Cole is a Métis artist based in Tkarón:to with Chippewa, Irish and English heritage from the Turtle Mountains in Manitobah. They are an Artistic Producer of the queer theatre company lemonTree creations and the former Executive Director of the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance (2013 – 2017). Cole was a creator / performer in the Dora-nominated GOREY STORY (The Thistle Project), played Steven / Victor in the Dora Award winning new play BODY POLITIC by Nick Green (lemonTree creations / Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), Paddy in A CITY by Greg MacArthur (Necessary Angel) and The Activist in the Dora-nominated LOUIS RIEL (Canadian Opera Company / National Arts Centre). Recently, they were invited to participate in the inaugural Indigenous Directors Lab at the Stratford Festival of Canada, were a finalist for the 2016 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award and were Harolded by Mel Hague into the House of Paul Bettis (2017 Harold Awards).
Shaminda Amarakoon was recently appointed Chair of the Technical Design and Production Program at Yale School of Drama and Director of Production for Yale Repertory Theater. Before that, he was at Second Stage Theatre in NYC as Production Manager, coordinating the execution of all design elements and consulting on the renovation of their new Broadway house, the Helen Hayes Theatre. Prior to joining Second Stage, he worked for various Broadway, off-Broadway, and national tours through Tech Production Services and then Lincoln Center Theater. Since 2013, he has been a Lecturer at Yale School of Drama, within the Technical Design and Production program, teaching production management. He has also worked as a carpenter, technical director, project manager, and in production management at: Yale Repertory Theater, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse (Auburn, NY), Shakespeare Theater Company (Washington, DC), Center Theater Group (Los Angeles, CA), and Show Motion (Milford, CT). Regional credits include: Jersey Boys (National and Asian tours), Rock of Ages (Las Vegas), Seminar (Los Angeles). Off-Broadway credits include: Notes from the Field (starring Anna Deavere Smith, Second Stage), Dada Woof Papa Hot (Lincoln Center Theater), Preludes (Lincoln Center Theater). Broadway credits include: The Heiress, Ann, Lucky Guy (starring Tom Hanks), Rocky, The King and I. Special Events include: YouTube Brandcast 2014 (Madison Square Garden).
Nissy Aya is a Black girl from the Bronx. She and all her younger selves tell stories and tall tales. A writer, educator, cultural worker and organizer who believes in the transformative nature of storytelling and sees theatre as a tool to create social change by empowering disenfranchised communities to unapologetically portray their whole selves on stage. She is a trained facilitator on topics surrounding the intersections of identity, power and privilege and how those intersections influence structures of oppression. As an artist, her work centers the voices of Black women, explores the lines between history and memory and details both the presence and absence of love.
Jason Blackwell was appointed Program Associate at the James Irvine Foudation in November 2015. Prior to joining the Foundation, Jason worked at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills as part of the administrative team in the front desk coordinator position. In this role, he served as the “face” and “voice” of the Wallis and excelled in duties comparable to an office manager. Previously, Jason has worked in numerous nonprofit performing arts institutions in both Los Angeles (Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre) and New York City (Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public Theatre, and New Victory Theatre) in various capacities: development, capital projects, and programming. Through these varied positions, Jason was able to feed his passion for inviting everyone into the arts and culture conversation, advocating for diverse audiences and stories for the stage, and striving to find innovative ways to bring young people to invest time and resources into the performing arts. A native of Virginia, Jason graduated from The College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in both marketing and theatre. He also holds a master’s of professional studies degree in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
Jason Brown, who became the Guthrie’s Education Director in 2016, has more than 20 years of classroom teaching, arts education and curriculum design experience. Before joining the Guthrie staff, Brown worked to grow and develop Project SUCCESS, a Minneapolis-based youth-development organization that provides arts-related activities that help students develop life-skills and confidence so they are more successful in school and prepared for life after graduation. As their Director of Curriculum, Brown wrote and published the Project SUCCESS Curriculum Guide, Grades 6-12 and strategized the programs growth into new markets. In theater, Brown has worked throughout the Twin Cities as a dramaturg, set designer and technician, co-founding Emigrant Theater, a company dedicated to developing new voices for the stage, and Literary Manager for Outward Spiral Theatre Company, a company focused on producing theatre from a Queer point-of-view.
