Lisa Wagner-Carollo is the Founding Director of Still Point Theatre Collective. She founded the company in 1993, motivated by a strong desire to combine ministry and theatre. Ever since, she has toured the country and overseas with Haunted by God: The Life of Dorothy Day. Wagner has also performed in and produced (for Still Point), the internationally toured Points of Arrival: A Jean Donovan Journey, a play that explores the life and commitment of one of the four North American church women killed in El Salvador in 1980. Lisa also works as a facilitator in Still Point’s outreach programs. Her education includes a B.S.E. from Emporia State University. She completed her certification as a spiritual director at Siena Center in Racine, Wisconsin and has begun a spiritual direction practice in the Chicago area. Awards: Outstanding Recent Graduate, Emporia State University, 1997 Seeds of Hope Award, Wheatridge, 2009.
Héctor Álvarez is a writer, actor and director from Spain. He loves travel and all things theatrical, and in his work as a performer and teaching artist he seeks to generate inspiring conversations around works of art, ideas and artistic practices. In 2009 he received a Watson Fellowship to study community theater companies in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil that served populations who had suffered from trauma. He has studied at Augusto Boal’s Center for the Theater of the Oppressed in Rio de Janeiro and has an MA in English Literature from University College London. He recently presented his one-man American epic about gun violence “The Ghoul Exhibition” in Chicago, New York and Austin. He’s thrilled to be part of Still Point Theater Collective.
Clearie McCarthy received a BFA in acting from Wayne State University. Before graduating, Clearie worked as a student-facilitator at Detroit Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in Prison program, founded by Frannie Shepard-Bates. Additionally, she facilitated a Forum Theatre event seeking to creatively explore bystander intervention as an approach to sexual violence prevention on college campuses. Clearie’s work in Chicago is currently focused on Improvisation, applied theatre, and Theatre of the Oppressed. She is working with Still Point’s Persephone Project facilitating improvisation workshops with incarcerated woman at the Cook County Correctional Facility. Clearie has recently graduated from Annoyance Theatre’s Improvisation program and recently studied at the Center for Theatre of the Oppressed in Rio De Janeiro.
Yahaira Landaverry, of Guatemalan descendent, came to the Windy City at the age of ten years old and has lived in Chicago since then. She graduated from Fox College in 2004 with an Associate’s Degree in Associate of Applied Science in Administration. Soon before graduating, she started working for The National Federation of Priests’ Councils until February of 2014 when she met Lisa Wagner. At the present moment, she volunteers as the Secretary for her church, Sublime Gracia; she’s also part of the Administrative Board, Worship Team and leads the Youth Group along with her husband of 10 years. They have a son, Nathan.
Anita Dacanay graduated from Wright State University’s Professional Actor Training Program in 1988. She moved to Chicago where she lived and worked as an actress, performance artist, and arts educator for 13 years. She is currently living in Shaker Heights, Ohio with her two children. She taught Performing Arts classes for adults with developmental disabilities through the Cuyahoga County Board of D.D.for 10 years, and is currently enrolled in Cleveland State University’s graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Anita is proud and happy to have worked with Still Point Theatre Collective in various capacities since 1993.
Laura Callahan-Hazard – Senior Facilitator
Laura Callahan-Hazard holds a degree in Directing from Barat College, and has a background in Chicago theater working as a designer, dramaturg, and director. She is the lead facilitator for the Ravenswood Players, and has also led other Imagination Workshop programs with Still Point, including partnerships with SEARCH Inc., L’Arche Chicago, and Orchard Village.
Mars A. Caulton – Program Facilitator
Mars A. Caulton is an Early Childhood Teacher and a Teaching Artist, specializing in Performance Art, Music, Poetry, and Literacy. She holds a B.A. in Child Studies and an Illinois Professional Educator’s License, currently teaching preschool on Chicago’s West Side. An animal lover and diligent citizen of the natural world, she lives with her 15 year old son and 3 rescued cats.
James Cornolo – Program Facilitator
James has been teaching music for over 15 years to a wide range of people including very young children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities. He has studied jazz at the American Conservatory of Music and currently holds a B. A. in Classical Guitar Performance and Pedagogy from Northwestern Illinois University. James has a strong professional background in World Music including Latin and Caribbean styles in addition to rock, jazz, and classical. James uses his rich experience to find the best approach for each individual student’s growth and enjoyment.
