Michelle Rios is a Helen Hayes and Drama Desk Award winning performing artist, university instructor, writer, director, and performing arts facilitator with over thirty years of Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, and television/film experience. She performed in the Tony Award nominated Broadway productions of Paul Simon and Derek Walcott’s The Capeman, The Sound of Music, and Man of La Mancha. She also had the honour of performing the role of “Abuela Claudia” opposite Lin Manuel Miranda in the original company of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical In the Heights. Ms. Rios is also featured in episodes of Schmigadoon!, Law and Order, Third Watch, One Life to Live, Guiding Light, etc., as well as various feature films. While in New York, she served as Site Director, Family Support Outreach Coordinator, and Teaching Artist for ENACT, Inc., an organization that integrates theatre as a means of conflict resolution, drop-out prevention, and advocacy for inner city students. In Canada, she became the first Studio Manager for the iHuman Youth Society, an arts-based organization that supports Edmonton’s marginalized youth by fostering positive personal development, well-being, and social change through holistic artistic practices.
Ms. Rios earned her MFA in Theatre Practice from the University of Alberta, concentrating in Theatre for Social Change. She was the first Fine Arts student at the University of Alberta to be awarded the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship – Master’s Level and was the recipient of the Alberta Advanced Education Graduate Student Scholarship, recognizing both her scholastic and artistic achievements. She continues to practice applied theatre techniques as a means of activism, education, and community engagement.