Ilana M. Brownstein is a dramaturg specializing in new plays, social justice, and public advocacy. In addition to her role as the Director of New Work at Company One Theatre, she is the Founding Dramaturg at Playwrights' Commons, and on faculty at the BU School of Theatre. Previously, she created the Playwriting Fellows program and Breaking Ground Festival as Literary Manager at The Huntington, and has served as a freelance dramaturg for new play festivals, including The O’Neill, New Harmony, and the Kennedy Center among others. Recent productions with Company One include works by Josh Wilder, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Young Jean Lee, Aditi Kapil, Natsu Onoda Power, Kirsten Greenidge, Rajiv Joseph, Lauren Yee, Mia Chung, Kristoffer Diaz, A. Rey Pamatmat, Qui Nguyen, Idris Goodwin, and Lydia R. Diamond. She is the senior dramaturg for the C1 PlayLab program, which has provided script and professional development to 40+ playwrights over 6 seasons. In her public-facing work and field service, she is a frequent moderator/facilitator, adjudicator, and panelist. She holds an MFA in Dramaturgy (Yale), and a Directing BA (College of Wooster). Ilana has been a Kilroys nominator, served on the National Advisory Board for HowlRound, and is a two-time winner of the LMDA Elliott Hayes Award for excellence in dramaturgy.
Emilya Cachapero is the director of TCG’s Artistic and International Programs and has been active in the US arts community for more than 30 years. She is part of the core team that organized Beyond Orientalism, a national initiative to address the use of yellow face, brown face and whitewashing. She is a member of the Executive Board and Council of International Theatre Institute (ITI) Worldwide, and was lead producer of multi-national productions in Xiamen, China; Madrid, Spain and Manila, Philippines. Prior to joining TCG in 1991, she served as general manager for the Concordia Chamber Symphony; associate director of the Non-Traditional Casting Project in New York; conservatory administrator for American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco; and chair of the artistic committee for the Asian American Theater Company in San Francisco. She was instrumental in creating the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and was its founding producer for the first two years of the program. Her writing has been published in American Poetry Review and several poetry anthologies.
Alexis Chaney is a Washington, DC native currently in her final year of the Costume Design MFA program at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago(A.B '12), and a founding member of First Floor Theater in Chicago, IL.
J. Ching is currently the Production Script Coordinator at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), helping to bridge the gap between literary development and stage management. He worked on the world premieres of UNISON and OFF THE RAILS for OSF’s 2017 season. In 2016, he was a FAIR Stage Management Intern at OSF and assisted on the world premiere adaptation of THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD and the world premiere of ROE. J. also was the Festival Coordinator for the 5th National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival (NAATCF) which took place in Ashland, OR on October 1-9, 2016. Born and raised in Kailua, Hawai’i, J. aspires to start his own theatre company in Hawai’i geared toward educating youths, ages 7-22, from historically underrepresented communities about all aspects of the collaborative art of theatre and fostering a passion for the arts.He received his BFA in Theatre Arts from Southern Oregon University. He worked on several productions and was awarded a Meritorious Achievement Award from The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) for his Stage Management of THE WINTER'S TALE and his Assistant Stage Management of ARMS AND THE MAN.
Daniel Cress is the Director of Marketing at Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre, where he has worked since 2007. Previously he was the Managing Director of The Neo-Futurists and of Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. Prior to that, Daniel spent eight years at a Chicago-based direct response marketing agency. Daniel received his MS in managerial communication from Northwestern University and his BS in theatre management from Illinois State University, and currently serves on the steering committees of Yale University’s LGBTQ and DiversAbility affinity groups.
