Our core leadership team is a collection of diverse arts leaders interested in dismantling the hierarchy of the traditional producing model in theatre. We are passionate arts makers guided by principles of transparency, joy, anti-oppression, anti-racism, and collective leadership. We hope to create a sustainable model that re-imagines the future of the arts in America.
Jorge Acevedo (he/him), Casting Director & Artistic Advisor
Jorge also works as the Casting & Executive Coordinator at Signature Theatre. A Graduate in Arts Administration from Wagner College in New York City. Jorge previously worked as the Artistic Planning Assistant at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts before becoming the Executive Assistant at Signature. A member of the TEDxBroadway Young Professionals Program in 2019 and a recent graduate of the inaugural class of Broadway for Racial Justice’s Casting Directive. Jorge serves as Co-Chair of Signature’s Anti-Racism & Equity Working Group. He is committed to doing everything in his power to help make our field a much more equitable and safe space for all. As a child of immigrant parents, Jorge understands and appreciates their hard work and is honored to help tell this story.
Isabella Benning (she/her), Social Media Managment Intern
Isabella is a rising senior at the University of Maryland: College Park where she is a Theatre Performance and Criminology/Criminal Justice Double Degree candidate. While Isabella’s primary background is in performance, she also has experience in scenic painting, costume design, and marking and social media, which she is excited to utilize once again for Working in DC. Isabella has worked on social media for past theatre performances, most recently as the Marketing Intern for the 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, hosted by Playwrights Foundation. Isabella hopes to continue to use her voice in the arts to tell stories that promote inclusivity and representation.
Jake Bridges, Development Director; Associate Artistic Producer
Jake Bridges just completed his graduate studies in the Arts Management program at American University, where he was the graduate fellow for the inaugural Artistic Director Initiative developed in partnership with Arena Stage. While at American, he honed his arts management skills at both the Mosaic Theatre Company and the DeVos Institute of Arts Management. He hopes to continue working in the arts with hopes of one day pursuing artistic leadership in the regional theatre industry. Prior to graduate studies, Jake was an actor, director, producer, and teaching artist in New York City. In the not-so-distant past, Jake has used his advanced analytical and composition skills to write about fantasy baseball, which surely promises him an early retirement and endless riches. Jake has been a proud union member of Actors’ Equity Association since 2016!
Elise Bryant, LHF Executive Director, Dramaturg
Elise launched her labor arts career as the artistic director of the University of Michigan’s labor theatre project, Workers’ Lives/Workers’ Stories in 1982. She joined the National Writers Union and began her screenwriting career with a script for the documentary, Porgy and Bess: an American Voice, which aired last year on PBS.
Elise wrote and directed three plays produced by the Performance Network in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Common Ground Theatre Ensemble: “Workin’ for Living,” “River Dreams,” and “The Zoo Zoo Chronicles.” In 1998, Elise made her Washington, DC stage debut in Theatre J’s production of Goodnight Irene and founded the DC Labor Chorus. She directed two productions of the labor jazz opera, Forgotten, in Detroit and in the Washington, DC area (seewww.forgottenshow.net). In 2017, Elise directed the debut of a new labor jazz opera, Love Songs from the Liberation Wars, which also opened to rave reviews. She is currently working on an autobiographical one-woman show entitled, “Queen of the Night.”
After working 35 years as a labor educator, Elise retired from her professorship at the National Labor College to start her own consulting service, the E.L.I.S.E. Consortium. Her areas of expertise include Communication Skills, Effective Committee Training, Leadership Training, Teaching Techniques, Labor History and Culture, Diversity Training, Organization Development and “Arts as a Tool for Organizing”. Elise currently serves as the executive director of the Labor Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization that is the “art and soul of the labor movement.”
Elise is a lifetime member of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World), a member of the AFM Local 1000 as well as CWA/Newspaper Guild Local 32035. In 2012, she received the Lifetime Achievement award from the United Association of Labor Educators. In 2017, she became president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) and a month later was elected vice-president of CWA/TNG Local 32031
Shanara Gabrielle, Lead Collaborator; Artistic Producer
Shanara Gabrielle is a theatre artist with a focus on gutsy, inventive, and engaging experiences for all audiences. As a director, actor, and leader, Shanara is inspired to shape the future of arts institutions and artistic practice as essentials of civic life. Driven by stories of justice and tales of imagination, she is interested in creating new work and reimagining traditional texts with artists of courage and depth. With the skills to lead and curiosity to grow, Shanara has the charisma, drive, and vision to make things happen. Shanara brings professionalism, impeccable training, and an open spirit to every job she takes on. She is proudly from Iowa and makes a mean bowl of popcorn, can whip up a delicious meal from an empty cabinet, and since she’s an aerialist, she can probably climb a rope faster than you can. Though she loves her work, when she’s not in the rehearsal room or in the theatre, look for her to be road tripping with her family or spending time in the sunshine. A proud union member of SDC, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA, Shanara believes in the power of working together for the common good!
Trés McMichael, Social Accountability & Partnerships Coordinator; Associate Creative Producer
Trés McMichael is an arts leader and performer who is passionate about community engagement, arts education, and social justice. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Arts Leadership at Seattle University and is an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Research Fellow with the Association of Arts Administration Educators. He has worked with various nonprofit and arts organizations such as Arena Stage, Maryland Leadership Workshops, and the NAACP and has performed on the stages of Mill Mountain Theatre, Theatre Raleigh, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Signature Theater, and Lincoln Center. Through his work as the Education Programs Manager at the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative, Trés strives to make the arts sector more inclusive and equitable for all.
Mallory Miller, Production & Operations Intern
Mallory Miller is a Washington, DC-based Arts Management professional with a combined ten years of experience in non-profit and event management. She approaches her work with analytical, solutions-oriented tenacity. Most recently, Mallory has used her management expertise as a studio manager at Washington’s Joy of Motion Dance Center as well as her writing & editing skills as an intern with LaunchSpace, Inc. in rural Massachusetts. Mallory is most passionate about elevating the contributions and status of artists in our society as well using her professional talents to promote equity in our broader culture. Outside of the professional realm, Mallory enjoys engaging in her active dance, fitness and yoga practices and developing her skills as a knockout home cook. Mallory is honored and excited to join the Labor Heritage Foundation and the team of Working In DC in honoring the frontline workers of the past year as well as the tradition of American labor activism. Mallory holds a Bachelor of Arts from Butler University, where she studied journalism & dance, and is currently pursuing an Arts Management certificate with the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Kat Moser (she/her), Marketing & Communications Intern
Kat is a recent graduate in Theatre and Communications from James Madison University. Kat’s background is in costume design, having received a KCACTF award for costume design excellence in her senior year. During undergrad she worked as a costume shop assistant, student designer, wardrobe head, and historical costume collection assistant. Kat believes in a well researched design with creative ambitions. Her passion for communications sparked during a study abroad experience, diving into community storytelling and conflict negotiation. When her two loves collided and she found a drive towards communication through the arts. Her personal mission is to create spaces for the underrepresented, silenced, and misunderstood. Kat is seeking to use her design and communications skills to build bridges in broken communities, using the arts and conversation to heal and rebuild.
Quoc Tran, Production & Operations Manager; Associate Logistics Producer
Bio to come!
WORKING IN DC
"The extraordinary dreams of ordinary people" - Studs Terkel