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Theatre as Medicine with CJ Ochoco

 CJ Ochoco: I really always try to keep a positive outlook. I’m a realist, but I also just like to put out into the universe what we want back. In my life and in how I run Breaking Wave, and how we move, our goal is always to put the good out and always knowing that it’ll return. We really try to break down the barriers of traditional theatre and focus on connecting more with Indigenous storytelling and practices. We try to put people before productions, and stay true to who we are and the work we do, and so just manifest good things all around for us personally, professionally, and with our company.

Yura Sapi: You are listening to Building Our Own Tables, a podcast produced for HowlRound Theatre Commons, a free and open platform for theatremakers worldwide. I’m your host, Yura Sapi, and I’m the founder of various organizations and projects, including a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a six-hectare farm and food sovereignty project, an LGBTQ+ healing and art space. And I’ve helped numerous creatives, leaders, and other founders unleash their excellence into the world through my programs, workshops, and coaching services. In this podcast, I’m showcasing the high vibration solutions for you as a visionary leader to implement into your own practice and thrive. Stay tuned this season to hear from other founders who have built their own tables for their communities and for the world in this evolutionary time on earth. You are here for a reason, and I am so honored and grateful to support you on your journey, so stay tuned and enjoy.

As a theatre practitioner, have you ever considered yourself a doctor? Have you ever considered yourself a healer? In this episode, I talked to CJ Ochoco of Breaking Wave Theatre Company, 501(c)(3) nonprofit based out of Guam. CJ shared her incredible story of starting off as someone who was studying to be a doctor, and actually made the shift to study theatre instead and really follow her true soul’s purpose. But still connected to this way in which theatre and the arts can heal with Breaking Wave Theatre Company, she has co-produced with her team and co-founders, events that support the local theatre and creative community of Guam, at-risk youth, and the community at large. Breaking Wave is all about bringing accessibility for the arts, and highlighting the diverse community on the island of Guam.

In this episode, we really dive into this understanding of theatre as medicine, of how to connect with the earth in your arts producing work, and why this work that we’re doing as founders, as creators of these new movements and organizations, are making a ripple effect on generations to come. So, get excited about this beautiful episode with CJ and Breaking Wave Theatre Company. Enjoy.

Before we get into this episode, go ahead and hit subscribe on this podcast. This is the best way to stay updated on new episodes, and it helps build a thriving planet where all beings experience joy and harmony with each other and Mother Earth. So, go ahead and hit subscribe and keep this good energy flowing.

CJ Ochoco, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the podcast.

CJ: Thank you so much for having me.

Yura: It’s such an honor to be here with you, and I wanted to start us off with this question. What is your superhero origin story? What was that pivotal moment that led you to forge your own path and build your own table?

CJ: I remember reading the question and I was like, “Ooh, I’m not going to think about this and answer organically.” So, I started college thinking that I wanted to be a doctor, I think as many arts people do, they start with something completely different. I started as a pre-med major, and this was my first year of college way back when, over a decade ago. I was good at it, I had a lot of fun with Bio and Chem, but it wasn’t necessarily something that I really had a strong passion for. And then I ended up leaving the school I was at and moving back to Guam, because I was going through some mental health struggles and issues. In 2010, I returned home to Guam after spending my first year away from Guam, and decided to start attending the university. And when I first attended there, I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m still going to do pre-med,” and the issues persisted and I was really struggling.

It wasn’t until I found the theatre that I started to feel more at home and at peace. I found this support system that was really great within my theatre classmates and colleagues, and I would say that that’s kind of my pivotal moment when it started as, “Okay, well maybe I’m going to minor in theatre,” and then it was like, “No, let’s just be real about who I am,” and I decided to major in theatre and that was really the moment that shifted for me when I personally found my healing space in the arts. And that’s what really encouraged me to then build my own table eventually with Breaking Wave so that we could create a healing space for other people, the same way it was for many of us back with my cohort.

Yura: Wow, that’s incredible. I’m really resonating with this shift that happened for you. It was just a moment of yes to your soul’s purpose, to what you’re really meant to be doing on earth.

CJ: Yeah. And if you’re meant to be a doctor, good on you, just wasn’t for me.

I could help people not just as a doctor or a nurse or whatever we’re fed as…the careers you need to get into if you want to help people, and realizing that yeah, we could help people with theatre and the arts too. 

