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
Sara Stackhouse was Chair of Theater at Boston Conservatory from 2016 to 2018. Previously, Stackhouse was Executive Producer of Actors' Shakespeare Project for 11 years, producing 48 productions and overseeing school and youth programs, strategy, fundraising, and operations. The company received Elliot Norton Awards, an American Theater Wing Award, and Stackhouse received the 'Inspiration Award' from the Social Innovation Forum. In the 1990s, she served as project manager for Yo-Yo Ma. She is the founder of Stackhouse Creative, a creative consulting business, and has worked off and on in Cape Town since 2009.
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. 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.
"In many respects I have been making pictures my entire life, although I didn't own a camera until I was 25 years old. My first image was of my grandmother, tall, standing in front of a blossoming lilac bush, when I was five. I blinked and there it was and still is, an image wholly intact which gives me strength and solace. I found, at five, a measure of power in this act of image-making, a way of holding on, of parsing what matters, of creating a placemark for all that the image signifies."
Anne Rearick's humanist vision is documentary in nature, but also uniquely personal. In all of her work, Rearick endeavors to portray and celebrate the full range of day-to-day experience of her subjects. Rearick works over time, often photographing over the course of years, and in doing so creates lasting bonds with people and place. In many respects, Anne Rearick stands with her subjects instead of in front of them.
Rearick is the recipient of numerous grants, fellowships and awards, notably a Guggenheim fellowship, the French Roger Pic Prize, the Mosaique Prize in Luxembourg, a Fulbright/Annette Kade fellowship and two New England Foundation for the Arts/Mass Cultural Council grants. Rearick received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Massachusetts College of Art and has worked as an educator and artist for the past 25 years.
Rearick's book of photographs from post-apartheid South Africa, Township, was published by Editions Clémentine de la Féronnière, Paris, May 2016. The monograph Anne Rearick's Eye (editioned as Miresicoletea), an exploration of life and culture in the French Basque country, was published by Editions Atlantica, Paris, in 2004. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, and the Centre Nationale de l’Audiovisuel in Luxembourg are among the many public collections that hold Rearick's photographs.