2016 Conference Keynotes

Ali Stroker

Wednesday, July 27th, 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Broadway’s First Actress in a Wheelchair

Ali Stroker is a groundbreaking performer with an inspiring story. In 2009, Ali became the first actress in a wheelchair to earn a degree from the NYU Tisch Drama Department. This year, the GLEE and GLEE PROJECT star made history as the first actress in a wheelchair to appear on a Broadway stage, where she is currently originating the role of Anna in Deaf West's 2015 revival of Spring Awakening. Her performance in the role of Olive in The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee earned Ali a Barrymore Award nomination, and exceptional acclaim when reprised at the Papermill Playhouse, thirty minutes from her hometown of Ridgewood, New Jersey. In addition to her work on and off-Broadway, Ali has enjoyed solo performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and New York's Town Hall, as well as concert appearances at Lincoln Center. An ardent humanitarian and advocate, Stroker is a co-chair of WOMEN WHO CARE, which supports United Cerebral Palsy of NYC. BE MORE HEROIC, an anti-bullying campaign which tours the country connecting with thousands of students each year counts Ali as a founding member. Her devotion to educating and inspiring others has taken Ali to South Africa with ARTS InsideOut, where she holds theater workshops and classes for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS. Ali's remarkable ability to improve the lives of other people through the arts, whether they be disabled or not, is captured in her principle of "Making Your Limitations Your Opportunities.


The Children's Theatre Foundation of America is proud to present keynote speaker Vanessa German as part of its Orlin Corey Medallion Event at the upcoming American Alliance for Theatre & Education 2016 Conference in Boston this summer. 

Vanessa German

Friday, July 29th, 3:30-5:30 p.m.

The dynamic visual and performance artist, Vanessa German, is our Keynote speaker. She is the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for children, created to stack the deck in matters of justice, worth and healing. Her work is in public and private collections across the country. She recently presented TED talks at Harvard and MIT and she has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered.

This keynote is sponsored by the Alvin Cohen Memorial Fund of the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America, designed to encourage and support exceptional programs at national theatre conferences.

Paige Hernandez

day, July 30th, 8:15-9:30 p.m.
And Ya Don’t Stop:
The Impact of Hip Hop on Arts Integration and Cultural Inclusion

Join performer and award winning Master Teaching artist Paige Hernandez as she shares her successful hip-hop arts integration strategies. Paige’s intentional hip-hop practices have earned her several awards including the title of “Classroom Hero” by the Huffington Post. Paige will speak to the history of hip-hop, it’s natural curriculum connections and how it’s style can encourage inclusion and cultural diversity with any demographic​. This keynote is interactive and features a special performance for attendees.

Paige Hernandez is a multidisciplinary artist who is critically acclaimed as a performer, director, choreographer and playwright. As an AEA equity actress, Paige has performed on many stages throughout the country and internationally. She has collaborated with The Lincoln Center (NY) and has been commissioned by the National New Play Network, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and the Discovery Theatre. She recently received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council as well as two Helen Hayes nominations for choreography and performance. She has also been awarded for her innovative work in classrooms including being named a “classroom hero” by The Huffington Post. With her company B-FLY
​ ​ENTERTAINMENT, Paige continues to develop and tour ​original work including PAIGE IN FULL, HAVANA HOP, ​LINER NOTES and THE NAYIKA PROJECT. www.paigehernandez.com