Who We Are
Fringe Benefits is an ever-expanding alliance of artists, educators, parents, social justice activists and youth. As there are hundreds of Fringe Benefits allies nation-wide, it would be impossible to list everyone on this website. Following are images of some of us, along with brief bios and descriptions of the work we do and have done with Fringe Benefits…
Fringe Benefits Artists, Teaching Artists, Staff & Interns…
Norma Bowles, Founder, Artistic Director
Norma has facilitated, developed and/or supervised hundreds of award-winning theatre for social justice projects with both youth and adults since 1991 throughout the USA, as well as in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Spain and the UK. She developed Fringe Benefit’s groundbreaking collaborative play devising methodology. Bowles has taught Theatre and Social Change courses at Loyola Marymount University since 2012. (1991 to present)
Tiffani Williams, Lead Teaching Artist Residency Director
Tiffani is a director, educator and performing artist. She earned a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University (LMU where she was honored with the “St. Ignatius Award for Theatre for Social Justice” and named “Outstanding Performer of the Year.” Tiffani has directed Fringe Benefits’ Theatre for Social Justice Residencies at Southeast Middle School since 2017. (2017 to present)
Chelsea Sik Li Ean, Video Artist & Marketing Director
Chelsea is a multi-lingual (English, Mandarin, Malay), theatre and video artist who earned her BFA in Theater from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2020. She cofounded USC’s Trojan Stunt Team and organized USC SDA’s first stunt film festival. Besides acting, Chelsea is also a producer and an executive producer on projects that explore social justice issues as well as the coexistance of nature and technology. (2020 to present)
Natasha Nutkiewicz, Intern, Teaching Artist & Video Artist
Natasha is a 20 year old actress, producer and singer from Argentina studying theatre and cinema at the University of Southern California. Through her multi-disciplinary and global creations she hopes to promote equity, love and freedom. You can follow her journey at Natashanutka .(2019 to present)
Alan Corvaia, Teaching Artist & Director
Alan is an award-winning bilingual actor, director, designer, writer, activist, video-producer and group facilitator. A participant in the 2015 Global Young Leader Conference (GYLC), currently majoring in Theatre Arts at LMU, Corvaia has contributed more than 430 hours of community service in Venezuela, Germany and the United States. (2019 to present)
Selin Yalcinkaya, Internship Coordinator & Showcase Producer
Selin is a USC, Psychology and Theater Double Major, class of 2022. She is also the Vice President of One & All Theater for Social Justice at USC, as well as the Shadow President and Secretary of Artemis, an intersectional feminist art production company. (2019 – present)
Steven Vargas, Intern, Teaching Artist & Video Artist
Steven is a journalist, dancer and actor based in Los Angeles with a focus on art for social change. He’s worked with organizations like USC Arts in Action, Black Lives Matter LA, and Reform LA Jails Coalition on various theatre projects. Offstage, he has reported with Annenberg Media, TheWrap, Dance Magazine, and ET Live. Find out more at Vargassteven. (2019 to present)
Emely Morales, Teaching Artist
Emely is a bilingual activist and educator. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from LMU, where she received the “Intercultural Leadership Award” for her work co-hosting LMU’s National Dialogue on Race, Protect and Serve and Intercultural Summit. She served as LMU’s Espérer Service Organization’s president and helped lead their weekly volunteer work with Fringe Benefits for three years. (2017 to present)
Abby Dunbar, Intern & Video Artist
Abby is a current undergrad student at the University of Redlands studying theatre and media. With an emphasis on scriptwriting, she hopes to continue writing to help make the world a more diverse and equitable place for everyone to achieve their goals. (2020 to present)
Flint, Teaching Artist, Dramaturge, & Symposium Director (Upcoming)
