Northlight Education Department
Mara Stern (Director of Education & Community Engagement)
has been a member of the Northlight education staff since serving as a counselor in our Senior Camp during the summer of 2008 and has served as Senior Camp Director for the past two summers. Mara has been a Teaching Artist with Northlight since 2011 working in our Season Access, Speak Up! and Northlight on Campus programs. Mara is also a Teaching Artist with Lookingglass where she has piloted several new programs on health and wellness, physical theatre and adaptation. Mara spent two years in Lookingglass’ box office as the Manager of Audience Services and as Group Sales Manager. She is a Teaching Artist with Steppenwolf in their pre- and post-show residency program and she works with Turning the Page, a non-profit dedicated to creating community in North Lawndale’s public schools. Mara is a director and producer in Chicago, working with EX-Pats, Jackalope, Pride Films and Plays, The Kinematics and The Hypocrites. Mara is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and The British American Drama Academy in London.
Margaret Bridges (Education & Community Engagement Manager) joins the Chicago theater community after years working in arts and theatre education and advocacy across the globe. She is thrilled to join the Northlight Theatre education team and continue to work on programs giving young performers and storytellers a platform in their community. Margaret comes most recently from Milwaukee where she spent the past few years as the Education Manager at the Skylight Music Theatre and a lead teacher at First Stage. She has also worked in the US in NYC (Mabou Mines) and Austin (Creative Action, Story Wranglers, ZACH Theatre), and internationally in Dublin (Project Arts Centre, Project Brand New). She served with the US Peace Corps in the Youth Development Sector where she worked with various women and youth centers in Southwestern Morocco on arts integrated learning and women’s empowerment. Margaret earned her MA in Community-Based Art Education from University of Texas at Austin and her BFA from the John Wells Directing Program at Carnegie Mellon University.
Northlight Teaching Artists
Kaiser Zaki Ahmed (Teaching Artist)is a Chicago-based theatre director, actor and teacher. An alum of Columbia College Chicago’s Theatre Directing program. Kaiser specializes in actor-driven new American plays. He’s thrilled to be back teaching with Northlight again this year. As a Teaching Artist, he’s also worked with Raven Theatre, Mudlark Theatre and Jackalope Theatre. As a director, he’s worked with Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Artistic Home, Broken Nose, Rasaka, Wildclaw, Chicago Dramatists, and many others. Kaiser was the Founding Artistic Director of Jackalope from its inception in May of 2008 through the end of 2011, and continues to serve as the Associate Artistic Director, where he’s directed several productions. Kaiser is a 2015-16 Eugene O’Neill National Directors Fellowship Finalist, a 2016-17 Victory Gardens Directors Inclusion Initiative recipient and an Associate Member of SDC. As an actor all his life, he’s performed countless roles on stage, as well as appearing in several film & commercial spots, proudly represented by Gray Talent Group.
Jessica Alldredge (Teaching Artist) is thrilled to teach for Northlight on Campus again! Jessica moved to Chicago from Birmingham, AL where she graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Performance from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In Birmingham, she frequented the stage with Theatre UAB, the Birmingham Park Players, and the Bards of Birmingham as well as appearing in the film Awakened. Jessica founded the drama program at Creative Montessori School in Homewood, AL for preschool and elementary students and served as a mentor, actor and director for the Bards of Birmingham. In Chicago, Jessica’s acting work includes projects with CUBE Ensemble, Fury Theater, Dream Theater Company and Transcendent Ensemble Theatre Company. As a teaching artist, she has also worked with American Theater Company, Mudlark and the Viola Project, and is a member of the Teaching Artist Development Studio 2015 cohort through CCAP at Columbia. For Northlight, she has worked with awesome kids at Orrington, Middleton, Beidler and Gale schools, as well as summer camp.
) is thrilled to be returning to Northlight’s Teaching Artist team since serving as the Education Intern in 2016. She is a recent Chicago transplant since graduating with a B.A. in Theatre from Florida State University. Kaylyn is a performer with an interest in new writing and ensemble devised work. Since arriving in Chicago, she has worked with Tympanic Theatre company, The Side Project Theatre, and Hot Kitchen Collective. You can find more of her work here: www.kaylyncarter.com
Jazmín Corona (Teaching Artist)
is proud to be a part of this extraordinary team of teaching artists at Northlight Theatre. As a bilingual (Spanish/English) teaching artist, she’s worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, teaching theatre, dance, and photography. In Chicago, she has worked with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE), ElevArte, American Theater Company, The Beverly Arts Center, Boom Troupe, The Viola Project, and Steppenwolf. In Cleveland, where Jazmín is originally from, she worked with Great Lakes Theater Festival and Cleveland Play House. As an actress, she’s had the pleasure of working with Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists, First Floor, Free Street, First Folio, 16th Street Theatre, Chicago, Physical Festival, Teatro Luna, Goodman Theatre, Collaboraction, Urban Theater Company, Prop Theatre, Babes With Blades, Adventure Stage, and Porchlight. She has worked on such films as Dawn
and The Southside Has Many Beauty Queens
, both having been shown at the Chicago Latino Film Festival with the latter winning the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film. Her television credits include NBC’s Chicago Fire
Matt Farabee (Teaching Artist)
is an actor and teaching artist in Chicago. For Northlight On Campus he co-directed Fairview South School’s annual production in 2012, 2013, and 2014. He also directed Seussical! The Musical
with area students at Northlight. As an actor, Matt has worked with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, Eclipse Theatre Company, Pavement Group, Steppenwolf, Route 66, Chicago Dramatists, and Theater Wit. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Theatre and Recreational Therapy. Matt is also a teaching artist and faculty member with the National High School Institute Cherubs Program at Northwestern University.
