"The theatre is a school. We shall never have done with studying and learning. In the theatre, as in life, we try first of all to free ourselves, as far as we can of our own limitations. Then we can begin to practice 'this noble and magical art'. Then we may begin to dream."
----Robert Edmund Jones: THE DRAMATIC IMAGINATION----
After graduating from Wabash College, Emilio G. Robles completed his student teaching at LAFAYETTE JEFFERSON HIGH SCHOOL and obtained certification as a Secondary Educator of RADIO/TV/COMMUNICATIONS and SPEECH/THEATRE in the State of Indiana. Upon leaving Wabash, he earned the distinguished Caleb Mills Award for Excellence in Teacher Training.
Emilio worked steadily as an employee of Fort Wayne Community Schools during the mid 90's. His creativity, effective classroom management skills and sense of humor (along with his broad knowledge base of Visual/Performing Arts, Literature, Spanish/French and working with students of Special Needs) quickly earned him a reputation as one of the “most requested” substitute teachers in his district. Eventually, this lead to contracted positions as a Spanish teacher and an ESL Reading Specialist at middle and high schools from 2000-2002.
While embarking upon the task of choosing an MFA program, the University of Pittsburgh’s emphasis on undergraduate instruction seemed an “ideal fit”. He could further his craft of Acting, while gaining experience teaching in academia. While at PITT, Emilio taught courses in BEGINNING PERFORMANCE, INTRO TO ACTING, REALISM and PERIOD STYLES. He also served as an Acting and Vocal Coach for several undergraduate workshops and productions. During his last semester of studies at PITT, he performed and facilitated for Shakespeare in the Schools, which mounted a production of “the Scottish Play”, that toured the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia regions.
Upon graduating, Emilio taught for a summer at Point Park College and later was asked to join as Visiting Faculty at Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne (IPFW). During his stay, he taught various courses in THEATRE, VOICE, ACTING and MOVEMENT, while continuing to hone his talent as an Acting, Dialect and Voice Coach for their productions. After the tenure of his appointment, he returned to teaching with FWCS for a brief period of time.
In August of 2002, he moved to Chicago and landed a position at Near North Montessori School as a Spanish teacher and (later) as a specialist in the Fine Arts Curriculum for the Upper School. While at NNM and in addition to his role of Spanish teacher, Emilio was involved directing, mentoring and shaping Middle School Talent Shows and Lower School Class Performances and Bilingual Plays for the Spanish Festival. He also helped initiate an 8th grade Fine Arts and Culture Class and lead several excursions for students to museums, dance performances and plays around the city. A period of transition enabled him to make contacts with some of Chicago’s top theatre companies to begin committing more time to his THEATRE/ARTS EDUCATION/TEACHING passions.
Lookingglass Theatre Company offered him an Apprentice position with their premiere youth ensemble “Lookingglass Lab” in the Summer of 2003. For over a decade, his work with Lookingglass has proliferated and he has taught numerous residencies, studio classes, workshops and professional development programs. Among other tasks, he has directed and co-directed the Lookingglass Lab and the Summer Camp on the Lake (SCOL) for a number of years. For SCOL he has adapted such things as CHICAGO STORIES,THE ODYSSEY, THE WRITINGS OF RUDYARD KIPLING, 1001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, JEWISH, CHINESE, MEXICAN,NATIVE AMERICAN, HAWAIIAN and BRAZILIAN FOLKTALES AND MYTHS. For Lookingglass Lab, he has tackled such tough topics as IMMIGRATION, EDUCATION, GLOBALIZATION, RESPONSIBILITY, RELIGION, YOUTH VIOLENCE, GUN CONTROL, MARRIAGE and FANATICISM. Emilio’s work at “the Glass”, has been characterized by his focus on ensemble, his expertise in adapting lliterature for the stage, as well as the creation of original, often issue-based and student- generated works focusing on diversity and multiple perspectives.
As an Artistic Associate of SALSATION! Latino Improv Troupe, Emilio played an integral role in their outreach programs during the fall of 2004 through spring of 2006. He headed improv workshops at Elgin Community College, had a long term residency at Casa Central’s Youth Center in Humboldt Park and has been a featured SALSATION! guest artist for educational tours and workshops around the city.