Lisa Dent is the director, resources & award programs at Creative Capital. As a member of the foundation’s senior management team Dent leads the financial and advisory services programs and advises awardees regarding the full realization of their projects, providing strategic insight and connecting them to a wide range of internal and external resources. Previously, Dent served as the associate curator of contemporary art at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio, held curatorial staff positions at the New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, and was a director at Friedrich Petzel Gallery. From 2004-08, Dent owned Lisa Dent Gallery in San Francisco, where she presented the work of emerging and mid-career international artists. She has also worked in film and the performing arts as a scenic designer, art director, and producer on numerous projects. She has taught courses in art history and production design at Cooper Union, University of California, Davis, Columbus College of Art and Design, and The Ohio State University. Dent received her BFA from Howard University, her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in curatorial
Brad Erickson serves as executive director for Theatre Bay Area, one of the nation’s largest regional performing arts service organizations, with more than 300 theatre and dance company members and some 2,100 individual members. For fourteen years, he has led the organization’s efforts to support, promote and advocate for the region’s vibrant theatre and dance community. Under Erickson’s leadership, Theatre Bay Area has gained a national reputation for innovative programs and services for the field. Theatre Bay Area’s nationwide study on the intrinsic impact of the theatre experience on the audience is a leading example. Erickson serves as treasurer of Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates and as California State Captain for Americans for the Arts. In 2016 he received the Alene Valkanas Awards for Statewide Arts Advocacy from Americans for the Arts. Before Theatre Bay Area, Erickson was executive director of the Northern California Minority Supplier Development Council, a nonprofit dedicated to equity and social justice in the business sector. A playwright, his plays have won several awards and been produced in theatres from San Francisco to Indianapolis. Erickson received a BFA in Acting from the Goodman School of Drama (now The Theatre School) at DePaul University.
cassandra del nero
Cassandra del Nero is a Theatre Maker and Scenographer currently based in Oregon, USA. They grew up in Philomath, OR and Simnasho, Warm Springs, OR. Here they learned not only the love of the land, and the cycle of the seasons- but the vital impact art makes on life. They had a background in Carpentry and Scenic Art before attending Southern Oregon University for a BFA in Scenography, where they focused on Scenic and Costume Design (The Drunken City, Caliban's Dreams, The Secret Garden). Since graduating they have interned with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Production Management (Richard II, Timon of Athens, CAATA), and assisted in the Scenic Design department (Off The Rails and Henry V). They have also designed locally for Brava! Opera company (Don Pasquale, Abduction from the Seraglio), and traveled for Monta Vista High School (The Little Mermaid) in Cupertino, CA.
Quanice G. Floyd is a renaissance woman who wears many capes. Born and raised in NYC, she has spent the last decade in Washington, DC where she has received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Music Education from Howard University and Kent State University respectively. Her passion for arts administration led her to pursue her second Master’s degree in Arts Management at American University. Quanice is currently a public-school music educator where she teaches elementary school general music, chorus, band, and orchestra. She is also the Founder & Director of the Arts Administrators of Color DMV Network, an organization committed to empowering artists and arts administrators in the DMV area by advocating for access, diversity, inclusion, and equity in the arts in the DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas. Quanice also serves as a board member for two DC arts organizations, and an alumnus of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Music Educators Academy, Arts Administrators Academy and the Arts Education Collaborative’s Leadership Academy. Quanice is also a certified circle keeper. She is working endlessly towards her goals of becoming an arts education expert and advocate by providing a quality education to DC’s underserved student populations by establishing and leading a school dedicated to the arts.
Lydia Fort is an assistant professor at Emory University and theatre director. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Akadēmeia Theatre Company and has directed over thirty productions across the US. Ms. Fort penned two performance pieces, Welcome to My Body and S/HE, which explore identity, culture, the body and illness. She was a member of the US delegation to the International Theatre Institute’s World Congress in China in 2011. Lydia was a Time Warner Foundation Fellow of the 2012-2014 Lab at Women’s Project Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop Directing Fellow, Drama League Fellow and a Theatre Communications Group (TCG) New Generations Future Leader grantee. Ms. Fort is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Union, the League of Professional Theatre Women and the International Drama/Theatre and Education Association. Ms. Fort holds a BA from New York University and received both a Certificate in Arts Management for the Performing Arts and a MFA in Directing from the University of Washington.
