Andrea joined Mirror Image Arts in 2009 as an actress, continued to grow with the organization and accepted the role of Executive Director in 2014. She graduated with a B.F.A. in Theatre from Sam Houston State University. Andrea Rabold has been active using theatre as a catalyst to create awareness and identify solutions to social issues for over 8 years. She most recently came from Starbucks Corporation where she served 13.5 years in a variety of roles in retail sales, organization and program development, people management, operational leadership, project management, and event planning
It was high school where I found myself desperately looking for my place of belonging. Theatre was where I finally belonged…to a community of people…”misfits” we called ourselves. In becoming an actor, I learned to live in someone else’s shoes. There was a freedom in that, and I realized I was not alone in the ways I was viewing and experiencing the world. I started as an actor in my Mirror Image Arts journey. I wanted to be a part of doing something bigger than myself. I wanted to be, for another young person, what I needed when I was young. I wanted to share my life’s story and struggle in a way that lifted me out of my shame and help others find and express themselves on their journey…to help them see and breathe into their potential. What I love about my job now, is that every day, I witness phenomenal humans doing extraordinary things for themselves and each other. I am part of a collective seeking and living our human potential. It’s hard to imagine wanting anything else.
Maya Osterman-Van Grack
Program & Partnerships Director
Maya Is an applied theatre practitioner for the past 7 years. BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Colorado, Maya began to work as the Managing Director for Affinity Arts Consulting based in Boulder, CO. She then created the ACTivism Theatre Ensemble for The SAVA (Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy) Center. Her latest endeavor is working with the Colorado Division of Youth Corrections where she will be mounting the pilot program A.C.T (Activate. Create. Transform)
Theatre is the study of humanity through storytelling and acting is the vessel that brings those stories to life. Acting is the ultimate form of practicing empathy as you are literally forced to take on someone else’s life and understand their circumstances, make meaning of their choices, and explore the complexities of an individual. When I saw how miARTS was combining Applied Theatre with youth in such an intentional, artistic, and inspiring way, I knew I had to be a part of it! A powerful moment I witnessed was when Cook was having a really hard day. Tears poured down his face he said he didn’t want to go to group. “It’s just two hours, and then I have to come back to this, I always have to come back to this.” Eventually, he joined the line trepidatiously. During the check-in at the top of the session, one of my returning students looked Cook in the eye and shared that he was “kinda forced into the group last time” and that he had many days where he felt like Cook. But everything would change because “You get to be yourself here, you don’t have to be tough. You get to just be you”. With each activity, Cook got more and more comfortable laughing and playing with his peers. As we finished class, Cook, grinning from ear to ear, said, “I think we are going to be great.”
Emerging Teaching Artist Intern
Mitch was born and raised in Denver. He was exposed to the entertainment industry at a young age by family members and has been studying acting for over a decade. He has been performing in film and on stage in the Denver area and is dedicated to the craft of storytelling.
The theater is the actor’s medium where we are responsible for leading the audience’s journey. Theater also has the ability to make people think and feel in an intimate way that can really change a community. I joined MIA for a couple of reasons. I felt like it was a chance to deepen my craft and to use my chosen profession to help kids. It felt like the first un-selfish use of what I do.
We get to provide a safe, nurturing environment, and I love getting to see what the students bring to the table. They’re very creative and insightful and I’m consistently amazed at their emotional depth and compassion. We will often see kids’ engagement levels grow throughout the program. Any time a child who was closed off at the beginning and opens up by the end is amazing. Whether they’re up on stage performing, or even if they’re just sharing something personal with the group, it’s a really cool thing!
Tiya received her BA in Theater and Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado, Boulder where her passion for acting grew even bigger when she joined the Interactive Theater Project and began to act for social justice. After receiving her bachelor’s degree Tiya went on to pursue a Masters Degree in Education and has been working with young folks in various communities and capacities every since. Tiya is excited to be able to combine her love of speaking, working with young folks and acting as a part of her new role at Mirror Image Arts.
Theater, to me, means that I get to give a voice to the voiceless as well as put myself in other people’s shoes. I believe that theater is a form of medicine and that people can be healed by it. Theater gives folks an outlet for creativity and to tell their own stories. I love the thought of going to communities whose voices may not get heard or may be misunderstood and teach them creative outlets. I also love working with young folks and believe that introducing SEL skills to them through the art of theater is genius and something that I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to have an afterschool program (I even wrote a proposal) that had a theater focus to it and now I can work in a growing organization to do just that. I believe my life would be different if I was introduced to theater/acting at a young age and I believe that the youth we work with will be deeply impacted by Mirror Image Arts and the people in the organization for years to come.
Allie received her BA in Theatre Arts with emphasis on directing, performance, and sociology. She is also a dedicated practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation. She is currently involved with Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM as part of the team to bring a new interactive space to Denver.
Theatre brought my true voice back and gave me the confidence to use it boldly. I credit theatre with actually saving my life and I am forever changed because of it. I want to share that gift of a voice with others, and if I can share it with young people, I will. I want to use theatre and art to make a real difference in people’s lives.
We work with an alternative school for middle and high school students. They come to this school to kind of “rehab” and eventually transition back to their original school. I love them so much. When we started, it felt like everyone was in there by themselves but seeing their growth, vulnerability, and courage over the past 10 weeks has been so rewarding. Now, it feels like we are all together. It really feels like a little family.
From 2012-14, Meghan was a faculty member at Dell’Arte International School for Physical Theatre. In 2015, she was one of fifty world-wide winners of the National Arts Strategies Creative Community Fellowship. She holds an MFA in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from Dell’Arte (2012) and a BA in Theatre for Social Change from UMASS Amherst (2003).
