Willa J. Taylor is a storyteller, writer and the Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Goodman Theatre, where she oversees all of the theatre’s “community and education programs and projects.” Taylor is currently managing the development of the reading of Every 28 Hours, and “the upcoming productions of two new plays, Destiny of Desire and Lauren Yee’s King of the Yees,” both of which open this March.
Taylor works to reach youth through the arts as much as possible. She established the Allen Lee Hughes Fellows Program at Arena Stage, which is one of the first theater-run apprenticeships designed to increase participation by people of color in professional theater. After establishing the program, she created The Urban Ensemble, a multidisciplinary project that served at-risk youth at the Lincoln Center Theater.
She shared in an interview with the Chicago Defender that she believes in the importance of teaching kids because, regardless of whether or not they go on to become actors, artist’s skills “are some of the skills that young people need to just function in the world.”
Taylor is US Navy veteran, has an MFA in Film from American University and a culinary degree from Kendall College.