The Primers is an Oakland-based, grassroots collective serving early career creatives.
Grounded in DIY sensibility, Primers ask: what do local artists need? The Primers grow in direct response to continued evidence that our East Bay community needs accessible performance space, caring community, and production support to thrive. In our constantly evolving context, we provide fluid structural support to artists of all kinds. The Primers team listens to artists’ needs because we are the artists we serve. We are intentionally based and remain in Oakland, Ohlone territory: a Black city with a legacy of radical mutual aid, deconstructing oppressive systems, and fostering artistic abundance; principals that we align with in our work.
Hannah Ayasse, Chibueze Crouch, and Zoe Donnellycolt are three artists who met in Oakland through co-producing and co-curating the Performance Primers. Zoe Donnellycolt is a dancer, choreographer and arts administrator originally from Hampton, CT, who founded the Primers in 2016 out of their home. Hannah Ayasse and Chibueze Crouch each joined the production team in 2017 and 2018 after performing in a Primer. Hannah is a dancer and choreographer born and raised in Oakland, CA while Chibueze is a performance/teaching artist, actor and grant writer originally from Danbury, CT. These three artists are united in their vision of building a stronger, more accessible, intersectional artistic community in the Bay Area by sharing resources with each other.
Hannah Meleoakaiao Ayasse (she/they) is born and based in Huichin, Ohlone Land also called Oakland, CA. She is a white & Native Hawaiian dance artist, curator, and educator whose work explores story sharing and deep listening within human-to-human and human-to-environment relationships. Hannah is interested in Relationship as its own mutable and powerful entity, existing in and of itself. She expresses this both as the subject of her work, and in her engagement in highly collaborative processes with collaborators, audiences, and students. Hannah received a BA in Dance and Psychology from GWU then continued to dance professionally and present work across the Bay Area and Washington DC.
Chibueze Crouch is a Nigerian-American performance artist born on Paugussett land (Danbury, Connecticut) currently living on Chochenyo Ohlone land (Oakland, CA). Her creative practice straddles theater and ritual, examining Diasporic longing and queerness through masquerade, song, poetry and movement. An RHE Fellowship recipient, Chibueze has performed at CounterPulse, the National Queer Arts Festival, Crowded Fire Theatre, the Black Choreographers Festival, BAMPFA and more.
Zoe Donnellycolt (they/she) is a white, queer performance artist currently living on Paugussett, Wappinger land (New Haven, CT). Zoe lived on Chochenyo Ohlone land (Oakland, CA) for eight years and showed work at LevySalon, SAFEhouse for the Performing Arts, Klanghaus, and Salta. They have performed with Hope Mohr, Margit Galantar, and Melinda Ring. Zoe’s work has been published by Two Plum Press, Unmother Magazine, and Oatmeal Magazine; and Zoe was featured in New Life Quarterly. Zoe was a 2018/2019 Emerging Arts Professional and received her BA on Mohican Wabanaki land at Bennington College (Bennington, VT). Zoe was born in the woods on Nipmuck land (Hampton, CT).