Abby Thompson is a creator, voiceover artist, educator, actor, writer, director and arts advocate originally from Milwaukee, WI. She has performed and taught professionally with Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Storycatchers Theatre, First Stage Children’s Theater, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, African American Children’s Theatre, Compass Creative Dramatics, Collaboraction and Columbia College Chicago (Beidler Elementary School). Abby records voiceover for commercial work (represented by NV Talent), narrations (Sprout Social, etc.), animation, audiobooks and articles for an app called Spokn. She is currently the Communications Intern for @ninety1co, a media company for creatives and pop culture fans, founded by singer, producer and podcaster @jamiegraceh. Abby holds a BA in Acting with a minor in Voiceover from Columbia College Chicago. She has spoken on several arts advocacy panels, including the Education Pre-Conference for the Theatre Communications Conference 2019. Some of her favorite mediums include theater for social justice, mixed race theater, improv comedy, devised theater, immersive theater and children’s theater. In her spare time, she is found travelling the world! For more of her work, visit: abbythompson.org.
Anastacia Narrajos is a teaching artist, performer and theater maker based in Chicago. She is deeply introspective and curious about the world, and her work strives to make connections, expand imaginations, to synthesize and reflect. She has been a part of the Steppenwolf Teaching Artist Cohort since 2019. Her path as an arts educator began at The University of Illinois at Chicago where she graduated with a BA in Theater Performance in 2018. Since then she has worked as a teaching artist and facilitator across the city and is also a member of teaching artist cohorts at Lifeline Theater, Raven Theater and Depaul’s Creative Root. Anastacia (or Ana for short) is an active theater maker with a focus on somatic practices and laboratory style theater making, an ensemble member with Walkabout Theater Company, and a lifelong learner. Her practice strives to center the healing and transformative nature of theater and art making.
Cara Greene Epstein works as a writer, actor, director, educator and creativity consultant. Throughout her work, she uses heart and humor to explore challenging social dynamics, the world around us and our very human desire to find somewhere we belong. In her viral Ted Talk "How theater weathers wars, outlasts empires, and survives pandemics," Cara focuses on how we can use the arts to build a more just, representative and beautiful world together on stage and off. This talk is heavily informed by over a decade of work as a teaching artist in Chicago and NYC. Cara holds an honors degree in Theater Arts from Cornell University, an MFA in Acting from The Old Globe/USD, and a second MFA in Television and Screenwriting. Her award-winning feature film Dragonfly, which she wrote and co-directed, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Cara also works as a creative process and facilitation consultant to help all sorts of organizations—from theaters to Fortune 500 companies—imagine new possibilities.
Charles Andrew Gardner was born and raised on Chicago's south side. An actor, producer, teaching artist and SAG-AFTRA Chicago Local President, Charles Andrew Gardner has a passion for illuminating the stories of the underrepresented. Over the past decade, Charles has a become an avid arts education advocate, teaching and mentoring with Dime Child, After School Matters, HHW, Steppenwolf for Young Adults, Goodman Theatre and Timeline Theatre, through which he has reached thousands of Chicagoland students. Charles is also an on-camera acting professor at DePaul University, as well as a faculty member at The Acting Studio Chicago. Charles is a Company Member with Timeline Theatre Company where he has appeared onstage in Kill Move Paradise (Jeff nomination for Best Ensemble, BTAA nomination for Best Ensemble), Paradise Blue (BTAA nomination for Best Featured Actor) and My Kind of Town (BTAA nomination for Best Actor) for which Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune named him one of 2012's “Hot New Faces to Watch”. Other Chicago theatre credits include His Shadow (Jeff nomination for Best Actor) at 16th Street Theatre; Objects in the Mirror, Stop.Reset., and Buzzer at Goodman Theatre; How Long Will I Cry at Steppenwolf Theatre; Macbeth and Othello at The Suitcase Shakespeare Company; and The Great Fire at Lookingglass Theatre. On-camera credits include The Chi, Chicago PD; ﬁlms Long Ride Home, Olympia, Exodus, Every 21 Seconds and Holding On; as well as multiple national commercials. In addition to his work in the classroom, on stage and in front of the camera, Charles sits on the Associate Producer board at the Gene Siskel Film Center and is an advisory board member of Creative Cypher.
