Ruth Bellavia, Performance Educator
Ruth is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Syracuse University where she earned a Masters Degree in Social Work and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Prior to starting her private practice, Ruth spent 13 years working at the University of Rochester in the Department of Psychiatry as a Team Leader/Psychotherapist. She specialized in individual, group and family therapy. While at the U of R, she also became a Certified Group Psychotherapist, facilitating various specialty groups. Ruth has been working concomitantly in theatre, television and film for over 20 years. She performs in regional theatres in Upstate, NY and received her vocal training from the Eastman School of Music. Ruth continues to perform regularly while working as a stay at home wife and mother of 2 young daughters.
Willis Ajamu Brooks, Performance Educator
Willis has loved theatre, movies and entertainment for as long as he can remember. He was a drama major at the School of The Arts in Rochester, NY. While there, he performed in many productions and developed a particular fondness for Shakespeare. He loves movies (especially anything Quinton Tarantino related) and has a slight video gaming addiction. Willis studies Communications at Monroe Community College and works as a Public Relations Coordinator at Entercom Radio. He is considering pursuing a career in Broadcasting.
Joey Chacon, Performance Educator
Joey is a Rochester artist who has studied theatre at Monroe Community College. He is an active member of the Rochester community theatre scene, and he is ecstatic to use his love of theatre to make an impact on the world around him.
Tamra Cherubin, Performance Educator
Tamra Cherubin is a singer songwriter from Rochester, NY, who is committed to using her passion for the performing arts to change the world for the better. Her interest in theatre dates back to her teenage years when she was both a theatre major at Rochester’s School of the Arts, and a performance educator with Planned Parenthood’s IMPACT Teen Theatre. Tamra currently directs an afterschool program in the city of Rochester. She enjoys working with children and helping to nurture the talent and interest of her students. Tamra lives by the motto, “No ego , just art” making it her mission to use her talents to inspire and to have fun!
Stefan Cohen, Performance Educator
Stefan has been teaching U.S. History to Rochester City School District students for over 24 years. He currently directs the RCSD Career in Teaching program, where he trains, assigns, and oversees mentors for new teachers as they enter the profession. Stefan has performed in videos, commercials, and on many Rochester stages, including JCC CenterStage, Blackfriars Theatre, GEVA, T.Y.K.E.S., and Rochester Children’s Theatre. Interactive theatre techniques have been a regular part of his education work with students and colleagues.
Vince Dalba, Performance Educator
Vince Dalba is a Rochester native. He graduated from SUNY Brockport with a degree in Theatre, and he has lived and performed in both Rochester and Los Angeles. In LA, Vince also worked as a manager for Dance Arts Academy, where he took on a mentoring role with students who were interested in acting. He loves photography and has worked as a digital finisher in a photographic imaging studio. Currently, Vince is a personal care aid for his grandmother who has Alzheimers, and an assistant pet groomer. His interests include: theater, reading, social justice, and outdoor activities. He is thrilled to combine his love of theatre and his passion for social justice in his work with Impact Interactive.
Jennifer Galvez Caton, Performance Educator
Jennifer is an actress, community volunteer and performing and cultural arts advocate. Her Rochester performances include several productions by Method Machine for the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival and a staged reading for Hourglass Play Reading Series at Blackfriars Theatre. She has also appeared in local commercials and promotions. In New York City, she has been on television and film in a variety of memorable roles for network and cable outlets. Her Manhattan theatrical work experience includes performing with the National Asian American Theater Company (NAATCO), Pan Asian Repertory Theater, The Attic Ensemble and The Latino Theater Group. In addition, Jennifer has worked with the Plays for Living’s ensemble traveling troupe series about Ethnic Diversity in the Workplace. She is proud to work with Impact Interactive and looks forward to a future with non-traditional casting in theater, television, print and film.
Ashley Garcell, Performance Educator
Ashley is a graduate of the University of Florida. Her research in medical anthropology and lifelong love of acting and improv led her to pursue work as a Standardized Patient at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where she uses interactive theatre to train medical students. This, and her work with Impact Interactive both align with a core mission of her life: to foster communication, understanding, and respect between people via storytelling. As an anthropologist, Ashley appreciates the value of a good ethnography, whether it be written or performed, for bridging gaps between groups. When not acting, she enjoys creating costumes, writing, and spending time with her husband and daughter.
