DisAbility Project: Staff


Joan Lipkin
Founder, Producing Artistic Director

Joan specializes in creating works with socially relevant themes and underserved populations. Her company has received numerous commissions from various organizations. She has worked extensively with people with disabilities, women with cancer, GLBTQ youth and adults, people with early stage dementia and Alzheimer’s and at risk youth.

A playwright, director, activist, educator, and social critic, her award-winning work has been published and produced throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Europe, Australia, and Asia. She has been featured on network television, National Public Radio, the BBC and the Associated Press and in a number of theatrical journals.

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Vanessa Roman
Artistic Associate

Vanessa began her career working in theater in 2001, while she was earning her degree in English/Media Communications from Webster University. Since then she has worked for many professional theater companies in the St. Louis area, acting, directing and as an award winning produced playwright. Currently, she is resident director and dramaturg for First Run Theatre as well as serving as President of the St. Louis chapter of MCA (Media Communications Association). In addition to theater, she is also an award winning screen writer and director. Ms. Roman has appeared in, and written and directed several films that have played internationally.


Becky Galambos
Office Manager

Becky is an alumna of William Jewell College in Liberty, MO where she was an active member of Jewell Theatre Company and Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honorary while pursuing a B.A. in History. During her time with JCT, she was frequently seen in character roles, and was active behind the scenes in the costuming, set construction and various other technical crews. She made her directing debut with Anton In Show Business with JCT in 2005. In addition to theatrical interests, Becky is a quilter and textile artist, active in Flower Valley Quilt Guild, and is a member of the First Monday Quilters charity quilting group. 


Kevin Chestnut
Administrative Asst.; Stage Mgr.

Kevin has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Kansas. He does online academic proofreading and is a nonviolence activist who has worked for full community inclusion ever since arriving in St. Louis through VISTA in 1978. He founded the diverse Leader Support Groups program in the city and conducted its sessions for many years. He has done funding development for Missouri’s phone relay for the deaf and hearing-impaired, for the Lewis and Clark Institute’s summer youth programs, and for the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations, where he was a northside neighborhood organizer for 10 years. Kevin also served several years on the board of RAVEN to work against domestic violence.


Fran Cohen

Fran co-founded the DisAbility Project in 1996 and Fran was instrumental in helping to guide our group for many years.  Fran died in July 2012 and we cherish her memory still.