Our Mission

The Chicago Inclusion Project exists to facilitate inclusive experiences and hiring practices throughout Chicago theatre.

Artistic Staff


Emjoy Gavino (Founder, Executive Director, Casting Associate)

She / Her / Hers

Emjoy has performed with A Red Orchid Theatre, The Gift Theatre Company, Court Theatre, Second City, Northlight Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens,  Broadway Playhouse, Lookingglass, Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Studio Theatre, ACT, 5th Avenue Theatre, Village Theatre and The Getty Villa. Emjoy is an associate artistic director and the casting director at Gift Theatre, a 3Arts Make A Wave grantee and a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf.



Elana Elyce  (Business Manager)

She / Her / Hers

Elana is from Detroit, MI and has been living, performing, writing, coaching and directing in and around Chicago since 2007. She is a company member of The House Theatre of Chicago and Interrobang Theatre Project, where she also serves as Artistic Producer. 



 Abhi Shrestha (Community Organizer / Literary Manager)

They / Them / Theirs

Abhi Shrestha is a Chicago based director/ dramaturg/ teaching artist originally from Kathmandu, Nepal. Abhi has recently assistant directed HOW WE GOT ON (Haven Theatre), WIT (The Hypocrites), PICNIC (American Theater Company), and We’re Gonna Die (Haven Theatre).  He is the Literary Manager and Community Outreach Coordinator at Haven Theatre, and the Resident Dramaturg and Community Organizer with the Chicago Inclusion Project. 


Stephanie Díaz (Casting Associate / Grant Writer)

She / Her/ Hers

Stephanie is a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago. She divides her time between acting work, puppetry projects and writing short fiction and poetry.  Her work has been recognized with features in Howlround, the Chicago Reader People Issue, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and WBEZ; grants and residencies from DCASE, NALAC, Ragdale and Hedgebrook; and most recently with a 3Arts Award. Her casting work champions diversity and inclusion and was recognized in Chicago Magazine’s 2013 “Best Of” issue. She is a member of SAG/AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association and a proud Guatemalan-American.


Jessica Vann (Facilitator)

She / Her/ Hers

Jessica is a multi-careered woman who is an actor, entrepreneur, singer and podcast host (Red, Hot and Coconut Oil) from Lansing, MI.  She received a B.S. in Theatre and interpretation from Central Michigan University and an M.A. in Training and Development from Roosevelt University.  She balances her time running her business Creative Saces which provides arts based leadership and professional development workshops/keynotes for emerging veteran leaders in various work sectors.  ACting, being a body positive blogger, and singing with her band, it would be safe to say she wears many hats and continues to find self discovery and joy in all of them.  Chicago credits include, but are not limited to 1776 and Billy Elliot (Porchlight); Homos, or Everyone in America (Pride Films and Plays); Disaster: The Musical (Chicago Theatre Workshop); Story of a Story  (Underscore Theatre Company); Hair and Ragtime (Big Noise Theatre) jessvanncreates.com


Arti Ishak (Facilitator)

She / Her/ Hers

Arti Ishak is an actor, writer and teaching artist originally from Detroit. Recent Chicago theatre credits include Witch (Writers), Buried Child (Writers), Men On Boats (American Theater Company), Johnny 10 Beers’ Daughter (Chicago Dramatists), Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre), Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno (Second City), Harbur Gate (16th Street Theatre) and A Story Told in Seven Fights (Neo-Futurists). A graduate of Western Michigan University's Theatre and Business schools. She serves on the board of the Muslim Writers Collective Chicago Chapter. Repped by Shirley Hamilton.


Adelina Feldman-Schultz (Facilitator / Casting Associate)


Adelina is thrilled beyond measure to be working with TCIP. She is a Casting Director, Actor and PHR Certified Human Resources Professional with an emphasis on Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within organizations. Adelina is the proud producer of the annual Chicago Theatre Access Auditions (www.ctaauditions.com). Casting credits include projects with Teatro Vista, Sideshow Theatre, UrbanTheater Company, Adventure Stage Chicago, Something Marvelous, Firebrand Theatre, and more. Adelina serves as Casting Director and  company member of Firebrand Theatre and is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.

*staff portraits photographed by Joe Mazza at Brave Lux Photography (exception, headshot of Adelina)

Staff Emeriti

Jeff Trainor, Program Coordinator
Charlie Hano, Casting Associate

Founding Collective

Danny Bernardo
Ben Chang
Behzad Dabu
Stephanie Diaz
Elana Elyce
Emjoy Gavino
Todd Garcia
Delia Kropp
Yunuen Pardo

Artistic Advisors

Anish Jethmalani
Sandra Marquez
Michael Patrick Thornton