WHO WE ARE
soneela nankani, executive director and founding artist
Soneela Nankani is Executive Director of Center for Performance and Civic Practice (CPCP) and Managing Director of Sojourn Theatre. She is also a co-founder of the organization and previously served as Managing Director for 6 years. Soneela is leading CPCP’s efforts toward impact-driven programming and sustainable organizational practices as well as guiding the organization’s endeavors to articulate more clearly than ever before its commitment to racial equity and justice in its mission, values and work. Part of this articulation includes encouraging dialogue around how we stimulate and support a culture of inclusion in the arts and nonprofit fields.
Soneela has over 25 years of experience as a community dialogue facilitator, co-creator, thought partner and performer in capacity-building and place-based projects around the nation. Much of this work she has done in collaboration with Sojourn Theatre, with which she has worked since its founding in 1999. She has also partnered with education departments at theatres for this work.
Additionally, Soneela works in the performing arts as a theatre performer, writer, and producer. She is an award-winning audiobook narrator with 150 titles to date. She has garnered 5 Earphone awards, and Audie nomination and a SOVAS nomination. Her audiobooks have been included in Best of the Audiobooks of the Year lists by AudioFile Magazine (2016) and The Washington Post (2018).
Soneela has a BA in Economics and Theatre from University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Acting from Columbia University, where she was the recipient of Columbia University’s Research Fellowship in Acting, which resulted in a year-long apprenticeship with voice pioneer, Kristin Linklater.
MICHAEL ROHD, Lead artist for civic imagination and founding artist
Michael Rohd is a co-founder of Center for Performance and Civic Practice, where he holds the position Lead Artist for Civic Imagination. He is also founding artistic director of the 19 year old national ensemble-based Sojourn Theatre. In 2015, he received an Otto Rene Castillo award for Political Theater and The Robert Gard Foundation Award for Excellence. He is an Institute Professor at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design & Art and is is author of the widely translated book Theatre for Community, Conflict, and Dialogue. He was the 2013-2016 Doris Duke Artist-in-Residence at Lookingglass Theater Company in Chicago.
Recent and current projects include collaborations and productions with Goodman Theater, Bush Foundation, Lincoln Center, Singapore Drama Educators Association, Americans for the Arts, Nashville’s MetroArts, ArtPlace, Cleveland Public Theater, Catholic Charities USA, Cook Inlet Housing Authority Alaska, ASU/Gammage, and Steppenwolf Theater.
shannon scrofano, director of design and founding artist
Shannon Scrofano is a Los Angeles-based designer whose work includes interdisciplinary performance, public space, exhibition, curation and dial projects internationally and throughout the US. She was a part of the founding team of artists who hatched the Center for Performance and Civic Practice, where she currently serves as the Director of Design. She is a company member of Sojourn Theatre, and is on the design faculty at California Institute of the Arts, where she works on new models for design education.
rebecca martinez, program Director - catalyst initiative and learning lab
As Program Manager, Rebecca Martinez has provided logistical and programmatic support in addition to mentoring for artist and partner teams for two of CPCP’s core initiatives: Catalyst Initiative and Learning Lab. A Brooklyn-based artist collaborating with CPCP since 2013, Rebecca is also an ensemble member of Sojourn Theatre and has worked as a creator/performer, choreographer, facilitator, teaching artist, and director for multiple national projects including How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes, Finding Penelope, Islands of Milwaukee, On The Table, and the two year Artist-in-Residence collaboration with Catholic Charities. With both CPCP and Sojourn Theatre, her work focuses on cross-disciplinary social and civic practice through co-designed arts-based engagement and invitation strategies. As a theatremaker, Rebecca has worked regionally with companies such as PlayMakers Repertory Company, Signature Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Working Theater, Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Milagro Theatre, Oregon Children’s Theatre, INTAR, the 52nd Street Project, the Lark, Young Audiences, and Creative Arts Team. Rebecca served as a Co-Curator of Working Theater’s Directors Salon, is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, INTAR’s Unit52, the Latinx Theatre Commons Steering Committee, an Associate Member of SDC and a 2017 Drama League Director Fellow. She is a recipient of the SPARC and SU-CASA residency awards, the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists, and four Portland Theatre Drammy Awards.
sara sawicki, communications and partnership manager
Sara Sawicki is a Chicago-based theatre artist. She is an artistic associate of Sojourn Theatre where she also works as the project coordinator for the touring engagements of Sojourn’s HOW TO END POVERTY in 90 MINUTES. Sara joined the Center for Performance and Civic Practice in 2015. As CPCP’s Partnership/Communications Manager, she supports CPCP partner relationship development, acts as project manager for the expanding Civic Body programming, and coordinates internal and external organization communications. Outside of CPCP and Sojourn Theatre, Sara works as an artist: touring internationally as a performer/puppeteer with Manual Cinema; company member of For Youth Inquiry; recurring youth circus co-director and writer at Actors Gymnasium; cinematic performance capture at NetherRealm Studios; and as a freelance director and performer.
Center for Performance and Civic Practice is generously supported by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.