Theatre is communication. It is a powerful and effective mode for deep conversation with youth and helps build empathy by taking on a different person’s perspective. I wish I had something like MiArts as a young person, and am so honored to be able to thrive in a community of practitioners where we apply our skills to help young people. One day we had a young person sitting in our circle with his head in hands and tears beginning to come down his face. I asked if he needed some time, but he wanted to stay. We went around the room and checked in. When it was his turn he gave his name and said “I am sad and I am checked in”, to a room of 20 other young people! He was able to express his feelings out-loud which was incredible! By the end of the program, he was smiling and playing. It was neat to watch that vulnerability and transformation all within an hour.
Find out more about Meghan on her website: www.meghanfrank.com
Madeline Chilese is an Actor/Writer/Teaching Artist with 15 years of related experience. After getting her B.F.A in Acting from the University of Northern Colorado she worked and studied in Chicago and New York City for ten years. Madeline was fortunate to study with John Basil from the American Globe Theater and at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.
Theatre explores, dissects and empathizes with the human experience. It gives audiences an intimate way of relating to people. It’s the gateway to human connection. It certainly has been that for me. Mirror Image Arts’ gives kids a safe space to grow and be curious about who they are and their relationship to the world around them. They plant seeds that help children strengthen communication, empathy and compassion; skills that benefit all facets of our lives. That’s why I joined Mirror Image, they teach all the above with care and joy. I greatly look forward to seeing these programs and what they can do for kids.
Lauren is an educator, performing artist, and yoga instructor located in Boulder, Colorado. Lauren is also an MFA Candidate in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University. She interned with Mirror Image Arts last summer and is excited to return to MIA as a Program Associate.
Nicholas has been active in theatre for 12 years. In, 2012-15, he was in charge of a small acting troupe, called “Flickering Light” in which he directed/acted in three productions. Since moving to Denver, he has been involved in Theatre for and with Children, including directing productions for Kidstage and some stagehand work for Backstory Theatre.
Theatre has always meant an opportunity to learn or educate. I love diving into a new script and finding out more about a certain time period or exploring themes of plays and characters to learn more about myself and how I choose to live my life. The students we work with keep me on my feet, even with my acting and improv abilities. In college, my friend gave me a copy of the book “Theatre of the Oppressed,” and I became obsessed. I read it several times over, so intrigued by the methods, hoping to do even an inkling of the work like Boal was doing. Then, I came across Mirror Image, and I knew I had to find a way in at any cost. After transforming into the character of TJ, I leave the circle frustrated and upset, and the facilitator asks the students if there is a way to invite TJ back into the group. One of the youth’s responses was to offer TJ a million dollars. He shouted the offer, and I responded, “If I can see it.” The youth returned back with a very apprehensive “Why?” I told him that a million dollars could really help my family. The youth was taken back. He only mustered an “Oh.” It was at that moment where the youth saw that choices we make can have unexpected consequences.
Nicholle has been active in and passionate about theater for over 20 years. She has also been in the Denver Improv Community for the past five years. Nicholle is currently producing a comedy variety show for People of Color.
Since I was very little, theater has been an outlet in which to explore and express myself and find my voice. In high school, I studied Gordon Parks’ book “Choice of Weapon” and truly believe in theater as a choice of weapon against injustices in the world. Theater can share experiences with audiences to create connections, provide understanding, and provoke important conversations. Mirror Image Arts is a group of theatre artists and educators working together to help youth find their voice and power in that voice. I was an at-risk youth myself and attended the Cleveland School of the Arts where I worked with my peers to study powerful theatrical work and write plays about our personal experiences. This work was pivotal for me in finding community, perseverance, and confidence in who I am. I am inspired and passionate about working with youth to find community and create this power for themselves.
Annealea has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Utah.She is frequently seen performing in musicals and plays in the Denver area.She has also spent several summers working at the Bravo! Vail Musical Festival with their education programs.
Acting is an opportunity to explore humans and I have always had a passionate belief that arts education is extremely important. I was inspired to join Mirror Image Arts because I get to be an actor as well as a teacher. MiArts does an amazing job of allowing people to both explore theatre and reality at the same time, and through this, provide very valuable experience to schools and communities.
I remember during my character day, there was a girl that was really struggling to participate. She was struggling so much that I was almost dreading play day. However, when play day came around, to my surprise, this girl was so excited to be there. It was cool to see her get up during the forum and really take on the character she was playing. That transformation was amazing and something I will always remember.
Is Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of 5280 Artist Co-Op. Kenya has written, directed and produced along with 5280 Artist Co-Op, “Colorism, Breaking The Chains of Complexion” and has won a Henry Award for “Best New Play,” in 2018. She was also nominated for another Henry award for 2 of her pieces in, “1 Night 6 Plays,” produced by 5280 Artist Co-Op, in 2019. Her latest work includes, “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuff” as lady in Green and Brown, produced by 5280 Artist Co-Op and “Pocket Full Of Dandelions,” as Minty, produced by Bite Size Theater and The Necromancers Stone, produced by Bitsystage theater. She is also a member of Mirror Arts Image as a Teaching Artist and has recently excepted the resident playwright position with It Starts With Us.
Theatre means therapy in all types of ways. I love theatre for allowing me to tap into places I never thought I could, and then allowed me to feel revived. I was inspired by Mirror Image Arts because they combine theatre along with purpose and passion for our youth. To be able to build a curriculum based on theatre is amazing. Fall 2019 is my first semester on the team, and I’m sure once I dive into it, I’ll love connecting with the kids. I am hoping to witness greatness that will blow my senses senseless!