Flint (her full legal name) is a writer and educator. She has served on the faculty at CalArts and at Antioch University. Her work has been published in a variety of journals and anthologies, including Staging Social Justice, Arts & Letters, Cutbank, and Palaver. She has presented at the Association of Theatre in Higher Education Conference, the Queer Studies Conference, and the &Now Festival of Literature. (2009 to present)
Barbara Speck, Photographer & Contributing Writer
“I love to take pictures and be of service. I was attracted Photography Because at its most basic It tells truth and on the other end of the spectrum the skies the limit in what can be accomplished. I have a degree is creative Photography from Cal State, Fullerton. I love being a part of Fringe Benefits and supporting their mission.” (1999 to present)
Eric Denson Nanka-Bruce, Teaching Artist
Eric is currently a senior pursuing a BA in computer science at Santa Monica College. He started out as a volunteer for Fringe Benefits and soon after signed on as a teaching artist after seeing the positive effect the workshops were having on the students. Other than his work with Fringe Benefits, Eric also moonlights as a video editor and is studying video game design. (2017 to present)
Diaya Fuller, Intern & Teaching Artist
Diaya is an actress, writer, director, and student at the University of Southern California. She is currently the Social media/marketing co-chair of the Theatre Student Association at USC and a teaching artist with Fringe Benefits Theatre. She plans on creating an organization for marginalized youth that blends her passion for the arts and social change. (2020 to present)
Denise Tarr, Residency Mentor & Supervisor
Denise was recognized as an LAUSD “Teacher of the Year” in 2020/2021 “for her expertise, success, creativity, devotion to her students, and commitment to the teaching profession”. Denise teaches theatre arts at Southeast Middle School DREAMS Magnet. One of her greatest joys as a teacher is watching her students’ journey from confusion to struggle to comprehension. She delights in helping her students exceed their own expectations. (2014 to present)
Lena Solano, Social Media Administrator
Lena is a senior at The Waverly High School where she coordinates a BIPOC student/faculty Affinity Space. She contributes to an Instagram platform providing a safe space for BIPOC students at her Predominantly White Institution. Lena is a founding member of @LAYouthActivists, an Instagram page that posts information about current social political events. (2019 to present)
Lindsey Gartner, Teaching Artist & Development Associate
Lindsey is currently a senior at Loyola Marymount University and is pursuing a dual degree in Theatre Arts and Business Management. Her theatrical experiences have spanned a range of positions, from director to stage manager to actor. In addition to her position at Fringe Benefits, she currently serves as the Artistic Director of The Del Rey Players at LMU. (2018 to present)
Theatre for Social Justice Residency Leaders
Tiffani Williams and Michael Muñoz, Co-Leaders, Fall 2018 Videos for Social Justice Residency with Southeast DREAMS Magnet
Cora Cleary and Tiffani Williams, Co-Leaders, Spring 2019 Videos for Social Jutice Residency with Southeast DREAMS Magnet
Brenda Quintanilla &Tiffani Williams, Fall 2017, Theatre for Social Justice Residency with Southeast Middle School
Top Row, Left to Right: Denise Tarr (Site Liaison/Mentor), Tiffani Williams (Residency Leader), Jaky Martinez (Family Liaison), & Harold Lloyd (Teaching Artist). Bottom Row, Left to Right: Cassidy Kepp (Teaching Artist), Emely Morales (Teaching Assitant), & Savannah Lewison (Teaching Artist). Spring 2018, Theatre for Social Jutice Residency with Southeast Middle School.
Tori DiGeronimo & Savannah Lewison, Co-Leaders, 2016/2017 Theatre for Social Justice Residency with Southeast Middle School
Tori DiGeronimo, Savannah Lewison & Dani Corona, Co-Leaders, 2015/2016 Theatre for Social Justice Residency with Southeast Middle School
Savannah, Tori & Dani with their families & Dean Bryant Keith Alexander of Loyola Marymount University after receiving their “Hidden Heroes” Awards. The CSJ Center for Reconciliation and Justice presented this award to Dani, Savannah & Tori “for exemplifying justice and reconciliation” in their work creating & leading the 2015/2016 TSJ Residency.