Yura: Yeah, I hear that. I mean, I also really liked biology, and chemistry, and science, and I think it’s more that I actually really like earth and plants, and now that I’ve gotten into farming as well and really seeing how we’re doing arts on land with the earth in connection. So, that’s I think where that comes from, and flows into what I’m doing now. I think it’s always part of it. But yeah, it sounds like you were really able to take that leap of faith of maybe whatever was causing you to feel like you had to go down this other route, but then choose what your heart, what your soul was saying, actually this is what is going to help me be healthy both emotionally and mentally, and then that reflects in the physical too.

CJ: Absolutely. Yeah, and I think at the core of it was that I wanted to help people, and finding my piece and getting the help I needed through, of course professionals, but also realizing that the arts had so much healing power, I think that was my moment of, hey, I could help people not just as a doctor or a nurse or whatever we’re fed as these are the careers you need to get into if you want to help people, and realizing that yeah, we could help people with theatre and the arts too.

Yura: This offering of letting folks be reflected on stage, of seeing your story, of having a place to have your catharsis, have your release, understand more about yourself. What else draws you to this idea of art as medicine, theatre as medicine?

CJ: I think there’s just so much power in being able to see yourself on stage, so whether or not you’re the audience member or an actor or behind the scenes, there’s just so much power with being able to connect to these stories. It’s part of why with Breaking Wave Theatre Company, we do a lot of different work, but we encourage a lot of original works because we’re so passionate about making sure people are seen, and making sure that their stories are heard. There’s such a healing power as the person writing or the person producing, wherever you are in that spectrum of a life cycle of a theatre production, or a film or anything like that, there’s so much healing to it. And I think it also empowers people to share their stories. With Breaking Wave, our signature production that we’ve done for three years now is this production called Unspoken.

And we work with the community to take their stories about mental health, substance abuse, and suicide prevention, and we help them create the stories and then put it on stage—whether they want to be an actor or help backstage, or not even be involved and just want to see their work—we empower them to take that work and bring it on stage, and we help them do that. We’ve done that for three years and it’s been such a powerful experience to see how so many people are so much more willing to talk about their mental health when we share those stories in that way. So yeah, I think that’s where I find theatre is medicine. Getting a little emotional. I am a very emotional person. Every time I do a podcast, I somehow cry. So, please excuse me.

Yura: No, I love it. Yeah, we’re getting into it. We’re showing the real, we’re giving the energy. I am curious to hear more about Breaking Wave Theatre. How did you transition from making that decision to study theatre into actually saying, “I’m actually going to start my own theatre company”?

CJ: Yeah. Breaking Wave Theatre Company, we’re based on Guam, or Guahan is the Indigenous name of the island. We are a U.S. territory in the middle of the Pacific, closer to Japan and the Philippines than we are to the continental U.S. I was born and raised there, and like I said, I left for a year and then ended up coming home, and studying at the University of Guam. And the thing about Guam, it’s literally thirty-five miles long, so that’s really, really small. And there’s about one hundred fifty-thousand people on the island, so it’s very, very small. We don’t even have cities, we have villages, and it really is just like one big city because it’s so small. And so with that in mind, theatre and the arts are a little bit limited. Like for theatre, we had the university theatre and then we had the high school public theatre program. It’s pretty robust, and actually my uncle, who helped inspire me to do theatre, runs it. My Uncle Ernest.

So between those two, when I graduated college in 2016, that was pretty much our options. You either keep volunteering for the university, which we were so happy to do and still continue to do, or you help out with the high school productions through the high school public program that we had. So, my colleagues and I that co-founded Breaking Wave—Chris Santiago, Jerome Ocampo, Joey Datuina and Sierra Sevilla—we were all looking at ourselves around 2018 and being like, “Hey, we love doing this work with the community, and we also know that maybe at some point we might want to go to the States and get our MFAs or things like that, but we’re not all ready to leave right now.” And other people may never want to leave Guam, and that’s okay. So, what can we do to make a home for people who may not have access to the university, or may not want to just do the musicals that the high schools do?

What can we do? And for a long time we were like, “Yeah, we’re going to go out, get our MFAs work out in the theatre industry, and then we’ll come back and start the theatre company.” Then we kind of just sat and we’re like, “Well, why are we waiting for that? Why not now?” One of those, “if not now, then when, if not you, then who” kind of moments we had. And so, we deep dove into it. We taught ourselves how to start a nonprofit because the last nonprofit theatre company on Guam prior to us was twenty years ago, so there hadn’t been a nonprofit theatre company on Guam for twenty years. And so, we taught ourselves how to start a nonprofit, and I was getting my master’s in arts leadership at the time so it was like real life being able to do both learning about it and then working on it.

