Aviva and Annelise with the Warrior Group

Lead Deviser: Aviva Helena Neff is a Ph.D. student, an international artist, and theatre facilitator. Drawing from her multiracial, Midwestern background, Aviva’s research focuses on black American performance, the Southern Gothic literary trope, and protest movements. Aviva holds a Master of Arts in Applied Theatre from Goldsmith’s University of London and a Bachelor of Arts in U.S. History from the College of Wooster. Aviva’s work as an actor and artist has been staged in cities such as London (UK), Manizales (Colombia), and Columbus (Ohio). She is grateful for this opportunity to work with the talented women of the “Warriors,” and her friends and colleagues at OSU.

Co-Deviser: Annelise Dahl is a senior studying Finance with minors in Nonprofit Studies and French. While at OSU, she helped start the student organization Theatre Arts Group that brings theatre opportunities to Columbus City Schools. She is also the Community Engagement Manager at CleanTurn Enterprises, a social enterprise that hires those from challenging backgrounds, including human trafficking and incarceration.

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The Warrior group is one of longest running workshops in the Be the Street project, having begun work together in November of 2017. Aviva describes the focus of the group as the “idea of metamorphosis.” The group has been exploring questions, such as, “How does a person evolve from a “Survivor” into a “Warrior?” What makes a Warrior? Is it the war? Who they are fighting for?” On the experience of doing community-based theatre, Aviva explained that “one of the challenges I have struggled with is the learning curve that naturally occurs when working with non-actors. There are so many weird theatre things that I do on a daily basis that seem otherworldly or out of context. Also, it feels like we never have enough time together. We really have a lot of fun and it is hard to buckle down and work sometimes.”

Community Partner: CleanTurn Enterprises (1059 Cable Avenue, Ste. A, Columbus, OH 43222) In their own words: “CleanTurn provides an array of supportive services but our primary focus is creating the platform for individuals to realize their potential as human beings. We are focused on creating the nurturing and loving community and family culture that encourages and fosters a lifestyle characterized by resilience, integrity and healthy decisions. Our culture of high expectations and strong accountability is not for the faint of heart but we have also created the systems necessary for rewarding and celebrating personal and professional development and growth.” (http://www.cleanturn.org)

Workshop Photos by Víctor Espinosa. Post created by Josh Truett.