Dana Edell (July - August 2015)
Dana is an activist-scholar-artist and has been the Executive Director of SPARK Movement (www.SPARKsummit.com) since 2011 where she trains and supports girls (ages 13-22) to launch action campaigns, produce theater, create videos and publish writing. She is currently collaborating with 30 SPARK girl activists to publish a book (under contract with Macmillan) about girls’ activism to be released in 2016. With SPARK, she published SPARKing Change, Encouraging Activism: A Curriculum for Girls, an arts-based curriculum including media literary and activism workshops. Her academic research has been published in the academic journals: Feminist Theory, Youth Theatre Journal, Reflections, Public and Feminist Media Studies (forthcoming), and she has written book chapters in Voicing Girlhood (Routledge) and Difficult Dialogues About 21st Century Girls (SUNY Press). Her doctoral dissertation, Say It How It Is: Urban Teenage Girls Challenge and Perpetuate Cultural Narratives While Writing and Performing Theatre won the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Alliance for Theatre Education.
From 2002-2012, she was co-founder/executive director of viBe Theater Experience (www.viBeTheater.org) a performing arts education organization where she produced and co-directed more than 60 plays, 7 CDs of original music, 8 music videos, 7 arts-based, activist resource guidebooks and 3 radio episodes all written and performed by girls. With viBe, she ran free afterschool and in-school intensive arts education programs for hundreds of underserved teenage girls in New York City while also teaching theatre in elementary and middle schools in the Bronx. She has nearly 20 years of experience as a teacher and leader in arts and advocacy programs with girls. She was the co-chair of the Working Group on Girls’ Task Force on Girls’ Participation at the United Nations where she has facilitated arts workshops with hundreds of girl delegates from around the world, worked with and supported dozens of girls to speak out at the UN about issues that impact girls’ lives globally and currently produces and directs an annual original theater performance written by girls from over 20 countries and performed by New York City girls at the UN.
In 2014, she traveled to Sucre, Bolivia and ran a theater program with girls in an orphanage. She has been interviewed as an expert on girls’ issues on ABC’s 20/20, Al Jazeera’s The Stream and Consider This, Fox News, Fox & Friends, BBC, Huffington Post Live, NPR’s Brian Lehrer Show, CNN.com, and in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Daily News, Self Magazine, VICE, Fusion and dozens of other local, national, online and global publications. As a professional theater director, Dana has directed ancient, classical and contemporary plays in New York, Providence and San Francisco. She has taught education, qualitative research methods, applied theatre, theatre & activism and theater education courses at NYU, CUNY, Manhattan Marymount College and the Bard College Prison Initiative at Bayview Women’s Prison. She has a BA with honors in Theatre and Classics/Ancient Greek from Brown University, an MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia and a PhD in Educational Theater from New York University.