Diane is a playwright, author, and activist. In addition to her theatrical collaborations with Hector and their co-authored book, The Blessing Next to the Wound, her works for the stage have been produced in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and both Carolinas. Her novel, Confessions of a Carnivore, features Theater of the Oppressed antics by an animal rights troupe, Gorilla Theater. Her short-story collection, California Transit, was awarded the Mary McCarthy Prize.
Diane taught for 23 years in the MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts and has been a guest lecturer on the subjects of torture and social justice at universities around the country. She has led arts workshops with torture survivors and collected oral histories of survivors which can be read here, and has offered writing workshops to encourage self-expression, boost literacy, and promote social justice with adjudicated youth, children in foster-care, and marginalized youth in Colombia and Bolivia. At Peace Camp, she gave high school and college student activists a crash course in street theater. In her own long running street performance, Diane rode buses and walked around Los Angeles dressed as a Guantanamo prisoner to be a visual reminder of the criminal actions of the US government. Some people avoided her, some thanked her, blessed her, cursed her. But everyone got the message until the day she was mistaken for a terrorist and found herself with both hands in the air and two guns pointed at her head. A few days later, four Los Angeles police officers apprehended her. Photographer Robin Lynne Gibson witnessed the incident and suggested, for safety, that she take the protest off the streets and into the studio–resulting in the image above. She awaits the day Guantanamo will be closed and she can change clothes.
Alessia Cartoni holds a graduate degree in Cultural & Social Anthropology and and undergraduate degree in Art History from UAM University in Madrid. She also graduated in Dramatic Arts from Juan Carlos Corazza’s Studio in Madrid, Spain and has acting experience on film, television and the stage. Alessia is an actress and director, a Theatre of the Oppressed and Theatre of Witness practitioner, she has been ImaginAction’s Co-Director from 2012 to 2014. She is nowadays training to become a Gestalt Therapist.
As a facilitator, Alessia explores stories of trauma and resilience using Theatre of Witness, Autobiographical Storytelling, Rainbow of Desire, Ritual, music and movement. She has worked in Sudan, Guatemala, US, China, Northern Ireland, Spain, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and Colombia facilitating community based projects using Theatre of the Oppressed, Theatre of Witness, movement, dance, arts and storytelling. She creates theatre pieces with the very protagonists of the real stories in real life, that have been silenced or invisibilized by society. She leads a series of workshops called Unveiling Myself, in which participants explore issues on gender and personal challenges through autobiographical storytelling, theatre, ritual and Beauty. She has become a Theater of Witness practitioner with the mentoring of Teya Sepinuck (Theater of Witness founder and director) in Northern Ireland. She directed in 2014 her first Theatre of Witness production in Belfast, Our Lives Without You, with the families of those killed in the Ballymurphy massacre.
As a social educator Alessia has done therapeutic work with both children and adolescents whom are under the custody of IMMF, Instituto Madrileño del Menor y la Familia (The Madrid Institute for the protection of children and Families). As a member of the therapeutic team, Alessia tapped the healing power of creativity and imagination as tools to help these children symbolize their difficult ordeals.
Alessia has combined her training as an actor and anthropologist in her involvement with projects of international cooperation in which she has used Theater of the Oppressed methodologies. In Sudan she developed forum theater pieces dealing with female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and other issues. Back in Spain, she developed workshops geared to sensitizing people about the difficult conditions of South Sudan using Art therapy and other modalities. She currently teaches Art History to theater students at Corazza’s Studio and works as a social educator with the marginalized youth of Madrid, Spain through Participatory Theatre. She speaks Italian, Spanish, English, Gallego and conversational French.
Her website: http://alessiacartoni.wix.com/hazdeluz
Uri facilitates workshops in theater and creative transformation. He was born in Israel and did his BA in Theater and Spanish and Latin American studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Uri is a member of Combatants for Peace, a movement started jointly by Palestinians and Israelis who have taken an active part in the cycle of violence and decided to put down their guns and to fight for peace.
He currently facilitates at The Albero, his organization in partnership with Ilaria Olimpico, based in Italy.
Uri has trained with renowned Theater of the Oppressed (T.O.) practitioners such as Chen Alon, Barbara Santos, and Sanjoy Ganguly. Uri worked in Israel with University students and political activists, offering transformative workshops using T.O. Uri has also led workshops in Nepal, India, Italy and, with the ImaginAction team, in Northern Ireland.
Uri offers workshops that integrate T.O. practices with participatory photography. He is also involved in developing networks of Theater of the Oppressed practitioners all over the world using the internet as a platform for sharing meaningful and transformative work all around the globe.