Lindsay Porter – Program Facilitator
Lindsay Porter has been acting, directing, teaching and writing plays in Chicago for over 20 years. At Still She has been a facilitator for the Persephone Project at Lake County Jail since 2008. She co-directed Feeling Beautiful All Over, performed by Sisters Rising. Lindsay has directed and performed at dozens of Chicago theatres and was a founding member of Running With Scissors where she appeared in The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon and wrote and directed her adaptation of Lysistrata. Lindsay recently forayed into Chicago’s Live Lit and storytelling scene, where she’s performed her own writing with Story Sessions, True Story, Tellin’ Tales and Loose Chicks. Lindsay’s plays and monologues have been performed at Trap Door, Chicago Dramatists, Organic, Running with Scissors, and Collaboraction in Chicago and at Live Girls in Seattle and Riverside Theatre in Iowa. She also directed and performed in The Conscience Monologues, a project of the Eighth Day Center for Justice, with Still Point Founder Lisa Wagner. Lindsay lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
Katherine Bellantone – Actor
Katherine Bellantone is humbled to be joining such a talented group to help shine light on the tragedy of human trafficking. Previously she has worked with Her Story Theatre in Chicago to educate at-risk middle schoolers about sex trafficking in performances of “Money Make Em Smile.” Other recent credits include “L’imitation of Life” with Hell in a Handbag, “Mr. Moral’s Guide to Surviving Dark Times without Losing It” with El Bear Productions, and “The Wood” with the Imposters Theatre Company. She has a BFA in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Debbie Baños – Actor
Debbie Baños is a Chicago actor and graduated from the University of Arkansas with an MFA in Acting. Some of her Chicago credits include “Titus Andronicus” with Babes with Blades, “Adoration of the Old Woman” with Urban Theatre Company, Juan Francisco Villa’s “Don Chipotle”, “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Pulse Theatre, and Eleusis Collective’s production of “King Lear”. Debbie is a Southern first-Generation Salvadoreña-American who is in love with theoretical physics.
Nate Smith – Actor
Nate Smith is an actor and writer in Chicago. He works with Marc Smith, originator of the slam poetry movement, whom he recently travelled with to Budapest for an international piece of poetry. He holds a degree in rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley, and is honored to be working with Still Point on their production aimed at ending human trafficking.
Heather Rivett – Actor
Heather Rivett (actor) hails from Hammond, Indiana. She joined Grace House in 2016 and, despite her fear of public speaking, she participated in Still Point’s Persephone Project. Two years later, she continues to work with Still Point as a performer and writer of poetry and spoken word pieces. Heather is still affiliated with Grace House and was hired by St. Leonard’s Ministries in the maintenance department. She visits her family in Indiana every weekend and gets to share the work she has composed with Still Point with them. In the words of Heather: “If you ever get the chance to come see one of our performances I promise you will enjoy our rollercoaster!”
Steve has an M.A. in Theater and Film, and has directed scores of amateur and professional productions. In 1966, he was founding director of the Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, Colorado. He has been a Peace Corps volunteer and staffer, a screenwriter and journalist, and has taught at universities in Kansas and Missouri.
Virginia is the Head of Directing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and until recently was the Artistic Director of Nebraska Repertory Theatre. She received the Mayor’s Choice Award from Lincoln’s Mayor Chris Beutler and the Lincoln Arts Council in 2015. She has been working with Lisa Wagner-Carollo and Still Point since the very beginning of the company, and directed Haunted by God, Deep Listening, and Living Water.
Adam Villani is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and artist from the suburbs of Washington, DC. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago where he received a degree in Cinema Art and Science with a concentration in documentary film. He freelances as a director and DP for documentaries, commercials, music videos, and corporate films. Through his films, Adam likes to explore ideas and perspectives that have yet to be looked at with an open mind.
Holly Windingstad – Set and Costume Designer Holly is a freelance designer whose work has been seen in Chicago, IL; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Phoenix, AZ; Rockford, IL; New York, NY; and Lincoln, NE. Holly has been collaborating with Still Point since 20003, designing shows and assisting with prison programming. Holly received an MFA in set and costume design from Northwestern University.
Volunteers and Interns
Abby Thompson is an Acting major, Voiceover minor, originally from Milwaukee, studying at Columbia College Chicago. She recently returned from studying Drama, Applied Theatre, and Performance at the University of East London and her true passions lie in exploring immersive theater, theater for social justice, teaching artistry, the connection between faith and theater, and community engagement/cultural partnerships. For the past 2 years, she has been a teaching artist at an after school arts program at Beidler Elementary School and is also an RA on campus. Abby has performed and taught professionally in Milwaukee at First Stage, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Skylight Music Theater, and African American Children’s Theatre.
Abby Pajakowski is a director, writer, and performer who believes in using art to foster community and connection. She received her M.A. in Applied Theatre in the Criminal Justice System from The Central School of Speech and Drama and her B.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University. She has created theatre with currently and formerly incarcerated artists with Prison Creative Arts Project, Shakespeare Behind Bars, Unlock Drama, and Storycatchers. She produces the bi-monthly event Potluck Variety Hour at The Frontier while also creating and performing her own original work.
William Ryder is a voice & speech teacher/coach, actor, and management consultant. He is certified as a Registered Rodenburg Teacher, under the tutelage of the world renown voice teacher: Patsy Rodenburg. As an actor, he has worked primarily in daytime television (e.g., All My Children, One Life to Live, and As the World Turns). He was born in Chicago, raised in Findlay, Ohio, and was awarded Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame. For Still Point, he hopes to help the incarcerated free their natural voice and discover their authentic power through their speaking of Shakespeare’s poetry and plays.