MEET OUR TEAM
After working in Madagascar with at risk youth, and collaborating with UNICEF to promote health education through theater, founder Annie Worden was inspired to create a global organization that brings free arts programming to vulnerable children and teenagers around the world. At Stories 4 Strength, we believe creative expression through art is deeply important to a child's growth. Every child, no matter their circumstance, deserves access to arts education that unlocks their creative potential. We bring master teaching artists to facilitate our classes in story creation, songwriting, performance techniques and educational theater, building our students confidence, resilience and sense of community, by giving them power through the value of their own voices.
Annie Worden (Founder, Artistic Director) is an actor, puppeteer and teacher. She spent four years working as the education/outreach coordinator for Zara Aina, an NGO that does theater with underpriviledged children in Madagascar. She has taught at the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, the 52nd Street Project, the Flea Theater and has worked with Mighty Shero Productions bringing theater and storytelling to incarcerated women. She also developed a program to bring after school art classes to homeless shelters in Brooklyn and Queens. She received her MFA from Brown University/Trinity Rep. www.annieworden.com
Matt Citron (Executive Director, Music Director) is an actor, musician and teacher. He has taught music and theater at The 52nd Street Project, Zara Aina, Peace Child, Marin Country Day School, and The Bank Street School. As an actor and music director he has worked at Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Playwright's Horizons, New York Theater Workshop, The Williamstown Theater Festival, and many others. His music has been heard on MTV, The CW, Bravo, TruTV, the Olympics 2016, and the Emmy nominated web series Honest Trailers. He received an MFA from NYU's Graduate Acting Program. www.mattcitron.space www.mattcitron.net
OUR TEACHING ARTISTS
Korey Jackson is a native of Maryland, and current resident of the New York City area. He is an actor, director, writer and founding producer of F.A.M. Creative Productions. In addition to his work on stage and screen, he loves bringing the arts to communities who need them most. Whether he is teaching music to 5th graders at P.S. 48 in the Bronx through the Hunts Point Alliance for Children (HPAC), acting in musical plays written by kids in the Hell's Kitchen area with the 52nd Street Project, or performing great plays for our enlisted men and women around the world with Art In The Armed Forces (AITAF), these are the artistic experiences that mean the most to him. He couldn't be more excited to continue this important work with Stories 4 Strength.
Tristan Cunningham has been teaching circus arts and theater to children for over ten years. She is head of acrobatics and clowning and director of circus summer camp for companies on the east and west coast. Her passion for teaching comes from her deep love for children and her belief that theater and circus are for everyone. She enjoys seeing her students grow their skills and learn helpful tools they will carry for the rest of their lives. Circus and performing has changed her life and she feels lucky to share this passion with her students. She recently won the 2018 Luminary Award for education from California Shakespeare Theater. www.tristancunningham.com
Leicester Landon is a theater artist and educator from Louisiana where he teaches theater in the public school system. He has performed professionally in film and on stage throughout the nation. He is an alum of the Chautauqua Theater Conservatory and received his MFA from Brown University/Trinity Rep.
Lynnette R. Freeman is a Jamaican-African-American actress, dancer, writer, and teaching artist, raised in East Cleveland, OH. Brown/Trinity MFA, Member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She has performed in theaters all over the US. Favorite previous roles have included Homer/ Fortune Teller/ Ivy in “The Skin Of Our Teeth”, Veronica in “Lost Lake”, Camae in “The Mountaintop”, God in “An Act Of God” , Georgia Dawson in “Travisville”, Lydia Namandu in “Human Rites”, Letitia in "On The Outs", Ruth in “A Raisin in the Sun”, Reheema Abu-Salaam in “In A Daughter’s Eyes”, Jenny/ Marge in “Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play”; Esther Mills in “Intimate Apparel” and Pretty Mbane in “The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane”. Lynnette believes in the divine healing power of story telling.
Cherie Corinne Rice is an educator and actor based in New York City. She is the head of Voice and Speech at the Professional Performing Arts School in NYC and has most recently performed in the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis' production of Romeo and Juliet. Cherie is bets known for her work on the TV comedy Nightcap. She has worked as an actor for The Light Fantastic Theater, performing in prisons, nursing homes and homeless shelters all over the east coast. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Stories 4 Strength. www.cheriecorinnerice.com
Johnnie Bankens is a classical singer and educator from Louisiana. As an educator, Johnnie has taught voice at Louisiana State University, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, MI, and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Voice at Southeastern Louisiana University. As a performer of opera, Johnnie has performed leading roles regionally, nationally, and internationally. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Louisiana State University. www.johnniebankens.com
Amanda Thompson is an educator and director currently living in Chicago. She teaches drama at Alphonsus Academy and Center for the Arts. She previously lived in New York City where she taught drama to young people and directed plays at venues including La Mama, 54 Bellow, and the Fringe Festival. She has worked on theatre projects in Rwanda, with New Hope (helping adults reentering the workforce after incarceration), CAT Youth Theatre, and helped found the Transgenerational Theatre Project. She has her MA in Applied Theatre from CUNY.
Christine Stulik is an actor, writer, and musician recently relocated to NYC having spent the past 12 years in Chicago. She was a company member of The Hypocrites, where she acted in 14 productions over 6 years. In NYC, she has worked at HERE Arts Center and the MCC Youth Company. She has acted regionally at A.R.T, Berkeley Rep, and Actors Theatre of Lousiville and is a proud graduate of Northwestern University and The School at Steppenwolf. www.christinestulik.com
Sunny has been a full time faculty member at Friends International in Phnom Penh for over 20 years. In addition to working with the kids at Mith Samlanh, he also regularly hosts a singing competition on Cambodian TV under the alias VJ Color.
Socheat Vouen is a peer mentor at the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap. She supports children facing difficult health issues at the hospital and educates her community about better hygiene practices. She also loves spicy mango.
Saphon is a full time staff member of the Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap. He helps organize the community outreach for the Capacity Building Team at AHC.