Meet the Team

We are a team of dedicated people intending to make the lives of these children here in Bolivia better through the arts.

John Connell

Founder, U.S. Board President and Executive Director

John Connell went to Bolivia in the summer of 2003, when he was 16, to visit a classmate for several months after graduating from Scattergood Friends School. He stayed until spring of 2005, during which time he made his living by juggling on the streets of Cochabamba. When he was 18, he came back to the US to incorporate Performing Life as a nonprofit organization and raise funds for the project he envisioned.

Marye Dijkstra

National director

My name is Marye Dijkstra and I am from The Netherlands. From an early age I have always had a natural instinct to help other people, especially children, but above all: whole family systems. Offering disadvantaged families in less fortunate situations the opportunities to further their aspirations, goals and expectations of life. I believe it is a challenge to make people stronger and teach them to discover their own strengths and talents to change their own present and future.

Daniela Vilar Franco

New Circus Director

My name is Daniela Vilar Franco, I was born in Sucre but have lived in Cochabamba since I was one year old. When I left school, I studied various subjects in different areas, through which I found the most appropriate subject that matched my interests; Cinematography. This career led me to documentary works in the streets and communities of Bolivia.

Lizbeth Quispe

Circus Instructor

For the past two years Lizbet has been coming to Performing Life. Her neighbor told her about the program and she decided to come. Three months ago her brother Carlos, 10 years old, joined her in the program as well. In the performances, both she and her brother have their own acts, both on trapeze.

What others say about us

Manon de Beer

Performing Life is such great organisation. You really see the difference between the children and families who participate in the project longer and the children and families who are relatively new. Performing Life really makes a change in the lives of these Bolivian families

Manon de BeerVolunteer

Meet the Board of Directors,  Fundación EnseñARTE Bolivia

Marlene Chavez Bautista

Speaker

Marlene studied social communications and began collaborating with Performing Life in 2010 to develop a film project with NAT (Organizations of Child and Adolescent Workers).  Besides her membership on the board of the Fundación enseñARTE, Marlene worked with many local young people to produce the film “Memoirs of the Street”, which gave the youth involved a wonderful opportunity to explore their acting abilities.

Marcos Fabian Prado Hernandez

Jhon Alam Vargas Valverde

Isela Leslye Diana Camacho Severich

Hugo Cuenca Rivero

Meet the Board of Directors,  Performing Life (United States)

John Connell

President and Founding Director

John Connell went to Bolivia in the summer of 2003, when he was 16, to visit a classmate for several months after graduating from Scattergood Friends School. He stayed until spring of 2005, during which time he made his living by juggling on the streets of Cochabamba. When he was 18, he came back to the US to incorporate Performing Life as a nonprofit organization and raise funds for the project he envisioned.

Eric Taylor

Vice President

Erik graduated from UC Davis in 2001 with a degree in political science and history. After working for a year as the coordinator of a high school intervention center, Erik moved to Berlin where he conducted research for the ‘think tank’ and development institution, The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung.

Suzanne Jamison

Secretary/Treasurer

Suzanne has an MSc in Community Development and has worked for 40 years with traditional and indigenous communities in the southwestern United States.

Jonathan McCarthy

Board Director

Education: University of Vermont, B.A., History.

After graduating from the University of Vermont, Jonathan spent several years exploring his inner culinary artist and gaining restaurant management experience as Executive Sous Chef with Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurants in Delaware and New Jersey. Jonathan travelled for eighteen months in Latin America and Israel.