Josie Whittlesey  Founder, Executive Director  Josie is the founder and Executive Director of Drama Club. Previous work includes teaching for  Rehabilitation Through the Arts  at Sing Sing and Woodbourne Correctional Facilities, where she taught courses on acting, public speaking and comedy. Before founding Drama Club, Josie developed a drop-in acting class for  GEMS , serving girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Over the last ten years she has taught Acting, Improvisation, and Text Analysis at Fordham University, New York University, Montclair State University, and Larry Singer Studios. She holds an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Acting program.

Josie Whittlesey
Founder, Executive Director

Josie is the founder and Executive Director of Drama Club. Previous work includes teaching for Rehabilitation Through the Arts at Sing Sing and Woodbourne Correctional Facilities, where she taught courses on acting, public speaking and comedy. Before founding Drama Club, Josie developed a drop-in acting class for GEMS, serving girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking. Over the last ten years she has taught Acting, Improvisation, and Text Analysis at Fordham University, New York University, Montclair State University, and Larry Singer Studios. She holds an MFA from NYU’s Graduate Acting program.

  April Storm Perry  Program Coordinator, Young Women's Initiative at Rikers, Teaching Artist  April Storm Perry is a New York city based actress, model, comedian, singer and fitness coach. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel Hill and has studied acting at the Barrow Group, Larry Singer Studios, The Bristol Old Vic Theater School, and Penny Templeton Studios. She has been featured as a model in Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Pretty Powerful Campaign,  on NBC's 30 Rock and TBS's "Are We There Yet?", and in "The Wizard of Oz" at Sing Sing Correctional Facility with  Rehabilitation Through the Arts . 

April Storm Perry
Program Coordinator, Young Women's Initiative at Rikers, Teaching Artist

April Storm Perry is a New York city based actress, model, comedian, singer and fitness coach. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel Hill and has studied acting at the Barrow Group, Larry Singer Studios, The Bristol Old Vic Theater School, and Penny Templeton Studios. She has been featured as a model in Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Pretty Powerful Campaign,  on NBC's 30 Rock and TBS's "Are We There Yet?", and in "The Wizard of Oz" at Sing Sing Correctional Facility with Rehabilitation Through the Arts

  Stephanie Gilman  Teaching Artist  Stephanie Gilman is the Senior Manager of Youth Development and School Culture for the CUNY Early College Initiative (ECI), where she started as a Program Developer implementing college and career readiness programs at ECI schools.   Prior to working at CUNY, Stephanie  She was the co-founder and co-artistic director of Collision Theory, a non-profit theatre company; she taught acting at several institutions, including the New Actors Workshop, Bard College, and New York University; and she freelanced as a director at regional and NYC theaters. 

Stephanie Gilman
Teaching Artist

Stephanie Gilman is the Senior Manager of Youth Development and School Culture for the CUNY Early College Initiative (ECI), where she started as a Program Developer implementing college and career readiness programs at ECI schools. 

Prior to working at CUNY, Stephanie  She was the co-founder and co-artistic director of Collision Theory, a non-profit theatre company; she taught acting at several institutions, including the New Actors Workshop, Bard College, and New York University; and she freelanced as a director at regional and NYC theaters. 

  Tasha Grant  Teaching Artist  Tasha is an educator, theatre practitioner, and cultural worker from Newark, New Jersey. She is passionate about youth development, mentorship, and using theatre as a tool for creating sustainable social change, fostering positive youth development, and community building. With years of experience working with young people across NYC and Newark, Tasha has worked as a Sexual Health Educator with Community Healthcare Network’s Teens P.A.C.T. program and a Joker/Teaching Artist for Theatre of the Oppressed NYC.  Tasha received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Theatre from Utica College and recently earned a Master of Arts in Educational Theatre from New York University.    

Tasha Grant
Teaching Artist

Tasha is an educator, theatre practitioner, and cultural worker from Newark, New Jersey. She is passionate about youth development, mentorship, and using theatre as a tool for creating sustainable social change, fostering positive youth development, and community building. With years of experience working with young people across NYC and Newark, Tasha has worked as a Sexual Health Educator with Community Healthcare Network’s Teens P.A.C.T. program and a Joker/Teaching Artist for Theatre of the Oppressed NYC.

