No Sit/ No Lie is a theatre piece that aims to spark a community dialogue around the history, impact, and alternatives for the No sit/ No Lie city ordinance in Austin, TX. The performance is a participatory event, inspired by a court format, in which the No sit / No lie ordinance is explored. The piece is created and performed by non-actors who experience homelessness, as well as their allies (professional actors and artists), under the lead of director Roni Chelben. Influenced by the Theatre of the Oppressed approach to social theatre, the performance will present theatrical scenes, video segments, and poetic readings based on the participants’ experiences, as well as other stakeholders’ narratives. Following these ‘testimonies,’ like segments, both participants and audience will be invited to comment, act on stage, suggest alternatives for the existing ordinance, and vote on them. No Sit/ No Lie will premiere with three free to the public performances at the Trinity Street Players theatre in Austin, on November 10 - 12, 2017. In addition, the CI support will allow us to hold another performance and workshop event on November 5th, designated for families experiencing homelessness, and hosted by the First Baptist Church of Austin as part of the church’s Interfaith Hospitality Week. The devising workshops and rehearsals are hosted by the First Baptist Church of Austin.

team

Roni Chelben

Project lead

I am originally from Israel where I learned of the power of theatre to spark dialogue around political and social issues. When I moved to Austin, I wanted to better understand the realities of homelessness. With No sit / No lie, I aspire to create an impactful conversation around the ordinance, its impact and its alternatives.

Aghata Chthoo

Creative Actor

Hodologist.  I am 25 years old.  I came to this project to perform alongside those who have lived on the streets in an effort to better understand what homelessness and the homeless mean to me, someone who has always lived in a house or apartment.

Archzomby

Creative Actor

I am Archzomby, DOB June 28 1960. Four years in Marine Corps, professional Drywall Finisher and painter, Austin's most accomplished stilt walker, multiple business owner, speaker to Austin city council, originator of the " Strong Ass Women's Society",  gamester, excellent house sitter, animal friend, dreamer and world class visionist!

Carrel

Creative Actor

I am Carrell and I was asked to play a part in this wonderful program. And it's too hard to let people down, so I will bring my A-Game to the parts I play and to the People.

Dana Sayre

Creative Actor

Dana is a passionate social justice activist, a feminist, queer and non-binary, and aware of the increased challenges for the LGBTQ community who are homeless. She holds an MA in Performance Studies, and has experience with various theatre techniques. She seeks to learn more strategies for creating socially conscious community-based performances.

Lillian Maybee

Creative Actor

My name is Lillian Maibee. I am originally from New York and moved to Austin in 1994. I have always loved nature, in particular, birds, and others of God's creatures. I have a college degree in Chemistry and Medical Technology which afforded me a very good career in New York. I would love to find employment in a veterinary clinic or animal hospital, to be able to work with the animals that I love.

Marina Deyoe-Pedraza

Creative Actor

Since I moved to Austin, I have noticed how the homeless community has been neglected by policy makers and local residents. There are not enough resources to go around, and at every rehearsal, I am learning that the conditions are far worse than I thought.  I hope that through this project we could bring these issues to the attention of residents and policy makers here in Austin.

Steve Potter

Creative Actor and Tech Gremlin

I am a filmmaker, writer, artist and social activist.  I have been homeless and have worked and volunteered to serve the homeless community.  Sometimes, the things that you're meant to do in life have a way of finding you, you just have to be open.

Amy Downing

Project Coordinator

Amy studied musical theatre at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and holds her B.F.A. from Ithaca College. She has worked as an actor for 20 years and was recently awarded by the Austin Critics Table the 2017 John Bustin Award for Conspicuous Versatility.  Amy works and teaches with the non-profit Creative Action, a youth arts education non-profit in Austin. Her other passions are being a partner and a momma.

Sean Moran

Outreach Specialist

I'm very proud to return to theatre for advocacy and the homeless community, using theatre to address real challenges for Austin. I hope that this project can bring together people of all backgrounds and create a place where we can safely find solutions. I've seen the power of this type of theatre first hand. Performing in "Am I Invisible" in 2014, I saw our audience open up and collaborate with kindness and generosity. I'm so excited to see it happen again with this new play.

Elizabeth Mcclellan

Set designer

Elizabeth is a multimedia artist and set designer, originally from LA.  She has a MFA and has worked with a number of theater and film collectives.  She employs collaboration, working with artists across fine arts and theatrical media to create multimedia projects that exist both physically as installation and as digital records.

Alex Hanna

Lighting Designer

Alex is an MFA Candidate in Lighting Design at The University of Texas at Austin. Hailing from Colorado, he received his BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Northern Colorado in 2015 and moved to Austin that Fall to pursue his Masters'. His recent work at UT includes Butler Opera Center's Die Zauberflöte and Texas Theatre and Dance's Anon(ymous). He enjoys long walks outside and breakfast tacos.