MINO LORACo-Founder, Executive Director
BOB BRASWELLCo-Founder, Managing Director
ZAFIRIA DIMITROPOULOUArtistic Director
AYA HAYASHIDevelopment Manager
ABE JOHNSONEducation Specialist
Abe Johnson is a performer, director, and educator. Growing up in Mississippi, Abe sought out all of the performing opportunities provided him, eventually becoming involved with New Stage Regional Theatre. From there, he moved to Cleveland, Tennessee for college where he traveled for four years with the Lee University Singers. Upon completing his B.S. in Music Business/Vocal Emphasis from Lee University, Abe found his way into the educational world as a choir director. Before arriving in New York, he was music department chair for a performing arts school in Florida, where he oversaw piano, orchestra, guitar, band, and taught chorus. Although his course of study was framed in music, it’s application continuously drove him back to theatre. While living in Florida, he became heavily involved in the Manatee Performing Arts Center, first as a performer, followed by three years as a professional stage manager. It was during this time that he decided to return to school to enhance his ability as a theatre educator.
Abe is currently finishing his M.A. at NYU Steinhardt in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities. Upon completion, Abe will graduate with a master’s thesis, Let’s Talk About Sex: Exploring Sex Education through Theatre, and curriculum entitled Let’s Talk About Identity: Self-Assessment to Self- Determination. He is passionate about the merging of social justice, theatre and education as a means of self-assessment and self-determination for marginalized youth. Most recently Abe was the Assistant Director and Music Director for National Queer Theater’s production Speechless, a devised documentary theatre play based on the collection of stories from people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS. Prior to that he was the Music Director for DREAMers, a play that explores freedom, oppression, and identity as undocumented youth respond to the announcement of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It was developed with The Civilians Education Department in partnership with Make The Road New York, and was written and directed by Adam Odsess-Rubin. Abe also serves on the Board of Advisors for Project and Connect, a unique HIV and AIDS story preservation project and education initiative, which uses storytelling as a critical social practice to reduce stigma. He will be leading the Cities of Refuge Initiative through Project and Connect, writing curriculum that will be given to churches as a support system for those living with HIV and AIDS. He is also a supporting Artist for CO/LAB (Creative Opportunities without Limits and Boundaries) Theatre Group, which provides creative and social outlets for actors with developmental disabilities.
NANCY MATAProgram Manager
ESDRAS SANTANAYouth Advocate
Esdras Santana is a proud resident of Washington Heights for 39 years now. She is the mother of two teenagers and served as PTA president for six years during their elementary/middle school attendance in the neighborhood. Esdras graduated from the Ward Acting Studio in 2007, is trained as a joker with Theatre of the Oppressed, and has studied Williamson Physical Technique at the Actors Movement Conservatory. She is currently participating in her 5th Uptown Action production and is a founding member of the Uptown Action Leadership Team. Esdras has been a labor/postpartum doula and childbirth educator since 2001. She enjoys working closely with new and expectant parents and is committed to supporting them through the birth and parenting process.
EMMANUEL ABREUCommunications Associate
ANGELIQUE CASTROTeaching Artist
BEN JOHNSONTeaching Artist
He is also a circus performer who has been a featured clown on Cirque du Soleil’s world tour of Alegría, a ringmaster with the Zoppe Family Circus, and a clown with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
His film and TV credits include TBS’s The Detour, the children’s video project Flummox and Friends, and the independent films All the Others Were Practice, Betrayed, Messenge, Reversal of Fortune, The Brides of Frankenstein, The 14th Floor, and Inhouse: Sketching Reality.
Ben has over fifteen years of experience working as an educator and trainer in a variety of contexts. He has designed and facilitated workshops for business professionals, and professional development for schools, districts, and other educational organizations. He has also worked as a substitute teacher, an instructional aide in special education classrooms, a one-on-one aide for a student with muscular dystrophy, a circus coach across the country for students fighting cancer, and a teaching artist in public schools and community centers in Rhode Island, California, and New York.
Ben recently relocated to New York City from Oakland, CA with his wife and their two daughters. He has a BA in History from UCLA, and an MA in Teaching from Brown University. Check out benbjohnson.com for more information!
GERMAINNE LEBRONTeaching Artist
DONJA R. LOVETeaching Artist
KAT PENATeaching Artist
CHANNIE WAITESTeaching Artist
MARIA PEYRAMAURETeaching Artist
MARION LOPEZTeaching Artist
SINDY ISABEL CASTROTeaching Artist
BRIELLE SILVESTRITeaching Artist
People’s Theatre Project is a member of ArtsPool, a cooperative which provides workforce administration, financial management, and compliance services to a growing roster of nonprofit arts organizations in New York City.