Shawn Gray, Performance Educator
Shawn Gray graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) with a BFA in film and a minor in theatre. He is now an actor, improviser, and videographer, performing in commercials, web series, short films, on many Rochester stages, and with several Rochester comedy groups, including Search Engine Improv Harold Teams, RIT’s Brainwreck Improv, Canary in a Coal Mine, and Rochester’s Long Form League. As a performance educator, Shawn has trained EMTs with Henrietta Ambulance, and has portrayed several interactive characters at the Strong Museum of Play. Shawn has also worked in a variety of roles in the film industry, including videographer, gaffer, audio tech, and art department, and on a variety of different projects, including industrial videos, promos, music videos, and TV commercials – some of which have aired on national outlets such as NBC, CBS, & ABC. He currently does video work with several Rochester production companies, including EFP, Optic Sky Productions, and Dresden PR. In his limited spare time, Shawn writes sketch comedy. He is currently working on writing his first web series and on writing an original musical. Shawn is honored to be a part of Impact Interactive and excited to have an opportunity to use his theatre skills to help others.
Danny Hoskins, Performance Educator
Danny Hoskins is an actor, director, teacher and playwright, with an MFA from the University of South Carolina. For the past 20 years, he has performed nationally and internationally at theaters such as: Hartford Stage Company, the Alliance Theatre, The Wings Theatre in NYC, and locally with Blackfriars Theatre, JCC CenterStage and Rochester Children’s Theatre. He also performs in commercials, videos, and in independent films. Mr. Hoskins has served as Interim Director of Theatre at Elmira College, adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, developed and directed original works for young actors at the Alliance Theatre Company, and co-founded the South Carolina-based, Pineapple Productions. He has facilitated arts-integration workshops for teachers and conducted arts-integrated residencies in many Rochester Schools. As a performance educator, Mr. Hoskins worked with Teaching and Training by Design, delivering corporate diversity training to companies in Rochester and around the country. He spent 5 years as Artistic Director and Director of Education at Rochester Children’s Theatre, and has directed numerous productions on many Rochester stages. Mr. Hoskins recently joined the teaching staff of Nazareth College, and is in his eighth year as an adjunct professor of theatre at SUNY Brockport and the University of Rochester. He is currently the Artistic & Managing Director of Blackfriars Theatre in Rochester, NY.
Ajani Jeffries, Performance Educator
Ajani graduated from the School of the Arts in 2011 as a visual arts major. He remains inspired by all forms of artistic expression, particularly those that push him out of his comfort zone. After high school, Ajani developed “The GoldnRd Creative Agency,” a Rochester based company which provides a platform for Rochester artists to sustain themselves with their respective crafts. He is determined to shed a positive light on Rochester– a city he believes is destined to change for the better.
Katie Kreutter, Performance Educator
Katie is delighted to be combining her passions for acting and social justice with Impact Interactive. She graduated from St. John Fisher College with a B.A. in Communications / Journalism and Religious Studies, and now works at the college in the Office of Campus Ministry and Community Service. An active member of the local theatre community, Katie has performed with Working Class Theatre Company, Bread & Water Theatre (where she also worked as a Production Intern), Bravo Creative Arts Production Company, Lady Parts Theatre Company at the Rochester Fringe Festival, Black Sheep Theatre, Everyone’s Theatre Company, Out of Pocket Productions, and Hourglass Play Reading Series. Katie has put role-playing skills to use training Chaplain Interns at the University of Rochester Medical Center and EMTs at Greece Volunteer Ambulance. In her spare time, Katie enjoys snowboarding and exploring new areas, video production / editing, and playing GWD trivia. She also serves on the board of Project URGE, a non-profit collaborative organization that addresses systemic community issues. She is overjoyed to be part of the Impact Interactive team and believes strongly in the power of the arts to foster connection and break down barriers in unique and significant ways.
