Lynn Johnson
Trainer and Research Associate

Eric Gurna, ED, Development Without LimitsLynn knew that she wanted to be an actor when she was just 5 years old and has spent her whole life centered around the study, critique, and creation of theater.  She spent her childhood moving throughout the northeastern U.S. until her family settled in Concord, MA in her 8th grade year.  Being a "drama geek" and 1 of only a few African American students living in the town at the time, Lynn developed a strong awareness of and commitment to those who live their lives "being different." At a young age, she began to develop a personal and professional mission dedicated to using the art of theater to celebrate difference while building strong, peaceful, loving, and diverse communities.

Lynn started her career while still a theater student at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.  After graduation, she discovered her entrepreneurial tendencies when she founded TurnStyle Teen Theatre, a multicultural teen ensemble.  The company used the process of creating original productions to explore themes central to the lives of its members such as transition, exploration, and identity and to empower young teens as teachers and leaders in their community.  Also in Chicago, Lynn worked as a company member for Child's Play Touring Theatre, a nationally recognized theater that performs stories and poems written by young people throughout the United States.

She moved to Chapel Hill, NC in 1999 where she designed and directed a number of community-based educational programs that focused on literature, oral history, community building, and personal narrative. She served as the Education Director for both the StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance in Chapel Hill and Burning Coal Theatre Company in Raleigh.  She also created programming for the Opera Company of North Carolina and directed The Village Whippersnapper Ensemble, a group of home-schooled students and their mothers that adapted and performed classics and original stories for local school groups and libraries.

Lynn transferred her direct youth service experience to work as a trainer and organizational development consultant when she joined the staff of Community Network for Youth Development (CNYD) in 2002.  CNYD is a Bay Area non-profit that trains and supports organizations in creating positive learning environments for young people. Over her 4 years there, she led a variety of training workshops, advised on a number of city-wide youth serving efforts in San Francisco, and specialized in the connections between the arts and youth development.  In addition, she also served as a Board Member for Performing Arts Workshop, a 40+ year old San Francisco-based arts education organization.

Presently, Lynn is a founding member of OutLook Theater Project (with Rebecca Schultz), a community-based professional theater company that explores social issues from an LGBTQ perspective.