Contents and Overview

Having directed for a number of years, I have come to graduate school to focus on the creation of new work developed for and with youth and communities.  Therefore, I have tailored my portfolio to reflect the trajectory of my work while showcasing my aesthetic and values. As our society grows to embrace diversity and inclusion, the arts should strive to be as representative of its audience as possible.  This includes youth representation at various levels of artistic development. As I continue to refine my approach to practice, I reflect on my responsibility as an artistic leader to create space for youth voices, ideas, and engagement, particularly in Theatre for Young Audience (TYA).  

I have selected samples of my work that show notable growth and development in artistic practice along the rungs of Roger Hart’s Ladder of Youth Participation.  Hart’s ladder clearly defines the many levels of incorporating young people into any field. While the degrees of sharing power with youth vary based on the mission of the presenters and the goals of the work, I find that my most satisfying projects have relied on greater shared leadership with young people.  Therefore, I envision that the future of my work will rely on youth collaboration and shared leadership.

Production 1: Les Miserables (YAA)

‘Les Miserables in Concert’ by Young Artists of America at Strathmore

Director & Combat Choreographer

For this production, I used a traditional approach to directing youth in a musical theatre piece.  I have worked with Young Artists of America for the past four years as a teaching artist, director, and Education Director. Les Misérables marked my first collaboration with the YAA Company on our main stage at Strathmore Music Hall in Rockville, Maryland.

My collaboration with youth hovered on step four of Hart’s youth participation ladder: assigned but informed.  After an audition, the Artistic Director, Rolando Sans, and I assigned students their roles.  If they sought feedback on why they were placed in a particular role, we informed them and communicated our reasons why.

Selected materials include:

  • Video selections of directorial highlights
  • Director’s note used in the program
  • Description of the show’s concept and my experience working on it
  • Reviews of the production from local online media
  • Rehearsal and production stills
  • Full highlight reel from the show

Featured selections

Featured content


Young Artists of America rehearsal for "Les Misérable In Concert" on March 16, 2019 at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Md.

“I am pleased to report that I saw performances in this show that rivaled some of the professional theatre that I have experienced. As a complete production, it was cohesive and massively enjoyable; the first act clocks in at nearly 2 hours, but flew by and when the show was over, it left the audience of over 1600 people wanting more.”

MD Theatre Guide

“Director Kristina Friedgen made sure that the large number of students (at times there were 300 performers on stage, including the orchestra and choruses) were all able to spend some time in the limelight without the large group devolving into chaos.”

DC Metro Theater Arts

Production and rehearsal photos

Full video highlights

Production 2: And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None with Good Counsel Theatre Company


While I approached this piece from a traditional process for play directing, I enlisted youth as equal collaborators in design capacities.  And Then There Were None, which was part of a Double Feature Murder Mystery presentation, marked a shift in my efforts to balance the power between adult and youth collaborators. Working in a repertory model, GCTC students and staff worked collaboratively, particularly on the design of this show.

This collaboration falls on step six: adult-initiated, shared decisions with youth.  I initiated the decision to give over power to student designers and selected the project, but they were able to apply for their positions and were equal contributors to the project as we developed the show.

Selected materials include:

  • Description of the show’s concept and my experience working on it
  • Link to the initial mood board I created for the design team
  • Production stills
  • Link to a Featured Student post on my blog interviewing the show’s set designer

Featured content

Production photos

Featured students

Jimmy Stubbs – Set Designer

Currently pursuing an MFA in Scenic Design at Yale University, Jimmy and I discuss the evolution of his process from high school theatre and visual art student to concentrating in scenic design. Read full post.

Sumie Yotsukura – Vera

Currently pursuing a BA in Theatre at William & Mary, Sumie and I discuss the value of collaboration in feeding the artistic process for actors. Read full post.

Production 3: Unmasked

Unmasked: A youth-driven devised original play

Director, Deviser

This was my first devised production and as such, I fully collaborated with youth to conceive, write, produce, and perform the piece.  Unmasked’s entire development process shifted the way in which I seek to create work with and for youth. Unmasked’s collaboration firmly set my work on step seven: youth-initiated, shared decisions with adults.

Selected materials include:

  • Abridged cut of the show’s creation process
  • Description of the show’s concept and my experience working on it
  • Documentation from the process: Collection of hunches we used to devise
  • School blog post about the show
  • Production stills
  • Uncut film of the show’s creation process

Making Unmasked

Featured content

Production photos

Creating Unmasked – Full Video

Production 4: It’s Time

It’s Time with Peter O’Connor

Choreographer, Associate Director

This community-based residency production devised a “human installation” at the Geffen MOCA in Los Angeles.  Working in collaboration with Dr. Peter O’Connor (Director) and Craig Christie (Music Director, Associate Director), It’s Time featured homeless or housing-insecure performers from LA’s Skid Row.   I have included it here as a sample of community-based devised performance.

Selected materials include:

  • Choreography highlight video
  • Description of the show’s concept and my experience working on it
  • Creative Thinking Project’s description of the project
  • Link to video interview with Director, Music Director (Craig Christie), and me
  • Pre-residency radio interview with Director and Documentarian (Justin Brown Brooks)
  • Post-residency radio interview with Director and Documentarian
  • Production stills
  • Three articles on the residency
  • Short-film interviewing the performers, used in the performance

Featured video

Featured content

Radio Interviews with Dr. O’Connor

Production photos

Articles on the Performance

Interviews with the Performers

See my other portfolios