In 2018, we got a small grant to do a show I had always wanted to do, which was Tuesdays with Maury, just like a super simple show, and we’re like, “Well, we need a theatre company to put on the show.” And so, we’ve made our own and that’s how we began. What we try to create is we try to create a space to fill in the gaps between what the other theatres do. Since we started, a for-profit theatre company started on Guam as well, but they focus on musicals and whatnot. Then of course, the university theatre focuses more on educational theatre, and so we’ve really filled in the gaps with original works, taking pre-made or already made shows and different takes on it. We do a lot of work with youth, and actually bringing theatre to schools and the community. So, that’s where we exist and it’s been six years coming this summer, so it’s been great.

Yura: Wow, congratulations.

CJ: Thank you.

Yura: Yeah, I would love to hear your reflections on these. If you were to give a pep talk to that younger version of yourself, what are the words of encouragement that you would say?

CJ: Yeah, I think I would let younger CJ know to keep doing the thing, even when things get hard, and maybe this is a pep talk to myself. When things get hard, when the funding isn’t as robust, that it’s always worth pushing through. I think about younger me facing the pandemic, leading this brand new two-year-old theatre company and just being like, “Keep pushing through. It’s always worth it.” And so, I guess that is a message to me now that no matter the challenges we face, the work we do matters, and the work we’re all doing to uplift theatre in communities and BIPOC Indigenous voices, that it all matters. And so, I think that’s what I would tell myself is just keep going and keep centered on what we’re all about. I feel like there’s been a couple times in our short history that we’ve veered the path a little bit, when just always centering that we’re really here for the community and for uplifting Guahan artists and stories. So, that’s what I would tell myself.

Yura: Yeah, that’s so important to come back to the why in those difficult moments, and also in those moments of confusion, feeling like we’re almost like too in the moment but then not in the moment because we’re worried about the future.

CJ: Yeah, exactly. I’m all about manifesting and really looking forward.

Yura: Yeah. Well, tell me more about how you manifest—

CJ: I really always try to keep a positive outlook. I’m a realist, but I also just like to put out into the universe what we want back. I think in my life and in how I run Breaking Wave, and how we move, our goal is always to put the good out and always knowing that it’ll return. With Breaking Wave, we really try to break down the barriers of traditional theatre and focus a lot more on connecting more with Indigenous storytelling and practices. And so, I think all of those combined, that’s just what we try to do. We try to put people before productions, and try to stay true to who we are and the work we do, and so just manifest good things all around for us personally and professionally, and with our company.

Yura: Yeah, that really resonates. Do you have any examples that you could share with listeners on how this type of work shows up in practice?

CJ: Yeah. So, we actually like to call it “the culture of care,” and it’s something that came out from the pandemic when we took the moment when all the reckoning was happening for everyone everywhere, but in theatre structures as well of taking the moment. We are a BIPOC-led company and we’re mostly all BIPOC, but taking the moment to be like, “Hey, what are the ways that we perpetuate white supremacy?” And things like that, and really questioning some of the things we had been taught or been practicing from our experiences of why do we put this pressure on our people? We were able to really look internally and reflect to see, wait, this is made up. This pressure on theatre is so made up, because at the end of the day the arts are so, so important, but it’s not life or death, and so that’s the culture of care we do, where your life and your health and your wellbeing is so much more important than any production that we can put on.

And so, how that started to come into practice is not that we let people get away with being late or being absent all the time. We still keep people accountable to the things they commit to, but having a lot more grace on, “Hey, I just need a mental health day,” and you don’t have to explain it, take your mental health. Because we don’t run on a full-time staff, we mostly run on contractors. We’ve had times where our folks are like, “Hey, I just need a week.” And just being like, “Hey, I respect that. Come back to me when you’re ready. You are more important than the work, it’s okay.” And so, that’s how it has manifested.

And I hope and I think—we’ve gotten good feedback from that, having more people willing to work with us because we’re not here to put any pressure. We’re putting on a play, and so we want to play, and whether or not the topic is super serious or not, at the end of the day we want people to have fun and enjoy what they’re doing, and never make it feel like a chore.

