(New York, NY)

Founded by Erik Sanko & Jessica Grindstaff, Phantom Limb has been critically acclaimed for its reinvention of traditional theatrical forms in order to probe issues of contemporary life and modern consciousness. Grindstaff is an installation artist, painter & set designer whose work ranges from tiny Victorian taxidermied music boxes to wax and chalk paintings, and Erik is a lifelong musician with The Lounge Lizards, & his own band Skeleton Key. Together, they are defining an unprecedented vision for new collaborative theatre.

Tours & Avails | Resources



Created by Phantom Limb (Jessica Grindstaff & Erik Sanko, Artistic Directors)
Directed by Sophie Hunter
Conceived in Collaboration with David Harrington/Kronos Quartet
Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann
Developed with Tony Taccone

“Extraordinary production…over the course of 65 minutes (not a one of which is wasted), this entrancing multimedia work creates a portrait of humanity locked in eternal struggle with nature’s brute force.” Dan Aucoin, Boston Globe

“A remarkable achievement of multimedia artistry, the spellbinding “69˚S.” is like nothing you’ve ever seen before…As the puppets progress through their adventures, we watch with enthralled attention, riveted not so much by the themes of teamwork, death, and sacrifice that emerge but by how magnificently these collaborative artists have translated this piece of history into a sublime aesthetic affair. – Lisa Jo Sagolla, Backstage

“One stunner of a show…electrifying soundtrack… a hypnotic, overwhelming performance.” – Gawker

“Radiant visuals…The puppets gradually come to life; they gain expressiveness, they can show despair, and as a spectator you can feel the cold in their puppet bones.” – Kester Freriks, NRC Handelsblad

In Phantom Limb’s 69˚S., a vestige from Antarctica’s past is reignited by a contemporary crisis, uniting the harrowing and heroic tale of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 trans-Antarctic expedition with the realities of a changing environment and the planet’s uncertain future. Phantom Limb (Jessica Grindstaff & Erik Sanko, Co-Artistic Directors) is joined by director Sophie Hunter and an extraordinary team of multi-disciplinary collaborators, melding theater, dance, puppetry, photography, film, original contemporary music and an unconventional acoustic palette to create a stunning and evocative series of tableaux vivants that follows a group of gentlemen frozen in crisis. 69˚S. is an artistic and emotional journey that explores the symbiotic relationship between humans and the environment and reinvigorates the spirit of foregoing individual glory for the sake of collective survival.

Workshop Premiere – Noorderzon Festival, August 17-21, 2011
US Premiere – Hopkins Center for the Arts, Dartmouth College, September 30 – October 1, 2011
NYC Premiere – BAM Next Wave Festival, Brooklyn, NY – Nov. 2-5, 2011

**See more detail on the evolution of this extraordinary project, plus perspectives on Shackleton’s historic journey HERE! The website and research presented here are courtesy of the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College.

Additional Credits:
Composed by Erik Sanko
Set Design by Jessica Grindstaff
Puppet Design by Erik Sanko
Choreography by Andrea Miller
Video Design by Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty
Costumes by threeASFOUR
Original Lighting Design by André Pronk
Recorded Performance by Kronos Quartet
Additional Music by Skeleton Key
Produced in Association with Beth Morrison Projects

Kira Blazek
S. D’Angelo
Takemi Kitamura
Rowan Magee
Aaron Mattocks
Paul Singh
Carlton Ward

69°S. is a project of ArKtype in co-production with Grand Theatre Groningen/Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival en Noord Nederlands Toneem

69˚S. was co-commissioned by Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College; Arts Centre of Melbourne, Australia and Victoria College of the Arts; ArtsEmerson: The World on Stage, Boston, MA; and EMPAC / Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. Additional residency development provided by Mass MoCA and Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Additional funding provided by The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Production design support provided by The Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Design Enhancement Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York).

The Noorderzon Festival premiere engagement is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Capacity: 350 – 1500+
Stage: Proscenium / Black Box
Personnel: 16



Photos by Pavel Antonov / Egbert Euser / Gregory Kozatek & Cassandra Jenkins


The Fortune Teller

Created and Directed by Erik Sanko & Jessica Grindstaff
Original Music composed by Danny Elfman & Erik Sanko
Recorded Narration by Gavin Friday
Film Directed by Daniel Leeb

“The Fortune Teller draws you into its world and never lets you go. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.”— CULTUREBOT

“For those souls with a taste for the elegantly macabre, attendance is highly advised. To miss it – now that would be a sin”
-The Village Voice”

“A morality fable for grown-ups, evoking the familiar idioms of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton in a style you might term Victorian ghastly… the set, a regular wunderkammer, keeps opening up to reveal new sets and images, little Victorian dioramas… macabre and engaging.” – The New York Times

“Grindstaff and Sanko share a perfectionist’s vision, and it shows. All elements work together to float the audience into the creepy world of the puppets.”— WNYC

Seven strangers’ twisted tales are brought to life in this marionette play and woven with haunting music to tell an eerily comic story of fate and fortune. On a dark night, the strangers are invited to the mansion of a deceased millionaire, and learn that their inheritances will be based not on a will, but on the readings of a fortune teller. Each soon meets a gruesome end in this production developed through HERE’s Dream Music puppetry program.

Capacity: 75-100
Stage: Black Box
Personnel: 9

“69˚S.” Production Photos by Sarah Walker
Puppet Portraits by Gregory Kozatek


Tours & Avails


Krannert Center for the Performing Arts Urbana, IL April 4-6, 2013
International Festival of the Arts Philadelphia, PA April 17-21, 2013
Scottsdale Center for the Arts Scottsdale, AZ May 3-4, 2013
Worldwide 2013-14 OPEN