Greg Geffrard is an educator, actor, director and spoken word artist. He has been dedicated to decolonizing spaces of art creation and has championed those willing to engage in the immediate conversation about what equity looks like within our institutions since moving to Chicago in 2012. He has been a teacher with Steppenwolf since 2015 and a Sexual Assault Prevention Educator since 2016. He has partnered with the Chicago Inclusion Project, Steppenwolf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Old Town School Of Folk Music, and Chicago Arts Partnership in Education to facilitate challenging conversations, create curriculum and formulate initiatives to aid in the creation of brave spaces for art to be cultivated. He is currently the Lead Facilitator of Professional Development for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, facilitating Antiracist workshops with the Chicago Poetry Center, and an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago. His work broadly speaking focuses on the empowerment of historically dehumanized populations and being self generators of radical joy.
Jared Bellot (he/him) is a Chicago-based educator, facilitator and theatre artist whose interests lie at the intersection of storytelling, language and community. As an artist and educator, Jared works to curate spaces and facilitate conversations that allow for moments of rigorous reflection and genuine curiosity. He has worked at Steppenwolf since 2014 where, in addition to serving as a Teaching Artist, he has overseen teen programs, worked to foster relationships with youth empowerment organizations throughout Chicago, managed Steppenwolf’s In School Residency program and currently serves as a producer working towards the opening of Steppenwolf’s new Arts and Education Center. As a freelance theatre artist and educator, Jared has worked at theaters across the city including Definition Theatre (where he serves as Associate Artistic Director), Timeline Theatre (where he is an Associate Artist), and Jackalope Theatre (where he is a company member), as well as Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens Theatre, DePaul University, The Yard, Pride Films and Plays, Stage Left Theatre and Porchlight Music Theatre. Jared received his AB in Theatre Arts and American Studies from Brown University in 2012.
Jazmín Corona is a Mexican American and bilingual actor, writer, dancer and photographer. She has worked as a teaching artist with Steppenwolf for Young Adults since 2016. She has also had the pleasure of teaching with Northlight Theatre, The Viola Project and Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), to name a few. She has brought numerous works of art to schools all over Chicago. As an actor, she has worked with Steppenwolf, Goodman, First Folio Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Free Street, Raven Theatre and Babes With Blades, among many others. Her TV credits include NBC's Chicago Fire. She is proudly represented by DDO Chicago.
Jeremy Ohringer is a director, teaching artist and adjunct professor. In addition to Steppenwolf, he teaches at North Central College, Writers Theatre, Northlight Theatre and Chicago Youth Shakespeare among others. His favorite directing projects include Stupid F**king Bird (DePaul University), Raymondo (The Cartographers), Angels in America: Perestroika (Boston University), Who Walked All Night… (Rhino Fest), Salve Regina Center on Halsted), Sad Songs for Bad People (Rough House Theater), Who Rowed Across Oceans (Edinburgh Fringe Festival) and an original adaptation of Spring Awakening (Fearless Theatre). Jeremy is Vice-Chair of the board of The Midwives, a national collective of artists supporting each other’s individual projects. He holds an MFA in directing from Boston University.
Lauren Katz is a Chicago-based director, educator, and dramaturg. Favorite directing credits include: Cowabunga (Broken Nose Theatre), Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (Strawdog Theatre), This is a Chair (Haven Theatre), and Women of 4G (Babes with Blades Theatre Company). As an assistant director and dramaturg in Chicago, Lauren has worked with various companies including: About Face Theatre, Firebrand Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Theater Wit, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, Writers Theatre and Windy City Playhouse. Lauren served as the 2016/2017 Artistic Apprentice at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and as a fellow in the 2018/2019 Directors Inclusion Initiative at Victory Gardens Theatre. As a teaching artist, Lauren also works with Adventure Stage Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre and Mudlark Theater.
