Our Artistic Ambassadors
Noma Dumezwemi originated the stage version of Hermione Granger in HP&CC in the West End and on Broadway. Recent work includes Black Earth Rising, Mary Poppins Returns, The Boy who Harnessed the Wind, Normal People and the HBO series The Undoing. She is a two time Lawrence Olivier Theater Award winner and Tony nominee.
Colton Ryan is so excited to share the Chickenshed way! He has been a fan from afar for some time, and can’t believe he gets to work with them to spread the Chickenshed love. He is an actor known for the television show Little Voice on Apple TV+, executive produced by JJ Abrams, Jessie Nelson, and Sara Bareilles. He’s performed on Broadway in Girl From the North Country and Dear Evan Hansen, of which he’s starring in the upcoming film adaptation as Connor. But most of all, he’s a very proud Chickenshed Ambassador indeed!
Jo Collins MBE co-founded Chickenshed (UK) with Mary Ward MBE in 1974.
For many years Jo had worked as a session singer and composer but had become disillusioned with the music business. When she met Mary, a teacher specializing in drama, their shared passion and aspiration for uniting children with differing backgrounds and abilities within the medium of theatre clicked and Chickenshed was born! They continued to develop and grow the company from 50 to 500 plus - build their own purpose-built theatre and education campus. They managed and ran the company for the next 40 years.
Jo has now retired from her full time role but continues her involvement as Ambassador adviser and trustee. Jo is excited about Chickenshed NYC!
Keilly Swift is a children’s author and editor. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty years and is currently Managing Editor of First News, the award-winning newspaper for young people. Keilly has been a keen supporter of Chickenshed’s work for many years. Her rhyming picture book, The Tigon and the Liger, is a celebration of difference and loving the skin you’re in. Her non-fiction book, How to Make a Better World, encourages young people to raise their voices to make a positive difference. Keilly’s books embrace the ethos of Chickenshed, and The Tigon and Liger has been developed as a stage show by both Chickenshed UK and NYC.
Richard Riaz Yoder is an Astaire Award-winning broadway veteran of five Tony-nominated and winning musicals. He is most known for being one of Four Porters in “On The Twentieth Century,” starring Kristin Chenoweth, for which he was nominated for Best Male Dancer in a Broadway Show by the Astaire Awards. His Broadway credits include White Christmas, On The Twentieth Century, Shuffle Along, Hello Dolly, and My Fair Lady. Richard’s tv credits include Co-Staring as Conrad on Mom on CBS, featured performer on the Late Late Show with James Corden starring Zac Efron, Zendaya, and Hugh Jackman, featured performer for “Taking the Stage” opening of the African American Museum in DC, and two Tony Awards Telecasts. He can also be heard on the revival cast recordings of Hello, Dolly! and On The Twentieth Century. He has also worked as a master tap and jazz teacher around the country when not performing.
In addition to his credits, he has had the pleasure to work onstage with Julie Andrews, Billy Porter, Bette Midler, Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bernadette Peters, David Hyde Pierce, Victor Garber, Laura Benanti, George C. Wolfe, Savion Glover, Peter Gallagher, Kristin Chenoweth, Adrienne Warren, and Beanie Feldstein to name a few.
Jenny Ravitz is a New York-based casting director whose work includes the hit NBC series Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med. Other work includes numerous plays, films, and musicals, her most recent favorite being the indie short "Pretty People," which debuted at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. She is a graduate of Shenandoah Conservatory, where she continues to teach yearly masterclasses and was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Jenny is a passionate advocate for equity and inclusion in the arts and a proud fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder.