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Close  Encounters Theatre


Close Encounters Theatre (CET) was formed by Tara Brodin and Joanne Willmott in 2018.  


CET's mission is to give children, youth, and adults a platform for creativity. We offer unique training opportunities in the performing arts, and create full-scale productions. 

In 2018, CET was selected as Production in Residence of the Jugendkulturhaus Dynamo in Zürich with their inaugural production "Violent Delights" - Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." In 2019, the Inter-Community School (ICS) commissioned CET to stage a production of "Metamorphoses" by Mary Zimmermann. In 2020, CET performed a Corona-compliant film adaptation of the play "The Ash Girl",  an online performance entitled "Extraordinary Tales from a Locked Down World", and a verbatim piece of theatre entitled "Love and Empty Places." In 2021, CET staged a reinterpretation of the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales, the rock musical "Spring Awakening", a one woman show entitled "Orphan Disease" and an adaptation of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein." In 2022, CET performed the Broadway musical "Cabaret", a musical revue style show "Can't Stop the Beat" and Catherine Cronin's "Caged". CET also performed Emma Kelly's "Le Chat Noir", "Digital Dreamers" and "Seven Sins." Our improvisation students regularly perform at MILLERS as well. 

We invite all participants to exchange ideas and skills to passionately pursue a creative vision.


Tara Brodin
Artistic Director


University of Alberta  - Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Specialising in Physical Comedy

Grant MacEwan University - Theatre Arts Diploma

Specialising in Acting and Musical Theatre

University of Alberta - Bachelor of Education (B.Ed)

Specialising in Theatre and Music

Tara is a Canadian theatre artist and educator who now resides and works in Zurich, Switzerland. An award-winning educator and critically acclaimed director/performer, Tara has worked in over twenty countries as a performer/director/educator. 


Tara is passionate about teaching pedagogy and specializes in acting, improvisation, physical comedy, modern clown, and devising original works. She believes that a willingness to be vulnerable is the birthplace of innovation and creativity and thus encourages her students to embrace their missteps and to celebrate them with an enthusiastic TA-DA! She invites them to rediscover their pleasure in play and uncover the authentic artist within. Tara’s students have gone on to work professionally all over the world.       


Tara received her theatre training from the University of Alberta and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Practice and a Bachelor of Education in Theatre. In addition, she has a performance degree from Grant MacEwan University specializing in Acting and Musical Theatre. Furthermore, she has enriched her knowledge of world theatre traditions by travelling to study with renowned theatre practitioners. She loves comedy and has studied the art of improvisation extensively with the internationally acclaimed Rapid Fire Theatre Company in Edmonton, AB, and The Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. Tara is passionate about the art of physical comedy and has studied with The New York Downtown Clowns, Eric Davis, Christopher Bayes (Yale School of Drama), Mick Barnfather (Theatre de Complicite) and some of Canada's celebrated clowns: Jan Henderson, Shannan Calcutt, Sue Morrison, and Michael Kennard.   

Tara has written a book on physical comedy entitled Do That Funny Thing You Do! She has also been published in Scene Magazine numerous times for her articles on clown and improvisation.   


Currently, she is living her dream being the Artistic Director of CET and directing CET’s mainstage productions.

Sally Grant
Head of Set & Costume Design


University of Creative Arts Canterbury - Bachelor of Arts Honours in Design

University of Leeds - Postgraduate Certificate in Education

St Martins / Central University Arts London - Set Design for Performance

Sally Grant gained her BA Hons in Design at The University of Creative Arts, Canterbury. She's worked in a wide range of 2D and 3D creative fields from sculpture, book illustration, printmaking and packaging to setting up her own business - organising and decorating festivals or making pop-up parties look beautiful. Everything interests her.


Sally has a passion for all creative processes and a deep drive to make visual statements: designing, making, building, painting, working with fabric... or a mixture of all at once - she's always looking for new ways to invent. She thrives in a pressured artistic environment.


Working in a team and learning new skills (or sharing her own) is also really important for Sally so a further degree in Education (PGCE, University of Leeds) allowed her to become a specialist Art Teacher. Working in Montessori, infant and mainstream schools she has directed theatre and creative arts projects and  delivered programmes for Gifted and Talented pupils in the UK.


Sally's arrival in Zurich proved a golden opportunity to draw all these things together, when she became involved with Close Encounters Theatre. Designing and making sets and costumes for various stage plays led to new study (Set Design for Performance, St Martins/ Central, University Arts London, 2022) and a wonderful channel for all the creative disciplines Sally is fascinated by. Never happier than when leading a team to help her realise her creative vision, and supporting the growth of young and developing actors, Sally is living her best life working in theatre. 

Set and Costume Design with Close Encounters Theatre, Zurich.

