Rachel is thrilled to be starting her experience in Chicago with Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop. She is a teaching artist, director, and deviser as well as a recent graduate of Emerson College with a BA in Theatre Education: Acting. There she was the Production and Company Manager of Mercutio Troupe where she also directed, produced, and devised multiple productions while learning to utilize theatre as a catalyst for systemic change and a vehicle for activism. Her passion for theater began at 8 years old with Charleston Stage where she has performed, taken classes, and been a member of their Theater Wings Apprenticeship Program. Rachel has developed programs and taught as an Education Apprentice at Lake Dillon Theater Company, been a substitute teacher at Orange Grove Charter School and Synagogue Emanu-el Religious School, and recently has been the Drama and Improv Specialist at the Apachi J Camp Northside this past summer.
Jolie is originally from Dallas, TX. She moved to Chicago to attend The Theatre School at DePaul University. At DePaul, Jolie received her B.F.A. in Acting and B.A. in psychology (with a concentration in human development). Jolie has previously worked, as a teaching artist, with Dream Big Performing Arts in their production of “Alice in Wonderland”. She has performed in Chicago with Griffin Theatre Company, Grippos Stage Company, and Chicago Dramatist. She can also be seen in “Oh Baby!”, a Project Bluelight film. Jolie is very excited to be working with Dream Big once again.
Jennifer is a performer, director, and teacher in Chicago. Originally from Tennessee, she holds a BFA in Performing Arts with an emphasis in Dance from Western Kentucky University. Some of her favorite professional theatres where she has worked are Theatre at the Center, Peninsula Players, and First Folio. In addition to teaching with Dream Big, Jennifer has also directed/choreographed several children’s productions and taught theatre classes with CYT Oak Park, and she is currently singing silly songs with preschoolers with Stomp and Shout. Other passions include singing karaoke, making up ridiculous dance moves, drawing, reading, and going to the movies.
Mandy is a performer and teacher based here in Chicago, but also around the country and world. In Chicago, she has worked with Paramount Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane, Chicago Shakespeare, and more. She spent a year touring the US with the National Tour of 42nd Street! While her true love is being on stage, she feels that it is truly an honor to pass on the passion of dance, music, and acting to kids. She recently helped develop musical theater programs for kids with Cassie in Shanghai, China! Mandy values curiosity about life and adventure and loves to travel whenever she can to new places. She loves photography, everything that is caramel, crafting with random objects, being up to see the sunrise, and laughing till her face hurts.
Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Victoriaspent two fun-filled summers at Lexington Children’s Theatre in Kentucky as a teaching artist before moving to Chicago. She earned a BA in Spanish Studies from American University in Washington, DC, where she performed her all-time favorite role as a villainous octopus in Chem Mystery. In Chicago, she is a company member of Barrel of Monkeys and a founding member of InGen Productions.
Thomson Jaffe very excited to be working with Dream Big. Originally from Cohasset, MA, she earned her B.A. in Theatre and teaching certification in Secondary English and Communications from DeSales University (Center Valley, PA) in 2014. While in college, Thomson worked as an administrative assistant with the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Thomson previously spent 17 months with the Missoula Children’s Theatre, traveling the US and Canada as a tour actor/director. Since moving to Chicago in Aug. 2016, Thomson has had the pleasure of working with Poetry Pals, Adventure Stage Chicago, American Theater Company, Emerald City Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre. She would like to thank her friends, family and Ryan Lind for their support.
Rachel Shapiro has spent the last 3 years working with Dream Big as a teaching artist instructing both Broadway Kids and Broadway Bound classes. When she is not teaching, she works as an actress performing with various regional and local theaters, including: Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, Theater Wit, The House Theatre of Chicago, Emerald City Theatre, and Metropolis Performing Arts Center, among others. She also marries her love of working with children and acting through her work with Storybook Princess Parties (a company she co-owns that provides live character entertainment for private and corporate events). She is a graduate of Northwestern University where she majored in Theatre and Music Theatre.
Nate is ecstatic to be working with Dream Big! Nate graduated from Butler University with a BA in Theatre. Since graduating, he spent two years in Little Rock, AR working with The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre as an actor and educator. Nate also spent a year touring in upstate NY with Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in schools and classrooms. Other recent credits include Tomato Queen; Return of Neverland (Quest Theatre Ensemble), Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged with Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in upstate NY, and Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz with Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre in VA.
Lesley Fisher Chapman is a Chicago-based teacher and director. She has worked with a variety of theatre companies including The Actors Gymnasium, The House Theatre of Chicago, Stage Left Theatre and Forget Me Not Theatre Company. Before coming to Chicago, Lesley taught, directed and performed in Columbus, OH. Lesley attended The Ohio State University where she earned a B.A. with Honors in Theatre and Distinction in Directing and a B.S. in Anthropology.
Jill Olson is the founder and producer of Storytown(www.storytownimprov.com), a fully improvised, interactive story for children 3-10 years old and their families. She just recently joined Funny Bones Improv(www.funnybonesimprov.com) as their Chicago Director. Jill graduated Cum Laude from Towson University with BA in Theater Arts. She is a graduate of the iO and Second City Conservatory improv programs and has performed around Chicago with iO, Second City’s Skybox Theater, Moving Dock Theater Company, Redtwist Theatre, and WNEP with Seven Deadly Plays and 365 Sketches. She also studied playwriting at The Chicago Dramatists. Writing credits include Left Unnamed as part of the 5th Annual Women’s Performance Art Festival with Stockyards Theatre Project, Eleanor in American Machine and Other Works. She wrote and produced Mayfly: A Collection of Short Plays. Jill Olson has served as Program Coordinator for This Is ME and Child Whisperer for The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. In addition to teaching with Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop, she is an improv Professor or Merriment with The Laughing Academy (www.thelaughingacademy.com).