Marge Mattioli, Performance Educator
Marge Mattioli has been teaching, performing, and directing in Rochester, NY for the past 30 years. She graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a BA in English/Theatre, and received her Masters in English Secondary Education from SUNY Brockport. She is also a NYS Certified English and Drama teacher. Throughout her career at Churchville-Chili Schools, she advised Drama Clubs, taught a Performing Arts class, directed plays and musicals, and coordinated the school level of the National Shakespeare Competition. Marge has performed with many local theatre companies, including Rochester Children’s Theatre, GPAS Summer Theater, RAPA, Blackfriars Theatre, Shipping Dock Theatre, Murder on the Menu, and with The Hourglass Playreading Series. Her retirement from full-time teaching has provided her with more time to focus on her work as a stage actor and director, her voice-over and commercial work, her film career, and her work as an acting coach. Marge currently plays a major role in THE CHURCH, a situation comedy which is being filmed in Rochester. Marge is honored to be a Performance Educator with Impact Interactive, which affords her the opportunity to use her theater skills to make a difference in the community.
Bill McDonough, Performance Educator
Bill currently studies at the University of Rochester, where he is pursuing a double major in History and Theatre. He majored in drama at the School of the Arts and is a graduate of Geva Theatre’s 2016 Summer Academy. Bill is excited to be part of the growing Rochester theatre community. He thanks Jodi and Allison for welcoming him into Impact, and the other members of the ensemble for sharing his belief in the healing power of theatre.
Malachi McNair, Performance Educator
Malachi McNair is a senior drama major at the School of the Arts. He plans to pursue theatre professionally and is grateful to Jodi and Allison for introducing him to this amazing company!
Timothy Mitchum, Performance Educator
Timothy Mitchum is an actor, singer, and musician from Rochester, New York. He has performed with Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ as Young Simba on the National tour, and in 2 major motion pictures – August Rush starring Robin Williams, and the Beatles-musical Across the Universe, directed by Julie Taymor. Tim has also been on episodes of Law and order: SVU’ and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In 2008 Timothy performed on the 50th Grammy awards, singing “Let it Be” from Across The Universe along with Carol Woods. Timothy is currently working on original music and has big plans for the future. Timothy would like to thank God and his parents. He would also like to thank his Impact Interactive family for the opportunity to work with such a talented and socially conscious group.
Jonathan Ntheketha, Performance Educator
Born and raised in Rochester, Jonathan has spent his years of life learning, sharing, challenging, and encouraging others. In earning his BA in Speech and Theatre from St. Lawrence University, he committed his life to developing as an artist, performer, and community member. Jonathan began a professional career in Higher Education that continues to this day, with experience in the areas of Student Affairs, Academic Affairs, and Diversity. Collaborating and sharing stories with others is definitely Jonathan’s calling, and it is manifested beyond his primary career. His stage credits include Shakespearean classics, works from contemporary geniuses like August Wilson, and unique theatrical experiences such as Rashomon and Closer. Jonathan is also an accomplished voice-over actor and has appeared in a variety of regional commercials, and most recently, in the feature film, Wildflower.
Story Post, Performance Educator
Story is a recent graduate from the College at Brockport with a bachelor’s degree in social work. While at Brockport, she interned at the Monroe County Department of Social Services, conducting home visits for Child Protective Services. She enjoyed this and hopes to work with children and families in the future. Story has worked as a performance educator with Rewarding Solutions, Inc., and as a standardized patient at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She strives to someday make a difference in people’s lives or at least make them laugh with her quirky sense of humor. In her spare time she can be found reading, attempting to write a good book, drawing, or singing to her dog.
Marcy J. Savastano, Performance Educator
Marcy J. Savastano—or MJ—is a Rochester-based actor, teaching artist, director, and performance educator. She has worked in regional as well as local theatre, with numerous companies ranging from Geva Theatre Center to Method Machine and Lady Parts Theatre Co. (both of which she co-founded). Earning Bachelor’s degrees in Theatre Arts and Secondary Education, she enjoys being able to combine the two arenas through Performance Education. For several years, she traveled the country participating in—and assisting in the development of—corporate diversity training with Teaching and Training by Design. She had also developed and led workshops with Geva Theatre Center and Young Audiences of Rochester. With DVC, or dream/visualize/create, she coaches, directs, and performs with students and graduates of Wilson Commencement High School. In 2015, she coached the winner of the Rochester Shakespeare Monologue Competition, who moved on to perform on the national level in NYC. As an actor, her training consists of Stanislavski techniques as well as Strasberg work and various other acting styles. She also has training in movement, breath, relaxation, and oratory. Her film, television, and radio work includes pilot TV episodes, webisodes, on-camera and voice over for commercials, and full online course instruction. For more information, visit MJ’s website at http://mjsavaj.wix.com/mjsavaj.
