Andrew Garrod, Co-Founder
Andrew Garrod, Professor Emeritus at Dartmouth College where he was previously Chair of the Education Department and Director of Teacher Education, co-founded Youth Bridge Global in 2006 with David Yorio to use drama and art to bridge cultural divides, connect youth across cultures, and provide educational opportunities to under-resourced regions of the world.
A Canadian citizen and a graduate of Oxford and Harvard Universities, Garrod was a public high school teacher in Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada for sixteen years, where his Shakespearean productions with high school students won national and provincial awards.
In addition to conducting research in aspects of moral reasoning and faith development in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the last twelve years, Garrod has directed several multi-ethnic, multilingual Shakespearean productions in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some of these productions have toured within Bosnia and Herzegovina and to sites in Montenegro and Croatia. With Youth Bridge Global, he and his associates have mounted eight bilingual Shakespearean productions at Marshall Islands High School–these plays becoming a major community and national event.
After twenty-five years teaching at Dartmouth College, where he won the college’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991 and 2009, Garrod retired in 2010. He is actively engaged with Youth Bridge Global and his work in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Marshall Islands.
Ray Rochester, Co-Director
Ray Rochester graduated from Dartmouth College in 2007 with a BA in Anthropology. In his senior year he participated in the Dartmouth Volunteer Teaching Program in the Marshall Islands where he taught grade 12 social studies at Marshall Islands High School, working with musicians, actors and dancers in the 2007 YBG bilingual production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. He also played the part of Don John, the villain, in that same production. After graduation, he moved back to Los Angeles and worked as an Apple consultant.
Ray has worked with Andrew Garrod as a researcher examining moral reasoning and faith development in Bosnia and Herzegovina and later served as part of Garrod's research presentation team at the Association of Moral Education International Conference at the Utrecht in the Netherlands. In 2009, he returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina as Assistant Director of a new multi-ethnic production of Much Ado About Nothing, coaching the young actors and dancers and designing parts of the set. A move to Hawaii in 2010 led to him continuing work in technology.
He was part of the 2013 production team of Romeo and Juliet in Kigali, Rwanda. A former Dartmouth boxer, Ray worked with the actors to develop the fight scenes; he also designed and painted the sets. When he's not hitting the waves in Honolulu or on his bike, Ray works as a youth counselor in a boy's shelter home and as a substitute teacher at local schools.
Jessica Swale, Director
Jessica is a London-based Theatre Director, playwright and author of a best selling series on acting and drama games for Nick Hern Books. She is Artistic Director of multi-award nominated Red Handed Theatre Company, which she set up after training at Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of Exeter. Recent productions include Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, The School for Scandal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, The Rivals starring Celia Imrie, the London premiere of Palace of the End and The Belle’s Stratagem, for which she was nominated for Best Director in the Evening Standard Awards.
Recent work elsewhere includes Bedlam (Shakespeare’s Globe), Winter (Theatre Newfoundland, Canada), House of Special Purpose (RADA), Finding Alice (National Tour), One Turbulent Ambassador (Lyric Hammersmith), and Serious Money (Pegasus Theatre).
She is thrilled to be a co-director of YGB, having worked on multiple productions in Bosnia-in-Herzegovina and the Marshall Islands. She is currently writing Blue Stockings, developed at the National Theatre Studio, which will be Red Handed’s tenth production.
Vinny Ng, Director
Vinny graduated from Dartmouth College in 2003 and brings extensive international theater and project management experience to the team. Having served as a Project Director with Youth Bridge Global in Bosnia and The Marshall Islands, he has also been engaged in Israel, North America, and China on theater related youth projects. He has served as Director of Program Development for The China Education Initiative and was the Director of English Language Resources at the International Montessori School of Beijing. He has taught a wide-range of age groups from kindergarten through high school in both public and private schools and in addition to volunteering with Huadan, a Beijing-based participatory theatre NGO, is also a founding member of the Beijing Improv theater troupe.
Alex Payne, Director
Alex is a London-based Actor/Director/Fight Director. He graduated from East 15 Acting School in 2012 after training for three years in Acting and Stage Combat. Since leaving East 15 Alex’s credits include: The Royal Opera House, BBC Worldwide, Universal UK, Secret Cinema, Youtube, Southwark Playhouse, Tristan Bates Theatre and more. Alex has also had the privilege to have been flown out to Abu Dhabi to perform in front of royalty as well as being a motion capture artist at Centroid, Pinewood Studios.
Alex is grateful to have worked on three projects with YBG in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He hopes that there will be many more opportunities to continue to support YBG in future projects as he strongly believes in the work of Prof. Andrew Garrod.
James Goodwin Rice, Director
James Goodwin Rice studied acting with Sanford Meisner at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse and with Uta Hagen at HB Studio. A veteran of New York and regional stages, he has also appeared in episodic and daytime television, and films. James is a co-founder of Capital Repertory in Albany, New York, appearing in more than 20 roles at that theatre. He is a member of Shakespeare and Company of Lenox, Massachusetts, where he has frequently acted and taught.
A Designated Linklater Voice Teacher, he is now in his 15th year of teaching acting and voice in the Dartmouth College Theater Department. He created a popular course, “Shakespeare in the Schools,” in which he trains Dartmouth students a method to teach and direct Shakespeare’s plays to elementary school children.
James is a graduate of Skidmore College and holds an MA in Theater from New York University where he created a performance thesis entitled “Self-Scripted Autobiographical Storytelling: Therapeutic Aspects of an Actor Training Exercise.” James is also a Senior Lecturer at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College where he created a new course, “Communicating with Presence.” He is honored to be with the Youth Bridge Global team this summer.
David Yorio, Co-Founder
David, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, co-founded Youth Bridge in 2006 with the goal of reaching across cultures and providing uplifting educational opportunities for students in under-resourced school systems.
A filmmaker, artist, and urban high school teacher, David grew up fascinated by images. His first film, Ri-Belle, which looked at volunteer teachers in the post-nuclear Marshall Islands, was selected to the New York Independent International Film and Video Festival. He also completed a second documentary, Mostari, which looked at the segregation and reintegration of schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the Dayton Agreement.
A US citizen and graduate of Manhattan and Dartmouth Colleges, David has worked as an inner city teacher and coach in Boston, MA; he holds an MBA from Georgetown University where he was a Georgetown Scholar. He currently resides in New York City.