Mica Cole recently served as the Executive Director of Free Street Theater after working with the company in many capacities since 1998, including as a teaching-artist, director and, most recently, serving on the Board of Directors. During her tenure, Free Street received The Hopie Award for Creativity and Innovation in youth theatre from the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts. Free Street was also selected as a grant recipient for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections program.
Prior to returning to Free Street, Cole was the Director of Education at Writers’ Theatre, producing two seasons of their education outreach program and helping to produce 16 productions over three seasons. She is a member of Second Story/Serendipity Theater Collective and continues to work as a freelance director, writer and producer. She is a member/participant of Theatre Communication Group’s Young Leaders of Color program and graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.
Her performing credits include: “Com-pen-dium” with Plasticene Physical Theatre Company, “The Maria Chronicles” and the role of Marisol in “Marisol”.
Where were you born?
Southside!!!!! of Chicago.
How would your grandma describe you?
My nickname was “Mean” when I was young. I’ve always had a take no prisoners attitude. I had little patience for small ideas and I didn’t suffer fools. I don’t think I was much fun to play with but if you did play with me, we got stuff done. Epic stuff.
When you’re asked the question, “what do you do?” what do you answer? What would you LIKE to answer?
I like to say that I am a “theatre practitioner.” It’s a pretty broad term but it also sounds like I have a business. I feel very fortunate to have explored so many aspects of the field: acting, writing, directing, producing – I love it. The term “practitioner” reminds me that I am, indeed, constantly practicing, refining, defining the form and field. It also keeps me from being put into a box. I don’t like boxes.
What’s the one thing most people don’t know about you? Any special talents?
I’m a naturopath. Witch doctor. Bruja. I make very effective natural remedies for every common illness. I think it comes from the days when I was a poor acting student with no health insurance.
What was the first piece of theatre you ever experienced?
The Circus. My stepfather used to take me to the circus every year when I was a little girl and it was magic. I didn’t think of it as theatre then but every time someone asks me that question, I remember the light and sound cues for the tight rope act.
Why do you think you got into theatre?
It’s clear to me that telling powerful stories is one of the most effective ways to transcend the artificial boundaries of ignorance, bigotry and hate. Storytelling is often the only tool (or weapon depending on how you see it) a person or community has. I also love the way theatre connects me to my people and myself. So many of my life changing moments never happened to me¬-they happened to a character in a play. They were given to me by a playwright.