Performer, Director, Choreographer, Teaching Artist, Arts Administrator
Vanessa is a Chicago-based performer, director, choreographer, teaching artist, and arts administrator.
She serves as the Education Director at Mudlark Theater, as well as teaching, directing, writing, and choreographing for the company. She is psyched to continue to teach for Northlight Theatre and Actor's Gymnasium, working with young mind and bodies to facilitate agency, artistic skills, and play.
She graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Theatre, minor in Political Science, certificate in Musical Theatre, and module in Musical Theatre Choreography. While at Northwestern, Vanessa served as Outreach Director and a teaching artist for Seesaw Theatre and lead community outreach and accessibility efforts for The Waa-Mu Show.
She's passionate about inclusive and accessible theatre as a teacher, administrator, and artist. Talk with her about creating accessible, interactive theaterical experiences for kids on the Autism Spectrum with Seesaw Theatre or about her project exploring the use of ASL as the basis for choreography.
When she's not in rehearsal or teaching, you can find her doing yoga, dancing, boxing, listening to true crime podcasts, baking, or re-watching The West Wing for the 32nd time.
In Spring 2021 I adapted & directed my first show back in person, Treasure Island!
We braved the challenges of putting on an outdoor show (including getting snowed on during rehearsal, thanks Chicago weather) for a really wonderful production.
Stay safe, get vaccinated, and I'll see you back inside a theater soon!
Work with youth
Over my past six years as a teaching artist, I have experienced firsthand the impact of meaningful arts education on students of all backgrounds and abilities. By fostering agency, creative-decision making, self-advocacy, and play through the performing arts, I hope to facilitate spaces where young people can become better communicators, collaborators, and community members. Time and experience have only strengthened my belief in theater as an essential tool of social-emotional learning, and the centrality of empathy to community health and joy.
Also, silly games will be played.