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Collaboraction Introduces FAMILY TREE STORIES

Family Tree Stories will launch in mid-March as a website introducing fifteen original storytellers.

Collaboraction Introduces FAMILY TREE STORIES

Collaboraction, Chicago's theater for social change, is launching Family Tree Stories, a new mixed media project that will illuminate how systemic oppression impacts our ancestral narratives and how interconnected our family stories actually are.

Conceived and directed by Artistic Director Anthony Moseley, Family Tree Stories will launch in mid-March as a website introducing 15 original Family Tree Storytellers. The site will be (coming soon), and their stories will be sortable by video, audio, text narratives and keywords to allow users to examine the way our lives overlap and intersect.

Soon after the site launches, the public will be invited to upload their own Family Tree Stories to help cultivate a lush, virtual, renewable forest of diverse family histories.
The 15 original Family Tree Storytellers are Dana N. Anderson, Dr. David Ansel, Dr. Finley Campbell, Tommy Carroll, Sandra Delgado, GQ, Arica Hilton, Loretta "Firekeeper" Hawkins, Jamil Khoury, Sean Patrick Leonard, Aria Mallare, Sammy Rangel, Jasmine Robinson, Jacqueline Russell and Priya Shah.

Encouraging collaborators to share their family narratives through the prism of how they've been impacted by systemic oppression has been a growing part of Moseley's model for co-devising theater around critical social issues. The practice is now a group ritual when Collaboraction brings artists, activists and social change thought leaders together for festivals, virtual productions, live talk shows on its Together Network, EDI workshops, racial healing circles, even staff meetings and board retreats.

"The act of sharing what your family has gone through to allow you to be present and connected to others today is a living manifestation of your ancestors," said Moseley. "Family Tree Stories are powerful reminders that we are all completely interconnected and have much more in common than not. They're the perfect way for us to share part of our devised theater-making process while leveraging the digital medium during the pandemic."

On Thursday, February 18 at 8 p.m. CT, Collaboraction's live, digital talk show Crucial Connections will preview the launch of Family Tree Stories.
Rayshauna Gray, a Chicago southside native, historian, author of "Roseland: A Family History," currently working at Harvard University and the Cambridge Historical Society. Gray will be joined by three original Family Tree Storytellers - Dana N. Anderson, GQ and Sandra Delgado.

Crucial Connections is an online, monthly talk show that explores the intersection of critical social and cultural issues, co-hosted on Collaboraction's Together Network by Anthony Moseley and Collaboraction Executive Director Dr. Marcus Robinson. Audiences can join and interact with the hosts live on Zoom by registering in advance at Livestreams and past episodes can also be found on Collaboraction's YouTube and Facebook pages.

Collaboraction's Family Tree Stories production team is Anthony Moseley (director), Sarah Swift (producer), Crystal Barnes (associate producer), Alex Groesch (editor), Sarah D. Espinoza (sound and multimedia design), Nikolaj Sorensen (production manager) and James Anthony (graphic design). Anthony Moseley and Dr. Marcus Robinson are executive producers. i??

Looking ahead, Collaboraction's staff, board, and company members are planning three short work performing arts festivals in 2021: The Light, a summer festival showcasing Chicago artists 21 and under; Encounter Englewood, a new video fest created by and showcasing Englewood artists/activists; and the 6th Annual PEACEBOOK, Collaboraction's fall festival of new theater, music, dance and spoken word about peace. All three festivals will be produced either live, onstage or as a virtual video fest. In addition, stay tuned for news of more exciting virtual programming from Collaboraction in 2021, including expanded programming on the company's new, member-supported Together Network. Collaboraction will also develop and present a new world premiere musical satire, Red Island, that shines a light on our nation's outrageous history and the ridiculous evolution of American "isms," created by Anthony Moseley and Carla Stillwell.

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