My name is Nerissa Street.
I gather people, open their hearts, and grow their souls.
I’ve been working with community-based causes locally, regionally and nationally since 1999.
I’m also a playwright, screenwriter and performer. What makes me uniquely suited to working with causes is that I know how to captivate an audience– and get them to respond. If someone has given you his attention, don’t squander the gift by telling him something he doesn’t need to hear.
Let me help you tell the story right.
Below is the heavy reading, if you need to know my particulars.
Nerissa Street is a filmmaker and published author whose sharp insights have catalyzed a global audience. By writing, performing and speaking to audiences at Images and Voices of Hope, Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, Human Services Coalition, TEDxMIA, Women in Distress, the Guardian ad Litem program of Broward County, Voices for Children, Children Services Council, Edna Manley School of Visual and Performing Arts, and the Universal Foundation for Better Living, she’s helped hundreds of people and organizations get to their next best step.
I’m an author with published work in both midlist press and print media. I’ve acted in community and university theatre, I’ve done voiceover work and I’ve taught creative workshops across North America and the Caribbean. My current work uses transmedia, a cutting edge technique that bridges stories across multiple platforms.
In each incarnation of my work, the purpose remains the same: to tell unexpected stories that build and transform a community.
From 1999 – 2003, I performed as a spoken word artist and ran my own spoken venue called the Inspirational Poetry Cafe. It was one of the first venues in South Florida with a permanent home, and all of South Florida’s spoken word leaders graced our stage or were in our audience at one time or another. I also programmed events for Barnes and Noble, and hosted Deepak Chopra, Barry Gibbs, Dr. Brian Weiss, Eric Jerome Dickey, Tananarive Due, Maya Angelou (not yet the doctor), and many other authors and personalities. I tried to bring local artists into the store, but the ones who were the best were never prepared for the exposure. I began to work with them to craft their stories and to begin marketing.
During that time, and afterward, my work was published in local magazines, and soon, my work was published in a midlist press anthology. I’ve always felt empowered by the word, and I began to teach literature and performance to at-risk youth for the Family Literacy and Arts Program, as part of an after-school program in Miami. By this time, I started working with South Florida artists I also began a contract to teach spoken word poetry to children across Broward County for the Children Services Council. During that time, I still worked with local artists who struggled to speak for themselves– and who weren’t getting paid for decades of work and expertise. I began a local movement: “No More Starving Artists”. I convened meetings at a contemporary art gallery, hosted a conference at New World School of the Arts, and put together kits to help artists tell their story and prioritize marketing.
It attracted the attention of a dedicated staff member of my local County Cultural board, who was forming a committee to help artists navigate the shifting landscape of grant funding. In 2007, we began to talk artists into boldly sharing their greatness with the community.
Since 2008, I’ve lived in an artist live/work residence where I’ve had the unique opportunity to expand my work from the written and spoken word to visual storytelling. Each year since then, I’ve curated a multi-disciplinary show to include 3 floors of performance, visual art, and media benefiting local charities. I recently directly a cast of 82 children under the age of 11 in a Broadway Jr. production of “Seussical Jr.” at the Broward Center of Performing Arts. The children acted, danced and performed as the orchestra.
My work has always been about telling the unexpected story. Because of that, every year from 2006 to 2012, my work was featured in the local print media, without paid advertisement or big budget PR.
Nerissa’s New Work
In 2010, I began teaching theatre and film in a performing arts magnet school. The same year, I began experimenting with video and reveled in the fact that film could gather a community and tell a story in many locations at once. I witnessed the transformational wave of films like The Secret, and saw how they made paradigm-shifting part of mainstream vocabulary.
The next incarnation of my work is transmedia, where the character is not only within the theatre and on the screen, she is a part of their lives. Because of that, my audience influences the outcome of the story, and sees themselves reflected through her. My first transmedia project was “Transforming Risk” which took place in May 2013 at 1310 Gallery.
I’m currently developing a transmedia web series. I’m still teaching drama and film at the performing arts magnet, and we now host mentors in the classroom as part of Inspired Creators Motivating Excellence or “IcME” (I see me).
As a writer and performer, I love the connection I experience through a live audience. I love how once they are engaged, I can transport them to a world of my choosing, and introduce them to perspectives they’ve never known. But, the most compelling worlds are the ones just under your heart. I’ve found that most people struggle to tell their own stories.
I am the intermediary between the story in their hearts and the reality of their lives. I am the word come to life.
Many years ago, a radio show dared us to peak at the evil that lurks in the hearts of men. The Shadow Knows, we were told, and nightly the world listened as a supernatural man revealed the truth.
My work digs for that shadow to reveal that in fact, the opposite is true.
Our hidden, untold stories reveal the most exquisite, the most vibrant and the most beautiful parts of us. Even the most shameful parts of us are meant to be brought to the light for healing.
Using visual storytelling, playback theatre, inspired writing, and media making, I help my audience develop a personal mythology from the unspoken, the unknown and the discarded so that each person engaged in the work becomes their own hero.