top of page
Copy of BT9A1775.jpg

Creative Staff

Kristen Brooks Sandler

she / her

Founder & Artistic Director

Purple haired & proudly queer, Kristen is an award winning director and choreographer whose work can be seen on screen and stage globally. Kristen is committed to physical storytelling, believing movement is the language that can bridge the gap between audience and artistry. Select credits include creations with Nickelodeon, the Hallmark Channel, the Fredericia Theater in Denmark, and the Gothenburg Opera in Sweden. 


Select Credits: Shimmer & Shine (Nickelodeon), Your Alice (BAM), Sunny Day (Nick Jr.), Sweatsgiving (International Film Channel), Lysistrata Jones (NYITA Nomination), Unravell’d (Prospect Theater), Oklahoma (LTOTS), Gilded (Capital Fringe - Best Dance), Joseph...Dreamcoat (Scranton Shakespeare), Legally Blonde (MMT). Associate: Hunchback of Notre Dame (Gothenburg Opera, Sweden), Jesus Christ Superstar (Signature Theater, Helen Hayes Nomination).  IG: @kristenbrooks19 / @thistle_dance /


Erin Kei

she / her

Associate Artistic Director


Erin (She/Her/Hers) is a professional actor, creator, and teaching artist based in NYC. Originally from Fort Worth, Texas, she attended Syracuse University’s Musical Theater program. Erin has been incredibly fortunate to perform in New York at BAM, MMAC, and in the New York Musical Theater Festival. Some of her favorite regional theater credits include: Asolo Rep, Syracuse Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Phoenix Theatre and Casa Mañana. Film/TV/Commercial credits include: The Path (Hulu), Olay Whips (Commercial), and the new short film SC7NARIO (available on BroadwayHD). Working both onstage as well as on creative teams, Erin is also an associate choreographer to Broadway veteran Enrique Brown (Little Mermaid, Fiddler on the Roof, Music Man, Oklahoma!), as well as Hamilton's supervising choreographer, Jennifer Jancuska. She currently serves as the Associate Artistic Director of Thistle Dance under the direction of Kristen Brooks Sandler. Erin enjoys bringing all aspects of a project together from inception to performance. She is a passionate storyteller who believes art has the power to invite new perspectives.

Screen Shot 2019-09-14 at 3.50.51 PM.png

Kaitlyn Schirard

she / her

Director of Development

Kaitlyn Schirard is a New York based artist. The daughter of a farmer and a teacher, she hails from Florida and is dedicated to sharing her passion for storytelling in all its forms. For Thistle, Kaitlyn works as a wordsmith, grant writer, and creative collaborator, often from a dramaturgical capacity. 
When on stage, if she's not performing Shakespeare, she's part of developing new works and "next classics". Her work is passionate and playful with a penchant for language. Since then, she has worked as an actor in New York (BAM, Sheen Center, OTG), regionally (Shakespeare Theater of NJ, Riverside Theater, SSF, OTGWest), and internationally (Edinburgh Fringe, Arcola Theatre).
When not onstage, Kaitlyn works as a creative consultant and grant writer. She's had the pleasure of working and crafting text with such companies as Pinkhouse Productions and Scranton Shakespeare Festival as well as with individual artists.

Eileen Kielty Headshot 1.jpg

Eileen Kielty

she / her

Artistic Collaboration Coordinator 

Eileen (she/her) is a queer multi-disciplinary artist, teacher and performer as well as a clairsentient intuitive movement coach. She has degrees in both dance and psychology as well as extensive training in somatic integration, embodiment and intimacy practices and is passionate about consent-driven places and spaces with an emphasis on social justice. Eileen has been an associate choreographer, dance captain / swing in many collaborative, original projects including "The Blue Jar'' (Cherry Lane Theatre) and "Kabarett Weimar" (Queensborough Theatre Project). She was the lead teaching assistant / swing for the Rockette's Educational Programs, a founding member / dancemaker of SpunkandCOmpany Dance and trained under the direction of Denise Jefferson at The Ailey School. Eileen believes in the power of creative expression and its ability to reveal the unspoken language of being alive…that the body always knows and movement is our direct connection to our deepest truth. 


She is honored to support Thistle through communication, collaborations and educational and event outreach. 


@ekielty (IG) / @kaia.evolutions (IG) 


Select Collaborators

Click their picture to learn more about each of our collaborators


Lawryn LaCroix



Will Vicari

Hair & Make Up Designer,

The Wig Associates

Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 1.47.46 PM.png

Matthew Carlsen

Costume Designer

Screen Shot 2021-07-20 at 11.56.03 PM.png

Alex Tremblay


Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 1.53.47 PM.png

David Spadora

Director of Photography


Courtney Liu

Artist In Residence 2021

Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 1.42.18 PM.png

Krystal Balleza

Hair & Make Up Designer,

The Wig Associates


Megan Quarles

Costume Designer

Screen Shot 2021-02-22 at 7.41.08 PM.png



Screen Shot 2022-01-07 at 1.56.12 PM.png

Alex Pepper

Director of Photography


Shelby Loera

Lighting & Scenic 

Adam Honore 2 canvas_edited.jpg

Adam Honoré

Lighting & Scenic 


Anessa Marie



Vincent Kempski


Screen Shot 2021-07-20 at 11.56.13 PM.png

Sean Dolan

Director of Photography



bottom of page