Patricia is a member of the artistic staff at Center Theatre Group (CTG) where they manage new play projects as the Artistic Development Program Manager specifically focused on collective and ensemble creation. Patricia most recently served as Assistant Department Director for Education and Community Partnerships at CTG for six years. Patricia has consulted on strategic planning processes for East LA Rep and El Teatro Campesino. In 2011, Patricia was selected by Theatre Communications Group (TCG) as a Young Leader of Color where they work with other theatre professionals nationally on issues surrounding diversity and inclusion with a particular focus on the LGBTQ community. In 2012 and again in 2013, Patricia served as a fellow for the Salzburg Global Seminar on Young Cultural Leaders. Recently, Patricia was selected to be featured in Latino Leaders Magazine as a Club Leader for Los Angeles and is a recipient of TCG’s Leadership U Continuing Ed grant. They currently serve on the advisory board for Get Lit, LA's leading non-profit of literary performance, education, and teen poetry programs. Patricia has a MFA/MBA in Theatre Management from California State University, Long Beach and a BA in English with a minor in Theatre Studies from UC Berkeley.
Deadria Harrington is a New York City based creative producer, artist and member of the Producing Artistic Leadership Team of The Movement Theatre Company [TMTC]. With TMTC
she has developed numerous new works by emerging artists of color, most recently Look Upon Our Lowliness by Harrison David Rivers, conceived and directed by David Mendizábal. Select credits include: Off Broadway – Architecture of Becoming (Lead Producer, Women’s Project Theatre), Alligator (Line Producer, New Georges). Off-Off Broadway: The Body Unbound (Producer/Conceiver, MassBliss Theater Festival), At Buffalo (NYMF Developmental Reading Series), Catalyst: Moving The Black Theatre Legacy Forward (Project Manager, National Black Theatre). Harrington was a Time Warner Foundation Fellow of the 2012-2014 Producers Lab at Women’s Project Theater and a Next Generation Leader of Color at the 2014 Latina/o Theatre Commons Second National Convening. Currently serves on The Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York’s Theater Board and is the Managing Associate at New Georges. She holds a BA in Drama and Psychology from Vassar College.
Brian Eugenio Herrera is Assistant Professor of Theater at Princeton University where his work, both academic and artistic, examines the history of gender, sexuality and race within and through U.S. popular performance. He is the author of The Latina/o Theatre Commons 2013 National Convening: A Narrative Report (HowlRound, 2015) and his book Latin Numbers: Playing Latino in Twentieth-Century U.S. Popular Performance (Michigan, 2015) was awarded the George Jean Nathan Prize for Dramatic Criticism and received Honorable Mention for the John W. Frick Book Award from the American Theatre and Drama Society. He is at work on two new book projects: Starring Miss Virginia Calhoun, a narrative portrait of a deservedly obscure early 20th century actress/writer/producer, and Casting - A History, a historical study of the material practices of casting in US popular performance.
Renita James is a graduate of Valdosta State University’s theatre program where she received her BFA. She is currently Education Coordinator at Aurora Theatre where she heads up several initiatives specifically geared towards teens in the community. One of these initiatives is Aurora Theatre’s Teen Nation, which is a free program that allows students the opportunity to become more immersed in the world of theatre and in the Aurora community at large. She also works heavily with students at a local high school in many different capacities. This is all done on top of managing the education department’s day to day functionalities, alongside the Education Director. She is a recent graduate of the Arts Advocacy Leadership program with the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures and Metro Theater Company’s Teaching Artist Fellowship.
Joshua Henry Jenkins is an interactive media strategist & designer based out of Washington, D.C. He has worked extensively with independent performing artists and arts organizations to develop brand identity, content and web strategies, and design collateral. He currently works as the Web and New Media Manager for Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit for the advancement of the arts in America. Joshua received his Master of Arts in Interactive Media from Elon University in 2012 and his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010.
