Deborah Roth, Founder and Managing Director
Deborah co-founded 4thU Artivists in 2009 as 4thU-VDay to organize productions of Eve Ensler’s work. In 2015, she became the organization’s Managing Director and expanded their performance selection. The owner of Spirited Living, Roth has spent 35+ years coaching, training and speaking in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors on an array of subjects including women’s empowerment and managing change. In her private practice, she works primarily with overwhelmed, under-nurtured women, guiding them through transition periods and helping them attract and sustain healthful, fulfilling relationships. An ordained Interfaith Minister, Deborah also creates unique, powerful ceremonies for a range of life’s passages and leads women’s spirituality programs. Deborah has appeared on The Daily Show and NBC’s Today Show and was featured in the New York Times, Village Voice, Utne magazine and others. She is the author of Circle of One: The Art of Becoming a SELF-Centered Woman and The Authentic Woman Playbook.
Erin Bigelow, Creative Director
Erin has been directing and producing benefit theater productions for over 19 years. She has been working with 4thU Artivists since 2009 when it launched as 4thU-VDay. Many of her credits have been directing the works of fellow artivist, Eve Ensler, including The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body and Emotional Creature. Some of Erin’s other theater credits include Clue: A Dinner Theater, The Princess Bride: A Dinner Theater, The Laramie Project, Laramie: 10 Years Later, and Better Left Unsaid. Erin has worked as a television director and is an active member of the Directors Guild of America. She currently spends her weekdays as the Deputy Head of Studios for Verizon. Erin’s passion is her work to end violence against all women and girls, because no one should have to live in fear.
Mercedes Vasquez, Show Director
Mercedes Vasquez is an actress, dancer, director, and artivist, combing her love of the arts with her passion and drive for social awareness and equal justice. Some of her acting & directing credits include Soledad in “Yo Soy Latina”, Josefina in “Latin Lives”, Romeo and Lady Anne in “Sexy Shakespeare”, “Sex, Lies, Adam & Eve”, “Death & Taxes” and 4th U Artivist’s 2020 production of “Radical Voices”. She is also the founder of CalienteSoulExpressions™ and is a certified Crystal Reiki Healer, Femme! Attuned Teacher, and Psychic Medium. She is a graduate of LIU/C.W. POST and has trained at the “Holistic Studies Institute”, the “School of Womanly Arts” and “JVP Spiritual School”. She can also be seen sharing her expertise on The Shift Network’s program, “Beyond The Veil”. She lives to inspire with her art and connection to spirit.
Melissa Naple, Corporate Sponsor Liaison
Melissa Naple brings to 4thU Artivists her significant experience auditing and advising companies as a partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP. She serves as audit office leader for their New Jersey audit practice, the talent leader for the greater tristate commercial audit practice (approx. 750 people) and board council member. Previously, Naple held the position of the Chief of Staff for Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Chief Executive Officer, where she was responsible for national communications, practice initiatives, and management of the governance process for the leadership team. Committed to community service, Melissa has held several leadership positions within the Fourth Universalist Society as well as Concrete Safari and Cooperative Living Now.
Luisa (Lou) Riano Anderson, Publicity Director
Lou emigrated from Cuba in 1968. She has always been an artist and performer. She studied visual and performing arts at William Paterson University, FIT, and Pratt Institute. She has appeared in Hair and Godspell, off-off-Broadway in Phoebe Phenom, and as an extra in films. Mother to the fabulous Sage, she is a feminist, a pagan, a poll worker, an activist supporting PFLAG, Moms for Gun Sense in America, Planned Parenthood, Free Mom Hugs, and others. Lou met Deborah Roth at a women’s spirituality gathering in 2007, leading to her participation in The Vagina Monologues last spring. Lou was a PR/marketing manager at Sony Pictures and National Lampoon, and a sales manager at WGBH, among others. A member of the American Personal and Private Chef Association, she started her company, Chef of Your Own in 2006. Currently, she creates wearable art, participates in arts and crafts shows, and has an Etsy store, GoddesssentArt, featuring her creations. Honored to join 4thU Artivists’ council, Lou looks forward to contributing to this generous community, and continued growth as a person and an artist.
Jill Bowden, Member-at-Large
Rev. Jill Bowden is an endorsed Community Minister of the Fourth Universalist Society in New York City. She holds degrees from Mercy College (BS in psychology), Long Island University (Master of Public Administration in health care), and Union Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity). She serves the free faith community as Director of Chaplaincy Services at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Before that, she was Director of Pastoral Care at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. Previously a respiratory therapist and a health care administrator, Rev. Bowden’s background provided significant experience in bedside care and health systems leadership, growth and management.
Matt Gilbert, Member-at-Large
A lifelong feminist, Matt Gilbert has been involved with every 4thU Artivist production from the early V-Day stagings of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues and The Good Body to today’s independent performances. He began behind the scenes working on lights and sound, and then deepened his involvement by joining the Advisory Council. Recognizing that feminist issues are human issues, Matt understands how essential it is for men to be visible allies to women and the causes which concern them. He extends that philosophy to his professional life as a member of the science department at the prestigious St. Thomas Choir School, always reminding the young boys he teaches of the contributions women make to scientific progress.
Sunflower Duran, Social Media Manager
Sunflower Duran is the Founder of Pink Arts Peace Productions, Inc. (PAPPI). She has a longstanding career in Marketing & Advertising. Sunflower is a New York City native, and “Bronx Boogie Down girl” to the core. She is a graduate of NYU Steinhardt School of Education and Human Development where she obtained her B.S. in Media, Culture and Communications Studies. She’s been a 4th U Artivist since 2011, has been studying acting since the age of 13, and loves to make music and dance. She’s also known as “Sunny D on the Mic” in the hip-hop group Chasing Mermaids trending on Spotify. She is committed to her work with 4thU Artivists in order to make the world safer for women and girls.
Nancy Robillard, Dramaturge
Nancy Robillard is a theatre director who has worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, in regional theater, summer theatre and university productions. Her New York production work has been at the Culture Project, Vital Theatre, Directors Company, Red Fern Theatre Company, Algonquin Theatre, Theatre for the New City, and HERE. Robillard’s notable regional: Kennedy Center, Walnut Street Theatre, MetroStage, Northern Stage, Luna Stage, Gateway Playhouse, and Theater Masters national new play festival in Aspen. Robillard worked as a director and dramaturg in the Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts for over 15 years. She has an MFA in directing from Illinois State University (home of Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater) and has taught acting and directing at several colleges. She is currently on the faculty of the Dramatists Guild Foundation. In addition to directing, Nancy is and acting and public speaking coach.