Armand Volkas, Director
Adrian Orozco-Blair – Laurel Elliott – Rae Ann Goldberg – Angela Gosalvez – Vicki Dello Joio – Christine Kalb – John Kadyk – Allison Kenney – Kathryn Nuñez – Merry Ross – Rebecca Siegel – Arianna Wheat
Armand Volkas is the Director of the Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble. He is a psychotherapist and Registered Drama Therapist in private practice and Clinical Director of the Living Arts Counseling Center in Oakland, California, where he directs a training program for students, interns and therapists who want to integrate drama therapy into their practice. Drama Therapy uses acting improvisation and Psychodrama as therapeutic tools. He is a Board Certified Trainer in this discipline with The National Association for Drama Therapy. In addition, Armand is Associate Professor in the Counseling Psychology Program at California Institute of Integral Studies and Adjunct Professor at John F. Kennedy University. He has developed innovative programs using drama therapy and expressive arts therapies for social change, intercultural conflict resolution, reconciliation and intercultural communication. Volkas directs Healing the Wounds of History, a therapeutic approach in which theatre techniques are used to work with groups of participants from two cultures with a common legacy of violent conflict and historical trauma. At the heart of Armand’s work is a profound respect for the power of personal story to build bridges between people and cultures.
Rae Ann Goldberg has been a member of the Living Arts Playback Theater Ensemble since 2007. A classically trained violinist, she holds a BA and MA in violin performance. Rae Ann has performed with many different orchestras in the Bay Area, and was a full-time member of the Sacramento Symphony for 12 years. Though she loves classical music, she felt the desire to broaden her repertoire, and has expanded her playing to encompass other genres of music. She first discovered Playback while in the Expressive Arts Therapy MA program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her passion for music and storytelling has found a home in Playback. She especially loves the shared intimacy that Playback can manifest through the telling of personal stories in a community setting. Rae Ann is also a psychotherapist and clinical supervisor with the Early Childhood Mental Health Program in Richmond.
John Kadyk has been performing with the Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble for over 20 years. After studying classical piano and clarinet during his school years, he extended his musical palette to include jazz and the music of other cultures, including Irish, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Balkan. He enjoys the broadening of perspective that Playback brings, and the unique way that performing it connects music to our everyday life experiences. He has also provided music for numerous solo theater pieces and performs regularly in musical ensembles around the Bay Area.
Adrian Orozco-Blair has been an actor in the Living Arts Playback Theater Ensemble since 2013. He grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and moved to the Bay Area in 2010 to pursue a career as a therapist. He is currently a student of Somatic Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and is a Therapist Trainee at the Living Arts Counseling Center as a somatic and drama therapist. He grew up, as many men do, out of touch with his emotionality in a prison of the numb. The first time he shared a story at a Playback show was an experience of self acceptance and community acceptance of him as an emotional man, which left a mark on his heart of the significance that this ritual theater can provide. As an actor, he is touched and honored every time an audience member trusts humanity by placing their story in the hands of the ensemble and the witnessing audience.
Merry Ross is a Drama Therapist, teacher, actor, and director. She has been a member of The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble since 1994. She is a founding member and supervisor of The Living Arts counseling center. Merry has created and performed her one woman show “What’s my age again” in SF, NYC, Santa Cruz and London. She taught playback theatre at Laney college for 10 years. Playback is a passion and a gift for Merry. Sharing stories and performing them creates community, healing and has enhanced her life immeasurably.
Rebecca Siegel fell in love with Playback Theatre as a 16 year old in her high school acting class. She remembers the day well because she was crying in a pink tutu after witnessing her story played back (it was Halloween). Some 12 years later, Rebecca became a proud member of the Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble. Rebecca is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Drama Therapy at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She received her BA in Theatre and Comparative Religion from Colorado College where she founded and directed a guerrilla theatre company, Acting Activism, with a social justice focus. Rebecca also continues to work with local directors and choreographers in the Bay Area as a professional dancer and actress.