Franchon Francees, Senior Cultural Strategist. Franchon is a youth advocate, educator, and licensed professional counselor who is also a member of the Lakota Sioux. Frachon has organized education and programming for youth in both rural and urban communities throughout the South working at the intersection of storytelling, leadership and life skill development and healing trauma. Deep listening and the creation of intergenerational relationships to build racial and social justice is at the core of her practice. She holds a masters in clinical mental health from Ohio University and is currently in practice in Wilmington, North Carolina. Franchon is the founder of her own company Healing Your Almond.
Panagioti Tsolkas, Senior Organizer. As senior organizer for Narrative Arts Panagioti Tsolkas supports our Nation Inside project, a national network of grassroot groups fighting mass incarceration. Panagioti has led the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons and other campaigns for prisoner rights, and is co-founder of the Human Rights Defense Center’s Prison Ecology Project. As a former editor for Earth First! Journal and a writer/researcher for Prison Legal News, he has years of experience writing about social and criminal justice. Panagioti is from a Greek immigrant family, has a loving partner and co-parents two amazing children.
Nick Szuberla, Director of Narrative Strategies. Nick has helped design and lead national public information campaigns on issues ranging from sentencing reform to U.S. energy policy. He began his work at the Highlander Research and Education Center in 1996, and then joined Appalshop, an arts and cultural center in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Not long after, Nick founded Holler to the Hood (a multimedia project exploring urban/rural relationships), Thousand Kites (a national dialogue project addressing the U.S. criminal justice system) and Calls from Home (an interactive radio and organizing project). He has produced award-winning documentary films, radio series, and multimedia productions. He has also trained hundreds of youth and adults in how to use low-cost media as an organizing tool, and has done artist residencies in 38 states. He is a graduate of Antioch College. Learn more about Nick’s three decades of work at his website
Adrienne DeBouse: Managing Director Techmoja. Adrienne made her theatrical debut at the age of ten. She left the stage of Philadelphia, PA and for the last thirty years she has distinguished herself as a psalmist, noted character actress, and has received rave reviews for her supporting roles. Her body of work includes Maadhimisho, Steal Away, and a tech assistant for Uncle Rufus. Her role as Glenda in The Wiz in 2009 launched a sensational run of shows with Techmoja under the artistic direction of Kevin Lee-Y Green. such as The House That Gordy Built, Hairspray, Jesus Christ Superstar, The leading role as Timone in Once On This Island, The Color Purple as Shug Avery, and Dreamgirls as the bubbly Lorrell. Adrienne is grateful to continue her work building theater and performing arts in coastal North Carolina.
Michael Sherrod: Artist in Residence. Michael was born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina. He received his acting, vocal, and dance training at DREAMS Of Wilmington under the tutelage of Margaret Carr, Vincent Holmes, and Kevin Lee-Y Green. He started acting in the local Children’s Theater and has since joined the Techmoja Dance and Theatre Company. He has performed in: The House that Gordy Built (Manuel); Once On This Island (Storyteller); Dreamgirls (Little Albert); West Side Story (Pepe); and The Color Purple (Ensemble). Michael is also an emerging poet and spoken word artist. Michael believes deeply in building grassroots movements for social justice using the power of arts and storytelling.
Terrill Williams, Director of Community Engagement. Terrill was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, He is a graduate of East Carolina University with a degree in Vocal Performance and Music Education. Some of his performance credits include Dreamgirls (Curtis Taylor Jr.), Once on This Island (Agwe), Hairspray, Smokey Joe’s Café, and Five Guys Named Moe (Big Moe). He was also a performer on the cruise ship, Palm Beach Princess, for three years and was in the National Tour of Lost in the Fifties in 2007. He hopes his passion for community and narrative will find a place among and engage a larger network of enthusiastic community builders and storytellers.
Kevin Lee-Y Green, Director of Performing Arts & Engagement & Techmoja. Kevin is a native of Bolivia, North Carolina (population 143), and a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where he studied contemporary dance and ballet. Over a 15-year career, he has worked with acclaimed dance artists including Rosie Herrera, Sidra Bell, Camille A. Brown, David Parsons, Clay Taliaferro, Sean Sullivan (Limon), Dianne Markham (Louis & Nikolai), and Brenda Daniels (Cunningham). He was mentored by theater director Gerald Freedman while a member of the touring All School Production at UNCSA. In 2008, he founded Techmoja Dance and Theater Company as an inclusive and diverse dance and theatre company. Kevin has recently done residency work with youth in nine coastal Carolina counties in response to the impact of Hurricane Florence. New England Foundation for the Arts, Alternate ROOTS, Arts Council of Wilmington, and International Association of Blacks in Dance have supported his work.
Rend Smith, Director of Local Journalism. Rend is a freelance writer by trade and a multimedia journalist. His writing focuses on the critical impact of injustice, power, and bias on people’s lives. His multimedia projects have documented the experiences of working-class communities of color with a focus on generational inequality, particularly in the South.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Margo Miller, Executive Director, Appalachian Community Fund.
Tanya Mote, Associate Director, Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center.
Laurie Jo Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Social Justice, School of Art and Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Carlton Turner, Executive Director, Mississippi Center for Cultural Production.
Paul Wright, Executive Director, Human Rights Defense Center
Affiliations are for identification purposes only; no institutional endorsement is implied.