Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana of Mexican ancestry, Emilio G. Robles received a Lilly Fellowship to attend Wabash College , earning his undergraduate degree in Theatre/Speech and Secondary Education. Taking full advantage of the Great Lakes College Association’s Semester Off-Campus program his Junior year, he lived in New York City and worked for INTAR Hispanic Theatre, whose ground-breaking productions were well known for debuting new works by such playwrights as Octavio Solis and Maria Irene Fornes. After graduating Suma Cum Laude and completing his student teaching in 1994, Emilio continued to expand his professional knowledge of theatre by heading East and serving as a Production and Performance Intern at Hartford Stage Company, where he had the great opportunity to work with (among others) Artistic Director Mark Lamos, playwright Tony Kushner and Director/Choreographer Graciela Daniele.
In the fall of 1996, Emilio enrolled to pursue his MFA in Acting at the University of Pittsburgh; a program which emphasized two of his greatest passions: Classical works (Shakespeare) and Teaching. During this time, he was exposed to such Master Teachers as Dennis Krausnick, and Isobel Kirk (Shakespeare and Company), Jefferson Mays (SITI Theatre Saratoga) and Yuri Belov (Moscow State Circus), alongside the tutelage of many resident faculty members known as leaders in their own prospective fields. As part of his studies, he participated in PITT’s Shakespeare in the Schools Program and taught several undergraduate courses for the department. Emilio completed his work at PITT by writing his thesis on Tennessee Williams and his own interpretation/performance of the role Big Daddy, in CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, which received great acclaim.
After a period of time teaching for Point Park College in 1999 and as a Visiting Faculty Member for the Theatre Department of Indiana-Purdue University in his native Fort Wayne, Emilio continued to remain very involved by acting, directing and doing regional commercial work in Northeastern Indiana. For some time thereafter, he formed strong connections with his local school system, as an often sought-after Substitute teacher and Spanish teacher at Wayne High School and ESL Reading Specialist at Northwood Middle School. Yet his persistent desires to put more of his talents to work, meet new artistic challenges and dedicate himself to a full-time career in theatre/performance, ultimately persevered. This propelled him to move forward and set his sights on Chicago; a city quickly gaining notoriety nationwide for its vibrant theatre scene and its (lesser known but budding) production opportunities in film, radio and television.
By the fall of 2002, Emilio found employment as a Spanish Teacher and Fine Arts Specialist at Near North Montessori School and rounded out his evenings as an “official greeter” and Co-Assistant to the House Managers at the Goodman Theatre. Still seeking to deepen the breadth of skill and craft he could bring to his prospective work in the Chicago theatre community, he auditioned for the British American Drama Academy (BADA) at Oxford and was awarded an Edwards Scholarship. Immersing himself in rich theatrical traditions and the beauty of the Balliol Campus, his course of study there included Master Classes with such names as Henry Goodman, John Barton, Selena Cadill, Janet Suzman and Sir Ben Kingsley.
Since then, he has studied locally with the Neo-Futurists and done sporadic stints with SALSATION! Latino Improv Troupe, where he remains an Artistic Associate. He has been featured on stage (or behind the scenes) in productions with Big Noise! Theatre, Chicago Scriptworks, Congo Square Theatre, Reverie Theatre Company, Stage Left, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, A Red Orchid Theatre, Adventure Stage Chicago and Lookingglass Theatre Company.
As of 2003, Emilio has felt extremely blessed to continue his commitment to education, by working as a seasoned teaching artist for Lookingglass Theatre Company; teaching various Studio classes, directing numerous flag-ship programs and spear-heading residencies for Chicago Public Schools. At LTC he has even sat in the Assistant Director’s chair for their 2005 production of SITA RAM, produced in association with The Chicago Children’s Choir and Natya Dance Company. For the past decade, he has also headed or developed many different offerings with Lookingglass' Education and Community Programs and again returned in the role of Assistant Director for Lookingglass's production of THE LAST ACT OF LILKA KADISON during the summer of 2011 and the remount of SITA RAM at the Harris Theatre in December of 2012.
Emilio's work with GLOBAL VOICES PLAYWRITING INITIATIVE (NFP) continues to grow after nearly a decade as the program expands and continually develops partnerships across the world. His work with the program enabled him to go to Morocco on four different occasions and present workshops in Casablanca and Rabat for students and teachers alike. Named Master Teacher of Theatre for GVI in 2011 and currently serving as GVI's Liaison in the Windy City, Emilio has made prior connections (and taught his own curriculum) in ESL, French and Spanish with Chicago area schools that have partnered with institutions in ENGLAND, MEXICO, COLOMBIA, MOROCCO and MARTINIQUE.
Other up to date work in the field of performing arts education, includes being named a Resident Teaching Artist at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 2007, where he does numerous residencies for the Steppenwolf for Young Adults program and heads several Professional Development Workshops, taught for teachers of various disciplines in the greater Chicago area. He was contracted as Head Pedagogical Consultant at SYA for the 2012-2013 season to spearhead curriculum development, enrich teaching practices and mentor fellow teaching artists. For the 2013-2014, was chosen to launch a "mentorship" program creating and deepening partnerships with classroom teachers. Since that time, Emilio has been given the title of Senior Facilitator of Curriculum and Instruction for Steppenwolf for Young Adults and has played an essential role in season framing, the professional development of SYA teaching artists and classroom teacher partners, the development of curricular materials, program assessment and a larger community outreach.
In the fall of 2013, Emilio accepted a new responsibility with Columbia College's Center for Community Arts Partnerships. He will be coaching a team of 6th-8th grader teachers in the creation and execution of arts-intergated lessons to enhance student learning in traditional content areas such as English, Math, Science and Social Studies. (For more information on Emilio’s TEACHING EXPERIENCE and SPECIFICS ON HIS WORK AS A TEACHING ARTIST, please see the TEACHING LINK and entries in his EDUBLOG.)
An AFTRA member since May of 2010, he rounds out his teaching duties with directing projects, Acting/Movement and Voice Coaching, independent consulting and stage, camera and voiceover work here in Chicago.
Emilio would like to thank all of his "familia" and "amigos" for their continuing love and support through all of the difficult challenges and struggles associated with an "artist life". Particularly for reinstilling faith and hope in his abilities when he gets close to running out. He wishes to thank God, for being an increased presence in his life and for whom without Him, nothing is really possible. And to all his students, (young and old) who continue to inspire and challenge his work everyday.