Aaron Jin is a recent college graduate from the University of Washington and a participant in the Leadership for Social Change cohort in Seattle. He is fairly new to the work of organizational equity and has primarily focused on sharing this work with peer-led organizations in the University of Washington. He currently works as a Research & Writing Assistant with church-based social justice startup The New 95 Theses and a Communications Intern with Artist Trust, and his dream is to better prepare the leaders of tomorrow. He is an avid writer of Facebook statuses and recently a vlogger.
Faith Jones-Jackson is a Storyteller, who is currently exploring any and all methods she can to share stories with the world. She is also an theatre educator and lover of community. She is an alumni of the Artist as Citizen Conference and Central High School of Philadelphia. Most recently, she has taken a break from pursuing her BAs in theatre and sociology to spend a year doing community service, with hopes to positively impact the political and social climate of the country in her respective communities. She is most interested in the creation and upkeep of intersectional spaces, and how we can all learn to exist together in the least detrimental ways.
Melissa Kievman has directed and developed new plays at theaters including The La Jolla Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Soho Rep, Atlantic Theater Company, The Vineyard Theater, Trinity Rep, TheaterworksUSA at the Lucille Lortel, Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis, Hangar Theatre, O’Neill Theater Center, The Guthrie Lab, ACT Seattle, Roadworks in Chicago, Asolo Rep, Great Lakes Theater Festival/Cleveland Public, Ars Nova, The Divadelni Ostrov Festival in Prague and the Gate Theater, London. She is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, an affiliated artist of New Georges, a Lincoln Center Lab alumna, a Drama League fellow, and recipient of the NEA/TCG Program for Directors. Kievman formerly served as Associate Artistic Director of New Dramatists, facilitating the development of hundreds of new plays and new music-theater pieces. She is currently Artistic Producer for the Brown University Writing Is Live Festival, is on the MFA directing faculty at Brown/Trinity and is co-artistic director of Chekhov at Lake Lucille, an annual retreat and performance project in Rockland County, New York.
Shawn LaCount is the Artistic Director and a co-founder of Company One Theatre in Boston, MA. For the nearly 20 years Shawn and his colleagues at C1 have focused on the mission of "uniting the city’s diverse communities through innovative, socially provocative performance and developing civically engaged artists." Shawn has served on the boards and/ or leadership cohorts for the Boston Black Theater Alliance, Boston Beyond Orientalism Committee, Boston Cultural Change Network, the Greater Boston Theater Expo, and the Boston Arts Academy. Shawn holds an MA Ed. in theatre Education from Clark University and an MFA in Directing from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has taught at Emerson College, Boston Arts Academy, Huntington Theatre Company, Tufts University, Stage One and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Recent directorial credits include the regional premieres of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s REALLY; Young Jean Lee’s WE’RE GONNA DIE (American Repertory Theatre); A. Rey Pamatmat's EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM (Elliot Norton Award Nominee for Outstanding Director and Outstanding Production); Annie Baker's THE FLICK (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Production).
Jenny Marlowe is an actor, playwright and community activist based in Los Angeles – working primarily on issues affecting the indigenous population in and outside of the city; and on matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts in general. She sits on the Leadership Council of Emerging Arts Leaders/Los Angeles, and on Actors' Equity Association's national EEO (Diversity) Committee. Jenny has performed with theater groups all over the country, including: ArtsEmerson, Perseverance Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Cornerstone Theater Company, A Noise Within, Native Voices at the Autry, and the La Jolla Playhouse. Her plays have been workshopped and showcased by Centre Stage South Carolina, Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, and the Southwark Playhouse London. She has also spent the past two years collaborating with BuzzFeed on a series of videos about Native American identity and popular culture. With more than 25 million views, the videos have been featured in multiple national and international media outlets, and are currently included in college curricula at universities all over the U.S. and Canada. Jenny is a graduate of Princeton University, Kings College London, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and spent several years living and working in the UK prior to her arrival in Los Angeles. She is a member of Native Voices at the Autry’s resident ensemble, and of the all-Native American comedy troupe the Mayflower Welcoming Committee.