During the fall of 2006, he began working with Pegasus Player’s GLOBAL VOICES Program in concert with other Pegasus Players A.R.T.S Programming. This partnership first connected him to the Francis Parker School of Chicago along with many "sister schools" in Casablanca, Morocco. Using his dramatic skill and knowledge of French language and culture, the program (and Emilio) set to cross boundaries for students by using theatre techniques to teach language skills to write a play in the target language of the learner.
Being an ambassador for this program, Emilio has traveled to Morocco four times and worked with students and teachers alike—exposing them to pedagogy and techniques while creating social and artistic connections half-way across the globe. Under Emilio's educational and artistic leadership, collaborations with GLOBAL VOICES have included:1) Exchanges with ESL students in Chicago at KELLY HIGH SCHOOL and BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND 2) Connections to UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO's LAB SCHOOL with ESCUELA JEAN PIAGET in COLOMBIA and LYCÉE BELLEVUE in MARTINIQUE 3) WESTINGHOUSE COLLEGE PREP to a school in BOGOTA, COLOMBIA and 4) EVANSTON TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL, CARL SCHURZ HIGH SCHOOL and UPLIFT HIGH SCHOOL to numerous partners in CASABLANCA, MOROCCO. He has taught his original GV curriculum and mentored GV teaching artists and classroom teachers in participating schools in three different languages (ESL, FRENCH and SPANISH) connecting with four different countries for ten years . Under his role as Master Theatre of Theatre and Chicago Liaison for GVI, he is currently developing a handbook for GVI teachers whom wish to undergo the process with their students, but may not have the resources to work with a teaching artist in the classroom on a regular basis.
Emilio is also pleased to share his talents in the corporate worlds through professional development workshops led by Lookingglass Theatre Company (at Northwest Business College) and with Mojo Performance Solutions, under the Executive Direction of Anne Joseph Douglas. While serving as a facilitator and consultant for Mojo, he has worked with such clients as Kraft Foods. He continues to introduce his insights to diverse and forward-thinking businesses everyday.
In the fall of 2007, Emilio was asked to join Steppenwolf Theatre Company as a Resident Teaching Artist for their SYA program. He has helped make the stories of THE ELEPHANT MAN, HARRIET JACOBS, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, OF MICE AND MEN,THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET, A SEPARATE PEACE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, SAMUEL J & SAMUEL K, THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER, FML: HOW CARSON McCULLERS SAVED MY LIFE, THE BOOK THIEF, HOW LONG WILL I CRY?, LORD OF THE FLIES, LEVELING UP, ANIMAL FARM and THIS IS MODERN ART connect with personal experiences of subscriber schools across the greater Chicago area. Both THE BOOK THIEF and HLWIC? were part of Steppenwolf's contribution to the Chicago-wide initiative NOW IS THE TIME (which Steppenwolf's SYA launched) that asks the community at large to take action against issues surrounding YOUTH VIOLENCE and TOLERANCE/INTOLERANCE.
He has been extremely fortunate to be part of a team at SYA that (at one time) included Soujourn Theater’s Artistic Founder Michael Rohd, which develops curriculum and creates dialogue for Steppenwolf’s educational programming. Likewise, Emilio has taught several workshops for CPS educators and members of Steppenwolf’s Young Adult Council, including THE CHICAGO ETHNOGRAPHY PROJECT-- an original piece based on the issues of race, class and family and "Addressing the State of OUR ImagiNation", an original exploration of the imaginative process in our everyday lives in the Spring of 2009. He has also been recurring as a facilitator for numerous MASTER TEACHER WORKSHOPS connected to each production every year. For the 2015-2016 SYA season, he is very excited to have the opportunity to work with students and teachers alike on a stage adaptation of George Orwell's 1984 and the debut of a new devised work "in conversation with" that piece (directed by Michael Rohd) entitled THE COMPASS PROJECT.