Yura: Modeling and reflecting back to others to take care of themselves as well, because especially under, I’ve discovered about myself and also can see it in others as I’ve gone through so many of these interviews, that we go through formation through the process of stepping into this leadership in this way and become a new person. And what I’ve found that has really been helpful for a lot of people, including myself, is to really invest in my own capacity to hold space, and hold space for keeping the vision alive and keeping the energy, the positivity, the manifesting, the “it works out” versus “it’s not going to work out” or “we’re stuck” in an issue. And so yeah, I found really doubling down on all of the practice, caring, connecting with the moon, the four elements, and really being intentional about a lot of things as well in terms of how we structure our day, being able to receive the rest we need as well. So I’m curious, what are your go-to practices around being able to hold space for yourself so that you can hold space for a larger group and a whole vision?

CJ: One of the things I recently, just in this new year have really connected with, is hiking. So it’s really funny, prior to January 1st I absolutely refused to go on a hike. I went on a hike when I was sixteen and fell a bunch of times, and I was like, “I’m not made for this.” And I’m not generally a very athletic person, but I’ve loved nature, especially because I left Guam about four and a half years ago, right before the pandemic hit to do some theatre work out with Oregon Shakes, and then that all fell apart with the pandemic. And so, I ended up moving to Nashville, Tennessee, where I’m tuning in today, and have lived here for the past four years. And so, I think living in a landlocked state helped me appreciate, because I go back to Guam often for Breaking Wave, helped me appreciate the land and the ocean more.

And so, when I went home for this long period of time this past winter, I decided, I was like, “You know what? It’s a new year, let me just go on a hike.” Because I had a friend who really loves hiking and he was like, “Let’s go.” So, he took me on a really easy one and I absolutely fell in love. In eight weeks we went on eight hikes, one hike every weekend, and that was like going from zero to eight real fast… And so, now I absolutely love it and it’s everyone who knows me is like, “This is wild,” because I’m usually very like, “I’m going to stay inside.” I’ll go to the beach, but I’m not going to exercise or go out in nature. I don’t like being hot or sweaty, and I hate bugs.

But now I actually love this. I’m no longer scared of bugs, so I’ve been climbing rocks , and scaling down caves, and going to cliff sides for the past few weeks. And so, that’s my new form of self-care. And then going on walks and so, even here in Nashville, learning to love the land here too and going to be going on some hikes soon.

Yura: Amazing. Yes, that is what I’m talking about. That is turning something into a habit, to a practice to… Wow, talk about transformation. How do you feel it has affected your leadership and your work at Breaking Wave?

CJ: I feel like it’s been really good for me because it’s time for me to not lead. I definitely have no sense of direction, so I always take the rear and I don’t take the lead in this because I know that I’m not the person who knows the best in the situation. And so, I think it’s been good for me mentally personally to have that time to be … This is the one thing I get to do where I don’t have to take the lead. Because I’m sure as many other leaders do in our personal lives, we’re probably the ones making the plans, we’re the ones leading the friendship group and whatnot. I think it’s been really nice to have a space where I can learn. I can learn, and I can see my friends who I’ve worked with for years, because they’re both colleagues and friends, seeing how they lead and how they take the reins.

And I think that’s always so inspiring to have these opportunities to learn from others. I really resonate with what you say about connecting with nature and the moon, because I think having this time to connect as well has helped me open up my heart to different possibilities, and how the arts can connect so much to the land. And so, I’m really interested to learn more about your work, and I feel like that’s where this is taking me with my new journey on learning how to be a hiking girl, and then also leading an arts organization.

Yura: Yeah. For me I realized, actually in Colombia, so ancestral lands after a shift from life in the U.S. and New York and really connecting more with nature, finding farming. I had actually been visioning, manifesting farming for years. Fell into place. And I realized especially in the community of Nuqui, Choco, Pacific Coast community as well, that Black and Indigenous community, we don’t have to think about activism or “change the world” energy from only one perspective, that there’s only one way that that might look. And for me, I was thinking very much in this protest energy and anti-racism, figuring out what is it that we don’t want basically. And yeah, finding out actually the opportunity that comes from connecting with the earth, and realizing that actually all of these problems that we’re facing as humans on earth at this time really comes back to this disconnection that we have with both ourselves and also each other and the earth in that way.

We are a reflection of the world, we’re cells of a body that is the entire earth. When we think about being a part of something bigger in that way, even though we are individual cells, there’s a huge opportunity to reconnect. And so, I’ve definitely found that through living in nature in this way, really close to the forest, and river, and ocean, and also in a community that is a village where you know everybody who lives around. Just a different way of understanding. And I think a lot of Indigenous communities, I would say around the world, have that connection still. And so, I think that is part of what is wanting to be reconnected.

