by Writer/Director Cara Cruickshank is an episodic, multimedia performance illuminating the inner experiences of modern women around the world as they navigate expectations, redefine roles -and reach for greater freedom and autonomy.  Starring an international cast, it explores difficult questions, while challenging social paradigms such as: What is the cost of perfection?

About The Alchemy of Imperfection
The goal of this international project is to promote diversity and to empower women and minorities through theater, community building and constructive dialogue. We want to inspire women of all colors and generations to rise up and have a voice in all social and political spheres. We invite audiences of women, men, and LGBTQ to gather and engage in powerful and meaningful conversation around gender equality, racial justice, and the collaborative, intentional design of new social paradigms and vision..

Café de la Culture is a touring, international venue which offers performances and literary salons for a diverse population of artists, thinkers and visionaries. We are here to create an inclusive, dynamic meeting place for the exchange of timely ideas and creative vision. As a participant of Café de la Culture, you will join in a social renaissance, engaging in meaningful discourse with peers and experts from a variety of fields and backgrounds, while building constructive collaborations which bring forth understanding, new ideas and grass-roots social change.

About the writer/director
The granddaughter of Official Cultural Ambassador of Brazil and musician Olga Coelho, Cara Cruickshank began her professional career in theatre at age 10 on Broadway in the musical Les Misérables. She has independently produced, directed and choreographed well over 50 independent productions in the U.S. and abroad (including Turkey, France and Brazil), often focused on women's' empowerment. Her performances have been consistently celebrity and media acclaimed. Cara founded Café de la Culture in 2011 to promote diversity, arts and culture. She recently premiered her international, original production The Alchemy of Imperfection in Paris, France with standing ovations, encores and media acclaim. Since then, she has launched an international Live Reading and Literary Salon tour with sold-out  performances in Los Angeles, California and Boulder, Colorado. She is now booking performances internationally for the summer season

“Dress Rehearsal” Teaser
Interview on Expat Radio, March 2017
Interview on World Radio Paris, Dec. 2016
Blog by Andy Ren Tran, Senior Producer at Movement Arts, San Francisco f

Reviews From Notables
“I have worked for decades with women but working with Cara was a highlight. Her focus, passion, mission and dedication to telling the stories that span the spectrum but speak to us all was paramount in my own journey and body of work. I am honored to have collaborated on her panel and join the conversation that is essential to us all and embraces each and every one of us across the board. Thank you Cara!”
-Carre Otis

Carré Otis has long been one of the most recognizable faces in the modeling industry. She first achieved fame when she appeared on the cover of Elle (France) in April 1986. She became an extraordinarily successful supermodel, headlining campaigns for Guess, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Revlon. Carré has appeared on the covers of Vogue (USA, France, Great Britain, Italy); Harper's Bazaar; Glamour; and Cosmopolitan. Carré grew increasingly concerned about unfair labor practices and poor working conditions in the modeling industry and has become an advocate for young women in and out of the industry. She's on the Advisory Board of the Model Alliance, a non-profit industry group working to establish fair labor standards for models in the U.S., as well as a long time Ambassador for National Eating Disorders Association. Carré's memoir, Beauty Disrupted, was released in 2011 by Harper Collins Publishers. She has contributed to Huffington Post, Mind Body Green, Elephant Journal, Patheos, The Conversation and Vogue Australia. Her strong commitment to helping others reclaim physical and emotional health and develop positive body image is what makes her a powerful and inspiring voice for change in the world today. In December of 2013 she gave her first Ted Talk in San Francisco where she addressed several themes related to her activism. 

“A Venue for Visionaries seems like just the right thing in our time where visionary action is so needed.  Cara Cruickshank is the ideal leader to inspire the community.”  Matthew Fox
-Rev. Doc. Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox is an internationally acclaimed spiritual theologian, Episcopal priest, and activist who was a member of the Dominican Order for 34 years. He holds a doctorate, summa cum laude, in the History and Theology of Spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris and has devoted 45 years to developing and teaching the tradition of Creation Spirituality, which is rooted in ancient Judeo-Christian teaching, inclusive of today’s science and world spiritual traditions; welcoming of the arts and artists; wisdom centered, prophetic, and committed to eco-justice, social justice and gender justice. Fox has reinvented forms of education and worship and awakened millions to the much neglected earth-based mystical tradition of the West, revivifying awareness of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart, Thomas Aquinas, and Thomas Merton, among other premodern and post-modern spiritual pioneers.He has authored more than 35 books on spirituality and contemporary culture, among them: Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, The Reinvention of Work, A Spirituality Named Compassion and Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times. His books, celebrated around the world, have been translated into 60 languages.

