Carolyn Defrin

Community Leader-Educator

+44 (0) 79642 65224 (UK)


Community Leadership & Teaching Experience


Participant and Recruitment Coordinator, Toynbee  Arts Admin, Geraldine Pilgrim; London, 2013

  • ​​​Liaised with several organisations and staff to recruit volunteer performers for a production celebrating the history of Toynbee Hall and Studios


Director of Community Programs, The House Theatre, Chicago, IL, 2001-2012   

  • Participated in the development of a mission statement, brand, and artistic visionfor a successful, nationally acclaimed Theatre Company

  • Designed and delivered all education and community programs including workshops, in-school residencies and summer camps (age 4–adult.)

  • Created and launched “On The House”–a program that subsidizes and underwrites ticket and transportation costs for communities that cannot afford or easily access productions.

  • Collaborated with Director of Development on grant writing and fundraising efforts to support all education and community programs.

  • Developed and maintained partnerships with teachers and community leaders.

  • Managed group sales for students; organized and led post-show discussions with audiences.

  • Organized performances for low-vision communities.

  • Collaborated with Chicago’s leading theatres in a citywide effort to address youth violence in Chicago

Professional Development Leader, The Lyric Opera; Chicago, IL   2011

  •  Led workshop on ‘creating story through music’ for Chicago Area Teachers

Guest Theatre Director, Bradley University- Peoria, IL 2009-2010 

  •  Led college students and faculty through a year-long development process for creating a new adaptation of Pinocchio. • Directed full university production with students and faculty.

Professional Development Leader, Chicago Public Schools; Chicago, IL  2008-2010

  • Provided hands on teaching tools and drama activities for academic and arts teachers

Lead Drama Teacher, Camp Red Kite, Chicago Children's Theatre; Chicago, Il 2012

  • Led drama curriculum for children with autism, focusing on social skills

Lead Teaching Artist, Lookingglass Theatre- Chicago, IL 2001-2012

  • Designed and integrated drama and dance curricula with academic curricula

  • Led students and faculty through workshops around violence, teen pregnancy, racism, bullying.

Lead Teaching Artist, Redmoon Theatre- Chicago, IL  2008-2010

  • Collaborated with Redmoon artists and Chicago School teachers to design and administer arts integrated drama and art installation activities for 7th and 8th grade students.

  • Coached School Principal on giving school wide addresses and speeches


Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design

MA Performance, Design and Practice


Northwestern University

BA Drama


British American Drama Academy

Acting Certificate



Additional Training


Philippe Gaulier: “Clown,” “Le Jeu” Paris, France                                                                                                    

Lecoq LEM: “The Masked Body,” Paris, France: Pascale Lecoq, Jos Houben               

Théatre de Complicité Workshops: Lilo Baur, Mick Barnfather, Richard Katz                                  

Collaborative Arts Lab, Columbia University, New York: Gideon Lester, David Levine                              

Lynda Barry: ‘Writing the Unthinkable’ Indiana University Writing Conference                                           

Voice and Singing Training for Performance: Gigi Buffington, Doug Peck                                                          

Chicago Shakespeare First Folio Workshop: Larry Yando                                                                                       

Sojourn Theatre workshops on Community/Issue Based Theatre: Michael Rohd                                               

500 Clown Physical Theatre: Molly Brennan, Paul Kalina


Awards and Recognition


Disney's Pervasive Gaming Award, NEM Arts Hackathon, 2013

Chicago CAAP (Community Arts Assistant Program) Recipient 2009, 2012

Joseph Jefferson Award, Best Ensemble, The Sparrow, 2007                                                                                    

Joseph Jefferson Nomination, Principal Actress, The Sparrow, 2007                                                                                

Joseph Jefferson Nomination, Supporting Actress, Musical, Valentine Victorious, 2006

Top Ten Performances, Chicago Tribune for The Sparrow, 2007

Top Ten Dance Performances, Chicago Sun Times for The Sparrow, 2007