Who We Are

Theatre Action Group (TAG) utilizes theatre, visual arts, storytelling, music, and dance to incite meaningful dialogue around challenging topics or specific issues. TAG assists groups in developing strategies for self-empowerment, authentic communication, anti-oppression and celebration. We develop unique workshops and interactive performances with communities, institutions, non-profits and small and large groups to achieve specific outcomes.

Many of our members trained extensively with Augusto Boal, Living Stage Theatre Company, and worked with other internationally recognized Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) facilitators and community-based theatre practitioners. As an extension of this work, Jodie Zisow and Brian Francoise co-founded Theater Action Group (TAG) — a dynamic collective of artist educators, artists, activists, students and other Baltimore community members who promote dialogue, encourage social action, foster personal transformation and perform participatory theater. Our work with civic engagement via the arts, consensus decision making processes, underserved neighborhoods in East and West Baltimore as well as privileged arts communities, and anti-racism trainings, makes us ready to consult and facilitate projects that face diverse communities’ challenges.

Currently, TAG is collaboratively run by

Sheila Gaskins, known in the entertainment world as “Strawberry,” has been performing, teaching, facilitating, writing, and directing for many years. Ms. Gaskins has appeared in The Wire, The Salon, BET – Comic View, Last Comic Standing and countless appearances in radio, television, stage and film. Sheila is a member of Theatre Action Group (TAG), a multi-tasked ensemble that intentionally promotes dialogue and celebrates lines of difference in community. Ms. Gaskins has trained with Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute and Augusto Boal, innovator of Theatre of the Oppressed. She has devised workshops and training programs with ex-offenders, special needs children, gifted and talented, the elderly and anyone willing to learn. Sheila was the recipient of Alternate Roots CAPP grant to produce, write and director Last House Standing – A Play about the Highway to Nowhere in Baltimore City that was performed by West Baltimore community members as part of ROOTS Fest 2011.

Natalya Brusilovsky, Theatre artist, Facilitator, Outreach Coordinator, Project Manager, Consultant. Natalya has 14 years of experience facilitating groups through difficult and meaningful discussions while utilizing and exploring arts as they relate to economic and social justice, equity, policy and behavior change.  She has successfully administered theatre for social justice workshops and residencies to implement anti-discrimination policies, working with the Los Angeles Unified School District, University of New Hampshire, Allentown, PA’s Theatre Outlet and more.  Natalya has worked with Healthy Neighborhoods, Alternate ROOTS and the Northeast Parks District in Baltimore, MD, developing, organizing, facilitating and evaluating projects, events, and programs that enhance the wellbeing of Baltimore residents.

Brian Francoise is an actor, director, educator, and arts administrator who has trained extensively with Augusto Boal, Living Stage Theatre Company, and worked with other internationally recognized Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) facilitators and community-based theatre practitioners. He has performed, directed, or taught at regional theatres such as The Shakespeare Theatre (DC), Arena Stage (DC), Center Stage, TheatreVirginia (Richmond, VA), Baltimore Theatre Project, and Playhouse on the Square (Memphis, TN). Brian has recently trained in physical theatre, mask, clown and corporeal mime with Dody Disanto (DC). Brian has led several youth theatre companies in DC, Baltimore and NYC. Brian is also a member of Clowns without Borders DC. Brian has been an affiliate faculty member at Loyola University Maryland and Goucher College including the Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) program. Brian is Co-Artistic Director of the Sister Neighborhood Arts Program (SNAP), a cultural organizing project between historically segregated neighborhoods in Baltimore City.