It’s a gateway, because there’s something, about both having a mural with a message and creating the mural together brings this connection, energy, this ability also for people to be able to see the mural later for a music piece, for a song, both singing the song and experiencing that connection, feeling the support, a mycelium network when you are singing and connecting. And then to each other, dancing, and theatre, and performance, and this storytelling opportunity that is so ancestral.

There’s so much there around how we use the arts to reconnect with ourselves, and with each other, and with the earth. So, that’s why I love doing events and programming, convenings and gatherings where we actually spend time in nature receiving sunlight, moonlight, fire. It’s been really such an honor to get to do this now with my own organization, LiberArte, that really, it’s like you said, I’m a leader but leaning into my strengths, it’s more about keeping the vision alive, having visions, seeing a place and saying, “Oh, this would be really great to do something here.” And so, applying to the grants, thinking about who are the people that can help, and basically putting other people in charge too, because it’s my strength to put together the team.

CJ: I love that. Yeah, I love that.

Yura: So yeah, that’s been the journey.

CJ: That’s so inspiring. I’m already taking so much with me too, so that’s amazing.

Yura: Yeah, I feel like we could definitely do some collaborations.

CJ: Yeah, we’re all about that. We’re all about collaborating and reaching out. Guam’s so geographically isolated. And so, any chance we can get to connect with other artists, we love that.

Yura: That’s incredible. Yeah. So, right now the project I’m working on is bringing a music group from Nuqui to the U.S., and we actually got a grant to do a festival in the Rockaways in Queens, Far Rockaways, where it’s going to be this ocean festival, Afro-diasporic with communities of the Rockaways, as well as welcoming this group from the Pacific Coast in Colombia. And I just see this as an opportunity for what we can do in the future in terms of this global collaboration and exchange. Because we worked on a festival for Tambacum for this music group in Nuqui this year, in Nuqui, a festival that’s been performed three years before. And so, this ability to go to a place and with the community, and then also have that in the U.S. where we’re incorporated. And yeah, I think it is a way to both be able to exchange and offer this sense of reparations as a U.S. organization, this ability to have funding in a different way than other places. So yeah, growing and keeping this idea of what we could do all over.

CJ: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s really powerful and yeah, that’s amazing.

Yura: Are you ready to build your own table? I’m thrilled to be expanding the work of our annual Strategic Planning Institute where we cultivate visionaries who are creating transformative projects, initiatives, and organizations for themselves and their communities around the world. The Strategic Planning Institute guides you through different modules of exercises, processing, and practices that help you tap into your soul’s unique purpose in the work that you are doing, in the organization that you will launch as the leader and founder. You’re welcome to take the journey with your co-founders and co-create something incredible. Take it from me as someone who has birds out into the world, all kinds of projects including this podcast, I am so excited and honored to be supporting you on your journey of making this world a better place. And it’s my purpose to be helping you do this. I’m so grateful to have been trained and certified by the Dharma Coaching Institute as a sole purpose and spiritual life coach.

This, combined with my training and graduate degree in performing arts management as well as undergrad in theatre arts, along with my initiations and certifications in shamanic energy healing practices, and a certified freedom meditation teacher, allows me to bring it all together to really curate an incredible space for you to transform and expand outward into the world in the way you were born to be. So, this is your time to shine. There’s no need to wait any longer. This is your moment, the world is asking of you, the earth is calling you. So, go ahead and sign up with us at LiberArte to be notified on the next opening for the Strategic Planning Institute. We’re curating this year’s cohort of visionaries to go through this process together, and be connected to others who are like-minded, socially conscious, and really making an impact on the world.

Together in our local communities we combine as a network of change makers. And if you’re looking for even more curated support, you can book a one-on-one coaching package with yours truly to guide you through immediately on what you need to start your own organization to build your own table that is abundant, sustainable and full of love for yourself and your community. And you can always join our free network of visionaries, a community online forum curated by me and my team, to provide you resources, links to grants, business recommendations, and tools for you to really grow, as well as access to my weekly self-care for visionaries reading, and other meditations and talks that I’m sharing in a larger forum content. There’s so many ways for you to engage, I am so excited to work with you and support you, and thanks for listening. I can’t wait to meet you.

Our ancestors took care of the land for years before there was even Google to tell us how to. If we all take some time to really connect to ourselves and to the generations that came before us, I think we could have a better hope for the generations to come.

I want to ask you speaking about the world and global connections, there’s this offering that if we all shared our solutions, we would only have solutions. We wouldn’t have any more problems. If everyone shared their solutions, everyone would have solutions. So, what is one solution to the world’s problem you wish everyone knew about?