Mike Gudex (Trainer of Teaching Artists), Espérer Service Organization, LMU (Teaching Artists) 2014/2016 “Be You! Hear Me! Join Forces & Create Change Arts for Social Justice Festivals & Residencie with San Miguel Catholic School & Southeast Middle School
Maria Scheel, Leader, 2014/2015 Arts for Social Justice Festivals & Residencies. Maria won a Riordan Service Award for this work, and was a finalist for a Clinton Global Initiatives Grant for the work as well.
More Fringe Benefits Artists & Their Diverse Roles with us…
Contributing Writer & Dramaturge: Cootie Shots & Clothes Minded?;
Play Development Workshop Leader: Clothes Minded? ;
Actor: Cootie Shots & Clothes Minded? ; School Liaison (1998 to 2005)
TSJ WorkshopTeaching Artist; TSJ Institute Co-Leader; Assistant Director, Community Liaison, Discussion Facilitator & Production Manager: Cootie Shots 5th Anniversary Tour (2002 to 2008)
Contributing Writer & Dramaturge: Clothes Minded?
Play Development Workshop Leader: Clothes Minded?
Actor: Clothes Minded? and Shepard/Till
TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist (2001 to 2004)
Lindsey Barlag Thornton
TSJ Institute Site Leader & Director: Miami University of Ohio; TSJ Institute Co-Leader: Kent State University, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK, & Creative Regions, AU (2005 to 2008)
TSJ Institute Co-Leader, Residency Leader, Teaching Artist, & Co-Facilitator: Skills Sharing Workshop Series & LGBTQ+ Theatre Think Tank (2002 to 2006)
Contributing Writer: Turn It Around!, Cootie Shots & Clothes Minded?
Actor: Turn It Around!, Cootie Shots & Clothes Minded?
TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist, Director of Development (1997 to 2005)
Teaching Artist & TSJ Residency Co-Leader (2003 to 2005)
Contributing Writer: Cootie Shots; Play Development Workshop Leader: Clothes Minded? ; Actor: Cootie Shots; Props Designer: Cootie Shots, Clothes Minded?, Mitos, Ritos y Tonterias, & Stand Up & Speak Out!; Costume Designer: Clothes Minded?
Amanda Dunne Acevedo
TSJ Institute Site Leader & Director: Miami University of Ohio; TSJ Institute Co-Leader: University of Windsor, CAN; Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, UK, & Sarasvati Productions, CAN (2005 to 2009)
School and Community Liaison; TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist; TSJ Institute Co-Leader; Skills Sharing Workshop Series Co-Facilitator; Cootie Shots Actor (2001 to 2007)
TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist; TSJ Residency Co-Leader; LGBTQ+ Theatre Think Tank Facilitator; Producing Manager; Marketing & Outreach; A Day of Silence Playwright & Director (2002 to 2006)
TSJ Institute Site Liaison, Co-Leader, & Show Director, University of Iowa, Iowa City, TSJ Institute Co-Leader, Stonewall Youth (2005 to 2007)
Dr. Daniel-Raymond Nadon
TSJ Institute Site Leader & Director: Kent State University; Director: Cootie Shots 5th AnniversaryTour; Dramturge: Shepard/Till; Artist in Residence (2004 to 2007)
Contributing Writer & Dramaturge: Clothes Minded?
Play Development Workshop Leader: Clothes Minded?
Workshop Leader, Co-Producer, Contributing Writer, Assistant Director & Actor: Mitos, Ritos y Tonterias
Actor: Cootie Shots & Clothes Minded? ;TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist; TSJ Residency Co-Leader;
Associate Artistic Director (2001 to 2009)
Mark E. Rosenthal
Contributing Writer: Street Dish, Friendly Fire & Cootie Shots; Actor: Friendly Fire & Cootie Shots
Editor, Contributing Writer, & Associate Project Director: Cootie Shots;
Development staff (1992 to 2001)
Contributing Writer & Dramaturge: Cootie Shots, Clothes Minded? ;
Play Development Workshop Leader: Clothes Minded? ; Writer & Director: Gender Trans/Dance; Contributing Writer & Actor: Cootie Shots ; TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist; TSJ Institute Co-Leader; Producer, Director, & Dramaturge: The DownTown Women’s Theatre Project/SkidRow Feministas (1998 to 2017)
Contributing Writer: Friendly Fire, Turn It Around! & Cootie Shots; Actor: Friendly Fire, Turn It Around!, Cootie Shots & Gender Trans/Dance; Play Development Workshop Leader & Contributing Writer: Cootie Shots (1993 to 2003)
Contributing Writer: Cootie Shots ; Play Development Workshop Leader: Clothes Minded? ; Actor: Cootie Shots & Clothes Minded? ;
TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist (1999 to 2003)
Contributing Writer & Director: Turn It Around!
Workshop Leader, Screenwriter & Director: Mitos, Ritos y Tonterias
Theatre for Social Justice Workshop Teaching Artist (1997 to 2009)
Paula Weston Solano
Contributing Writer: Cootie Shots, Clothes Minded? and Staging Social Justice ; Play Development Workshop Leader: Clothes Minded? ; TSJ Workshop Teaching Artist; TSJ Institute Co-Leader (1999 to 2013)
Fringe Benefits Board of Directors
Alex Billings, President
Alexandra is an actress, singer, author, teacher and activist.
On January 20, 2020, Billings joined the cast of Wicked on Broadway (resuming when Broadway re-opens) Billings is playing in Wicked in the role of Madame Morrible. Recently, she played Davina on Amazon’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning hit TV show Transparent. She has also appeared on How To Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy and the Amazon series Goliath, starring Billy Bob Thornton. In 2005, Billings played Donna, opposite Katherine Heigl, in the ABC film Romy and Michelle: A New Beginning. It was the second time a transgender actress played a transgender character in the history of television. She’s had guest starring roles on How To Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Eli Stone, E.R., Karen Sisco, Nurses opposite Lynn Redgrave, and playing opposite Dot Jones in the Ryan Murphy pilot Pretty/Handsome, co-starring Blythe Danner and Robert Wagner. Her first feature film role as a non-trans character, Valley of Bones, debuted in the fall of 2017.
Billings has been acting since 1968 and has performed across the United States in hundreds of plays and musicals. She’s played everyone from Mama Rose in Gypsy to Mrs. Lynde in A Doll’s House. Most every stage role is considered to be a first for a transgender actress. Her one-woman autobiographical show, Before I Disappear, toured from Chicago to Boston to Los Angeles, and finally off-Broadway at The Producer’s Club, winning rave reviews and running for over 10 years. She originated the role of Alejandra in Time to Burn by Charles Mee at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago and toured to off-Broadway in Jeff Richmond and Michael Thomas’ camp classic, Hamlet! The Musical! Her album Being Alive, produced by Ralph Lampkin, Jr., was up for Grammy consideration in 2002.
She is the recipient of five After Dark Awards and one Joseph Jefferson Award.
Billings’ activism stretches across the continent. She has won the TPA Award and the Rainbow Spirit Award, and she was inducted into the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in Chicago in 2007. She has been living with AIDS since 1995. Her life story From Schoolboy to Showgirl, produced by Alex Silets for PBS television, was nominated for an Emmy for best documentary.
Norma is a theatre artist, educator, mentor, and collaboration facilitator. She has conducted residencies in Theatre for Social Justice, acting, commedia dell’arte and new play development with community organizations, universities, and theatres throughout the United States, as well as in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom. Bowles earned a B.A. in Masked Performance at Princeton University, and an M.F.A. in Directing at the California Institute of the Arts. She edited both of Fringe Benefits’ play anthologies, Cootie Shots: Theatrical Inoculations Against Bigotry and Friendly Fire, and co-edited Staging Social Justice: Collaborating to Create Activist, an anthology of essays about Fringe Benefits’ collaborative devising process. Bowles is a recipient of PFLAG/LA’s “Oscar Wilde Award,” “for promoting tolerance through original theatrical productions,” Cornerstone Theater Company’s “Bridge Award” for “building bridges within and between communities,” and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s first “Award for Leadership in Community-Based Theatre and Civic Engagement.” She has enjoyed teaching Acting, Theatre and Social Change, Comedy and Social Change, Children’s Theatre, and Voices of Justice at Loyola Marymount University since 2012.
Barbara June Dodge Dart
B.J. Dodge is a teaching artist who recently retired from 33 years at California Institute of the Arts. First, as a member of the Theater School, in performance, and for 27 years – primarily – as a coordinator and lead instructor for Community Arts Partnership, where she was in residence at Plaza de la Raza, and oversaw the process of creating original and adapted work, with a playwright, Plaza youth, CalArts alumni, CalArts students, and staff. This program was year-long in scope, and involved process to production, at both Plaza, and the REDCAT in downtown L.A.
Since retiring, she has continued working with California State Summer School for the Arts, as a acting, movement, and mask instructor (she has worked with CSSSA since 1989), and has chaired theater area since 2011. In addition she has worked with Shakespeare Center Los Angeles as a teaching artist, in collaboration with East Los Angeles Performing Arts Academy, and the Huntington Library. She is on the teaching staff of both Orange County School for the Arts, in Acting and Musical Theater conservatories. She has recently been a guest director for Cal Poly Pomona’s Theater and New Dance department, and at California State University at Long Beach.
Sara, a Southern California native, is a professional versatile theatre artist whose mission is to model, share, and create theatre-making opportunities for and with her community. A CalArts alum, she has been recognized as one of the “People to Watch” by American Theatre Magazine, and “Best [Artistic] Director” and “Person of Interest” by OC WEEKLY. As the founding artistic director of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, an award-winning, Santa Ana-based group, she and the ensemble are ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE at Grand Central Arts Center of Cal State Fullerton, Ca. Under Guerrero’s leadership, the organization serves as an incubator for underrepresented voices in theater by providing programming and guidance in the art of storytelling.
Guerrero most recently guest lectured and directed for the University of Oklahoma’s 2019-20 season. She wrote and directed “Festival of the Dead,” a work celebrating the Day of The Dead, a traditional Mexican Holiday and presented with a 120+ piece symphony at The Segerstrom Music Concert Hall (Costa Mesa) Hall and Meng Music Hall of Cal State Fullerton, She also wrote and directed, in collaboration with journalist – Gustavo Arellano, and conductor – Greg Flores, the play, “Canto de Anaheim. ” The project combined story, the symphony, and new and traditional music; to highlight the Latinx histories and experiences of Anaheim, Ca., Both commissions and productions where presented and through the Pacific Symphony of Orange County.
Additionally, Guerrero is a longtime teaching artist for South Coast Repertory (SCR), and has worked, directed and collaborated with Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Center Theatre Group, Cal State University of Los Angeles, Cal State University of Long Beach, Musco Center, Brown Bag Theatre of UC Irvine, Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), Educational Outreach Program of Los Angeles, Fringe Benefits and many more. Previously, she served as the community engagement director for SCR’s Dialogue/Diálogos Project (two -year community theatre -making project) and was producing associate to the project’s production, El Largo Camino de Hoy / The Long Road Today by José Cruz González.
Her directing credits include: Blood Wedding, A. Max Weitzenhoffer Theatre; Atacama, Breath of Fire Live Stream Reading; Fresno, Latino Theater Company Summer on the Spring Reading Festival; The Festival for the Dead, Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall; Canto de Anaheim, Pearson Amphitheatre; Policarpa, TalkBack Theatre; She Kills Monsters, The Playhouse of Cal State University of Los Angeles; Guadalupe in the Guest Room, Creede Repertory Theatre, Co.; The Madres, (A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere), Skylight Theatre, Los Angeles; Rosado, John Lion New Plays Festival, Cal State University Los Angeles; Fabulous Monsters, Latinx New Plays Festival of San Diego Repertory; Real Women Have Curves, Costa Mesa Playhouse; Angel of the Desert, South Coast Repertory; and holds an extensive list of additional credits and works with other major institutes, organizations, universities, schools, and communities.
Before the pandemic hit, Guerrero was scheduled this spring and coming year to present work with her SAUSD SAN ART theatre conservatory students their New Work SANTX Play Festival, present, with her ensemble, and guest lecture at Claremont Graduate University, return to teach at SCR and SAUSD, and join Cal State University of Fullerton to direct their fall season production.
Despite projects postponed and or cancelled, during this this pandemic and time of quarantine; Guerrero has been keeping herself busy with her familia, revisiting sewing, much reflection, and directing, acting, producing works through live stream readings with Breath of Fire and other organizations, while practicing safe distancing. Wear your mask!
Guerrero supports herself as a teaching & theatre artist.
Sonja Berggren Seaver
Sonja acts, directs and produces with Panndora Productions, which she founded 2002. Her support of new theatre led to the creation of Panndora’s Box Annual Festival of New Works in 2006. She directed the premieres of Panndora’s Box winners, Hook-Ups by Alexanddra Petri in 2012, Medusa Undone by Bella Poynton in 2015, and Jupiter Moon by Bob Valine in 2018. She regularly directs and performs in the annual Festival. Acting credits with Panndora include Well and Vivian Bearing in W;t, Scrooge’s Really, Really Bad Night, String of Pearls, It’s a Wonderful Life, Three Tall Women, Thirteen Hands, Collected Stories, and Tennessee’s Women, plus some collaborations with Long Beach Opera, including one with Michael York!
In addition to serving on Fringe Benefits Board of Directors, Sonja also serves on the Yale School of Drama Board of Advisors, the Board of the Yale Summer Cabaret, the New York Foundation for the Arts Leadership Council, and the Boards of the Antaeus Company and Heartbeat Opera. Sonja is a reformed lawyer, a graduate of SCR’s Professional Conservator, and the Steppenwolf Lab Rats. She spent a year at the Yale School of Drama as a fellow in Directing and can’t seem to stay away. Sonja usually lives in Long Beach with an understanding husband and three orange cats. (although she travels a lot and also lives a third of the time in Cambridge, MA – but that’s another story)
Bernardo Solano, Secretary
Bernardo serves as Chair of CalPoly, Pomona’s Department of Theatre and Dance. He is a professor Playwriting and ofTheatre in Education & Community. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Mr. Solano is a recipient of the NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, two Fulbright Awards, McKnight Fellowship, NEA and Rockefeller grants, as well as an AT&T OnStage and two Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest grants.
NUEVO CALIFORNIA at San Diego Repertory Theatre (winner of San Diego Critics Circle’s Outstanding New Play of 2000) and Connecticut Repertory Theatre (2017)
THE UPPER ROOM (act two of CROSSINGS) at Cornerstone Theater—nominated for Los Angeles Ovation Award Best New Play of 2001-02 season
GROWING HOME at Cornerstone Theater/CSU Summer Arts
FACE TO FACE at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
WILDLIFE at the Powerhouse Theatre (L.A.)
ENTRIES at Disney Hall’s REDCAT Theatre with La Plaza de la Raza and at George Street Playhouse
I HATE at Naked Angels (NYC) and is part of USA Network’s Emmy-nominated special “It Just Takes One”.
LOS FAUSTINOS at Cornerstone Theate
EL GRECO, an opera (librettist), at INTAR Theatre in NYC and broadcast by NPR.
BUENAVISTA at Mixed Blood Theatre
JUNGLE TOONS at Cucaracha Theatre (NYC)
DOMINION at Borderlands Theater, AZ. and Mark Taper Forum’s New Work Festival
HOMIES & POPZ at L.A. Opera
BUS STOP JOURNALS at Cal Poly Pomona & University of Zimbabwe
MANZANITA: A VIOLENT AFFAIR at the Frida Kahlo Theatre (L.A.)
ZORRO at TheatreWorks (CO)
SPEAK SPANISH TO ME at Actors Theatre of Phoenix
LOST at Company of Angels (L.A.),
LANGSTON & NICOLAS at Stella Adler (L.A.) by Towne Street Theater.
Mr. Solano is an associate artist of Cornerstone Theater, and has received three Fulbright Awards, the most recent to teach and direct in Bogota, Colombia.
Jan K. Tattam, Treasurer
Jan earned a B.A., M.A., and California Secondary Teacher Credential at the University of California, Irvine.
“Throughout my life, I have been committed to making the world a better place. During the years of raising my two children I spent time volunteering at Mission San Juan Capistrano as a docent and then as a board member of the South County Community Clinic Auxiliary which raised funds to meet the health needs of uninsured or under-insured residents of south Orange County. In 1994, I collaborated on the development of a Migrant Services guide in English and Spanish for use by migrant workers in the Orange and San Diego Counties.
When my children reached high school age, I returned to school to complete my education, earning my Bachelor’s Degree in English at the University of California, Irvine. There I also earned my California Teaching Credential and Master’s Degree.
I taught for over twenty years at Mission Viejo High School in Orange County. In addition to teaching 11th and 12th grade English, I taught a Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) class guiding students in school-wide activities such as Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) and conflict mediation. They participated each year in the Orange County Human Relations Commission’s Walk in My Shoes conference. I also was advisor to the Multi-Cultural Club and co-founded the M.V.H.S. Gay Straight Alliance, one of the first in Orange County.
Currently retired, I enjoy reading, theatre, travel, and spending time with my children and three grandchildren. I continue my life-long study of Spanish and enjoy participating as a member of the Laguna Poets. I still tutor writing and occasionally substitute teach.
As the mother of a gay son, I first became interested in Fringe Benefits work in 1997. Since then I have volunteered as writer and editor with Fringe Benefits, working on various projects such as 90210 Goes Queer and Cootie Shots. One of the highlights of my association with Fringe Benefits came in 2008 when I travelled to my native Australia with the group to work with organizations in Bundaberg, Queensland, collaborating and developing Game On!, a young adult play addressing homophobia and bullying.
I have always admired Fringe Benefits’ commitment to making the world a safer and more accepting place for everyone. When I think over the last twenty years, I believe society has become more open and accepting in general; however, there is still much more to be done. To that end, I am very proud to continue as a member of Fringe Benefits.”
Di Doyle, Board Chair, 2002 to 2017
Diane Doyle was an imaginative, creative, visionary force of nature. She passed away on May 17, 2017, but her warmth, sense of humor, imagination, leadership and love of teaching and theatre continue to inspire us.
Mentoring young teachers and artists was one of Di’s great gifts and passions. Many of us “Fringies” are indebted to her for the crazy-brilliant pedagogical and artistic ideas she shared as well as the myriad opportunities she provided us to explore our own ideas. And so we created The Di Doyle “Think Outside the Box” Mentorship Fund in her honor.
Many of Fringe Benefits Board members, as well as a number of our staff, came to know each other through Di… as our boss, mentor and dear friend at South Coast Repertory Theatre (SCR). Di founded SCR’s Young Conservatory in the mid-1970s and served as the Conservatory Director for 20 years. She was also a gifted actor, dancer, choreographer, director, and teacher.
A graduate of California State University, Long Beach, Di worked with the Walt Disney Company for more than a decade, where she was an entertainment show director and writer for events, shows, parades and premieres. She was also a staff producer and director responsible for casting, writing and directing all of the entertainment events for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. She was a 2009 recipient of a Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation Artist Outreach grant, which enabled her to work with the Orange County Children’s Therapeutic Arts Center in Santa Ana.
It was an honor and an absolute delight to work with Di. We all miss her so, so much.
Fringe Benefits Advisory Board
Rabbi Denise Eger
The Reverend Sean M. Ewbank
Friends of Project 10
Lydia and Mike Gutierrez
Chris and Lynn Hunt
Billie Weiser, M.S.W.
Jaime Wolf, Esq.