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Building Troupe Leadership: Support & Sustainability

Virtual Event Virtual Event

March 9 @ 8:00 pm 9:30 pm EST

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In this session, the directors of the Chicago Playback Theatre Ensemble (Darrick Jackson, Allison Sokolowski, and Clarissa Worcester) will come together with former leaders of the Asheville Playback theatre troupe (Deb Scott and Cat Gilliam) to describe the strengths and weaknesses of their troupes’ leadership structures at different times. For both troupes, leadership structures evolved over time to serve their needs. 

Following a panel-like conversation between these troupes, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their own leadership structures to share wisdom as well as consider how they could be improved to better serve their needs. 


Headshot of Allison smiling warmly with short brown hair
Allison Sokolowski (she/her/hers)
Chicago Playback Theatre Ensemble & Assistant PNA Coordinator

Allison (Artistic Director/Founder of Chicago Playback Theatre Ensemble) is an actor, storyteller, and proud Chicagoland native with a B.S. in Acting and English from Illinois State University represented by Lori Lins Ltd, and she is grateful to return to practicing Playback Theatre in this great city. She was a founding member of the Illinois State Playback Theatre Ensemble where, for over two years, she performed in shows and helped lead outreach workshops with the local Boys and Girls Club. She has also studied at the Centre for Playback Theatre in New York and is looking forward to bringing what she’s learned to Chicago’s new ensemble. Allison is most interested in imaginative, innovative, and socially rooted productions and projects, and you can learn more about her and her work at http://allisonsokolowski.wixsite.com/allisonsokolowski

Cat Gilliam (she/her/hers) Formerly Asheville Playback and Seattle

Cat Gilliam Cat’s background includes special education, improvisational theater & dance and individual and couples life enhancement skills. Her work with Playback Theatre began in 1990, co-founding Asheville Playback in 1993. Cat began her study and practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) with Marshall Rosenberg in 2003. She loves bringing the consciousness of NVC and Playback together to enliven, embody and bring clarity to possibilities of the ‘imaginative art of listening’. 

Photo of Clarissa in a button up shirt and glasses smiling
Clarissa Worcester (they/them/theirs)
Chicago Playback Theatre Ensemble & PNA Coordinator

Clarissa grew up on Sauk, Peoria, Meskwaki, and Oceti Šakówi? land now known as Sterling, IL. They now live in Chicago, the unceded land of the Three Fires: Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi. They are Company Director of Chicago Playback Theatre Ensemble and Coordinator of Playback North America. They recently returned to school, studying Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. Outside of Playback, they are training to become an Interplay Leader, volunteer as a sexual assault crisis counselor, participate in mutual aid organizing, and substitute teach at a forest preschool. Perhaps most often, you can probably find them making eggs while thinking a little too hard about the intersections of embodiment, justice, play.

Darrick Jackson (he/him/his) Chicago Playback Theatre Ensemble

Darrick Jackson was first introduced to playback in Boston with South End Playback in 2001. He is now Business Director and a founding member of the Chicago Playback Theatre Ensemble. Darrick is a minister who is part of the Executive Team of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.

Deb Scott (she/her/hers) formerly Asheville Playback Theatre

Deb Scott worked in traditional theater in NYC for many years, and did not encounter Playback until moving to NC and met Cat Gilliam shortly thereafter. Asheville Playback Theatre was founded around 1994 by Cat and Raphael Peter. In 1997, Deb became Artistic Director of APT, in partnership with Raphael as Managing Director. The company went into hiatus in 2017, but Deb still offers monthly community playback workshops. She is an Accredited Trainer through the Center for Playback Theatre and has taught across the US and in Cuba. She currently serves on the CPT Board.

Who's coming?

14 people are attending Building Troupe Leadership: Support & Sustainability

Clarissa Worcester Leslie Becknell Marx Thomas Novak Composting Christina Bellamy