Melissa is a Boston-based actor, playwright, and teaching artist who received her Master of Arts in Theatre Education at Emerson College. Born in Rochester, NY, she holds a B.A. in Theatre Performance and History from SUNY Geneseo, and is the former artistic director of The Charlottesville Women's Theatre Project, a company that seeks to create theatre relevant to the female experience. She has performed in a variety of stage and film projects in Boston, including Letters to Medford (Two Roads Performance Projects); What We Lost Along the Way (Boston Children's Theatre), Women of Sand (Emerson College), and SafeGuard, a solo documentary performance play which examines the female perspective of deployment, based on interviews with women of military families across the United States.
In addition to performance, Melissa is passionate about building bridges between theatre and community. She believes in the power of theatre not only as a meaningful collective experience for audiences, but as a transformational tool for dialogue and social change for communities at large. She has taught in a variety of settings including The New England Theatre Conference, Boston Educators for Social Justice Conference, American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Boston Children's Theatre, and The South End Settlements.
Kate is a storyteller and playwright. Her favorite question since childhood has always been “why,” and no topic has captured her imagination quite like trying to understand what shapes who we are and where we belong. She is driven to tell stories both by this curiosity and by countless experiences of having her own worldview changed when someone shared their story with her – over coffee, in the pages of a book, or standing on the stage of a theatre.
For more than 10 years, Kate has worked at health and social justice organizations in Boston and Washington, D.C., helping them to shape and tell stories of social change. She is passionate about changing the culture of nonprofit storytelling to focus on practices that evoke empathy over sympathy, and most important, where people and communities shape their own narratives and tell their own stories. She has published articles on these topics, including in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and The NonProfit Quarterly, and incorporates documentary storytelling practices into organizational storytelling.
Kate chased her interest in identity and belonging all the way to Scotland where she got a Master of Science in Nationalism Studies. Her research focused on the role trauma plays in collective memory and rebuilding national identity after a genocide or conflict. She loves working as a documentary playwright, and exploring the intersections of field research, oral history, and dramatic storytelling. Raised in Rochester, New York, she also holds a B.A. in Human Services and History from Northeastern University.