Who We Are
THe Mama Project Collective
Alutha L. Taho, Singer/Songwriter, Artist-in-Residence
Anne Rearick, Photographer, Artist-in-Residence
Asanda Kupe,* Project Coordinator & Music Director
Austin de Besche, Director of Photography
Heather Stern,* General Manager
Johan de Besche
Justine Spalke, Advisor
Linda Van de Geest
Miranda Aisling Hynes
Sara Stackhouse,* Creative Director & Founder
Sarah de Besche
Shirley Nakani Jonase
Sue Ellen Shay
Violet de Besche
Project Coordinator & Music Director
Asanda, born and raised in the township communities of South Africa, has worked with both local and international organizations investing his life as a missionary to see individuals and communities healed and transformed. He is a self-taught artist who has performed, collaborated, and directed in multiple platforms both local and international and now invests his time and experience to come alongside local artists in the townships. His mission is to combine his commitment to community development with his passion for performing arts to better the lives of people in the townships of Cape Town and see performing arts play its crucial role in youth and community upliftment.
Sara E. Stackhouse
Founder & Creative Director
Stackhouse is Managing Producer at Arlekin Players Theatre & Zero-Gravity (zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab where she was Executive Producer for The Orchard Off-Broadway (featuring Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jessica Hecht), and the New York premiere of Our Class by Tadeusz Slobodzianek (coming Fall 2023). She produced WITNESS and co-produced chekhovOS /an experimental game/ and the international tour for State vs Natasha Banina. She is a founder of BroadBand Collaborative where she co-produced two streaming series during the pandemic featuring artists from around the globe (All Together Now & Latitudes). She is Founder and Creative Director of The Mama Project, a arts-based project for women in townships in South Africa. Sara was Founding Executive Producer of Actors’ Shakespeare Project, producing 48 productions, during which time the company received multiple Elliot Norton, IRNE, and Best of Boston Awards, and an Innovative Theater Company award from American Theater Wing. Sara is the recipient of the “Inspiration Award” from Boston’s Social Innovation Forum. She was Chair of Theater at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Supervising Producer of INSIDE This Old House on A&E/Time Warner, Executive Producer of Toy Symphony at the MIT Media Lab, and Project Manager for cellist Yo-Yo Ma in her twenties, where she managed collaborations, recordings, and was on the producing team for numerous films, including the award-winning series Yo-Yo Ma: Inspired by Bach.
Heather Stern Executive Director
The Mama Project is one of the places where Heather's heart is happiest, especially when holding sweet babies like Hannah, Entle, Natasha & AJ. Another happy place is in her position as Professor of Practice at Suffolk University, teaching Stage Management & Arts Administration. Heather has taught at Emerson College, Boston Conservatory at College of Music, and Salem State University. Before finding the Mamas and academia, Heather spent her career as a professional stage manager, company manager, and general manager. Currently Heather is a Doctoral student at Johnson and Wales researching how Arts, Community, and Education can create a sustainable pathway to a fulfilling life. She is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Heather is a proud Mama!
Alutha L. Taho
artist, singer, songwriter
Now and again Cape Town proves itself to have not only beautiful mountains, beaches and scenery but also fresh talent. Alutha Taho was raised by her mother, a single parent, and has four siblings. She grew up in Cape Town and was caught by the love of music at a very young age in church and has never looked back.
Growing up was never easy as she was faced with the responsibility of looking after her siblings while other girls her age were out playing. While sitting at home she would listen to the music of artists like India Arie, Lauryn Hill, Lira and Zonke, which is where she got the inspiration to work towards becoming one of the most celebrated female musicians one day.
Coming from a musical family, Alutha believes she got her talent from her mom. Alutha writes and arranges her own music while at the same time she is learning how to play a guitar. She describes her style of music as Afro Soul
because she enjoys writing about her own life experiences. Alutha has performed for Minister Dan Plato and has been on CTV, Radio Zibonele and Bush Radio, promoting herself without any management or record label behind her, just driven by her passion for music. Alutha joined The Mama Project in 2017, and in 2018 was commissioned to write, record and perform an original piece, "Together We Can," as part of The Mama Project performances in Strandfontein and Malmesbury. She will be writing, recording and performing more original music as Artist-in-Residence in The Mama Project in 2019.
Rebeka Rain is an English born, Australian singer/songwriter, performer and the Author of three novels.
She has released six albums and several singles and is having success worldwide with radio play and charts across the UK, the USA & Europe. Rebeka began her working life as a Thoroughbred horseracing jockey. She
pursued this career to international heights and rode training work for some of the most prestigious trainers in the world. She also travelled with horses to Japan and Hong Kong to some of the world’s biggest races. Rebeka was nurturing her musical career, writing songs and performing whilst pursuing her riding career, winning several singing competitions and being a runner up on a television show called “The Singing Office” on Australian T.V. She always knew that singing and song writing were her greatest love, and the music industry would have her full focus at some stage.
Her racing career kept going longer than she had anticipated as she continued on to support her son, Harry, who showed a keen interest and eventually became one of Victorias leading apprentice jockeys. Harry was inducted into the Institute of Sport and was also in a feature film called, The Cup. This came to a tragic halt when Harry took his own life just short of his 21st birthday. After a long period of grief and depression Rebeka found her way back
to the land of the living by embracing her song writing and putting all her focus into her music. She teamed up with Mick Evans from Melpro Recording Studio, and together they have written and recorded six albums and a series of singles. She has performed across Australia and done shows for charity organisations, to support suicide prevention. It is Rebeka’s passion to encourage people to be happy in their lives, and to embrace life everyday.
Rebeka and Mick moved the studio to South Africa to team up with a long time friend and international musician, Duncan Mackay. Since coming to Cape Town Rebeka has written songs with Mick and Duncan and several other people to record several albums for themselves and other artists. She has also recently completed her third novel. She performs live throughout South Africa doing shows and functions including the Abba Show, The Beatles show and a vinyl DJ and vocal show together with Mick. In 2019 the ‘team’ was approached by The Mama Project to record and co-produce the song ‘Together We Can’ for Alutha Taho & The Mama Project. Rebeka’s now aims at a number of targets in her life. Firstly to lead by example that life is there for the taking and it is never too late to pursue your dreams or to switch directions and try new things. She also uses her experiences to help those who may be experiencing emotional hardship or grief to find courage and purpose.
founder, designer and creative director at Queen Adeline
Queen Allotey-Pappoe is the founder, designer and creative director of Queen Adeline, a sustainable fashion design brand that combines an African heritage of vibrant colors, bold prints and patterns with modern global aesthetics to create clothing to bring the wearer alive.
Queen believes "life is meant to be lived here on Earth" and that "life is art”. She sees clothing as a means of expression, something she gained from her West African heritage. She grew up in Accra, Ghana, and her mission is to inspire confidence in people and to empower them to express their ultimate selves, whilst respecting and caring for the environment. To this end, she often works in collaboration with local textile designers and seamstresses both in Boston where she now lives, and in Ghana, to create wearable art pieces for every body type. Queen has been featured in several Wearable Art Storytelling salons, pop-up shows, and markets around the Boston area, and has a studio at Western Ave Studios in Lowell. She received the Student Innovation Award at the Celebrate Wearable Art Event in Cape Ann (2017), the Massachusetts College of Art’s Eileen Fisher Sustainable Fashion Design Award (2018), and will be the Artist-in-Residence for The Mama Project, a creative project for women from the US and South Africa, in Cape Town 2020.
Queen Adeline is focused on sustainability and self empowerment!
Live Artfully! Go ahead, make a statement!