“Delightful, inspiring, energizing, entertaining and creative…a vibe of vintage…merged with 21stcentury consciousness.” 
-Michael Lang

Michael Lang is best known for co-creating and producing the original 1969 Woodstock Festival.  He began his career in music in 1968 as the co-creator and producer of the Miami Pop Festival, which drew 100,000 people over two days. Following Miami Pop, Michael developed the Woodstock Festival, which attracted over 500,000 people for three days and is widely considered to be a pivotal moment in popular music and American cultural history. He is a founding partner in Woodstock Ventures. Michael has managed and produced albums for dozens of musical acts including Billy Joel and Joe Cocker. He is the founder and CEO of Just Sunshine Records and MLO, a live event and film production company. He produced New York’s AmsterJam, Woodstock 1994 and 1999. Beyond music, Michael was an associate producer of Wes Anderson’s first film, “Bottle Rocket” which introduced Luke and Owen Wilson, and he is currently developing a movie version of classic novel “The Master and Margarita.” Michael’s 2010 critically acclaimed biography, The Road to Woodstock, is a New York Times Bestseller.

“Cara’s work is clearly driven by a vision of unity and understanding among people. I have been amazed by how many lives she touches in meaningful ways by bringing together people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities and faiths…Her work not only encourages but celebrates diversity and compassion.”
-Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf an author, and activist whose stated goal is to improve relations between the Muslim world and the West. He is the Imam of Masjid al-Farah in New York City and founder of the American Sufi Muslim Association (ASMA) Society, a not-for-profit, non-political, educational and cultural organization dedicated to creating bridges between the American public and American Muslims. Born in Kuwait and educated in England, Egypt, and Malaysia, Abdul Rauf is a member of the board of trustees of the Islamic Center of New York, and Islamic advisor to the Interfaith Center of New York. He is the author of Islam: A Search for Meaning, and Islam: A Sacred Law, What Every Muslim Should Know About the Shari´ah. As a leading Islamic thinker, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has received numerous awards including the Search for Common Ground Award for Interfaith Diplomacy in 2012 and Arianna Huffington’s “2010 Game Changer” Award. TIME magazine named him among the 100 most influential people of the world in April 2011 and he was listed as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2010 by Foreign Policy magazine.

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Vivian Ahn, Actor
•Born in Taiwan, raised in Canada, and now resides in Los Angeles
•Studied acting at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre for 2 years
•Received her MA in Motion Graphics (New York Institute of Technology) and BFA in Computer Animation and BA in Japanese (University of Utah)
•Began studying improv at Second City last year
•Recent credits include HP commercial, co-starring in a China/Hollywood movie Come Across Love and Nickelodeon's Henry Danger

Desi G. Ivanova, Actor/Singer
•Bulgarian/Georgian born yet raised all over the world
•Grew up in countries such as Georgia, Russia, Libya, Bulgaria, UAE and Australia
•Los Angeles based actress with a BFA in Theatre and a MFA in Screen Acting
•Received the "2008 Minter Ellison-Rising Star Award" for best emerging actress in South Australia
•Theatre credits include: Clovin Beckett's End Game, Anne Page in Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, Masha in Chekov's The Seagull, Malory Kingsley in the musical City of Angels
•Has written, produced and starred in short films and a webseries which were official selections at Film Festivals around LA
Doris Carey, Actor/Singer
•Member of the Screen Actors Guild, now SAG/AFTRA, since 1987
•Principal, supporting actor and co-star on independent film as well as major studio productions
•Has worked with respected and generous actors such as Robert Duvall, Tom Selleck, John Travolta and Judd Nelson, to name a few
•Cherished stage roles were as Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun, Terry in Extremities, MacMillian in Nuts, and the Lady in Red in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf
•Authored a play, Daughters of Judah, a Dramatic Musical
•Born in Miami, Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Nursing from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky

Joan E. Mann, Actor/Dancer
•American SAG actress currently residing in Los Angeles
•Recently moved from New York City where she lived for 5 years, cultivating her dance and acting careers
•Performed in numerous modern dance companies around NYC
•Appeared in commercials for Apple, Procter Gamble, Kellog's, Verizon and many more
•Recently wrapped her first independent feature leading role in Beyond the Leaves
•Starred in a few short films and TV roles in LA
•Graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts from the University of Utah with a Major in Modern Dance Performance
•Currently studying with Anthony Meindl'sActor Studio, Lesly Kahn Comedy Intensive and Improv at IO West
•Born in Chicago, Illinois, she is a Suzuki-trained violinist and a classically-trained modern and ballet dancer

