Facilitator Spotlight: MICHAEL

Facilitators are an integral part of our ensemble. They volunteer their time each week during the semester and participate side-by-side with our actors in rehearsals and performances to ensure everyone has a safe, productive, and fun time! We love introducing you to our team so you can love them as much as we do! This week, we're shining the spotlight on MICHAEL!

Name: Michael Russell

Birthday: 3/22/1991

Hometown: London, United Kingdom

 Michael's native-English accent made him the perfect narrator for our original story "Medieval Teeth" in  Gems Unseen

Michael's native-English accent made him the perfect narrator for our original story "Medieval Teeth" in Gems Unseen

How long have you been working with ABLE?: Since September 2017

Why did you start volunteering with ABLE? I started volunteering with ABLE because it is a wonderful organization that breaks social barriers. If I hadn’t found drama when I was younger, I have no idea how my life would turn out. It is the purest emotive form of expression and everyone should experience the wonders of the theatre. I had previously spent a summer tutoring adolescents with learning difficulties and helping them find a rhythm and excitement to learn. With ABLE, I am perpetually learning how incredible these imaginative minds are and that there are no limits in art.

What’s your job when you’re not with us?: I have worked for three theatre companies in Chicago. I have designed websites for American Theater Company and City Lit Theatre. I also worked in Audience Services with American Theater Company and transcribed some interviews and helped build the set for their Jeff Award Winning play ‘The Project(s)’. I also have worked in the Audience Services and Outreach Department at Steppenwolf Theatre.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?: I take improv courses at IO and am currently enrolled in an On-Camera course at The Acting Studio. When weather permits I enjoy playing soccer and throwing a frisbee around.

 Hanging out with Alena in class (we're not sure what Katie is doing).

Hanging out with Alena in class (we're not sure what Katie is doing).

Do you have a hidden talent?: I majored in Theatre Arts at Lawrence University with a focus in Playwriting. I have written several one act plays and occasionally dabble in poetry as well.

Who is your favorite actor/performer? What do you like about them?: Tom Hanks. Aside from being ‘the nicest guy in Hollywood’ he has supreme talent. Every film he is involved in tells an incredibly human story. Often times he is stacked against the odds yet the ‘everyman’ is able to pull through.

If you won a million dollars, what would you do?: A million dollars could go a long way. I’d probably donate a good chunk of it to charitable causes and use some more to travel the world. Without stretching it too thin I would also try to fund artistic projects of friends.

 Getting swept into Dance Party!

Getting swept into Dance Party!

What’s your go-to dance party song?: Any Michael Jackson song. When I was a child I had a VHS of Michael Jackson’s music videos and was always trying to emulate his dance moves - emphasis on trying - so whenever any of his hits are included in the dance party it brings me back to being that child moonwalking in his socks.

Anything else you'd like to share?  I love anything to do with Trivia!

Thanks Michael for sharing your time and talents with our Friday ensemble!

You can see Michael and the rest of our team in Cyrano de Bergerac on Thursday May 17th at 7pm!