Hear Me Roar Theatre company was formed in 2018 by Aleah Vassell and Brenda Orellana, two queer non-binary femmes of color. Being frustrated by being apart of stories that lacked diversity, they created an inclusive and equitable space de-centering eurocentricity and focusing on telling the stories of the historically forgotten.
Hear Me Roar continues to share these stories all while creating new ones for the days to come. HMR is passionate about performing diverse, contemporary narratives uplifting BIPOC, LGBTQ+, femmes, and differently abled folks, as well as devising our own.
We have a vision to create a bridge between minoritized Southern artists and others from across the United States. We have made it our mission to create a nurturing and safe spaces for growth in our community through art and educational opportunities.
MEET THE TEAM
BRENDA ORELLANA (SHE/THEY)
Brenda Orellana is a Latinx-Queer actor, writer, and educator, born and raised in Los Angeles CA. Classically trained, Brenda has worked as an actor and writer for both Film and Professional Theatre. Her favorite professional theatre roles have been Grace in Alias Grace, Jess in King Charles III, Emma Tenayuca in People Where They Are and W in Lungs. Since performing her one-woman show, I Am A Rose, she has been a guest artist at California State University Summer Arts, and has been teaching solo performance and acting to young artists. Most recently, she has written and shot her first short "My Little Tomate" in Hollywood and work-shopped her full length play Sun Kissed Montañas.
A founding member and Co-Artistic Director of Hear Me Roar Theatre, she has a passion and desire to create space for underrepresented playwrights, actors and creators. Brenda holds her MFA from The University of Tennessee Knoxville, and BA from CSU, Long Beach. www.brendaorellana.com
ALEAH VASSELL (THEY/SHE)
Aleah is a Canadian born American artist produced by two lovely Jamaicans who raised her both in Toronto, Canada, and Tennessee. She is a multi-faceted performer, creator, facilitator/teacher, and administrator known as The Self Care Storyteller for her work in theatre and mental health. Aleah roots herself in cultivating community and being a part of work that empowers black, queer femmes like herself and other marginalized groups that need their voices uplifted in the Arts. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Samford University and an MFA in Acting from University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Aleah is also a 2021 Poet Fellow at The 5th Woman Poetry organization and Founder of Sanctuary Soul House, a community creating a divine space for sacred self care. When Aleah isn't performing, creating, or teaching self care, you can catch them socially distancing with their partner, Mason, and their cat, Neighbor, in Dayton, Ohio. Www.aleahvassell.com
DREW DRAKE (HE/HIM)
Executive Artistic Associate
Drew Drake is an Actor, Poet and Educator from Huntsville Alabama; focused on creating art that facilitates healthy dialogue for people of color. His biggest inspirations are Zora Neale Hurston and Fannie Lou Hamer. Drew was last seen in the New York Times Critics Pick "TJ Loves Sally Forever" at Jack Theatre in February and the independent film " Privilege" in May. Drew is currently teaching with Urban Word NYC ( Poetry and Literary Arts Empowerment) , Illuminart (Arts and Theatre Organization working with middle schools and High Schools in Staten Island) and Rehabilitation through the Arts ( Arts Empowerment organization Prisons in NY State) teaching at Taconic Womens Correctional Facility. His teaching focuses on eliminating the elitism of eurocentric and white-centered art, and creating more accessibility to different mediums of art for POCs by using Hip Hop and Black Culture as an tool of exploration of English Language Arts, Theatre and Creative Writing. Drew also released a Hip Hop EP " Dope Boyz Love Hondas" in January and is working on a follow up " Untitled" EP set to release this fall. Learn more at www.thedrewdrake.com
MCKINLEY MERRITT (SHE/HER)
Marketing & Social Media Curator
COLLIN ANDREWS (HE/HIM)
Audience Engagement Facilitator
Collin Andrews is an actor, writer, and director from Southern California currently based in Charlotte, NC. Skilled in movement and dialects, he is a versatile performer who can disappear into any character. He is passionate about telling entertaining and thought-provoking stories.Since the onset of the pandemic, he has had the privilege of working with former classmates and other UTK alumni helping to create space for diverse stories and performers, as well as developing his own skills in voice over and writing. Over summer 2020 he directed and performed in The Submission by Jeff Talbot and Stupid F#cking Bird by Aaron Posner as part of the Alumni Readings/HMR zoom reading series.