Shai Fali, Actor/Dancer
•An actress known for Killer Punjabi, All for Love, Outsourced, Children's Hospital
•First major role involved working with Christopher Guest
•First major motion picture role, starred opposite Bollywood star Pooja Batra, as a Second Lead in Killer Punjabi, earning rave reviews
•Currently filming All for Love, as the lead role of Sajel, a comedy series based on the real life relationship of an interracial couple
•All for Love-The Dance Episode was Official Selection at 2015 Gary International Black Film Festival, St. Louis Black Film Festival, Urban Media Makers Film Festival, 2016 San Diego and 2016 Los Angeles Black Film Festivals
•Soon to work as a Presenter for 8T
Sidney Lou, Actor/Singer
•Singer and Songwriter from Los Angeles California
•Attended Bethany College in Lindsborg Kansas as a Music Performance major
•After leaving school, she dived full force into her budding music career, recording her first single "Quarterback," in 2016
•Since recording her first record, her soulfully unique and distinct style has placed her around music influencers such as Leila Steinberg and a host of other affluent artist, songwriters and composers drawing her into many collaborative efforts
•Currently building her music catalog and pursuing performance opportunities as they are purposely presented

Inez Abu Malhi, Actor
•Born in Culver City, Los Angeles, Inez was raised by a Mexican-American mother and Palestinian father
•Speaks Spanish and loves to cook food from both cultures
•Experience in theater and film, modeling, and voiceover
•Recent projects include voiceover in the short film, Pas de Deux, as a reporter and modeling for the T-shirt company, Story Spark
•Recently contributed to an untitled short film by On the Horizon Films, Inc. as the lead role of Cathy
•Graduated from UCLA in 2014 with a degree in psychology and gerontology; and now works in higher education, reaching her third year in the field this June

Hilary Powers, Actor
•A child star who on her very first audition landed the iconic role of Charlie Brown's sister Sally Brown
•Went on to voice Sally in seven Peanut specials and nearly sixty commercials
•Childhood fame has a price. Growing up as a child star while living in a dysfunctional home, acting turned into self-destruction and her fall was as great as her ascent
•Today her recovery from abuse and the addiction journey has brought her full circle. She has been a mentor to women for decades, an LVN, fine artist, published author, a script supervisor
•Returned to her roots as a successful actress in Hollywood

Paris Cast
Agnieszka Grzybowska, Xiayong Lee, Blen Abraham

Paris Featured Guests
Michael Benhamou, Simon Merarin

BlenAbraham, Actor/Dancer
•Made her artistic debut in 2008, in a theatrical adaptation of Pierre Choder los de Laclos' Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Jean Cocteau's Antigone, staged by Joseph Moranafrom Ecole du Comedien
•In 2009, joined Paris' Studio Muller theatre school where she studied under the direction of Jocelyn Muller and Vincent Fernandel
•Played in the clown show Si C'était Vous,staged by Thibaut Garçon, CyrielleBuquet
•Is a licensed therapist, who is passionate about art therapy

Agnieszka Grzybowska, Actor/Dancer
•Classically trained at the PWST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Kraków, Poland
•Theatre debut in 2000  as Sophie in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, with noted director Jerzy Jarocki
•Worked in major Polish repertory theatres as well as multiple roles for national and local TV channels
•Lead roles  as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Heddain Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler
•Came to France in 2010 for an acting project funded by The Polish Film Institute
•Has performed at Paris' Théâtre Laboratoire since 2014
•In April this year, played in A Multimedia Thing by Bogusław Schaeffer at Théâtre de la Huchette, known by its famous representation of Ionesco's plays

XiayongLee, Actor/Dancer
•Currently studying for her master's degree in Theatrical Art at the University of Paris 8
•Studied master classes and workshops in performance and acting in Paris and China, including the Bilingual Acting Workshop lectured by Celia Ann Browne and Sei Shiomi
•Holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Journalism
•Has worked as a film journalist for several media companies in China and France, such as the Cinephile Plate-Form Deep Focus

Michael Benhamou(Oud, percussion)
•Drawn to Arabic music at an early age, especially by the Haouziand Chaabi genres
•At 10 years old, he asked his parents to him an oud, which became his lifelong instrument
•Studied for 15 years with Youcef Haddjaj-master multi-instrumentalist and one of the creators of the foundation of Chaabi, learning the subtleties of Taksimand rhythms
•Founded the Asinora Group in Paris, a World Music band which highlights the treasures of Mediterranean music


Simon Merarin (Arabic flute, guitar)
•Studied flute at The Arpej Jazz (Paris 10th), allowing him to deepen his understanding of harmony
•He mastered the Kaval flute of Bulgaria (oblique flute from the Balkans), the Bansuri flute (Northern flute) which he studied for 4 years with Harsh Wardha, master of Hindustani music, and the Ney flute
•Throughout his travels has collected a wide variety of musical instruments from all over the world
•In 2010, he became a versatile musician in the Asinora Group, playing oblique flutes and guitar
•He is also trained in violin making by master Luthier Liberto Planas


