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Collaboraction Theatre Company Grows Staff With Four New Hires

Meet Collaboraction's new staff members!

Collaboraction, Chicago's theater for social change, has added four new staff members, all committed to collaborating with a diverse community of Chicagoans, artists, activists and under-represented voices to create original theatrical experiences that cultivate dialogue and action around the city's most critical social issues.

Meet Collaboraction's new staff members - James Anthony, Marketing Manager (they/them); Crystal Barnes, Associate Producer (she/her); Deanna Gonzalez, Development Associate (she/her); and, Nikolaj Sorensen, Production Manager (he/him):

James Anthony, Marketing Manager

James Anthony (they/them) comes to Collaboraction after serving as Director of Marketing and Communications for Chicago Children's Theatre. They're an active listener, thought provoker, qualitative and quantitative researcher and storyteller. As an IDEA activist and advocate, JA believes comprehensive strategies and empathy make progress, and an inclusive culture fosters a brave space. They have an ardor for politics, media, interior design, podcasts, and hosting parties. They're also a recipient of the 2019 Windy City Times Top 30 Under 30 LGBTQ+ Awards.

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Crystal Barnes, Associate Producer

Barnes (she/her) is a 20-year film and theater veteran. She has produced over 20 independent projects ranging from short films, commercials and live theater throughout the Chicago area. She has been honored to speak on 10+ panels, serve as consultant on many independent projects, and serve as mentor on as many as 20+ teen driven projects within various Chicago arts organizations in her 25-year career as a teaching artist. She holds an BA in acting from Temple University and is an MFA candidate from Rutgers University.

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Deanna Gonzalez, Development Associate

Gonzalez (she/her) is a passionate arts administrator with broad experience in both nonprofit and commercial theaters throughout the East Coast and in the Midwest. Striving to support and cultivate a theater experience that will transform and inspire its audiences, Gonzalez believes that the performing arts can foster necessary change, initiate significant conversations and educate all. She is a dramaturg, writer, arts enthusiast and constant student of life.

Nikolaj Sorensen, Production Manager

Sorensen (he/him) is a production manager and scenic designer living and working in Chicago. His work is grounded in community, seeking to serve and uplift the voices of those around him in the pursuit of justice and equity. As a mixed-race artist and inveterate geek, he loves mashups and remixes in all their forms and has long been interested in the potential of the internet as a vehicle for theatrical experimentation and community-building. He holds a B.S. in Theatre from Northwestern University; has production managed for Palo Alto Players, Piven Theatre Workshop, Northwestern's Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and is currently the Director of Production for Hearing in Color Chicago.

This talented quartet of artists/activists/administrators joins current Collaboraction staff members Anthony Moseley, Artistic Director (he/him); Dr. Marcus Robinson, Executive Director (he/him); Elsa Hiltner, Director of Development (she/her); Sarah Swift, Producing Director (she/her); and Tweed Thornton, Company Manager (he/him).

"We are honored to welcome these skilled, experienced and passionate new additions to our team who will undoubtedly impact our ability to manifest our mission to cultivate social change as we enter a new era," said Moseley. "We are committed and inspired by the work that lies ahead and are investing in our production, marketing and development human resources as we rise to meet the opportunities for both virtual and live programming and crucial conversations to cultivate change."

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. Submissions are being accepted through Tuesday, February 15, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. CT. For festival descriptions, guidelines and to submit a proposal, visit collaboraction.org/submissions.

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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