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Elise Bryant

Elise Bryant--a director, actor, singer, and playwright--has been teaching and inspiring Americans to be active in their communities, their unions, and the democratic process for 30 years. Alongside the many lions of the long fight for worker justice who hail from the Motor City, she has been called “Detroit’s Gift to the Labor Movement.”

Bryant’s unique ability to adapt the techniques and rhetoric of theater and opera to community organizers and union halls has won her numerous awards, including a "Joady" award in 1992 from the Film Arts Foundation in California. Her 1998 script for "Porgy and Bess: An American Voice," a PBS documentary, renewed public appreciation for the Gershwin breakthrough hit of two generations earlier. Before coming to Washington, D.C., in 1997, Bryant was artistic director for both Common Ground Theatre Ensemble and Workers' Lives/Workers' Stories in Ann Arbor for 15 years starting in 1982. Her most recent work, performed in Michigan, was the 2007 adaptation of the work of historians Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove as "Voices of a People's History of the United States," in which she also appeared as Sojourner Truth.

Some of Bryant's other works include, "Forgotten: The Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant," "Zoo Zoo Chronicles," and "Workin’ for a Livin'.” Labor activists throughout the nation revere Bryant for her warm, genuine, and powerful spirit, as distinctive on stage as off. Several leaders credit her with literally teaching them their voice, in their union and the political arena. She is currently a teacher at the National Labor College at the George Meany Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.




































Past Progressive Victory Artists of the Month

* Corey Gammel & Peter Marquez
* Jeri Riggs
* Robert Shetterly

* Judy Chicago
* Naomi Shihab Nye