Kelli Holsopple – Decade of Servant Leadership

Kelli Holsopple ‘99, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has used her passion for theater not for self-promotion, but rather to teach others to share their stories.

Holsopple studied communication and theater education while at Goshen College. After graduation, she worked with a variety of theater companies, including the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia. Now, she is co-artistic director of Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, where she works as a producer, actor and director of the educational outreach programs InFlight and Evolve. The InFlight program works to bring drama into New York City public schools for grades K-5.

More recently, Holsopple developed the Evolve Theater Project, an intergenerational theater program. The pilot program of Evolve was documented in a film, titled “Stages,” produced by Meerkat Media LCC. Over a period of 20 weeks, Holsopple worked with a group of older Puerto Rican women and a group of inner-city youth, creating a play with them and empowering them to share their stories. The film follows these groups as they look at their backgrounds, confront stereotypes and create unlikely bonds with one another.

“Stages” received the Best Documentary Award at HBO’s New York International Latino Film Festival. The documentary was also played for a national audience of over 5,000 people in Los Angeles at the annual conference for the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. There will be a free showing of “Stages” during Goshen College’s Homecoming Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 8 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in Umble Center.

“Kelli exemplifies what it means to be a life-long learner, even in her typical role as a teacher,” said Goshen College Professor of Theater Doug Caskey. “Her interest in learning about other cultures and individuals different from her keeps her engaged in her community. This desire to understand others and the world around her has been part of who she is from a young age, and I’m sure it will continue for all her living years.”