Fall 2017 Fellow
Fellow: Chris Ignacio
Project: Reclaiming My Voice
Reclaiming My Voice (title inspired by the inimitable Maxine Waters) is a series of songwriting and performance workshops in New York for young people of color with limited access to arts education. Throughout the workshops, participants will learn how to write and perform original songs, and have the opportunity to collaborate with local musicians to record those songs and elevate them to a professional level. The aim is for the songwriters to first realize their capacity as artists, and then experience their words echoing out into a community, taking on different forms and meanings. The project challenges ideas of authorship and product in a hyper-consumerist market, treading the line of acknowledgement versus exploitation.
The goals are:
1.) To engage the youth in reclaiming their social agency by applying songwriting and performance skills as a rehearsal for real life problem solving and goal setting
2.) To acknowledge them as creators worthy of being heard and produced
3.) To leave them with knowledge, resources and confidence to continue their practice on their own
Past Relevant work
At the Universidad Central in Quito, Ecuador, Chris led workshops which were live translated to accommodate non-English speakers and drew a group that ranged across age and gender spectrums. The workshops focused on connecting the voice to the body through movement and breath exercises and on performing songs. The sessions proved particularly effective in a region where most community members were conditioned to speak in certain social patterns.
Chris also recently worked with Superhero Clubhouse in an Eco-Theater project called The Living Stage, in partnership with University Settlement and eco-scenographer Tanja Beer. Together with a team of teaching artists, Chris worked with a youth group to devise material for a public performance. Their words were turned into songs and movement pieces, and then given back to their community.
Chris Ignacio is an actor, singer, puppeteer and educator based in New York, and has performed locally and abroad since graduating from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is currently working with Ma-Yi Theater Company as Associate Producer. Recently he studied clowning in Italy, with Merry Conway and taught vocal workshops in at the Universidad Central in Quito, Ecuador. He has worked as a teaching artist in NYC and continues to coach voice privately. Notable collaborations include: Lincoln Center, SITI Company, Theatreworks, Shadowbox Theater, Joe's Pub, Superhero Clubhouse, The Brick, Live Source Theater Group, The Tank, National Asian Artists Project, Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre, Yara Arts, Theodora Skipitares, Jane Catherine Shaw and the whole LaMama family, Dixon Place, Sxip Shirey and National Sawdust, The New School, Moscow ART, New Ohio Theater, and HERE arts center.