Abena Joan Brown Performing Arts Summer Camp 2023
Staff and Instructors
Ted Williams III, Consulting Artistic Director
Ted Williams III is an actor and educator who is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, and a Political Science faculty member at Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. He is the former host of WYCC-PBS television’s The Professors weekly talk show and has provided political commentary for a host of local and national media outlets. He has appeared in commercials for companies including Subway, Cheerios, and Empire Carpet, and recently appeared in the films Human Zoos, The Christmas Thief, and on NBC's Chicago PD, and Showtime's The Chi. Additionally, he is the author of the production TORN the Musical, and of the book The Way Out: Christianity, Politics, and the Future of the African American Community. Williams is a former candidate for the Chicago City Council and the creator of the production 1619: The Journey of a People. 1619 was nominated for the 2020 August Wilson Award for Best Writing of a Musical by the Black Theater Alliance Awards.
Ozivell Eckford, Percussionist and Performance Artist
Ozivell Eckford is a 20-year veteran Teaching Artist, Behavior Manager, and Performance Artist. His background and expertise is in Music, Theatre, Multimedia Design, Curriculum Development, Professional Development, and working with youth that have special needs. Ozivell worked with Storycatchers Theatre for 17 years as a playwright, actor, director, composer, behavior manager, crisis prevention specialist, instructor, staff trainer, multimedia specialist, and program developer. Ozivell’s contributions to Storycatchers Theatre has helped to earn them awards like the President’s Committee of Arts and Humanities Youth Award presented by Michelle Obama at the White House.
Marchello Lee, Professional Dancer
Marchello attended Columbia College and Northeastern Illinois University. He has performed with One World Dance Theatre where his fusion of Hip Hop, African, Jazz, and Tango were spotlighted. Marchello’s passion and versatility has led him to many lead roles as an actor and dancer. Marchello stars in the movie DREAMS and toured Asia with the hit group Sweety Motions. Marchello has been with Lincolnshire Academy of Dance for 9 years and continues to inspire youth in the arts. He would like to thank God for his gifts and talents and looks forward to many other opportunities in his career.
Shannon Stiles, Vocalist and Actress
Shannon Stiles is a Chicago native who majored in theatre at Columbia College and Second City. She is also a seasoned actress and singer/songwriter with over 20 years of experience in musical theater. She is also no stranger to the 3rd Dimension Performance Group. She has performed in 1619: The Journey of a People, Torn the Musical, the Motown Mystery Dinner Theater and numerous children’s productions. She has taught theater and performance for two decades through Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.
Simbryt Dortch, Vocalist and Actress
Simbryt Dortch’s experience in the entertainment industry has taken her many places, including Star Search (two-time Teen Vocalist Champion), The Apollo Theater, and in her hometown of Chicago as a two-time WGCI Radio Home Jam winner. As a background singer she has accompanied artists such as Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Seal, Celine Dion, Gladys Knight, Faith Hill, Kenny Loggins, Richard Marx, R. Kelly, and Diana Ross. For over 20 years, her image and voice have been seen and heard through print, film, and television and radio commercial ads for such companies as McDonald’s, Disney, Proctor and Gamble, and through her solo and group performances on various projects for the Oprah Winfrey show.