Stage; Caged (2022), Cabaret (2022), Le Chat Noir (2022), Seven Sins (2022), Frankenstein (2021), Spring Awakening (2021), The Darker Side of Grimm (2020), Metamorphoses (2019)

Film; The Three (2022), Ash Girl (2020)

Sivan Perlstein
Choreographer / Dance Specialist


Seminar Hakibutzim college Tel Aviv - Dance and Dance Theater

Hochschule der Künste Bern - Master of Arts BFH in Theatre with specialisation in Expanded Theater

Sivan Perlstein was born 1986 in Israel.  She is a director, choreographer, dancer, actress and dance teacher. She completed her Master of Arts BFH in Theatre with specialisation in Expanded Theater at the Hochschule der Künste Bern, Switzerland.


Sivan studied dance and dance theatre at  the Seminar Hakibutzim college, Tel Aviv, in the honors program for undergraduate students.

In 2015, she directed the theatre piece RITALINA, which premiered at the Schlachthaus Theater, Kicks! Festival, Bern. It continued in Stadt Theater Basel, Buchhegg Theater in Zurich then abroad to Starke Stücke Festival (DE) and Szene Bunte Wähne Festival (AT). The piece then performed at the Theater Spektakel Festival in Zurich and was nominated for the award of the ZKB Patronage Prize and the ZKB Audience Prize.


In 2018, she directed and performed the theatre piece WWWonderland, which premiered at Schlachthaus Theater. The piece has won the try out competition in Dschungel theater, Vienna and a year after was invited as Gastspiel. In 2018, she created a short dance performance at the Tanzhaus Zurich under the platform SHOW OFF, which was later performed at Tanzwinterthur Festival. Since 2018, she joined Kibbutz Zürich, the first Jewish arts festival, a nonprofit organisation, as the art director.


In her own artistic work, Sivan focuses on the relationship between body and space and the launch point of art and education. Throughout her career, she has been working with children of all ages, elementary school until high school, teaching math, creative thinking, orientation, and memory through movement and expression.


She divides her time between stage and studio, teaching dance, movement and drama. The privilege to teach and meet new real human material, gives her the drive and inspiration, allowing her to keep on moving. 

Choreography creation with Close Encounters Theatre, Zurich.

Stage; Cabaret (2022), Le Chat Noir (2022), Can't Stop the Beat (2022), Seven Sins (2022), Spring Awakening (2021), Frankenstein (2021)

David Bircher
Music Director

David B.jpeg

Zurich University of the Arts - Composition with Kaspar Ewald


Zurich University of the Arts - Master in Dramaturgy

David Bircher, 1997, is a composer/writer/musician from Zurich. He studied composition with Kaspar Ewald and is currently doing a Master in Dramaturgy at the Zurich University of the Arts. He plays piano, bass and accordion and participates in various band projects such as "wackel:kontakt", "KASBEK" and "Kleid", for which he sometimes also composes. As a theatrical artist, he is on the road a lot in various productions, partly as a dramaturge, partly as a musician, often in this double function. He often works with Fynn Malte Schmidt, Leonardo Raab, Tara Brodin and various young directors.

Music Direction with Close Encounters Theatre, Zurich.

Stage; Cabaret (2022), Spring Awakening (2021)

Original Composition; Le Chat Noir (2022), Frankenstein (2021)

Emma Kelly
Resident Script Writer


Brighton University - Bachelor of Arts Honours in Theatre and Visual Practice


St Martins / Central University Arts London - Master of Arts in Dramatic Writing

Emma Kelly is a dramatist, coach and theatre practitioner who explores dystopian worlds,
science fiction, environmental themes, and psychological horror. Starting with a Theatre and
Visual Practice BA from Brighton University, Emma wrote, produced, and directed
performance installations. After teaching drama at one of England's leading independent
schools, Emma returned to the theatre as a writer. She graduated with an MA in Dramatic
Writing from the Drama Centre, Central Saint Martins, in 2020. Many who have experienced
her work comment on Emma’s brilliant and bizarre imagination. Her voice is dark and
humorous. Her mission is to explore what makes us human.


Emma is involved in creative projects in the UK and internationally.

Plays for Close Encounters Theatre, Zurich.

Productions; Le Chat Noir (2022), Seven Sins (2022), Digital Dreamers (2021), Frankenstein (2021), The Darker Side of Grimm (2021), Love and Empty Places (2020), Extraordinary Tales from a Locked Down World 2 (2020), Extraordinary Tales from a Locked Down World 1 (2020)

Meet Our Current Artists

Shakti - Bronze Top - Wide Shot_edited.jpg

Shakti Edwards

Drama and Dance Instructor


Voice Instructor

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