Who we are

JeanJean Johnstone  Founder and Executive Director


In addition to founding and directing the Applied Theater Action Initiative, Jean is the Executive Director of the Teaching Artists Guild. She also serves as the theatrical director for the David Herrera Performance Company of San Francisco, a modern dance/theater company focusing on works related to the Latino Diaspora.

Jean studied at The Moscow Art Theater in Russia. She spent several years teaching drama and applied theater, and directing new work in Hong Kong, China, at the Hong Kong University Graduate Association College, and was a delegate at the IDEA International Arts Education congress. She has created and implemented curricula for several year-long drama courses for hundreds of students, taught workshops for teachers on using Drama in Education, and facilitated the creation of original theater pieces by young people on topics that mattered to them most, including the 2008 Best Script award-winner from the EMI Drama Festival, on the topic of global warming, and works about the migration of Chinese in 1947-49. Previously she was an artistic director of The Red Gate Performance Collective’s Rococo Risque Cabaret (Best Theatre Ensemble SF Weekly 2005). She was a founding member of the Million Fishes Art Collective in San Francisco, and a Theater Arts Resident at the San Francisco Arts Education Project. She holds a graduate certificate in Theater Arts from University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as a B.A. in Theater Arts from UCSC, and certificates from the Moscow Art Theater and Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.


JaimeTalley Jaime Talley, M. Ed  Director of Programs, USA


Jaime has been working with Bay Area youth for over fifteen years in both educational and nonprofit settings.  She managed academic and youth development programs for the Berkeley Unified School District and Youth Radio. Jaime also taught in both San Leandro and Alameda Unified School Districts, and holds a California Teaching Credential and Masters degree in Education with a specialization in Arts Education. For five years Jaime was a member of the Red Gate Performance Collective, a cabaret-style theater collective and winner of SF Weekly’s Best Theater Ensemble in 2005. Jaime wants all children and adolescents to have access to arts education and arts therapy programs, and believes that art saves lives.


newkestyphotoKesty Morrison  Co-Director of Programs, UK


Kesty trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has performed and taught drama and music all over the world, including London, Hong Kong, China, Brazil, Germany, and India.

She has toured verbatim theatre with Alecky Blythe and worked extensively with Theatre Uncut (Heralds Angels, Fringe First and Spirit of the Fringe award winners) most notably at The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and the Young Vic in London. Other Theatre work includes The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe with the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by Adrian Noble, Hamlet at The Globe Theatre in Germany, directed by Stephen Jameson, Oleanna at The Hong Kong Arts Theatre directed by Sam Yates, The Guild Of Cheesemakers national tour (including Summer Hall at Edinburgh Festival and The Royal Shakespeare Theatre) and The Arcadia Stage Live Show at Glastonbury Festival 2011 both directed by Emma Callander. Film work includes The Fourth Wall (Film installation) at The Barbican Theatre London and Badmouth, Raindance Film festival Best Short nominee.

She is a contributing writer to Alistair Sawday’s ‘A Guide to Good Living’, and regularly writes about social change and environmental concerns for southwest quarterly The Spark magazine. Her travel writing has been published by The Bristol Evening Post and she was for many years the news editor for the Bristol branch of environmental/ethical website Ecojam. Kesty has co-written two educational musicals for children which toured Hong Kong. She has taught drama in schools in Hong Kong, taught performing arts for the Clevedon, Long Ashton and Portishead branches of Stagecoach for many years. She has also taught regular classes in Drama and Singing for the Bristol School of Performing Arts. Kesty trained as a yoga teacher in India, and teaches regular classes in Bristol. She is part of, and helped set up, Community Conscious, a brand new organisation aimed at bringing alternative therapies to disadvantaged groups.

Rebecca Tatony Rebecca Tantony, Co-Director of Programs, UK


Rebecca Tantony is a writer, workshop facilitator and events organiser. She has performed spoken word in a range of venues throughout the UK, as well as co written a live poetry show that debuted at Cheltenham Poetry Festival. She was a speaker at the 2012 Mix Conference on the themes of ‘Digital Media and Storytelling.’ She has been awarded the 2012 Rising Stars Performance Poetry Award and has had short stories, journalism and poetry published in various anthologies, magazines and books. When not performing she teaches creative writing in a variety of forms; she was one of the mentors for ‘Shake The Dust’, the UK’s largest ever Spoken Word Slam, was recently employed by Take Art, teaching various minority groups throughout Somerset and has in between, been on placement in America working for highly successful Creative Writing organization ’826 Valencia’. The placement saw Rebecca helping teach projects around race, ethnicity and culture in inner city high schools in San Francisco. She is poetry programmer and workshop director for the Wandering Word Collective, workshop leader for The Story Lab and has helped host and coordinate events for Bristol Refugee Rights, Amnesty International and St. Pauls Carnival. Rebecca is a graduate from Bath Spa University, where she received a First Class Honours Degree in The Study of Religion and Creative Writing.


megan bio picMegan Murphy  Education Liaison


Megan is an advocate for theater, literacy, and education. She has created curriculum and taught courses at the middle school, high school, and university levels. She taught sex education to adults through San Francisco Sex Information where she was also the Director of Education for two years. She has directed and performed in productions around the San Francisco Bay Area including for Renegade Theatre Experiment in San José and Barnstorm at UC Santa Cruz. Megan holds an Education Specialist teaching credential as well as an M. Phil. in Theatre and Performance from Trinity College Dublin. She currently teaches at Alhambra High School in Martinez, California, USA.

Megan is proudly piloting the Social Justice Performance Project for ATAI and providing support in all things educational.


Deepti Sethi  General Counsel


Deepti Sethi is a public interest attorney engaged in policy level advocacy and direct representation of individuals. She has been involved in various arts programs for refugee youth and, prior to becoming an attorney, worked in the commercial arts industry. Deepti has held various leadership roles in coalitions and nonprofit organizations in order to increase accessibility to health care, provide criminal defense, and expand immigrant rights and further protection for foster children and youth in the dependency systems. She has testified in front of international, national and local government committees, and written testimony and arguments on behalf of individuals and coalitions appearing before Congress.

Deepti has been a member of the California State Bar since 2004. She graduated from UC Hastings Law School with a focus in nonprofit law and received her undergraduate degree from Hampshire College. Deepti has led numerous workshops and educational seminars to increase civic engagement and direct political lobbying by individuals, nonprofit organizations and coalitions of organizations. She remains deeply committed to the value of the arts as a unifying force and vehicle for social and personal change.

Ben Flax  Director of Technology


Ben Flax is an interactive designer with experience in effects, video production, and web development. He is passionate about global online citizenship and democratic action online. He is an experienced performer as well. His broad background in arts technology give him a unique breadth of perspective on the concept of remote theater. See digital work at www.transmografy.com