PROGRAM DIRECTOR: COMMUNITY STORYTELLING PROJECTS
Curator, Managing Producer: Travel Storytelling Series (Travelogue)
Christen has traveled internationally with DAT on at least eight projects, for which she’s worked in over 32 locations. On one of her favorite DAT projects, she directed a teaching artist residency, where she led on-site storytelling workshops in the Roma settlement of Moldava nad Bovneau, Slovakia. That summer, her workshop participants created a series of devised vignettes—all true stories—illustrating the discrimination faced by Roma populations across the word. Their incredible work was featured here, on national Slovak news.
At “home” with DAT, Christen trains artists to lead workshops in foreign environments; produces and curates the company’s Travelogue—a travel storytelling series; dramaturgs productions; and contributes to publicity needs. She dramaturged and ran publicity for the company’s full-length production of A Girl without Wings, which was performed at IATI Theater and, while in development, read at the Kennedy Center’s Page-to-Stage festival under its earlier title Prayer of the Condor. The show received a rave New York Times review. She also recently dramaturged the world-premiere reading of The Rebel Bird, in Nitra, Slovakia, which featured American, Slovak, and Roma performers and was funded in part by the US Embassy in Slovakia.
When she’s not working with DAT, Christen can be found on CUNY’s John Jay College campus, where she’s the Director of the Writing Program and where she runs Life Out Loud, a nonfiction podcast dedicated to diversifying the contemporary storytelling landscape. As part of their work, the LOL team recently started working with the Bronx Freedom Fund, an organization which provides bail, free of charge, in underserved communities in order to ensure that—while awaiting trial—the accused don’t lose their jobs. She has also taught for the Prison-to-College Pipeline Program at Otisville Prison, for Interdisciplinary Studies Program, and for “Adelante” an academic success program that links writing classes with Latinx Studies. She was recently awarded both the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Faculty Service to students award at JJC.
In past academic lives Christen served as the Assistant Director of John Jay’s Writing Program and the Writing-Across-the -Curriculum Program and also taught for Seton Hall University and Rutgers University, Newark. For info on how Christen connects her work teaching storytelling with DAT to her work teaching research writing, please see this recent interview, filmed as part of the college’s Art of Teaching: A Series for Inspiring the Best.
Her own nonfiction has been shared at The Renegade Reading Series, Projective Spaces, the Cornelia Street Café, and has appeared in the Johns Hopkins University Press academic journal The Shakespeare Bulletin. She was a long-time member of both Haberdasher Theatre Company and the Hell’s Kitchen theater collective, Exit, Pursued by a Bear.
In 2014, she married her favorite playwright, Dramatic Adventure’s own Jason Williamson, who she met while working with DAT in the Andes Mountains. They live in NYC and are the proud parents of two poorly-behaved cats: Lina and Olive.