Who We Are
Lisa A. Kramer, Director of Programming
Lisa holds an MFA in Directing from the University of Hawaii, Manoa and a Ph.D in Theatre for Youth from Arizona State University. While she loves directing all kinds of plays, and has worked in almost every area of theatre, over the years she has become more interested in Theatre for Social Change, Theatre in the Community and ways to provide theatrical and creative experiences to enhance and improve people’s lives. Some of her favorite projects include: a combined art/theatre program in Kansas working with adults with developmental challenges which resulted in a puppet show/ improvisational performance based on Puff the Magic Dragon; a current collaboration between students from Worcester State University taking her Theatre for Young Audiences class, and Worcester Public School transition students, where we are developing a performance for young audiences; an after school literacy through drama program called “In Our Own Voices” to help ESL learners at inner city schools improve their reading and general language ability. In January 2012, Lisa traveled with the New York based Dramatic Adventure Theatre on an International Retreat to Slovakia where she spent an intensive day working with Roma young people exploring ways to cross cultural barriers and confront deeply rooted prejudices using a variety of theatre exercises. This life changing experience has deepened her resolve to find ways to expand the connections between theatre and social activism. She loves working with people of all ages, cultures, and communities to explore what connects us all, and the stories of life through theatre.
Judy is a recognized leader in the field of community and civic engagement, especially through Community Based Learning (CBL) programming.
Presently, Judy is the Transition Rehabilitation Specialist with the Worcester Public School Transition program in Worcester, MA. She works with young adults (ages 18-22)-encouraging and promoting the empowerment of people with significant challenges and differing abilities to pursue their highest possible degree of personal well-being and independence. Judy attentions include forming connections with community agencies and resources, development of youth leadership and job readiness skills, crafting programs with college students through CBL, and use of the arts to encourage creative thinking and foster learning in innovative and productive ways.
Prior to her current position, Judy was instrumental in the establishment and development of the American Sign Language (ASL)/Deaf Studies program at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA (1994-2012). Judy is most proud of the innovative pedagogical approach that closely integrates the intellectual rigor and critical thinking of classroom lessons with Community Based Learning partnerships (CBL) involving members of the community.
Unique to her experiences, Judy provides perspective from the classroom as faculty affiliated with the institution of higher education, as well as on the ground as the joint community partner. She continues to raise awareness as she facilitates numerous collaborations that connect college students and community in areas of the arts, theatre, sports, advocacy, education, and social justice.
In all aspects of Judy’s work, past and present, her goal is for individuals to develop an understanding of varying perspectives and gain mutual respect for one another through the creative collaborations and cooperative spirit of partnership programs. Judy has been recognized through numerous awards for her role in the community as leader, advocate and ally.
Judy holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College and Masters in Education of the Deaf from Smith College. Her internship work in graduate school was with DeafBlind adults at the Helen Keller Center in New York. She also works as a freelance Certified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter, holding national certification for over thirty years.
Maria holds a BA in Visual and Performing Arts from Worcester State University where she specialized in Music and Women’s Studies. With many credits as a vocalist and actress across the globe, including Europe and Asia, Maria is currently using her talents to curve the cycle of violence. She discovered her passion in life while working at a domestic violence shelter in Roxbury, MA. Where she was given an opportunity to create a performance piece that would bring awareness to domestic violence. Maria embraced this opportunity to write, direct and perform, as well as engage with a group of talented and passionate youth and they created ‘Spark’ which was composed of poetry, spoken work, rap, theatre, R&B, gospel and dance. What transpired was a literal ‘Spark’ that she credits as the catalyst that inspired her to return to school and finish her bachelor’s degree and ultimately obtain a masters degree in Expressive Art Therapy. Her passion is deeply rooted in curving the cycle of domestic violence. Over the past six years, Maria has worked in various capacities to bring awareness to youth around this issue through teaching and facilitating workshops at diverse locations, including Boston Public Middle Schools, Decision Arts Program at Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury, The Webster Dudley Boys and Girls Club and the Worcester Public Schools Transition Department. She believes that the key to this dilemma is informing and empowering youth to express their creative voices to raise awareness through performing arts.
Steve Kramer, Web Guru
Brother to Lisa, Steve holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics from Bates College, a degree he has never actively used. He is a jack-of-many trades (master of nothing) who prefers to work on projects that will ultimately change the world for the better. He has participated in theatre as an amateur, both onstage and off, and has a knack for writing and visual arts (especially photography). He also has skill in webpage development and management, and at Lisa’s request helped develop and now helps maintain heArtful Collaborative’s web presence. For other projects he is involved with, or to contact him directly, visit A man called Kramer.