Dragone Creative Collective Members Announced
The Creative Collective was established after the tragic and unexpected passing of Dragone’s dear founder and Artistic Director Franco Dragone in late 2022. The five-person council meets weekly to review current Dragone initiatives as well as prospective and upcoming endeavors. As a group, their vast experience encapsulates the late Franco’s values and principles, and they work collaboratively to ensure that those ideas are embodied in every facet of the company moving forward. While the collective has been working since November of last year, this is the first time the members’ names have been publicly disclosed.
The Creative Collective consists of:
Lucas Dragone is an award-winning visual artist and storyteller. He studied at the Lassaad International School of Theatre in Brussels and continues to maintain close ties with Lassaad, whom he considers one of his lifelong mentors. He worked with the Compagnie Barbiana in Belgium as a performer, director, and teacher, and has explored theatre throughout Italy and Brazil. His work has moved beyond theatre into visual arts and music as he evolved into Looka Loopa, making music videos, documentaries, short films, and visual experiments. His work is inspired by his honest outlook on life, and he equally emphasizes the people and captured situations as he does the style.
Matthew Jessner is a dancer, singer, and percussionist who has performed extensively all over Europe and the United States. He started his theatrical career as a scholarship student at the San Francisco Ballet School and performed works from the classical and neoclassical Balletic repertory with the Oakland, Cleveland, and Houston ballet companies in the United States from 1976 to 1986.
Matthew then studied classical vocal technique, music theory, and languages at a Musical Conservatory in Marseille, France, from 1990 to 1993.
He worked as Assistant Choreographer for the Dutch Musical “Joe, the Musical,” produced by Joop von den Ende Theaterproducties in Amsterdam.
He was the artistic director for a Buena Vista International stage show based on “Mulan” in Madrid in 1998 with the Beijing Acrobatic Troupe. He also worked with Disney as an interim creative director for Special Events, Trade, and Convention Shows in Disneyland Resort Paris.
He worked extensively in the full-scale casting of actors, dancers, and specialty performers for the opening of the Walt Disney Studios in Paris.
Matthew was the artistic director for the Cirque du Soleil touring show Saltimbanco for over four years. He joined Dragone as Production Artistic Director for the entire creation and production of The House of Dancing Water in Macau, China.
Katja Mack is a show producer & creative consultant of the Europa-Park Entertainment Department, and the founder & head of Europa-Park Talent Academy.
Since 2007, Katja has worked for Europa-Park, the largest seasonal amusement park in the world and the market leader in Germany. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Directing Theatrical Performances and wrote “Franco Dragone’s theatrical Aesthetics in world culture of spectacle” as her Master’s thesis. Since 2013, she has been supporting the Europa-Park entertainment department with the planning, execution, and follow-up of artist castings worldwide. Among other things, Katja Mack continues to be responsible for the show quality in all the company’s creative projects.
In 2014, she founded an institution called “Europa-Park Talent Academy.” This educational platform for performing arts offers young artists an opportunity to develop creatively and diversely. On her own initiative, she helped create a cooperative partnership with the Broadway Dreams Foundation in New York, which brings performers from all over the world together in Rust, Germany, and offers a high-level event with an exchange of knowledge and a large final show performed with Broadway celebrities.
She is the creative director of large projects such as the Futuristic Fine Dining Restaurant EATRENALIN and the Europa-Park Dinner Show.
Filippo Ferraresi is a senior creative director at Dragone. He was born in Rome in 1985 and went on to obtain his Master’s degree in Performing Arts from the University of Rome. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Paris Sorbonne-Nouvelle, he conducted research on silent Shakespearian performances in 19th-century Parisian circuses. During this period of study, he became familiar with the Lecoq acting method. In 2012, Filippo began his ongoing collaboration with Franco Dragone where, for six years, he assisted the Dragone group in the staging of major permanent shows in China, the United States, Russia, and Turkey, as well as the new creation of the iconic Lido de Paris. In 2017, he was Director of Creation for La Perle,Dragone’s new permanent show in Dubai; it was designed for 2,000 spectators, with 60 artists on stage and amazing integrated technology. Parallel to his work with Dragone, Filippo directs theatre and opera, mounting his own creations in the most important European theatres.
Damien Long is a senior creative director at Dragone. With vast experience in both production and stage management, Damien has been deeply involved with the process and production of multiple Dragone shows and creations since Le Rêve. He is one of the foremost authorities on Dragonian theatre and process as it relates to contemporary spectacle and the challenges of practical production. He often finds himself bridging the gap between continents, disciplines, and production phases and driving the process forward through seemingly impossible odds.
A Las Vegas native, he studied Theatre at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Some of the projects Damien has worked on include La Perle, Land of Legends, The Dai Show, The Han Show, and Le Rêve.