No Dream Deferred

Meet the Team

Meet the people behind No Dream Deferred



Artistic Director

Lauren E. Turner (she/her) is a director/performer/producer and community facilitator. Listed by American Theatre Magazine as one of “6 Theatre Workers You Should Know”. Lauren is also the founding Producing Artistic Director of No Dream Deferred NOLA, a community-anchored theatre production company. In 2020, No Dream Deferred received a Big Easy Theatre Award for Best Play for their production of IN THE RED AND BROWN WATER by Tarrell Alvin McCraney. Lauren is driven by her interest in equitable, place-based, culturally relevant theatre especially as it pertains to the global south. Lauren’s work lives where storytelling, community building, and politics intersect. Lauren is an artEquity trained Equity, Diversity and Inclusion facilitator and founder of Equity and Justice for Institutional Change (EJIC), an organizational development consulting firm. She is a Round 4 recipient in the Leadership U: One-on-One grant program,funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, designed to further develop prominent emerging leaders and change agents in the American Theatre. Lauren has also served as a Mellon Fellow through Tulane University’s Community Engaged Graduate Program, mentoring Tulane University graduate students who wish to implement community-engaged practices into their work. Lauren received her Master of Fine Arts in Performance from The University of Southern Mississippi and her B.A. from North Carolina Central University. Lauren lives joyfully in New Orleans with her partner Jason, and their 3 children, Austyn (9), Elijah (5), and Nia (5).



Program Manager; The Writer's Lounge Podcast & EJIC Coordinator

Ann McQueen (she/her) is a Playwright living in New Orleans, La. She studied Communications and Theatre at The University of New Orleans. Her debut stage play "Riding Halley’s Comet" opened to rave reviews and opened the doors to explore writing opportunities in several genres including film and poetry. With her writing style and non-traditional characters, Ann hopes to give a fresh voice to African-American characters and bridge the gap between audiences of all diverse cultural backgrounds.



Creative Director

Chivas Michael’s work has been seen both nationally and internationally.   He developed and originated the Role of Maliq in the Broadway-bound SuperFly the Musical, directed by Bill T. Jones. His work has also been seen at The Royal Shakespeare Company UK, The Public Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Classic Stage Company; Villa la Pietra, Florence, Italy, Lincoln Center, New York Theatre Workshop, Yale Repertory Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, The Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Rep, Williamstown Theater Festival, Shakespeare on the Sound, and New Orleans Shakespeare Festival. Chivas also facilitates community dialogue on issues the confront those living at the intersection of race, non-cis gender identity and sexual orientation. Education: BA, Dillard University; MFA, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program: Tisch School of the Arts. 


Director of Cultural Curation

Ilyanette Marie Bernabel (she/her/ella), a DominiRican (Dominican and Puerto Rican) and self-proclaimed Afro-Taíno born and raised in New York, is a poet, actress,  theatre artist, curator, and scholar. She began her academic schooling at Dutchess Community College as a Human Services major and Theatre Arts minor with a passion for healing through artistic expression and interest in community outreach work. Once she obtained her Associate’s degree from Dutchess Community College, she transferred into the Theatre Arts program at the State University of New York at Purchase College, known nationally as one of the top-rated performance based universities. Southern University at New Orleans Masters in Museum Studies program brought her down here to New Orleans in January of 2017. Once she graduated from the program, she began her journey in museums as a Curatorial Assistant at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint in 2018. As Ilyanette states, "New Orleans has kept me close and here to stay." She is now based in River Ridge, Louisiana where she is pursuing her acting career in theatre, film, television, voiceover and commercial work. Currently, she is serving on the board of a local theatre company, The NOLA Project. In addition, working full-time as a devoted mother and striving to become a non-profit leader in arts, museums, and cultural institutions.


Director of Social Media

Jessica Mixon (J.Mix) (she/her) is a dialectic performing artist born and raised in New Orleans. From an early age, her love for music influenced her to learn piano and develop the discipline of singing four-part harmony with her sisters. A graduate of the Loyola University Voice Program ‘14, J.Mix developed a deeper appreciation for classical music, and genres of all styles. Like many artists, Covid-19 shifted the ways in which she had grown accustomed to utilizing her creativity. J.Mix was highly involved in local theatre and film productions, and traveled domestically and internationally with the vocal group, The Victory Belles, until Fall of 2020. Today, J.Mix is a revolutionary, music producer, singer/songwriter, roller-skater, model, and host of her podcast, The Self-Aware Millennial. 


Art Director

Keah Moffett (she/her) lives by this motto: Be brave enough to start a  conversation that matters. Mississippi-born and New Orleans-raised,  Keah was introduced to the arts at a young age and knew that she  wanted to use her art to change the world. As a Broadcast Journalism  student at Hampton University, Keah realized her love for storytelling  and cameras while producing her first documentary “Shades of Black  America” on the history of colorism. After graduating cum laude from  Hampton, Keah received her MFA in Motion Pictures and Television at  Academy of Art University in San Francisco. There, she wrote,  directed and produced many short films, including “The Missed  Education: Finding My Identity,” which won Best Documentary at the  AAU Media Awards. Keah also co-hosted the Media Awards— the  only non-journalism student to do so— and received a spot in the  Spring Show as a top screenwriter— the only non-writing major to do  so.  

Since graduating, Keah has continued to make documentaries on  subjects ranging from the removal of Confederate Monuments in New  Orleans to the Alton Sterling murder and protest. Keah has appeared  in films and music videos by artists such as Solange, Young Paris, and  Anäis. Her choreography has been seen in videos by Trombone  Shorty, PJ Morton, and Big Freedia. She has performed at President  Obama’s first Inaugural Parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,  Annual Baby Doll Ladies Dancing Parade, New Orleans Jazz and  Heritage Festival, and Essence Festival.  

Keah continues to dance as a captain of the New Orleans Society of  Dance’s Baby Doll Ladies and as a dance team coach for the Golden  Hearts Dance Krewe at Passion Dance Center. She is a young adult leader in her church andhas won the Archdiocese of New Orleans  Service Award for Young Adults. She is a proud member of Alpha  Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary  Band Sorority. She is currently pursuing a Post- Bacc certificate in  Digital Design from Tulane University. 

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