Co-founder (with Geo Britto) and pedagogical coordinator of Escola de Teatro Popular (ETP; The School of Popular Theatre, in Rio de Janeiro)
JULIAN BOAL is a teacher, researcher, and practitioner of Theatre of the Oppressed. He has facilitated workshops in more than 25 countries and has collaborated on several international festivals of Theatre of the Oppressed: in India with Jana Sanskriti, in Spain with Pa’tothom, in Portugal with Óprima, in Croatia with the Istrian National Theater, in France with GTO-Paris, and in Brazil with CTO-Rio. Some other groups and movements with whom he has worked closely include MST (the Landless Workers Movement) and MSTB (the Roofless Movement of Bahia) in Brazil and La Dignidad In Argentina. In Paris, he was a founding member of the Ambaata collective, which worked alongside migrant workers, and he also worked with GTO-Paris and Féminisme Enjeux. He participated in the design and realization of the exhibition on Augusto Boal at the Centro Cultural Banco do Brazil in 2015 and curated part of the Utopia International festival, held in Maricá, Brazil, in 2016. He collaborated with Sergio de Carvalho as assistant playwright for two recent plays of Companhia do Latão (São Paulo): Those Who Stay (2015) and The Bread and The Stone (2016). He holds a Master’s degree in History from the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and a Ph.D. from the School of Social Work at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Boal is the author of Images of a Popular Theatre (Hucitec, 2000) and co-editor of the DVD & essay booklet Theatre of the Oppressed in Actions (with Kelly Howe and Scot McElvany, Routledge, 2015) and The Routledge Companion to Theatre of the Oppressed (with Kelly Howe and José Soeiro, Routledge, 2019). He is co-founder (with Geo Britto) and pedagogical coordinator of Escola de Teatro Popular (ETP; The School of Popular Theatre, in Rio de Janeiro), a school run by social movements for social movements, where political unity is practiced at the grassroots level through the practice of theatre. He is also a member of the Instituto Augusto Boal in Rio.
Arts practitioner, agitator, educator, and creative producer – London, UK
Tony Cealy is an arts practitioner, agitator and creative producer who makes work designed to engage the public in issues that are important for social change. Inspired by creative arts and service design thinking, he works collaboratively with communities, artists, organisations and institutions to design projects, programmes, and arts experiences in the public realm.
Since 1993 he has won contracts developing drama-based responses to health and wellbeing, mental health, social care, education, substance misuse, housing and regeneration, youth services and community development, and special educational settings across the UK. A member of the Thursday Club Solution Room he has recently been commissioned by Lambeth Community Foundation to works with Older Men around issues of Black Mental Health. Tony has created the UK’s only weekly forum theatre on the air Afro-Caribbean radio soap opera drama www.492kornaklub.com.
Over the last 20 years Tony has built a strong reputation for innovative and experimental drama and theatre-based projects within the criminal justice system in the UK and across Europe. These projects are often workshops, plays, films, exhibitions, installations, and radio broadcasts. Tony has spent many hours devising special challenges and new games and exercises, all with the intent of helping people stop coming back to prison.
He has built a body of work which falls under the title ‘Community Dialogue and Transformations’ and seeks to explore how community interventions can both provide insight and incite action. His work is often focused on behavioural change, developing pro-social skills, increasing self-esteem and greater self-awareness with people at risk. This includes theatre and digital video projects in prisons as well as production of cross artform projects that span the divide between prison and the wider public.
Tony often works alongside other practitioners using performative methodologies in community ‘hotspots’ with BAME groups on issues of conflict and reconciliation to try to bring together members of hostile communities and find ways for them to recognise their shared humanity and start to communicate. In addition, he often guest lectures at Central School of Speech and Drama, Goldsmiths, Bristol, Leicester and Birmingham Universities.
Tony is currently am working pan London delivering training to young people in the use of role play and interactive theatre techniques for creative ’round table’ workshops with officers and staff from Metropolitan police.
Clinical Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education; Theatre of the Oppressed Joker
Dr. Ellie Friedland is Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education at Wheelock. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate Early Childhood Education courses, including Classroom Assessment of Young Children, practicum seminar, and supervision of student teachers. She has designed and taught Creating Welcoming Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Families in Education and Human Services and Clowning for Social Change. She also teaches Social Justice Through Theatre of the Oppressed in the BU School of Fine Arts.
Ellie serves on the Advisory Board of the Wheelock Family Theatre and works as a teaching artist for WFT. Her research and practice focus on education for social justice, anti-bias teaching, and teaching and learning through the arts. She is a Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, and integrates this work into her teaching, as well as her community activism. She frequently offers professional development for teachers in anti-bias education and cultural competence. She works with public school teachers in Guatemala, as well the educators and students of CEIPA, a not-for-profit organization in Quetzeltanango, Guatemala, that provides education and career preparation for child laborers. She serves on the board of the UPAVIM Community Development Foundation, and works with the teachers at UPAVIM, a women’s collective in Guatemala City that created and maintains their own school through their sales of hand-made crafts and a bakery.
