Life Jacket’s Teaching Artists (left-right): Raquel Almazan, Drew Drake, and Julian Goldhagen

Meet Life Jacket’s Teaching Artists

Raquel Almazan, Drew Drake, and Julian Goldhagen Will Spearhead Life Jacket Theatre Company’s “The Storytelling Project”

“The Storytelling Project” according to Life Jacket Theatre Company’s Artistic Director, Travis Russ, “is an exciting outreach initiative that teaches young people in underserved communities across the country how to tell true undertold stories in personal, engaging, and creative ways using various theatrical languages including spoken word, music, and dance.”

Starting this fall, this endeavor will be lead by three international teaching artists: Raquel Almazan, Drew Drake, and Julian Goldhagen.

Part storytelling, part theatrical adventure, this groundbreaking initiative provides students with a safe environment in which they can share authentic, urgent, and necessary stories in front of live supportive audiences. This project is designed to help our young people unlock the power of storytelling and discover their authentic voices.

“The Storytelling Project is designed to ignite constructive and powerful dialogues within communities,” Russ adds.” He highlights that Life Jacket is especially committed to teaching storytelling skills to young queer people of color and other underserved populations to highlight stories that have been pushed to the margins for far too long.

Tony Award nominated producer, Jessica Genick, serves as the Storytelling Project’s Community Engagement Consultant and is responsible for assembling a diverse range of non-profit organizations to partner with Life Jacket to empower and embolden America’s next generation of forward-thinking political, social, and artistic leaders. She notes, “Life Jacket’s storytelling workshops can ease the stigma around taboo or un-discussable topics and can elevate enthusiasm and energy around the subjects of community, empowerment, leadership, individuality, diversity, inclusion, and social justice.” Further, she notes, “This project has the power to foster stronger bonds between students and form life-long friendships.”

Life Jacket’s Fall 2020 Teaching Artists

Students who participate in Life Jacket’s workshops will have the opportunity to learn from the following teaching artists.

Raquel Almazan

Raquel (she/her) is an artist, facilitator, and activist. She has facilitated arts programs in several facilities with women, men, and youth, including: Rikers Island Prison, Chelsea Detention Center, and Crossroads Juvenile Center.

Drew Drake

Drew (he/him) is an actor, poet and educator from Huntsville AL, focused on creating art that facilitates healthy dialogue for people of color. His Hip-Hop EPs include Dope Boyz Love Hondas and Untitled, to be released this fall.

Julian Goldhagen

Julian (he/him/they) is a social worker, performance artist, and visual artist in Brooklyn. His work has been featured at the New Museum, NY International Fringe Festival, the United Nations’ Palais des Nations, and on NPR’s “Moth Radio Hour.”

To learn more about Life Jacket Theatre Company’s Storytelling Project or to become one of our Community Partners, click here.



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