David Mendizábal is one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of The Movement Theatre Company in Harlem. He is also the Artistic Associate at the Atlantic Theater Company. Directing credits include: Tell Hector I Miss Him (Atlantic); On the Grounds of Belonging (The Public); Locusts Have No King (INTAR); Evensong (APAC); And She Would Stand Like This, Look Upon Our Lowliness and Bintou (The Movement). David is a participant in the Leadership U: One-on-One program, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group. He is a Founding Member and Artistic Producer of The Sol Project and serves on the Steering Committee for the Latinx Theatre Commons. Alumnus of The Drama League Director’s Project, Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, LAByrinth Intensive Ensemble, and NALAC Leadership Institute. 2014 Artistic Leader Fellow for ENCUENTRO at the Los Angeles Theatre Center/Latino Theatre Company. www.davidmendizabal.com
Keri is the Executive Director of Theatre Alberta, an arts service organization whose membership includes 1,000+ professional and amateur theatre artists, educators, and companies across 662,000 km2 (or 255,500 sq mi). Previously, Keri has worked in theatre education and outreach at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre and Winnipeg’s Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. She is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s BA Honors Drama program and a member of Avenue Edmonton Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2013. She is also a proud Board Member of the iHuman Youth Society, an organization that provides caring services and arts programs/mentorship to traumatized youth in Edmonton, and with whom she has helped to create and produce four original hip-hop musicals and plays.
Elizabeth Nungaray is a southside Chicago native by way of Mexico. She is an actor, educator and activist. She is an ensemble member with Teatro Luna where she tours, devises, and curates new work in Chicago and LA. Elizabeth is a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons. Elizabeth has worked with The Goodman Theatre, Free Street Theatre, The Los Angeles Theatre Center, El Teatro Campesino, Su Teatro, For Youth Inquiry, Second Story, Hackney Empire (London, UK), Stratford Circus (UK). Elizabeth is one half of the Southside SailorScouts an interdisciplinary performance group that focuses on healing through the effects of generational trauma of WOC living in the Southside of Chicago. Her 10 minute plays have been part of the Goodman Theatre’s Latino Theatre Festival in 2010 & 2013. Elizabeth has trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Columbia College, and University of East London.
Anthony Ritosa is an actor and community organizer who facilitates monthly co-educational, community-building, visibility-increasing, and LGBTQ sibling-empowering events in and around New York City. He studied Drama and Applied Theatre at New York University, where he learned how to act truthfully and celebrate LGBTQ Pride. Anthony serves as the Director of Advocacy for Impulse Group NYC, an Outreach Coordinator with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, a Community Organizer for Mass Story Lab, a celebrated Team Captain for the AIDS Walk NY, a community host for I'm From Driftwood and The Island Club, an ambassador & LGBTQ thought leader for spiire, and a proud volunteer for The Generations Project and the NYU LGBTQ Alumni Network. Anthony is a member of the Middle Voice Theatre Company at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in NYC's West Village, trains at The Circus Warehouse as a flying trapeze artist, and is learning French.
My mother named me Mauricio Tafur Salgado and among many things, I am a divinely tormented +first generation U.S.A. born + privileged + brown skinned + aspiring bio-regionalist + heterosexual + married + mischief maker pursuing justice and healing through a decolonial framework. My parents schooled me on breathing and listening. I learned mischief at Juilliard, healing at the Shanti Bhavan School, endurance at the Art-In-Action Summer Camp, justice at the feet of Dr. James H. Cone, and compassion in the arms of my beloved. In 2006, I co-founded Artists Striving To End Poverty (ASTEP), an organization whose mission it is to connect performing and visual artists with youth from under resourced communities in the U.S. and around the world. As an actor and story-teller, I have performed in venues and backyards throughout New York, Washington DC, Florida, California, Germany and Belgium. Currently, I am working with Notch Theatre Company and the Delta Cultural Center to engage the community of South Phillips County, Arkansas in order to create a theatre piece that reflects on the Elaine Race Massacre of 1919. I am completing an MFA in Directing at Brown University and an MA in Christian Ethics at Union Theological Seminary.
