S. Leigh Thompson, Executive Director and Co-founder
S. Leigh Thompson is a social justice artist, a critical educator and a raging queer and has spent his adult life working for political and social justice, especially within the queer and trans* communities. He has been studying and working with Theatre of the Oppressed techniques since 1997 and has worked with and learned from dozens of skilled trainers and facilitators around the world, including founder Augusto Boal on multiple occasions. Leigh is the President Elect of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc. and has been a member since 2001. Leigh has worked for several local, state and national organizations, including the Empire State Pride Agenda, the ACLU, GLSEN, and the Applied Research Center and Colorlines.com. In 2012 Leigh became The Executive Director of The Forum Project and works to guide the operations and programming of the organization. He has worked with many different communities, including immigrants, survivors of sexual violence, transgender people, people with disabilities and queer youth. Leigh has a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in Directing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and an individualized Master of Arts from Gallatin at New York University, focusing on utilizing Theatre of the Oppressed for political and social change. Email Leigh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alexander Santiago-Jirau, Artistic Director and Co-founder
Alexander Santiago-Jirau is a theatre artist, advocate and educator with extensive experience in popular education and theatre for social justice. He has studied Theatre of the Oppressed techniques for over twelve years, working with Augusto Boal on several occasions. Alex is a past President of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc. and a current Board Member of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable. Throughout his career he has worked in neighborhood planning, environmental justice, teacher recruitment and arts education. Currently, he is Associate Director of Teaching and Learning at The Center for Arts Education, where he manages a roster of over sixty teaching artists in dance, music, theatre and the visual arts, counsels youth pursuing arts careers, and facilitates professional development for educators. He is an Adjunct Instructor in the Program in Educational Theatre at New York University where he teaches courses in Theatre of the Oppressed, and a Visiting Lecturer at Drew University where he has taught courses in Latin American/Latino political theatre. Alex holds a BS in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and an MA in Educational Theatre from New York University, focusing on Theatre of the Oppressed, applied theatre and drama in education. Email Alex at email@example.com.
Lloyd Woodcock, Associate Director
Lloyd Woodcock is an arts educator, artist, and advocate that has spent the better part of his life involved in the theatre. He holds a MSEd. in Educational Theatre from CUNY City College and has been a teaching artist in NYC for the past 9 years. Lloyd has recently been using Theatre of the Oppressed techniques in his teaching and his current work with the Forum Project’s Performance Troupe has given him an artistic fulfillment far beyond his expectations. Although new to social justice work, Lloyd loves using theatre as a way to start dialogue and open the minds of those who need it most. As Associate Director of TFP, Lloyd hopes to grow as a community advocate and build his skills in using theater for social justice. Email Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Faith Lawson, Education Coordinator
Faith Lawson is a theater artist, arts educator and social justice advocate who has been involved in the performing arts for 13 years. Faith received a Master of Arts in Educational Theater from New York University, where her passion for Theater of the Oppressed began to take flight. Faith has served numerous organizations and communities in NYC , Europe and Asia which include refugees, prison inmates and troubled youth. Faith has and continues to use Theater of the Oppressed as a platform for social awareness both as an educator and artist. Faith is a firm believer in using theater techniques as a means to entertain as well as educate and looks forward to working with The Forum Project in its endeavors to create change.
Sarah Giffin, Program Intern
Sarah Giffin is BA candidate at Eugene Lang College studying Psychology, Theatre, and Creative Arts/Drama Therapy. She is a long time advocate of using the arts to create community dialogue and social change. On her campus, she utilizes interactive arts installations to address issues of community, identity, privilege, justice in the classroom, and student wellness. At school, she works as a Peer Health Advocate, SafeZone Ally, Social Justice Initiatives student leader, and Research Assistant in theTrauma and Affective Psychophysiology Lab. She has learned all she knows about Theatre of the Oppressed from The Forum Project and is always finding ways to bring this critical pedagogy and activated learning to her New School Community. Email Sarah at email@example.com.
Clara Kiely, Performance Troupe Intern
Clara Kiely is an activist and ex-student who loves theater in all forms. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in linguistics (because she’s fascinated with the ways in which people communicate). She worked for the Brown University Theater department for three years, and interned at the Public Theater and the Playwright’s Realm. Her own activism focuses on gender and sexuality, but she believes in the power of Theater of the Oppressed to address many different intersections of oppression, and hopes to continue working in those intersections. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.