Now in her second year as the founding Urban Engagement Coordinator at the French-American International School of San Francisco, Michelle is developing a range of key school-wide initiatives. These include an internship program; a speaker-salon series for parents, alumni and faculty/staff; and community-wide service days with local partner organizations, such as Glide Memorial Church.
In her on-going capacity as the Artistic Director of the school's vibrant theater company, Back a Dos, (which involves the talents of some 120 students in a robust 4-show season, and is entering its 40th anniversary season), Michelle continues to spear-head innovative work in the performing arts. After the success of last year's Electric Voices, an immersive interdisciplinary work on the refugee experience, she will again be collaborating with colleague Marie-Walburg Plouviez to co-direct George Orwell's 1984. They are again planning an immersive work, integrating music, video and dance - with pre-show events and speakers on themes such as "The Tools of Tyranny - past and present"; "Data and Surveillance - security, privacy and freedom"; "Alternative Facts - language & truth in the Trump era."
Michelle has also been speaking and leading workshops related to arts education and community building in the wider professsional arena. In 2019, this included leading a workshop on collaboration at the National Association of Independent School's 2019 annual conference, Re-imagining Independent Schools.
In 2019-20, Michelle will also be developing on-going artistic exchange with Tom Bentley-Fisher, who was a central collaborating artist and co-director of Electric Voices.
Michelle is also working on developing a new iteration of Sheryl, Hamlet and Me, originally performed under the direction of Ben Yalom in fall 2017 as part of foolsFURY's Role Call. As the play's themes and source material have been a moving (and trending) target (power & influence in the digital age; Facebook's challenges; #metoo feminism, etc.), look for more to come on this evolving project in 2019-2020!
In terms of international collaborations, Michelle is looking to the next steps in her on-going artistic conversation with Moise Toure of Les Inacheves, who has been a key thought partner since 2011 and an active collaborative partner on several projects since 2013. The work with Moise in turn relates to a wider interest in international collaboration, and connecting French-American artistic communities, in particular.
Michelle's other work in this arena has included leading foolsFURY's French Plays Project, dedicated to the translation and production of new contemporary French plays. For foolsFURY, Michelle translated and directed the US Premiere of Fabrice Melquiot's The Unheard of World in 2015. 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 as part of the Voices Found in Translation Festival).