Through his relationship with SYA, Emilio was selected to undergo an exclusive training from THE LINCOLN CENTER'S INSTITUTE ON AESTHETIC EDUCATION in the summer of 2010, and is proud and enthusiastic to infuse these pedagogical practices into the depth and scope of his own artistic and instructional experience and mission. He launched IMMERSION RESIDENCIES with SYA rooted in "Aesthetic Education" at HIRSCH METRO HIGH SCHOOL, FOREMAN HIGH SCHOOL, SCHURZ HIGH SCHOOL and MAS-LITTLE VILLAGE/LAWNDALE HIGH SCHOOL. He is extremely proud of the strong relationships he has forged with many other schools during his tenure as a teaching artist at Steppenwolf. Emilio has since served as a Pedagogical Consultant at SYA, overseeing Professional Development, Teaching Artist Training and Assessment Practices. For the 2013-2014, he has been chosen to lead a new series of Aesthetic Education trainings for CPS Residency teachers and "kickstart" a new mentorship program for PRE-IMMERSION TEACHERS.
Emilio was also selected as a returning GUEST TEACHING ARTIST in PHYSICAL THEATRE AND MOVEMENT for acting seminars at REDTWIST THEATRE COMPANY, in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. He is extremely pleased to have forged a new relationship with this provacative company and relishes any occasion for him to share his skill sets in THE VIEWPOINTS, THE ALEXANDER and LABAN TECHNIQUE, (and others) to expose participants to a new vocabulary that widens their tool set as performers.
During the Spring of 2012, he was approached by Artistic Director Tom Arvetis of Adventure Stage Chicago to enliven their community engagement and outreach mission with residents of the WICKER PARK and WEST-TOWN neighborhoods. Emilio facilitated a number of BILINGUAL WORKSHOPS, STORY CIRCLES and ENSEMBLE GAMES with ASC over a two month period. Impressed with his collaborations on this project, ASC asked Emilio to fulfill the role of Assistant Director for their fall production of SIX STORIES TALL! by Marco Ramirez, which received rave reviews. His workshop efforts from the Spring of 2011, would also help contribute to the creation of a new written work by local playwright CARLOS MURILLO. This piece AUGUSTA AND NOBLE debuted at ASC in the spring of 2012 and is inspired by the real-life experiences of nearby residents. He has since been named an ASSOCIATE ARTIST at Adventure Stage Chicago and continues to play a role in supporting ASC's mission of "creating and telling heroic stories about young people".
In the late summer of 2013, Emilio was hired by the offices of Columbia College Arts Partnerships (CCAP) to become a "coach" for PROJECT CREATES (Chicago Reaching Educators through the Arts to Engage Students) at Ruiz Elementary School in Pilsen. He mentored and collaborated with a team of 6th-8th grade teachers to develop and implement arts integrated units for the Spring of 2014 and evaluate goals and outcomes regarding creating and deepening an "arts culture" at the school, as well the surrounding community. He still works periodically with Columbia College and PROJECT A.I.M as a workshop presenter and residency artist.
Due to his vast degree of knowledge and educational expertise, Emilio has served as a "guest instructor" for colleagues at LOYOLA UNIVERSITY of CHICAGO and ROOSEVELT UNIVERSITY in areas of Theatre, Acting and Performance. At Loyola, he serves as a resource and occasional facilitator for THE ARTS INFUSION INITIATIVE, a collaboration between a dedicated cohort of teaching artists from arts organizations throughout the city and Chicago's juvenile justice professionals. It offers high risk teens in high risk settings strategically designed arts instruction infused with communication and conflict resolution skills, all provided by role models of positive life choices.
Emilio is pleased and humbled to have been recognized and nominated for 3ARTS Teaching Artist Awards for his collective body of Arts Education work in the Spring of 2011 and again for in the Spring of 2013. In the fall of 2015, he was featured in the inaugural issue of THE TEACHING ARTIST GUILD QUARTERLY, published by a national organization based out of Oakland, California. Emilio feels truly blessed to be given many platforms that address the elevation of teaching artist profession, arts integration and advocacy, arts programming assessment and outreach that serves underrepresented and underserved communities of all types.
(For updates on Emilio's various pedagogies and projects as a TEACHING ARTIST, look at the EDUBLOG section for recent posts. Please feel free to download Emilio's TEACHING RESUME, TEACHING PHILOSOPHY and PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT found on the FILES LINK of this website. If you are interested in hiring Emilio for an artistic residency, workshop, consultation or a possible group or private class, please reference both the WORKSHOPS and CONTACT link of this website.)