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. As an actress, producer, facilitator, and director, Andrea utilizes theatre as a catalyst for social change. She brings over 13 years of experience in organization and program development, operational leadership, project management and coalition building in the non arts for-profit sector. Prior to accepting the Executive Director role, Andrea worked for Starbucks Coffee Company in a variety of leadership positions for 10 years.
By high school I found myself desperately looking for my place of belonging. When I discovered Theatre, I finally found a way to community and to myself. In becoming an actor, I practiced living in someone else’s shoes. There was a freedom in that. I was studying myself as I learned to become someone else. It’s why you will hear me say Theatre is the study of humanity. For me, it was. I wanted to work as an actor for Mirror Image Arts because I wanted to be for young people what I didn’t get as a young person. I wanted to share my life’s story and struggle in a way that lifted me out of my shame and helped others find and express themselves on their journey. What I love about my job now: I have a fierce dedication to making sure young people feel their power and live their value. Also, every day I witness phenomenal people doing extraordinary things for themselves and others. I am part of a collective seeking and living our human potential.
Program & Partnerships Director
Maya began her work as an applied theatre practitioner over a decade ago. Upon receiving her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Colorado, Maya was the Assistant Director for the Interactive Theatre Project housed on the University of Colorado – Boulder campus. She then created the ACTivism Theatre Ensemble, a company of high school and college students performing an educational outreach/prevention play for The SAVA (Sexual Assault Victim Advocacy) Center throughout Colorado. While living in North Carolina she wrote plays for the Interactive Theatre Carolina at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill exploring race and identity. At that time she also founded Restorative Theatre which is now a program for miARTS. Maya joined the miARTS team in 2015.
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.”
Director of Operations and Communications
Theresa moved to Denver with her family in 2011. She has a deep love for the arts as a vocalist, musician, and songwriter. Through the arts, she has mentored and coached young people experiencing homelessness, abuse, teen pregnancy, juvenile detention, and abandonment. Theresa has 20 years of experience partnering with communities serving at-risk and underserved youth through the nonprofit sector. Before accepting the Director of Operations and Communications role,Theresaserved as the Operations Director at Rocketown Youth Center in Florida, Outreach Director at El Porvenir partnering with rural Nicaraguan communities on sustainable development projects, and as the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator at Hope House Colorado, empowering teen moms.
Theatre is the opportunity to step into each other’s story. For me, it means learning, listening, and being joined by solidarity. I joined miARTS because I was inspired by each staff member’s commitment to serve youth and Disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline through participatory and Restorative theatre. It is truly an honor to witness young people discover their worth and value through the arts and through the transformative relationships that form during any co-creating process.
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. She studied at the American Globe Theater and the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts. Also in New York, she co-founded a traveling Shakspeare Company called Tale Told. A few years later she co-created a web series called Hat Trick B****. Teaming up with her creative partners, they started a production company called IngenueWitty Films.
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.
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!
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
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!
Resident Technical Designer
David is a founding ensemble member of the Band of Toughs, a theater collaboratory, based in Boulder and a local Theater Teacher with several children’s theater programs, including Creative Dance Kids, Rocky Mountain Theater for Kids and Mirror Image Arts. He is a director, designer, and producer of live events, former Director of the Performing Arts Center at Naropa University in Boulder, CO and has served all over the world as guest faculty teaching courses in performance, event management, theatrical design, and production. He is also the founder and Executive Director of the Boulder International Fringe Festival, 501c3.