Ellie has published a number of articles on this work, and her other publications focus on culturally competent teaching and learning, as well as on teaching for social justice through Theatre of the Oppressed. Her publications include co-editing , with Toby Emert, the book Come Closer: Critical Perspectives on Theatre of the Oppressed, and the chapter “Image Theatre as Reflective Practice” in Playing in a House of Mirrors: Applied Theatre as Reflective Practice, edited by Elinor Vettaino and Warren Linds.
Ellie is past president of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, a professional organization focused on the liberatory educational and theatre approaches of Paulo Friere and Augusto Boal. Before coming to BU Wheelock, she taught at Wheelock College for twenty years, and before that at Endicott College, Cambridge College and Lesley University. She was a child and family psychotherapist for ten years, working in an outreach program that served families within which there was severe physical and sexual child abuse. She also studied and taught at the Actors Institute in Boston and New York, and before that she studied and performed clowning with the Cumeezi Bozo Ensemble in New York City; then founded and led the Clown Jewels Clown Troupe in Boston.
Professor Emeritus University of Nebraska Omaha
Kathleen Ramona Rice Reddy
Teacher and student of history and culture. Her concern is for increasing knowledge and understanding so that we will have justice for all.
Elementary and high school on the south side of Chicago where she was a National Merit Scholar. The area was and remains a largely African American part of the city due to redlining and racial segregation.
BA Michigan State University and University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. Major in Early Childhood education, minor in social studies.
M.Ed. University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign.
Workshops on understanding unconscious and internalized racism and the history of racism in the US.
Teaching positions in Decatur and Urbana, Illinois, and Cedarburg, Grafton, and Shorewood, Wisconsin.
University of Chicago Lab School – Nursery through 2nd grade.
RELATED WORK EXPERIENCE
Kathleen has co-lead workshops and discussions about racism and how to heal our nation.
Alvaro Saar Rios
Texican Playwright and Educator
Alvaro Saar Rios is a Texican playwright and educator living in Chicago. His plays have been performed (professionally or by teatristas doing it out of pure love) in New York City, Mexico City, Hawaii, Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee and all over Texas. He has received playwriting commissions from various organizations, including Kennedy Center, Chicago Children’s Theatre, First Stage, Houston Grand Opera, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Alley Theatre, Purple Rose Theatre Company, Express Children’s Theatre, Milwaukee’s United Community Center, Talento Bilingüe de Houston, Houston Community College, and Zoological Society of Milwaukee.
His award-winning play Luchadora! is published by Dramatic Publishing Inc. Other plays include Blue Bullets, On The Wings of a Mariposa, The History of Mexicans in 10 Minutes, The Day the Music Came Back, Brown Only, and Piggsville, a quasi-adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. He co-wrote the virtual musical Unmuted with composer Debbie Wicks La Puma. He is currently adapting Matt de la Peña’s New York Times Best Seller Carmela Full of Wishes, a co-commission for Chicago Children’s Theatre and The Rose Theater in Omaha.
Alvaro holds an MFA in Writing for the Stage and Screen from Northwestern University, a BA in English–Creative Writing from the University of Houston and an AA in Communications from Houston Community College. He is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and Playwright-In-Residence at Milwaukee’s First Stage. Alvaro is also a proud veteran of the US Army. He used to drive M1A1 tanks.
Rios co-founded The Royal Mexican Players with his wife, Michelle Lopez-Rios. Since 2004, they have created original scripted and devised plays, which include The Crazy Mexican Show, A Trip Through the Mind of a ‘Crazy’ Mexican, and One Hot Texican Summer (or the summer I found out I was Mexican). They have also developed workshops for high schools, colleges and conferences, including Texas A&M University, Palo Alto College, Voice & Speech Teachers Association, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Texas Thespian State Festival. Their work has been seen in London; Bogota; Washington, D.C.; Houston and Denver. Alvaro is also an Associate Professor of Playwriting at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he mentors aspiring theatremakers who hope to make a space for themselves. He recently created New Dramaworks, a series geared at introducing undergraduates of various disciplines to the process of new play development.
S Leigh Thompson
Strategist, facilitator, and Consultant for Go Beyond Diversity
Originally from Omaha, Nebraska I moved to New York in 2005. A white and Native trans queer person with disability, I have spent my entire adult life working at the intersections of art and social justice and equity, utilizing Theatre of the Oppressed techniques and working with the queer and trans* movements. I work with organizations, businesses, community groups, faculty and students to strengthen understanding about power, privilege and oppression and to provide stronger tools to make positive change in the world.
