ARTS LEADERSHIP & URBAN ENGAGEMENT
Now in her fourth year as the founding Urban Engagement Coordinator at the French-American International School of San Francisco, Michelle is charged with taking the school's work into the wider community. She has spear-headed initiatives including an internship program, school-wide service days, and a speaker-salon series.
In 2021, she has taken these into virtual forums, with online salons on "Design & Design Thinking", "Criminal Justice Reform", "Art & Science in the Time of Covid-19" and "Raising our Voices and Forging Community Through the Arts", bringing together speakers from across the Bay Area. The first salon of 2022, will be on Climate Change, with Surabi Menon of ClimateWorks and Sebastien deHalleux of Capricorn.
She also serves as Artistic Director of the school's vibrant, well-established theater company, Back à Dos. In 2020-21, this included producing four live-streamed online productions, including Ann Carson's Antigonick, co-directed with Marie Walburg-Plouviez.
The production of Antigonick was framed by a larger international exploration of the figure of Antigone with collaborating teachers and student-artists in Sri Lanka and Colombia, as well as Bay Area artist, Elizabeth Spreen.
Other favorite projects at French-American of the past two years include George Orwell's 1984 and Electric Voices, an immersive interdisciplinary work on the refugee experience, integrating material gathered during a trip she organized for students to Vietnam and Cambodia in 2019.
2021 & 2022 - COLLABORATIONS & PROJECTS
In 2021, Antigone was also a focus of her artistic work within Blue Monkey Works, the company she leads with Steve Morgan Haskell.
Michelle has also been continuing her work with Tom Bentley-Fisher, and in spring 2021 they shared an exploration of Hamlet, reflecting their shared, on-going conversation with this play, its themes and characters.
(Michelle co-directed a bilingual production of Hamlet with Franck Bessone in 2016 and explored it further in Sheryl, Hamlet and Me, a one-woman show directed of Ben Yalom with foolsFURY .... so work on Hamlet continues to thread through her trajectory).
INTERNATIONAL WORK & NEW TRANSLATIONS
In terms of international collaborations, Michelle continues artistic conversation with Moise Toure of Les Inacheves, a key thought partner since 2011, and Denis Bisson, Director of Sud-Nord (South-North). She is planning to deepen their collaboration during an upcoming sabbatical, slated for spring 2022.
Other work in the international arena has included leading foolsFURY's French Plays Project, dedicated to the translation of contemporary French plays. For foolsFURY, Michelle notably translated and directed the 2015 US Premiere of Fabrice Melquiot's The Unheard of World.
For the Playwrights Foundation, Michelle has translated Leonore Confino’s Les Uns sur Les Autres and Nathalie Fillion’s A L’Ouest (co-translated with Emily-Jane Cohen). In 2020, she co-translated (with Emily-Jane Cohen) Nathalie Fillion's Plus Grand Que Moi, i.e. Bigger than Me.