The Boulder Cast
Jen Tawse, Nicola Ann Tulk, Naudia Sweets

Boulder Featured Guests
James Hoskins, Lilliane Kupper 

Boulder details
Nicola Ann Tulk, Actor, Musician
•Australian writer, cellist and theater-maker based in the U.S.
•Currently a Ph.D. student in theater at the University of Colorado Boulder
•Studied literature, music and theater at the University of Melbourne and Victorian College of the Arts
•Holds a master's in education from the University of Georgia and an MFA in creative writing from The New School, NYC
•Taught practice-based research to undergraduate artists at Parsons, The New School for Design
•Directed a multi-year, Off-Broadway production of Gertrude Stein's Tender Buttons
•Published a novel, as well as poetry, fiction, dramatic and literary criticism in Emergency Index, The Saranac Review Tenth Anniversary Edition, Rock River Review, The Sheepshead Review, The Feminist Wire, The Journal of Language and Literacy Education, The West Trade Review and Antipodes
•Currently fiction editor of Antipodes, and co-managing editor of Research PARtake: The Journal of Performance as Research

Naudia Sweets, Actor
•Denver native whose passion for the Arts began at an early age
•In addition to acting Naudia also models, dances, and sings
•Graduated an Academic Honor Athlete from Denver South High School in 2014
•After joining the Army in 2015 she began her mission as the Assistant Basketball Coach at The Denver Indian Center, where she implements the values: Duty, Respect, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. 
•She is majoring in Communications, with a minor in Business Management. Naudia strongly believes in the American Dream, in which with hard work, dedication, and patience, the impossible 

Jennifer Tawse, Actor
•Jenn is a mother, actor and producer of an after school class called Dance it Write It for middle school girls in Boulder
•She loves the theatre and new playwrights.

James Hoskins, Cello
•Multi-instrumentalist living in the foothills of Boulder, Colorado
•Primarily known for his use of the cello in a wide variety of genres, has also performed regularly on gadulka (a Bulgarian folk-fiddle), and other Balkan and Turkish folk instruments
•Sings in Greek, Arabic, and Turkish
•Founding member and musician of the Boulder-based Balkan/Middle-Eastern band "Sherefe" for 20 years
•Plays the Greek bouzouki due to a deep and growing love of Rebetika music
•Has been a modern-dance accompanist for 24 years, and loves performing in improvisational settings such as Playback Theater, Music Meditations, and for Poetry readings
•Has contributed to many studio recordings, usually creating original cello parts, and as soloist
•Created layered cello parts for the Mötörhead album "1916" in Hollywood
•Toured in Japan for 10 years, a few times per year, with vocalist/guitarist/arranger Akemi Iwase as a duo in which he played cello, Djembe, and sang in Japanese.

Lilliane Kupper, Flamenco Dance
•Debuted on stage at the age of twelve in her hometown of Campinas, Brazil and since then drama and dance have become her way of life
•Has been a performer in theater for more than twenty-five years
•Studied Performing Arts at the University of Campinas and in 2000 began studying Flamenco dance
•In Brazil, Liliane has staged several pieces of theater and has been part of many dance shows as a dancer, choreographer, director assistant and scriptwriter
•Has studied other types of artistic expression such as clowning and Butohdance
•Traveled to Spain in 2007, 2010 and 2012, to refine her understanding of the flamenco art form
•Studies the fusion of dance and theater by creating a unique style of interpretation
•Currently she teaches flamenco dance in Westminster, Colorado at StudiOlé

Ellen Burnes Ph.D. Resource Economist
Camilo Casa
Journalist/Sexual Assault Activist

Camilo Casa
Journalist/Sexual Assault Activist

Michele L. Ferguson
Associate Professor of Political Science

Stephanie Juneau

Meryem Ersoz
Top Film Producer

Hazel Manuel
Published Novelist

Cameron Powers, 
Musical Ambassador

Yuval Laor
Ph.D. in Culture Studies 

Obeid Kaifo
Syrian Activist

Sample Panelists of 2015 Topic: "What are the core issues behind the Paris attacks and how can we effectively build bridges between the West and the Middle East?"

Booking Availability Cara Cruickshank is based in Paris and travels to the U.S. on a regular basis. She is available for international performances, Literary Salons, interviews and other events. Cara produces each custom-made event and casts each ensemble of professional, guest actors locally. If you would like to host her or her Live Reading performance for an event please click here or send to

France: +33621012958
U.S.: +17209352540

LinksFacebook: @thealchemyofimperfectionTwitter: cafedelacultur1Meetup Paris: Los Angeles: Boulder: