A Fierce Kind of Love, a project of Visionary Voices
Institute on Disabilities at Temple University

Meet our team.

More Bios: Cast and Production Team

Celia Feinstein | Co-Executive Director, Institute on Disabilities

PHOTO of Celia FeinsteinMs. Feinstein is Co-Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities. Additionally, she directs the Institute's Leadership Development activities (Competence and Confidence: Partners in Policymaking) and all of its variations. In addition, Ms. Feinstein directs evaluation activities such as Independent Monitoring for Quality, Montgomery County monitoring, and evaluating family support services. Ms. Feinstein received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an Master of Arts in Medical Sociology from Temple University. She has also completed her doctoral coursework in Medical Sociology.
 VIDEO: Brief interview with Celia.

David Bradley | Director

PHOTO: David Bradley, DirectorDavid Bradley is a Philadelphia-based theater director and arts educator whose work includes directing classic and contemporary plays at regional theatres and leading a variety of boundary-crossing collaborations with theatres, museums, universities, historic sites and communities. His work frequently explores themes of public history, community stories and civic engagement.
 VIDEO: Brief interview with David.


In addition to being part of the conception and development of A Fierce Kind of Love since its beginning, David has been involved in multiple theater projects that draw from oral history and documentary source material, and that engage diverse communities in dialogue around civic themes. These include: at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, serving as Co-Artistic Director of the 2011exhibit/theater hybrid Fighting for Democracy and the director of the exhibit's performance, and as Artistic Director the Center's play Living News, dramatizing current Constitutional issues for thousands of adults and students since 2006; directing The Exonerated (drawn from interviews with six individuals wrongfully sentenced to death row) at Delaware Theatre Company in 2014; and ongoing collaborations with Outside the Wire/Theater of War (including projects on military bases in Kuwait and Qatar and the Coatesville, PA VA Medical Center).

Since 1991, David has been a company member at People's Light and Theatre (one of the Philadelphia area's leading regional theaters). There, he has directed more than 30 productions and for four years was Associate Artistic Director, jointly leading its nationally recognized arts education programs. People's Light productions include Row After Row, Of Mice and Men, Arthur Miller's The Crucible and A View From the Bridge, Young Lady From Rwanda, Doubt, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Giver and Holes.

He is Founding Director of the non-profit LiveConnections, which creates innovative, cross-genre music programs for youth and adults with partner venue World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE.

David is a frequent collaborator with Philadelphia Young Playwrights, including directing Time Machine: The Lost Hour, a multi-generational piece for the 2013 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts at the Kimmel Center, and the current 1219 Project (a collaboration with Asian Arts Initiative and the Mural Arts Program) both of which include co-teaching "Approaches to Multi- Generational Theater-Making," University of the Arts. He is also a frequent director at Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis.

David works around the country and in Philadelphia as a consulting artist for arts-based civic engagement projects, having collaborated with the Animating Democracy Initiative of Americans for the Arts, the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, the National Museum of American Jewish History, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia and The Reinvestment Fund. His commentary pieces for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News have explored the social impact of Arthur Miller, Philadelphia's public education crisis, interfaith families, the importance of arts education, the political lens of Bruce Springsteen and baseball and community. David has led panels on art, education and civic dialogue in the U.S. and Mexico, teaches at University of the Arts and is a board member of LiveConnections. He is a graduate of Yale University.

Suli Holum | Playwright

PHOTO: Suli Holum, PlaywrightSuli Holum is an award-winning director, performer, choreographer and playwright based in Brooklyn, NY. She was a co-founder of Pig Iron Theatre Company, developing original work between 1995 and 2006 including as a creator/performer in SHUT EYE with legendary director Joseph Chaikin, and playwright for GENTLEMEN VOLUNTEERS, awarded a 'Spirit of the Fringe' Award at Edinburgh Fringe and recently published in Pig Iron: 3 Plays (53rd Street Press). Her choreography for PITC's wordless CAFETERIA earned a Barrymore Award. She received a Drama Desk Award for her role in LEBENSRAUM off-Broadway and a Helen Hayes nomination for her turn as Billie Dawn in BORN YESTERDAY at Arena Stage.


Her first solo show, THE LOLLIPOP PROJECT, was developed through an Independence Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship and a Shell Fellowship in Drama from the National Institute of Education, Singapore. Holum received a TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship to support her residency at HERE for the creation CHIMERA with partner Deborah Stein. CHIMERA premiered at HERE as part of Under the Radar, subsequently earned her a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, and is currently touring. She continues to create work with Deborah Stein as a co-artistic director of Stein | Holum Projects (SHP) with projects in development including THE WHOLEHEARTED which premiered in 2014 and MOVERS + SHAKERS. SHP has received support from Workhaus Collective, The Orchard Project, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Philadelphia FringeArts, The Playlabs Festival at the Playwrights Center, NACL, Perry Mansfield New Works Festival and Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Swarthmore Project, the Creativity Fund at New Dramatists, ArtsEmerson, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights' Horizons, and through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP).

Holum's recent work outside of SHP has been developed at The Orchard Project and the MacDowell Colony. She frequently collaborates with artists and organizations as a devising writer of new performance: WANDERING ALICE with Nichole Canuso Dance Company and OEDIPUS AT FDR with Emmanuelle Delpech, FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY at the National Constitution Center, A FIERCE KIND OF LOVE with the Visionary Voices Project at Temple University, and ONE BEACH ROAD with RedCape Theatre, UK. She teaches at Pace University and Sarah Lawrence.

Lisa Sonneborn | Producer

PHOTO: Lisa Sonneborn, ProducerFor over twenty years, Lisa's documentary film and video work has been used to promote social action in the disability community. Lisa produces the Visionary Voices Project for the Institute on Disabilities. The Voices project works to preserve the history of Pennsylvania's Intellectual Disability Rights Movement through oral history interviews with the Movement's leaders, the preservation of archive materials to the Movement and, most recently, through public performance. To date, the project has collected over sixty interviews, preserved four personal papers collections, and produced three short documentaries on Pennsylvania's disability history.


Her first documentary, Unequal Justice: The Case for Johnny Lee Wilson, told the story of a young man with an intellectual disability who was wrongfully imprisoned for murder. Produced in partnership with the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University, Unequal Justice started a national conversation about people with disabilities as alleged offenders and as victims of crime. As a result disability/criminal justice programs are now a foundational part of the Institute's work. Lisa has continued to support the Institute's criminal justice work by producing three additional educational/advocacy videos about disability and the criminal justice system, and by organizing national conferences and think tanks focused on that issue. She has presented her work at local and national conferences for disability professionals, self-advocates and criminal justice professionals.

Lisa earned her BA in Art History from Arcadia University, and her MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University.

Christopher Colucci | Sound Design, Original Music

Christopher's recent projects include Metamorphoses (Arden); Disgraced (PTC); Peter and the Starcatcher (Walnut); Smoke (Theater Exile). Christopher has received 7 Barrymore Awards for Outstanding Original Music and Sound Design as well as an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts in 2012. For more sounds please visit http://soundcloud.com/cmsound and www.youtube.com/user/cmsound
 VIDEO: Brief interview with Christopher.

Nichole Canuso | Choreographer

Nichole is the artistic director of Nichole Canuso Dance, which she founded in 2004. She has performed and collaborated with Headlong, Pig Iron Theater Company, Theater Exile, Early Morning Opera, Bill Irwin. Support for Canuso's choreography includes grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage and choreographic residencies at Maggie Allesse National Center for Choreography (MANCC), Millay Colony for the Arts (NY), BiLateral Exchange (Budapest, Hungary). She is currently on faculty at Headlong Performance Institute (HPI) and Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (APT).

Colin McIlvaine | Scenic Design

Colin's most recent design credits include: Smoke (Theatre Exile), Lights Rise on Grace (Azuka Theatre), According to Goldman (Act 2 Playhouse), Three Christs of Manhattan (Interact Theatre). Colin's recent assistant and associate design credits include: Futurity (Soho Rep/Ars Nova), Dr. Dog: Swamp is On (Pig Iron/Dr. Dog), Sunset o639 (BalletX). In addition to his freelance career, Colin is an adjunct lecturer at The University of the Arts. B.A. University of Maryland; MFA Scenic Design Temple University.

Lily Fossner | Lighting Design

Lily's theatre credits Include: People's Light, Act II, TACT, Culture Project/Public Theatre, Prospect Theater Company, NYU/Grad Acting, Chautauqua Theater Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival,and Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Her dance credits Include: Doug Varone & Dancers, Monica Bill Barnes & Company, and Wideman/Davis Dance. Opera credits Include: Juilliard Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Festival. Training: MFA, NYU/Tisch. See Lily's work at lilyfossner.com.

Rosemarie McKelvey | Costume Design

Rosemarie is a Philadelphia based costume designer. Locally she designs for Arden Theatre, People's Light &Theatre, Wilma Theatre, New Paradise Labs, 1812 Productions, Curtis Institute of Music, and Villanova University. Rosemarie is a nine time Barrymore Award Nominee and was awarded in 2007 and 2009. Rosemarie attended the 2011 Prague Quadrennial Festival with The Philadelphia Theatre Initiative and was granted a fellowship through the Independence Foundation to travel to London and investigate what new advances in technology and science being used in art and design. Rosemarie is an adjunct professor at Moore College of Art & Design. rosemariemckelvey.com


JJ Tiziou | Photographer

PHOTO: JJ Tiziou, PhotographerJacques-Jean "JJ" Tiziou is a photographer specializing in portraiture and movement documentation; he has never encountered an un-photogenic person in his life.

Photo by Mekenzie Williams


He has been recognized as one of Philadelphia's "Creative Connectors" by Leadership Philadelphia, and is the recipient of the Spiral-Q Artist Activist Award. His images are used both in corporate and editorial contexts as well as arts and activism, and he also photographs weddings and hosts house concerts. His 85,000sqft How Philly Moves mural at PHL International Airport was recognized as one of the nation's best public art projects by Americans for the Arts in their 2012 Public Art Network Year in Review.

Based at The Cedar Works in West Philadelphia, JJ uses his work to celebrate the beautiful people around him who are working to make the world a better place. You can find more of his work online at www.jjtiziou.net, www.HowPhillyMoves.org and there's a message that he'd like to share with you at www.EveryoneIsPhotogenic.com.

Nicki Pombier Berger | Oral Historian

PHOTO: Nicki Pombier Berger, Oral HistorianNicki Pombier Berger is an oral historian working at the intersection of intellectual disability and social change.


Nicki is a graduate of the Oral History Master of Arts program at Columbia University (2013), where she was a Graduate Fellow in the Future of Disability Studies Group at the Center for the Study of Social Difference. The centerpiece of her Masters Thesis, Nothing About Us Without Us, is an online collection of multimedia stories from self-advocates with Down syndrome. She has presented alongside self-advocates about oral history and intellectual disability to a variety of audiences, including individuals with Down syndrome and their family members, oral historians, academics and advocates.

Nicki has taught a range of workshops on using the tools of oral history to enrich work in other disciplines, from human rights activism and historical dialogue, to creative writing and family chronicles. In 2015, she will be a Visiting Instructor at Oral History Summer School, where she is drawing on her work with self-advocates to develop a workshop on how oral historians can expand their practice to include those whose modes of self-expression may challenge the field's tools and assumptions.

Currently, Nicki is a consultant and producer for the Toward Independent Living and Learning (TILL) Living Legacy Project, for which she developed and produced an oral history-based professional development video and discussion guide, leveraging the stories of individuals with intellectual disabilities in training human services professionals who work with them.

Previously, Nicki worked at StoryCorps, the national nonprofit oral history project, where she led the National Teachers Initiative, and worked on StoryCorpsU, a youth development program.

In addition to her M.A. from Columbia, Nicki has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College (2009) and a Bachelor of Science in the Foreign Service from Georgetown University (2001). She is the Founding Editor of Underwater New York, a digital journal of stories, art and music inspired by the waterways of New York City.

She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two sons, Jackson, and Jonah, who has Down syndrome.


Art-Reach connects traditionally under-served audiences with cultural experiences so they may enjoy and benefit from the transformative power of the arts. Art-Reach operates on the belief that the robust culture of our region should be available to everyone, and proudly partners with those cultural venues, human-service agencies, and individuals who agree. For 27 years, Art-Reach programs have empowered human service organizations to enrich the lives of their constituents while continuing to deliver high quality service to their community. Through those partnerships, people with physical and developmental disabilities, low-income individuals, at-risk youth and the elderly in need, are all able to deeply engage with the arts with the same confidence and convenience as their fully-abled counterparts.


Programs that focus on improving quality of life through attendance and participation have yielded collaborations with over 175 arts institutions and teaching artists, and serve the constituents of over 170 human-service agencies in greater Philadelphia. Annually, Art-Reach serves over 17,000 individuals in our region.

First Person Arts

First Person Arts' mission is to transform the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art to foster appreciation for our unique and shared experiences. We believe that everyone has a story to tell, and that sharing our stories connects us with each other and the world. First Person Arts is a platform for artists and everyday people to share the personal stories they must tell now. We will listen to the issues that matter to them and lift up their voices through our programs.


First Person Arts (FPA) uses personal stories as a catalyst for dialogue, healing, and community building. We work with individuals from diverse neighborhoods and backgrounds, the region's premier institutions and artists from multiple disciplines to build a more tolerant, inclusive community through storytelling. Our combined live and online audience is 133,000. Founded in 2000 (as Blue Sky), FPA presents approximately 70 live events annually including the First Person Arts Festival; First Person Arts Story Slams; classes/workshops, First Person Presents (occasional presentations of standalone shows from Philadelphia and beyond), and Applied Storytelling. Personal stories generated at live events are disseminated to a broad regional and national audience through our weekly First Person Arts Podcast, curated by an award-winning executive producer; and 255 raw, un-edited stories uploaded to our YouTube channel.

The 12th Annual First Person Arts Festival was nominated for "Best Philadelphia Event" in 2014.

Animating Democracy | Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer Bacon

Pam Korza and Barbara Schaffer Bacon co-direct Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts that inspires, informs, promotes, and connects arts and culture as potent contributors to community, civic, and social change.


Pam Korza co-wrote Civic Dialogue, Arts & Culture: Findings from Animating Democracy, and the Arts & Civic Engagement Tool Kit. She co-edited Critical Perspectives: Writings on Art & Civic Dialogue, as well as the five-book Case Studies from Animating Democracy, including History as Catalyst for Civic Dialogue, with introduction by David Thelen. She has consulted and offered workshops and presentations on the principles and practices of arts and civic engagement for artists, cultural organizations, funders, and at cross-sector gatherings across the country as well as at colleges and universities. Pam serves as a National Advisory Board member for Imagining America, a consortium of colleges and universities that supports public scholarship and practice to strengthen the public role and democratic purposes of the humanities, arts, and design through mutually beneficial campus-community partnerships. She co-leads Imagining America's Assessing Practices in Public Scholarship research group. Pam is also on the Steering Committee for the Arts, Culture, and Social Justice Network, and co-leads its Evaluation Node. Pam previously worked with the Arts Extension Service (AES) at the University of Massachusetts, a national service organization that promotes community development through the arts. While at AES, she coordinated the National Public Art Policy Project in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts. She also directed the New England Film and Video Festival.

Barbara Schaffer Bacon, in addition to co-directing Animating Democracy, provides leadership for Local Arts Advancement at Americans for the Arts. Barbara has written, edited, and contributed to many publications including Trend or Tipping Point: Arts & Social Change Grantmaking; Civic Dialogue, Arts & Culture: Findings from Animating Democracy; Case Studies from Animating Democracy; Animating Democracy: The Artistic Imagination as a Force for Civic Dialogue; and The Cultural Planning Work Kit. She has worked as a consultant in program design and evaluation for state and local arts agencies and private foundations nationally. From 2008-2001 Barbara served as a trainer/advisor in engagement and dialogue facilitation for Pennsylvania Quest for Freedom LIVE & LEARN WEEKENDS designed to connect hospitality, history, and the humanities to create unique travel experiences at Pennsylvania's Underground Railroad and the Civil War historic sites. Barbara previously served as executive director of the Arts Extension Service at the University of Massachusetts. She is president of the Arts Extension Institute, Inc. and serves on the board of WomanArts. Barbara served for 14 years on the Belchertown, MA school committee. Barbara serves as a member of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.


Allison C. Carey, PhD | Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies at Shippensburg University

Allison C. Carey is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies at Shippensburg University. From 2000 to 2004 she served as Coordinator of Research at the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. She teaches Medical Sociology, Sociology of the Body, Sociology of Disability, Disability Studies, and Classical Social Theory.


Carey's 2009 book, On the Margins of Citizenship: Intellectual Disability and Civil Rights in 20th Century America (Temple University Press), provides a comprehensive, sociological history of the fight for civil rights for people with intellectual disabilities. Presenting the shifting constitutional and legal restrictions for this marginalized group, Carey argues that policies tend to sustain an ambiguity that simultaneously promises rights yet also allows their retraction. On the Margins was awarded the 2010 Scholarly Achievement Award from the North Central Sociological Association. Carey is also co-editor of Disability and Community (2011, Emerald) and Disability Incarcerated: Disability and Imprisonment in the United States and Canada (Forthcoming 2014, Palgrave). Her work is included in well-regarded collections in the field of disability studies, including Disability Histories (Forthcoming 2014, University of Illinois) and Key Words in Disability Studies (Forthcoming 2014, New York University Press), and in respected journals such as Disability and Society, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and Journal of Disability Policy Studies. Her research examines issues of civil rights, eugenics, sterilization, parent activism, self-advocacy, and disability policy.

Carey has served two elected terms (2008-2013) on the board of Society for Disability Studies (SDS), the national interdisciplinary association for the field. While on the board, she was Vice-President, Secretary, and Program Coordinator for an annual conference. She is also active in the American Sociological Association (ASA) and currently serves as Chair of the ASA Section for Disability and Society. She also chaired the ASA Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities and authored a report which led to advancements in accessibility at ASA conferences.

Catherine Kudlick, PhD | Director, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, San Francisco State University

Dr. Kudlick earned her PhD at University of California, Berkeley in 1988, and then taught at University of California, Davis for 22 years. She was a founding member of the Disability History Association (DHA) where she served as President from 2006-2009. Among her numerous books and articles are: Reflections: the Life and Writings of a Young Blind Woman in Post-Revolutionary France (with Dr. Zina Weygand, NYU Press, 2001) and "Disability History: Why We Need Another 'Other' published in the American Historical Review (2003). She has received prestigious grants and fellowships, including the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies.

Debra Robinson | Executive Director, Speaking For Ourselves

Debra Robinson is the Executive Director of Speaking for Ourselves. She has lead SFO to become a nationally recognized organization. Before joining SFO, Debbie was active in the disability movement in New York. Debbie was also present at the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. She was appointed to the National Council of Disabilities by President Clinton in 1995 and has served the American Association of People with Disabilities, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), and has represented the disability community and SFO on many other committees and organizations. Representing the disability community, Debbie works tirelessly to advocate for others and to help others advocate for themselves. Debbie resides in Philadelphia.

Margery N. Sly, MA, MS, CA | Director of the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University Libraries

Margery N. Sly is Director of the Special Collections Research Center at Temple University Libraries. She was appointed to that newly created position in December 2010, to lead the merger of the collections and staff within Temple's Urban Archives and Special Collections units to form the Special Collections Research Center. The SCRC is the principal repository for and steward of the Libraries' rare books, manuscripts, archives, and University records. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible primary resources and rare or unique materials, to stimulate, enrich, and support research, teaching, learning, and administration at Temple University. SCRC makes these resources available to a broad constituency as part of the University's engagement with the larger community of scholars and independent researchers.


Margery is a Certified Archivist, served two two-year terms as treasurer of the Academy of Certified Archivists, and is President of the Academy this year, 2013-14. She is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists, served a three-year term on their board, and is currently a member of their Publications Board and the Dictionary of Archival Terminology working group.

Margery joined Temple after a dozen years at the national archives of the Presbyterian Church (U. S. A.) in Philadelphia where she was Deputy Executive Director. Prior to moving to Philadelphia in 1997, Margery was College Archivist and Coordinator of Special Collections at Smith College Libraries from 1987 to 1997 and a member of the library faculty at Clemson University from 1982 to 1987. She held internships and other positions during graduate study. In her thirty-five years as a professional archivist, she has been involved in a range of oral history, performance, exhibition, publication, and anniversary celebration projects, and with collections covering wide-reaching subject content, including government service, union activities, publishing, activism, women's history, civil rights, reproductive rights, social service, social justice, foreign mission, and religion.

Margery is a 1979 graduate of Dickinson College with BA in History and German Literature, and holds a master of arts in history and a master of science in library science with an archival administration emphasis from Case Western Reserve University.

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A Fierce Kind of Love has been supported
by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

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