In 2000, I started organizing in Omaha as the voter canvassing coordinator against the so-called Defense of Marriage Amendment. Ever since I have been dedicated to developing and supporting change-makers. I have worked for several non-profits including the ACLU, GLSEN, Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation and The Forum Project. I also have worked for large and small for-profit businesses in service, finance and retail industries. As a consultant, I’ve worked with many clients to understand the impacts of systemic power, to develop strong critical analysis to help develop tools for doing good work better. I bring experience training advocates and organizers across the country on non-profit management, legislative advocacy, campaign strategies and engagement and most commonly on positive and effective strategies for addressing power, privilege and oppression in their work.
I hold a BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Directing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a individualized Master of Arts from Gallatin at New York University, focusing on utilizing creative participation for political and social change with course work in community studies, public policy, non-profit management and campaign strategies. I have studied Theatre of the Oppressed techniques and other creative pedagogy techniques since the late nineties, working with facilitators from around the world, and have trained with TO’s founder Augusto Boal multiple occasions. I was also a Out in Front Leadership Fellow with Stonewall Community Foundation in 2011. I am proud to have served as a Board Member and Board President of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed from 2011 to 2018.
Bilingual Storyteller, Theater maker, Actress, Educator, and Social Activist
Jasmin Cardenas is a Colombian-American award winning bilingual Storyteller, Theater maker, Actress, Educator and Social Activist. She uses teatro and play to create spaces where people can connect, tell their stories, and spark change. A proud daughter of Colombian immigrants, Jasmin was inspired by El Teatro Campesino when she began using Theater of the Oppressed to devise original scenes with working people in the fight for workers’ rights. Learning TO with Augusto Boal dramatically altered the course of Jasmin’s life and she will be forever grateful.
Together with Chicago’s working people she co-founded WorkersTEATRO to amplify wage worker stories by engaging the public. Recognized for her arts & civic engagement work she was awarded a 2020-2022 International LAB Fellowship by The Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University. In 2020 she added filmmaker to her skills when she produced her first short DOC Film about essential workers, Essential?…Tengo que Trabajar/ I have to Work. Screened at Collaboraction’s 2020 PeaceBOOK Festival and 2021 Screening Scholarship Media Festival CAMRA. Recently awarded a Solo Commissioned by 1st Stage Theater in Tysons, Virginia Jasmin is currently writing her newest solo play DISPOSABLE, a Documentary Style theater piece.
Winner of the 2018 OUTSTANDING STORYTELLER ALTA Award Jasmin was recognized by the Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists of Chicago. Her personal tales explore the uncomfortable truths found when you grow up between cultures. A featured teller at the Midland Storytelling Festival (Texas), Kansas City Storytelling Festival (Missouri) and the Evanston Storytelling Festival (Illinois), Jasmin’s national touring reached new heights when she was an Exchange Place Teller at the 2016 National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
One of the first two Latina’s awarded the 2012 Race Bridges Storytelling Fellowship, she created two new social justice stories from her life, now available on her CD My Brothers’ Keeper: Stories of Social Justice and Civic Responsibility. Jasmin regularly tours her bilingual program Cuentos from the Americas which highlights lesser known folktales, myths and legends from North, Central and South America (with special attention to Colombian stories) as well as personal tales about being bi-cultural. As the Chicago Public Library Cuentos Aqui Teller she had the privilege of working with Latino children and families as an early literacy specialist. Jasmin is a 2nd Story performer and adores that tribe.
Her one-woman show, ¿Niña Buena?, written and performed by Jasmin is a coming-of-age story highlighting the joys and challenges of being Latina y Americana. It has toured the Midwest and Puebla, Mexico when it was included in the Susana Alexander International Theater Festival.
Jasmin is professional actress working throughout Chicagoland’s vibrant theatre community, recently seen on stages across the city including Steppenwolf, Goodman, Urban Theater, Lifeline, Teatro Luna, and Adventure Stage Chicago. She is a proud SAG-AFTRA member whose TV Credits Include NBC’s Chicago Fire, Showtimes’ The CHI & ABC’s Betrayal, and several independent films. Jasmin is proudly represented by the Big Mouth Talent Inc.
CPA, Financial Advisor
Bob Weber (MBA, CPA) is an analytical problem-solver, with broad experience in financial planning, analysis, and reporting, purchasing and cost management, treasury management, managerial accounting, and inventory management.
Bob’s work in multiple settings has made him capable of quickly grasping complex concepts and applying new ideas to existing problems. He has served as senior consultant, senior staff accountant, and controller for several businesses, tailoring reporting style and layout to fit the specific demands of individual accounts. Bob also brings his interpersonal experiences in HR and on the board of a non-for-profit charity to his work advising CAT.