1983-2005). As a seasoned attorney, Jacob brings his entrepreneurial skills and business perspective to his U.S. based and international clients' real estate and corporate ventures. His fluency in five languages greatly enhances his ability to help his culturally diverse clients realize their goals. An innovative and pragmatic problem solver, Jacob counsels his clients on all legal aspects of building and growing a business. In corporate matters and in the hospitality industry, Jacob specializes in acquisitions and business development. In residential and commercial real estate, he advises clients throughout the planning, financing and development phases of the transaction. In addition, Jacob is a licensed Real Estate Broker in New York and Florida. In 2005, Jacob portrayed the French Ambassador in Sidney Pollack's worldwide film release “The Interpreter” which opened the Tribeca Film Festival. Mr. Pollack found in Jacob a certain look, talent and passion and cast him for his last film. Jacob’s featured role is in the only scene in film history shot in the United Nations Security Council. Jacob merges his artistic, business and legal experience to bring a unique competence to his negotiating and drafting contracts specific to the needs of artists and professionals in the entertainment industry. He is also a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

MELISSA FLOWER - Managing Director - Melissa works as a freelance director, collaborator, performance artist, and dramaturg in New York and Houston. She is currently the associate director and dramaturg for Richard Schechner’s piece in development, Dark Yes. For her own projects she is in the process of creating a two year collaboration with documentarian artist Naty Technicolor called Dispensado- an activist performance about land/feminism/ownership.  Melissa has also worked as the Director of Communications at Luciole International Theatre Company. As a dramaturg, she works at Wordsmyth Theatre Company and has served as the Literary Assistant at the Alley Theatre.  She runs a training group that spans both Houston and NYC called Basic 6.  Her directing credits include: Masseur at Theatre for the New City, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Cassandra at Mildred’s Umbrella, A Doll’s House at Classical Theatre Company (assistant director), Big Love at Theatre B in Fargo, Roadside, Milo and Barbara, Caleb, and Vigils. She has also served as assistant director at Classical Theatre Company for A Doll’s House, Ghost Sonata and Mrs. Warren’s Profession as well as The Vibrator Play at Stages Repertory Theatre, and Hot L Baltimore at UH. Her performance/devising credits include Here Now at the Martha Graham Studios in New York, Things Missing/Missed and Hypocrite at Obsidian Theatre. Her performance art credits include: Dispensado, Pangea, John Cages’s Lunch and Dinner, Black Hole, and My Blog with Some Google Searches.  Her other dramaturgical credits include: Hamlet, and Comedy of Errors at the Houston Shakespeare Festival.

Melissa has devoted her career and scholarship to avant-garde methods of actor training: Viewpoints and Suzuki. She has trained in various workshops with the SITI Company and in Toga, Japan with members of the SCOT Company. She completed the SITI Conservatory and studied with Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield, MA. She holds a BFA from Baylor University and an MA in Dramaturgy from the University of Houston.


DESIDERIO GABRIELE BERDINI –Treasurer Des currently works at JP Morgan Chase in the markets division where he’s been exposed to many different international transactions. He’s been involved in raising funds for nonprofits since a young age through his family nonprofit organization. He’s passionate about redefining the idea of capital as a nurturing tool for creative ideas rather than a need without purpose, and has become one of the largest angel fund investors in Wavepaths; a UK based startup facilitating transformative journeys with the help of self-generating music. Des is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Johns Hopkins university with a double degree in Economics and Statistics.

Board of Advisers

Natalie Kacinik

NATALIE KACINIK - Cognitive Neuroscientist, Science Director of Transforma Theatre Inc. - Kacinik is an Associate Professor in Psychology at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center. She has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Western Ontario, and completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside. Prior to her position at Brooklyn College, she also worked as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of California, Davis. Her research examines how the mind and brain process language, ranging from individual words, to sentences, discourse, and figurative expressions like metaphors, idioms, and irony. She is also particularly interested in studying how our conceptual representations and processes are grounded in perceptual, motor, and cultural experiences (i.e., embodied cognition). Her work has been published in the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, Neuropsychologia, Brain and Language, Psychological Science, Emotion, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, in addition to coverage by the media (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Scientific American, Huffington Post, Psychology Today).