Amy Smith is a founder and Co-Director of Headlong Dance Theater. Since 1993, Headlong has created collaborative dance theater works, and toured nationally and internationally. They have won many accolades, including Pew Fellowships and a “Bessie” award. Recent Headlong projects include W*LM*RT Nature Trail, an experiential journey for one audience member at a time, starting in the South Philly Walmart; and Magic Wand, a collaboration with Adriano Shaplin about vibrators. Outside of Headlong, Amy has performed in the work of Deborah Hay, Ishmael Houston Jones, and in theater and cabaret, and has won two Ensemble Barrymore Awards. In addition to her artistic work, Amy teaches financial literacy for artists and serves as an activist and advocate for the arts community. She is active in Dancing For Justice, the Philadelphia dance community’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement. She has served on the board of Dance/USA and other organizations. Since 2008, Headlong has been running the Headlong Performance Institute, a fall semester training program for college students and recent grads.
Jim Streeter is the Production Manager for Princeton University’s Performing Arts Services Theatre. Prior to that, he was the Resident Lighting Designer and Master Electrician for Princeton University's Program in Theatre and Dance (now The Lewis Center for the Arts). He is a member of USITT, serving as a member of the Board of Directors, Vice Commissioner for Diversity for the Lighting Commission and a member of USITT's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He is a graduate of the Center for Media Arts and studied lighting design at The
Studio and Forum of Stage Design in New York City.
Lacey Upton is an arts administrator, educator, and performer from Boston, Massachusetts. Raised in a small town on the coast, Lacey attended Boston College and studied theater and English, moved to New York City for a whirlwind few years showing up for open calls and working any temp job she could get, and found her way to arts administration and education. She currently works for Boston Lyric Opera as Director of Community Engagement, where she oversees adult, youth, and family events and programming. Lacey strives to educate, inspire, and open up the world of opera and classical music through her work and is excited to deepen her understanding to justice and equity through this training. She lives in Dorchester with her husband and young son.
Ricardo Vila-Roger is a Pittsburgh-based actor, singer, and director. He was born in San Juan,Puerto Rico and graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder where he studied acting,directing, and voice. While in CO, he worked as an actor, singer, director, scenic painter, and properties designer and studied under numerous teachers (including a week-long Shakespeare intensive with Martin Jenkins, the director of BBC Radio Drama, and a danceworkshop with Ben Vereen). He received a Peak Area Performance Award (PAPA) nominationfor best actor for playing Yvan in the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Repertory Theater Company’s production of Yasmina Reza’s Art. Since moving to Pittsburgh, he has appeared in the regional premier of Fixing King John and Orange Flower Water as well as the world premier of Oedipus and the Foul Mess in Thebes with No Name Players. He directed the regional premiers of Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Organic Theatre Pittsburgh), Water By the Spoonful and Baltimore (Pitt Stages). Recent productions include Man of La Mancha for The Company of Pittsburgh, the world premier of OJO with Bricolage, and Peribañez at Quantum Theatre.
Micah White is the Associate Director of Subscriber Services at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, Colorado. In his role, he oversees operations and customer service for over 28,000 subscribers to the DCPA's Broadway and Theatre Company lines of programming. He has spent over 17 years in the ticketing field, with the majority of that time being with not-for-profit organizations. Previously, Micah served as Ticket Services Manager at Theatre for a New Audience in New York, NY, and as Group Sales Manager at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Micah earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Arts Management, with an applied classical piano concentration, at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA.
Sam White, founder at Shakespeare in Detroit, is a Detroit native, artist, advocate and entrepreneur. She has won several awards during her tenure at the helm of the organization, including an honor from Detroit Mayor Duggan for Excellence in Theatre in 2014, Crain’s Detroit Business' 40 Under 40 also in 2014, the Breakthrough Award from the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2015, Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40 in 2015, PEPSI’s Black History Now recognition in 2016, along with the Spirit of Detroit Award. She was also recognized by magazine’s one of the “10-Forward-Thinking Entrepreneurs in Detroit.” She is currently in Ashland, OR as the 2017 Paul Nicholson Fellow at Oregon Shakespeare Festival.