Shalonda Schickling, Performance Educator
Shalonda is a graduate of The Harley School. She is an enormous animal lover and runs her own pet sitting company called ROC City Sitting. She has recently traveled to Thailand to work with rescue elephants at Elephant Nature Park and hopes to get to Africa soon to work with big cats. Working in rescue and rehabilitation with exotic animals is her dream. Shalonda is interested in challenging herself, and throwing herself into new, and at times, uncomfortable situations to gain experience. She joined Impact Interactive to learn new skills and put her interest in social justice to work.
Alexa Scott-Flaherty, Performance Educator
Alexa Scott-Flaherty is an actress, theatre artist and producer. She is a proud member of Labyrinth Theatre Company in New York City. There she has worked on new plays since 2003 with writers including Cusi Cram, John Patrick Shanley, Steven Adly Guirgis, Jose Rivera, Frank Pugliese, Melissa Ross, Eric Bogosian, Bob Glaudini, David Bar Katz, and many others. She has worked as an actress in New York at many theaters including The Public Theatre, SoHo Rep, and PS 122. She also worked as an actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company of London and The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. Alexa is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Rochester. She serves on the Board of Directors for the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival and is on staff at Writers & Books, Rochester’s Literary Center. She is an alumna of Vassar College.
Christian Soto, Performance Educator
Christian Soto is a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and Public Relations. He began acting sophomore year of high school for DVC, or Dream/Visualize/Create, a theater group for Wilson Commencement High School students and alumni. He has performed in two original musicals under the direction of Mario Savastano, Junk!: The Musical and More Than This. Christian has a passion for theater, film and music. He would like to continue exploring opportunities in these realms and is very excited to be a performance educator. In his free time, you’ll find him playing extraordinary amounts of tennis or exercising.
Rick Staropoli, Performance Educator
In 2006, Rick Staropoli stopped practicing law, and began splitting his time between corporate training and artistic endeavors. Currently, he creates film and video content with his company, Granville House Media, in Rochester, NY. On the side, he works as a voiceover artist out of his home studio, and as an actor on stage and screen. He lives in Rochester with his brilliant wife and their fur-companion. They travel whenever possible, and spend large amounts of time with their two crazy families.
Shirlyn M. Washington, Performance Educator
Shirlyn M. Washington has been performing in Rochester, NY since 1985. Over the past 15 years, she has had the pleasure of bringing living history workshops to classrooms for gifted learners through Project Adept, she has performed in an original production at the Rochester Fringe Festival, and she has brought new works to life with SUNY Brockport’s Sankofa, a drum and dance ensemble which produces dance and theatre works expressing the dynamic presence of African culture in America. Shirlyn has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Community Health Education, serves as Chair of the Health Ministry at Mount Olivet Baptist Church and is a member of the Rochester Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition, which seeks to help people improve and maintain health of the mind, body and spirit. She is proud to be part of Impact Interactive and grateful for the opportunity to be involved in work that brings her passions, interests and creative energy together.
Esther Winter, Performance Educator
Esther is a Rochester based actor, singer, music education teacher and business owner. She received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University, studied voice at the Manhattan School of Music, and trained at The Actors Studio in NYC. Esther has worked with many local theatre companies including Blackfriars Theatre, JCC CenterStage, Rochester Children’s Theatre, Lady Parts Theatre Company, RAPA, and the Hourglass Play Reading Series. She has worked regionally at various theatres including Sacramento Music Circus, North Carolina Theatre, Westchester Broadway Theatre and Maine State Music Theatre, and internationally on the West End with Harold Prince in his production of ShowBoat at the Prince Edward Theatre. She also performs in commercials, videos, voice-overs and independent films. Esther loves her day job as owner and center director of Canalside Music Together in Pittsford, NY, an international music education program for young children and their parents.