Kathie diStefano

Art Form(s)
About this Artist

Pronouns: she/her

Ms. Kathie is an American/Dutch performing artist who has been living and working in the Netherlands for most of her career. She has taught drama and theater arts in Dutch public schools for many years, pioneering the concept of using performance arts to enhance required curriculum studies. She co-founded Avalanche Arts in 1986. Current programs focus on using creative arts to teach students, young and old, to throw trash away where it belongs and how important recycling is for our future. ‘Kettie de Klown’ was her alter ego for 25 years, when she toured schools, theaters and community centers in the Netherlands performing in a clown duo with her Dutch husband. She has extensive experience performing and teaching improvisation theater, inspired on the work of Keith Johnstone, Loose Moose Theater in Calgary, Canada. Kathie graduated as a drama/dance major from Bard College in upstate New York.

Artist Statement

Using performance arts as a teaching tool in schools, with an accent on enjoyment, has been a driving force in my work. When people are relaxed they learn better. When laughter is added, students retain more. Having fun together when the group dynamics are healthy combines this all and makes for a respectful, thus successful, learning environment. That’s why we choose ‘learning through laughter’ as our company motto.


“What a delight to have your talent, dedication and inspirational energy around! We were so lucky Steve made the connection with you in R'dam and you were willing to come over and enlighten us, the teachers and the kids in the classroom. You are the BEST and what a creative force, hopefully the BRSCC can work with you in the future and extend this collaboration.”
—Annet Couwenberg, former chair Baltimore Rotterdam Sister City Committee

“My students are so enriched by their work with you. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us.”
—Kelly Klinefelter Lee, English Teacher, Benjamin Franklin High School

“I have genuinely enjoyed having the both [Jason Reed] of you at our school and in our class. I hope that this is the start of an ongoing partnership and friendship. Thank for all that both of you do!”
—Chris Wilson, English/Drama Teacher, Benjamin Franklin High School

“Kathie's presentation was eye-opening! I had no idea how similar people's perceptions of garbage in Rotterdam was to citizens in Baltimore. It was awesome when we had to get up and work together to undo the tangled mess we had become.”
—Kate Amberger, Curtis Bay Elementary School

“Working with Kathie was a joy, and we can all be extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short time.”
—Jason Reed, Filbert Street Garden community outreach project and Open Society Fellow