Meet Our Collaborators

Zoë Andrea Batson, Technical Director & Lighting Designer

Zoë (they/them, he/him) is the Open Flame Theatre technical director and lighting designer. They have five years of experience in lighting immersive environments for physical laboratory theatre and immersive art-tech destinations. Zoë worked as an Electrician and Associate Lighting Designer for Double Edge Theatre, as a Designer and Dramaturg for the Faultline Ensemble, and most recently as an Audio-Video and Lighting Technician for the Art-Tech destination The Fairgrounds in St Petersburg, Florida. Hailing from traditional Ho-Chunk land called Madison, WI, or Te Jop in its indigenous language, Zoë engages in art-making such as shape note singing, collage and cartoon, writing poetry, acrobatics, and the teaching themself guitar.

Matthew Ryan Surline, Composer & CRUNE

Matthew Ryan Surline (MRS) is a non-binary performance artist/ composer/ photographer from Detroit, Michigan. MRS started their first music project in 2004 with a band called The Acrobat and produced their first self titled EP in 2007. They were hired by Theatre Bizarre (Detroit) as the house pipe organist and to this day provide performances and soundtracks to various acts in the production. They have performed at Burning Man (2006, 2007, 2009) with several different characters in variety shows and singer/songwriter style showcases. In 2009 MRS founded  Bride Stripped Bare, a circus/drag/neo-vaudeville inspired rock band that provided soundtrack to many circus and variety show performances. Bride Stripped Bare was well known for their wild circus, drag, and burlesque theatrics. MRS wrote and produced two EP’s and one full length album with Bride Stripped Bare including with Ghosts, released in 2015. In 2010 MRS joined the Detroit Fire Guild, a pyro-intensive circus and vaudeville troupe, as a performance artist and co-producer for many shows including the Motor City Vaudeville Review (2010), the Winter Ball (2010), the Fires of Beltane (2011), Motor City Vaudeville Revival (2011), It Came From Planet B (2011). MRS has also performed at the Gathering of the Juggalos, Torch with a Twist, Dirty Show (detroit), Super Cult, and Electric Forest (2017, 18, and 19). In 2017 MRS formed the band CRUNE with Walken Schweigert. MRS participated in an artist residency program at Philadelphia Community Farm where MRS and Schwiegert composed and recorded the album Witch Pop. Witch Pop was released in 2019 along with a portrait series Spiritual Dysphoria gallery showing at the Tangent Gallery in Detroit, MI. In October, 2020, MRS fulfilled a one month residency at the Sound House in Hamtramck, MI. During which time debuted CRUNE HAUS, a limited admission psychedelic chamber music style series which featured live performance of songs from Witch Pop, and also songs from CRUNE upcoming album Necromantik.