Sharon Jensen, Executive Director
For the past 26 years, Sharon Jensen has served as Executive Director of Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts. Jensen and Inclusion in the Arts received the 2011 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre and in 2009, Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented Jensen with the City’s diversity “Made in NY” award for Inclusion in the Arts’ “significant contributions to the City’s entertainment industry”. Jensen and Inclusion in the Arts champions the creative power of diversity and inclusion in theatre, film and television: Jensen and her staff work closely with arts and entertainment unions, guilds, trade associations, artists and other professional practitioners for full inclusion throughout the industry. Eleven years ago, Jensen organized and chaired the Theatre Diversity Coalition including The Broadway League, Actors’ Equity Association, Casting Society of America, League of Off Broadway Theatres and Producers, Theatre Development Fund, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, The Dramatists Guild of America, A.R.T./New York, Theatre Communications Group, National Association of Talent Representatives, and Inclusion in the Arts. Jensen is a Member of the Board of The Actors Center (NYC); and served on the Task Force for the 1998 and 2009 National Summits on Careers in Arts for People with Disabilities, organized by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Jensen currently serves on the Executive Committee of United Cerebral Palsy’s Eleventh Annual Women Who Care Luncheon. Jensen received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan. From 1971 to 1975, Jensen worked in the casting department of Theatre Communications Group and for the next 13 years, served as Executive Director of the League of Professional Theatre Training Programs. Jensen received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Michigan.
Howard Sherman, Senior Strategy Consultant
Howard Sherman joined Inclusion as interim director in November 2013, and transitioned to his current role a year later. He was previously executive director of the American Theatre Wing and the O’Neill Theatre Center, managing director of Geva Theatre, general manager of Goodspeed Musicals, and public relations director of Hartford Stage. He is also the director of the Arts Integrity Initiative at The New School for Drama and a freelance arts writer who serves as New York correspondent for The Stage newspaper in London.
Christine Bruno, Disability Advocate
Christine Bruno comes to the Alliance with a varied background, working nationally and internationally as an actor, singer, director, freelance writer and copy editor. A member of AEA, SAG and AFTRA, she is the 2011 Co-Chair of the I AM PWD global civil rights campaign and is a member of the Tri-Union committee for Performers with Disabilities. As Disability Advocate, Bruno has represented the Alliance at symposiums, forums, panels, resource events and radio outlets across the country and internationally at arts festivals in Melbourne, Australia and Manchester, England. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Skidmore College, where she received a BA in Theatre and Political Science, holds MFA in Acting and Directing from the Actors Studio Masters Program at the New School for Social Research and is a lifetime member of the Actors Studio. As a performer and director, Bruno has worked throughout the U.S., across the U.K. in Scotland, England, and Ireland and in Australia. She most recently completed a run at London’s Oval House Theatre and a U.K. tour of the new musical, Raspberry. November 2010 also marked the U.K. premiere of her one-woman show, Screw You, Jimmy Choo!, as part of DaDaFest International 2010 in Liverpool.
David Harrell, Disability and Programming Associate
David Harrell is an actor, dancer, writer, speaker and advocate. He served as Accessibility and Outreach Director for the Raleigh Ensemble Players Theatre Company (REP) from 2002-2004. With funding from the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities, REP worked to make their theater space and performances more accessible and inclusive. In 2004, in recognition of is work with REP, Harrell was awarded the Triangle Access Award from the Alliance of Disability Advocates. He presented with REP at the VSA International Festival in 2005 and served on the Board of Directors for Arts Access in Raleigh, NC. Harrell holds a BFA. in Theatre Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and a M.F.A. in Theatre Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In 2008, he moved to New York City to continue his acting and advocacy work and in 2010, was nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Solo Performance in his one-man show, A Little Potato and Hard to Peel. Harrell is also a member of choreographer Heidi Latsky’s acclaimed dance ensemble GIMP and recently appeared in Richard III with New York Classical Theatre.
Simi Linton, Ph.D., Disability Arts Consultant
As a writer, consultant and public speaker, Simi Linton is one of America’s foremost experts on disability and the arts. She works with a diverse range of cultural organizations—theatre companies, film and television producers, museums, nonprofit arts organizations, universities, and other groups across the country—to improve and increase the way disability is represented and depicted in all art forms. She is the author of Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity (New York University Press, 1998), and the memoir My Body Politic (University of Michigan Press, 2006). Currently, Linton is Co-Director/Producer of the documentary film, Invitation to Dance, about disability and dance. For more information, please visit www.similinton.com.