VICTORIA ZAVYALOVA - Victoria is an international media professional, with more than 15 years of experience working for various media in Europe, including the Financial Times and BBC. She is the CEO of V Startup Agency, the communications consultancy for international tech startups and innovative organizations in the U.S. During three years before co-founding the agency Ms Zavyalova has been working as the science & tech editor, covering startups, new AI developments, blockchain and space exploration. In this position, she was also responsible for the startup rating, featuring 50 most promising young tech companies. Ms Zavyalova obtained her MA in Creative & Media Enterprises from the University of Warwick in the UK.

HEIDI BOISVERT - a new media artist, experience designer, creative technologist, researcher and writer. Founded and serve as the CEO and Creative Director of the futurePerfect lab, a boutique creative agency that works with non-profits, cultural and educational institutions to develop imaginative and playful applications of integrated media and emerging technology. Most recently, co-founded XTH, an open-source creative biowearable start up with Marco Donnarumma. We were awarded Harvestworks' Creativity + Technology = Enterprise Fellowship through support by the Rockefeller Foundation. Received a Ph.D. in the Electronic Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. My research interrogates the socio-cultural and neurobiological impacts of intelligent technology, and also explores how embodied, bio-adaptive, game-based networked performance practices can serve as an antidote, restoring critical feeling. As a Media Impact Fellow at the Harmony Institute and a Fellow at the MIT DocLab, continued to research and develop open-source tools to increase empathetic engagement. Currently, the director of the Emerging Media Technology program at New York City College of Technology (CUNY) where she teaches advanced courses in experimental game design, mixed reality & immersive worlds, tangible media and biomedia.

MORAN CERF - Moran Cerf is a neuroscientist and business professor at the Kellogg School of Management and the neuroscience program at Northwestern university. Dr. Cerf is also a member of the institute on complex systems. In his work, Prof. Cerf helps individuals and businesses harness the current knowledge of the brain to improve thinking and understanding of customers and business decisions.

His academic research uses methods from neuroscience to understand the underlying mechanisms of our psychology, behavior changes, emotion, decision making and dreams.

His works address questions such as: "How are conscious percepts formed in our brain?", "How can we control our emotions?" and “How can we make content that is engaging for the brain?"

Recently, his research has addressed questions pertaining to the neural mechanisms that underlie decision-making, thereby offering a new perspective on predicting future choices and investigating how much free will we have in our decisions. In his acclaimed work, Prof. Cerf studies patients undergoing brain-surgery by recording the activity of individual nerve cells using electrodes implanted in the patient's brain. Thus, his work offers a novel way to understand our psyche by observing the brain directly from within.

Dr. Cerf holds a Ph.D in neuroscience from Caltech, an MA in Philosophy and a B.Sc in Physics from Tel-Aviv University. He is the beneficiary of several awards and grants for his work, including the Instructional improvement grant, and the prestigious president scholarship for excellence. He was recently named one of the "40 leading professors below 40".

Notably, Dr. Cerf is the Alfred P. Sloan professor at the American Film Institute (AFI), where he teaches an annual screenwriting class on science in films and is a consultant to various Hollywood films and TV shows, such as CBS' “Bull” and “Limitless”, USA Network's “Falling Water”, and more..

NANCY MANOCHERIAN - Founding Artistic director of the cell. Nancy is a lyricist, playwright and producer. Writing credit include: Sin!; Rio, a Brazilian musical novella (Theatre for the New City); and Dinner and Delusion, an opera co-written with composer Michael Sahl (The Center for Contemporary Opera/New York city Opera’s VOX Festival). Her passion is for the arts and her dream is the cell, a 21st century salon.

CHRISTOPHER ROC MORIN - Roc Morin is a journalist, photographer, and filmmaker based in San Francisco. He is the curator of the World Dream Atlas, a collection of dreams from around the globe, and a dedicated lucid dreamer. Roc was a former EMT for the Fire Department of New York, a psychology professor at The City College of New York, a war correspondent in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine/DPR. His most recent work includes a role as the producer for a Werner Herzog film based on a story of his.