) is a Chicago native theatre performer, director, and teaching artist. She began her teaching practices with Global Girls Inc, a youth performing arts organization on the South side of Chicago that targets African American girls between the ages of 5-18. This program sparked her passion to educate in the art field and even more so to illuminate the voices of the marginalized. With this incentive she has gone on to teach hundreds of students all over the Chicagoland area. Tiffany is currently a teaching artist with Steppenwolf for Young Adults and Timeline Theatre Company Living History Program where she serves as the Education Assistant as well. She holds a BFA degree in Theatre Performance from University of Illinois at Chicago and also studied at Arcadia University for Global Studies in London, England. Tiffany finds it important that all youth and adults of any background understand that they have the freedom to investigate their world and turn their findings into art.
Jasmine Henri Jordan (Teaching Artist)
is performer, writer, and teaching artist. She is an ensemble member at the Neo-Futurists and a founding member of Hot Kitchen Collective. Jasmine also serves as Community Engagement Liaison and teaching artist for the Viola Project. She is a graduate of Florida State University.
Jenn Oswald (Teaching Artist) has a B.A. in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Costumes and Applied Theatre from Illinois Wesleyan University. In addition to working with Northlight, she feeds her love (obsession) with literacy as a Teaching Artist with Open Books and serves as the Student Workshop Supervisor for Turning the Page. She has been a company member of the Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN since 2013 and is a proud alum of the Apprentice Program at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Education/Teaching Artist). She has also taught classes abroad in both Tanzania and Italy. For more information, visit JennOswald.com.
Will Quam (Teaching Artist)
joined Northlight in 2012 as a Senior Camp Counselor, and went on to serves as Senior Camp Assistant Director (2014-2015) and Senior Camp Director (2016-2017) and has been teaching for Northlight in Chicagoland schools since 2014. He also teaches for Writers Theatre and Mudlark Theatre. Will serves as the literary manager for The Passage Theatre, and he has directed and assistant directed for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, Jackalope Theatre, The Comrades, and many more. His plays for young performers have been performed by Mudlark Theatre, Northlight Performing Arts Camp, St. Athanasius Elementary, and the Haven Theatre Spotlight Series. He takes pictures of bricks and brick walls as Brick of Chicago (www.brickofchicago.com
Wilfredo Ramos Jr. (Teaching Artist)
is an educator, writer, and improviser. As an educator, Wilfredo urges his students to be curious, to be playful, and, above all, to be bold. Wilfredo has been teaching with Northlight since the spring of 2016. In addition to his work with Northlight, Wilfredo currently teaches with Steppenwolf Theatre and Writers Theatre. In the past, Wilfredo has taught with Project AIM, American Theatre Company, and Chicago Improv Productions. Wilfredo is a member of El Semillero, a playwriting collective that fosters the development of new works by Latinx playwrights. Wilfredo holds a Bachelor’s in English with a Creative Writing Concentration from Yale University. www.wilfredoramosjr.com
Christopher Salveter (Teaching Artist) is a singer, songwriter, performer, visual artist, and educator. He was born in a Missouri river town but calls Chicago home. For nearly two decades he has been engaging with Joseph Beuys’ concept of Social Sculpture (art that transforms society) in his writing and performances. He spent the majority of his twenties on tour with his rock band, Low Skies, sometimes supporting acts like Neko Case and The Handsome Family. Currently Christopher is developing a podcast with his group, The Fruit Stare, based on their recent stage show Dr. Atop’s Journey to the Polygon of Suffering. His training in teaching artistry includes completing Northlight’s TA Apprenticeship and Lincoln Center’s Fundamentals of Teaching Artistry program. He received his BA from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and is also a certified Yoga instructor.
Vanessa Strahan (Teaching Artist) is an actor, dancer, teaching artist, director, and choreographer based in Chicago. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2018, holding a B.S. in Theatre with a concentration in Choreography, the Musical Theatre Certificate, and a minor in Political Science. She joined Northlight in 2017 as the summer Education Intern and is thrilled to be a part of this fantastic teaching artist team. She currently serves as the Education Associate at Mudlark Theater, and teaches there as well as at the Actor’s Gymnasium. While at Northwestern she served as Outreach Director and a Teaching Artist for Seesaw Theatre, creating multi sensory, interactive theatre for kids on the Autism Spectrum and with other developmental differences. For more on her work (and silly pictures) visit her website at www.vanessastrahan.com.