Spread the Fire

Kindling Arts is a radically unique arts incubator and accelerator embracing exciting original and experimental performance developed outside existing institutions. With an emphasis on innovative process, the Kindling Arts Festival will showcase interdisciplinary collaborations in surprising spaces, defying genre and cultivating authentic new aesthetics. 

Kindling Arts Festival empowers diverse local performers with the space and supporting resources required to take daring creative risks and explore challenging ideas.

About the Team

Jessika Malone (Founding Creative Director)

Jessika is a producer, director, deviser, teacher, and community organizer who seeks to create catalytic experiences that inspire radical personal and social change. Her approach to creation emphasizes emotional authenticity and embraces the power of the ensemble to cultivate meaningful community in unexpected spaces. She has produced works in parks and prisons, recreation and detention centers. The Nashville Scene named her as an Emerging Leader to Watch for introducing “progressive new ideas to Music City’s theatrical culture.”


Jessika was co-conceiver and director of HAUNTED, a site-specific performance responding to the deadliest train crash in American history (Nashville’s Theatrical Event of the Year, 2017). She is the Producing Director of Fusebox Festival, Creative Director of Kindling Arts Festival, and previously served as the Associate Artistic Director of the Actors Bridge Ensemble. She received her MFA in directing from Illinois State University and her BA in Theatre from Belmont University.

Daniel Jones (Producing Director) 

Daniel is a Nashville-based producer, dramaturg, writer, and director passionate about facilitating creative storytelling, diverse narratives and shared live arts experiences that ignite social change. He is currently the Artistic Associate at OZ Arts Nashville and the Producing Director of Kindling Arts Festival, where he facilitates the development and production of local interdisciplinary works. His local producing credits include Fall 2017's sold-out premiere of HAUNTED (First Night's Theatrical Event of the Year), a multi-media immersive experience inspired by the deadliest train crash in American history, and the 2017 Sideshow Fringe Festival. His directing credits include Suzan-Lori Parks's In the Blood and an original adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale.

A native of Knoxville, TN, Jones received his BA in Theatre Studies and Writing, Literature & Publishing from Emerson College in Boston. He has since worked with ArtsEmerson, the Boston Book Festival, ArtsBoston and Whistler in the Dark Theatre in various producing or marketing/development positions. He also spent a year as the Theatre Lit Agent Assisant to Di Glazer at ICM Partners in New York, and has served in marketing roles with human services organizations like YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee and the Thembalitsha Foundation, based in South Africa's Western Cape.

Natalie Risk (Associate Producer) 

Natalie is a director, producer, writer, and actor working in theatre and film. Born in Cairo, and raised in Nashville she proudly calls New York City home. Most recently, Natalie wrote, devised, and performed in VIOLENT SILENCE, a performance art piece offering a new perspective on the appropriation of bodies and colonization of the mind. Natalie developed and fostered the work of experimental live performance through associate producing FUSEBOX FESTIVAL and KINDLING ARTS FESTIVAL. She was a co-founder and co-Producing Artistic Director of Second Stage Student Theatre, as well as the New Works intern for the Ingram New Works Project. Directing: WE PLAY HERE TOO (Kindling Arts Fest), TRUTH/DARE (Woven Theatre), VIOLENT SILENCE (Lady Pains Cabaret), REALLY REALLY (Second Stage Student Theatre). Assistant Director: DANCE NATION (Nashville Story Garden), THIS RED PLANET Workshop (Nashville Rep), DOUBT (Studio Tenn), SHE LOVES ME (Lipscomb University) HAUNTED (Actor’s Bridge Ensemble), RICHARD II (Nashville Shakespeare Festival). Aside from her work as a theatre artist, Natalie served as the Vice President of the student chapter of Tennessee Women in Film and Media. She has won numerous awards for her work in film, both as a director and an actor. Natalie holds a BFA in Theatre: Directing and Film Production from Lipscomb University.

© 2019 BY KINDLING ARTS. 

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