Tasha received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Theatre from Utica College and recently earned a Master of Arts in Educational Theatre from New York University.


 

  Jecoina Vinson  Teaching Artist   Jecoina served as a subject matter expert for the Department of Criminal Justice Services New York State where he trained employees in the Public Health Model approach to violence reductions. Jecoina worked as a Supervisor for the Department of Family Services of Westchester County; SNUG Program Initiative. Jecoina is a Bard College alumnus and have facilitated across multiple theatrical workshops, peer groups and programs. He has been a student of theatre for over ten years and firmly believes in its power to transform, heal and empower individually and communally. 

Jecoina Vinson
Teaching Artist

 Jecoina served as a subject matter expert for the Department of Criminal Justice Services New York State where he trained employees in the Public Health Model approach to violence reductions. Jecoina worked as a Supervisor for the Department of Family Services of Westchester County; SNUG Program Initiative. Jecoina is a Bard College alumnus and have facilitated across multiple theatrical workshops, peer groups and programs. He has been a student of theatre for over ten years and firmly believes in its power to transform, heal and empower individually and communally. 

  Yael Elisheva  Teaching Artist  Yael is an artist of many mediums and activist. Before her work with Drama Club, she spent a semester teaching English and Dance at the Youth Village Yemin Orde in Israel. She has been teaching with Drama Club since day one at Crossroads Detention Facility in 2013. She co-directed the first ever Drama Club production, "Blues for an Alabama Sky" with founder Josie Whittlesey at Crossroads as well as "Snakes in the Grass," a play written and performed by the students at Pride School. Yael was part of the Pivotal Rights: A Journey of Women's Suffrage team that performed at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island.  Yael is a proud graduate of CAP21 Conservatory.      

Yael Elisheva
Teaching Artist

Yael is an artist of many mediums and activist. Before her work with Drama Club, she spent a semester teaching English and Dance at the Youth Village Yemin Orde in Israel. She has been teaching with Drama Club since day one at Crossroads Detention Facility in 2013. She co-directed the first ever Drama Club production, "Blues for an Alabama Sky" with founder Josie Whittlesey at Crossroads as well as "Snakes in the Grass," a play written and performed by the students at Pride School. Yael was part of the Pivotal Rights: A Journey of Women's Suffrage team that performed at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island.

Yael is a proud graduate of CAP21 Conservatory.

 

 

  Terralon Walker  Teaching Artist  Terralon was born and raised in Houston, TX. After studying at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, she continued her training at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts graduating with a BFA in Acting. She continues her work in New York City, where she has worked on an Emmy Nominated web series and been featured in a major brand commercial. 

Terralon Walker
Teaching Artist

Terralon was born and raised in Houston, TX. After studying at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, she continued her training at Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts graduating with a BFA in Acting. She continues her work in New York City, where she has worked on an Emmy Nominated web series and been featured in a major brand commercial. 

  Dena Rysdam Miller  Teaching Artist  Dena is a New York City transplant raised in Minnesota. She received a B.A. in performance from American University and a M.A. in Text and Performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. While living in Minneapolis, she worked as a role player with the Crisis Company (now CWORX), teaching verbal de-escalation techniques for those in crisis through improvisation-based scenarios. In New York, she works as a teaching artist with Drama Club and as a standardized patient, helping educate the next generation of medical professionals. As an actress, Dena has worked in Minneapolis, London and New York City. Her passion is text and research driven performance created to foster community and discussion.

Dena Rysdam Miller
Teaching Artist

Dena is a New York City transplant raised in Minnesota. She received a B.A. in performance from American University and a M.A. in Text and Performance from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. While living in Minneapolis, she worked as a role player with the Crisis Company (now CWORX), teaching verbal de-escalation techniques for those in crisis through improvisation-based scenarios. In New York, she works as a teaching artist with Drama Club and as a standardized patient, helping educate the next generation of medical professionals. As an actress, Dena has worked in Minneapolis, London and New York City. Her passion is text and research driven performance created to foster community and discussion.