Monet Felton is a director, producer, writer, teaching artist and company member at Jackalope Theatre. Monet earned their BFA in Acting at The University of Illinois at Chicago, where they currently teach as an adjunct professor for their non-majors theatre class. They are currently studying on a scholarship to be certified in the Alexander Technique. They have had the opportunity to teach at theatres such as Adventure Stage Chicago, Congo Square, Raven Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Walkabout Theatre and Steppenwolf for Young Adults. Monet is a proud member of the Steppenwolf teaching artist cohort.
Sheldon Brown is a graduate of Emerson College for acting. He is an artist, actor, writer, educator and activist. He’s performed in many works that explore the topics of race, social justice and sexuality. He is an artistic associate and board member of About Face Theatre, a recipient of the President's Award for Creative Courage from Emerson College for his work educating and inspiring others to create social change. He is a member of the Second Act Chi, a social justice theatre coalition working to create harm reduction practices and equal opportunities for marginalized voices within the theatre community, as well as systems of transparency and accountability for institutions to create and maintain fair, diverse and equitable spaces. He is a teaching artist with Northlight and Steppenwolf Theatre, as well as the League of Chicago Theatres in conjunction with the August Wilson Monologue Competition. He is passionate about getting young people to use their voice even if it’s scary and allowing themselves to embrace being comfortable with being uncomfortable to make their voices heard.
Sonya Madrigal is a proud Mexican American Chicago actor, director, dancer and teaching artist who loves being a voice for stories that are currently being marginalized by our society. She is a 2019 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where she received her BFA in acting. As an artist, Sonya is a strong believer in storytelling through movement and always brings that into the room when performing around the City of Chicago. Sonya has been a dance teacher and choreographer from a very young age and has trained in multiple forms of movement and dance, such as: ballet, modern, jazz, Alexander technique, Laban and 11 years of traditional Mexican folk dancing. Sonya is a teaching artist with Steppenwolf Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, Raven Theatre, University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, and The August Wilson monologue competition outreach program. Her recent stages have been Victory Gardens, Court Theatre, Congo Square Theatre and Teatro Vista.
Tiffany Fulson is a theatre performer, director, teaching artist, and Community Programs Curator from the South Side of Chicago. She has a deep devotion to reimagining theatre through Innovation, Collaboration, Community Healing & Wellness. She empowers youth to use their talents to pursue their goals and use their unapologetic presence to dismantle the inequities within the performing arts. Tiffany has worked with Steppenwolf as a teaching artist, program consultant, curriculum creator and facilitator of professional development. She is also the Artistic Producer of Innovative Partnerships at TimeLine Theatre Company and the Education Director of the August Wilson Monologue Competition Outreach Program. Some of her other favorite artistic collaborations have come through her work at Global Girls Inc. (Chicago), Northlight Theatre (Skokie), Baltimore Center Stage, Apollo (NYC), Mosaic (DC), Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Tabard Theatre (London). Tiffany holds a BFA degree in Theatre Performance from University of Illinois at Chicago and also studied at Arcadia University for Global Studies in London, England.
Tina El Gamal (she/her) is a Chicago-based actor, director, arts administrator and teaching artist. She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the Managing Director of Jackalope Theatre Company. As an artist and educator, she has worked with numerous theatres across Chicago, including: Silk Road Rising, Lookingglass, Interrobang, Pegasus, Oak Park Festival Theatre, and more! Tina is represented by Big Mouth Talent.
Wilfredo “Freddie” Ramos (they/them) is a writer and educator with five years practice crafting and facilitating spaces for personal and collective inquiry. Freddie strives to empower people of all ages to deepen their relationships to works of art, to themselves and to their communities through conversation, collaboration and play. Freddie holds a BA in English with a creative writing concentration in playwriting from Yale University. If you were to visit Freddie’s creative world, you would find: forests of colored pencils, oceans of playlists and thousands of portals to the creative worlds of others and, perhaps, a portal to your own.
Educator Training Program
Learn more about Steppenwolf's Educator Training Program, including classroom teacher trainings.