CJ: This is a good question… solution to the world’s problems. I think it’s connecting to what you said, where it’s just connecting back to the land, and connecting back to our ancestries and where we came from. I feel like that would help jumpstart a lot of issues. Our ancestors took care of the land for years before there was even Google to tell us how to. If we all take some time to really connect to ourselves and to the generations that came before us, I think we could have a better hope for the generations to come.

Yura: Yeah. And if you were to connect this to the theatre industry, how do you envision this shifting or supporting any challenges that the theatre industry might be facing right now?

CJ: I’d love to see theatres really connect more back into Indigenous practices and roots. That’s actually something we’re really passionate about and trying to do more actively with Breaking Wave. We try our best not to operate on a hierarchical structure, and really connecting back to more community-based, and that we’re all working together and thinking about the people of Guahan and the Pacific. They were navigators, and thinking a lot about how it takes every single person to steer the ship, and to steer the canoes and get people around. And so, I would love to see those practices implemented in theatre in the United States. And I think so many people are doing it already.

So many great organizations that we’ve connected with and so many we have yet to connect with that do that already. And I’d love to see that implemented on a bigger scale in these bigger theatres, because I think that when we go back to the heart of what theatre is, it’s supposed to be storytelling, and it’s supposed to be something we all come together to do. There’s less of the red tape, and the bureaucracy and whatnot. I’d love to see that.

Yura: Yes. It sounds like a really great conference workshop, a whole even long-term course that you could take, that one could take on this. I actually have been working on this methodology called revolutionary organizational structures, evolutionary organizational structures, where we look at this connection to nature and the earth, and the systems that already exist in nature and the earth, solar system even, our body systems, things that show us how things work already—ecosystems. And really looking at, okay, actually how can we model our understanding of how we run our organization based off of these systems in nature? Because they’ve been around for much longer than this hierarchical organizational chart of boxes has been. If you’ve ever seen that type of boxes chart where it’s like the directors at top, and the managers and then the workers and the interns at the bottom, all this understanding is very limiting as to what you can be, how you fit if you’re just a box underneath or above other boxes.

So, I actually have been working on this, and for LiberArte, we created this structure that is a tree. So, we have the roots being the board of directors, and the trunk being the people internal, the more in the center you are the more internal you are, the more outwards in the bark, the more outward facing you are. And then upwards through the branches are consultants, and people who work as contractors, helping out. And then the leaves are audiences and clients and people who interact with us, and then the fruit are our artists and the folks who are really presenting and performing, and being out there in this way—

CJ: That is amazing.

Yura: Yeah, it’s really liberating and helpful too. Sometimes people talk about, “Oh, where in the hierarchy are you? Look at your organizational chart,” and then I can look at mine and I’m like, “I mean, it isn’t a hierarchy.” I’m technically at the bottom because I’m in the roots. So, it’s just been so helpful for me to understand, and I’m really excited to keep sharing this.

CJ: I’m getting goosebumps, because this is exactly what I think we’ve been working towards, so I’m really eager to connect more about this, for sure.

Yura: A lot of theatre companies could benefit and probably want the type of guidance as you might be transitioning, transforming, realizing that you actually want to do things differently, because it is a different time and the earth is calling for a different way of working together for us to continue living on the planet. So yeah, I think if anybody’s listening, wanting to have our support, hire us, feel free to reach out.

I have one more question for you. I would love to hear what has been the most rewarding aspect of carving your own path and creating your own space, really building your own table?

CJ: I think the most rewarding aspect is to see all the people who have come to the table, and continue to. I don’t do theatre for myself, I do it for the community. I’m always behind the scenes because I really believe that my purpose on this earth is to make the paths for people the most inspiring thing. And the thing that brings me the most joy is knowing that I have been able to create that table, and to bring so many people. It’s wild thinking about where we’ve gone. Like I mentioned, we’re six years old now and we have kids who started with us when they were sixteen who are now majors at the University of Guam in theatre. And to know that we played a part in that I think is the most inspiring. And even the ones who don’t major in theatre but go on to do all the great things, and knowing that they were able to get a foundation through the work we do, and that they like it so much that they keep doing it has been the most rewarding part of this journey.

And I look forward to continuing to do that, and I’m all about access and accessibility. We don’t believe in gatekeeping with Breaking Wave, there’s no reason to not share and open up all the seats because we’ve been let out of tables and rooms for so long, and so we will always open the doors where we can.

Yura: Yes, so beautiful. Oh, I definitely want to visit.

CJ: Yes, come to Guam. So much possibilities, I’m so excited.

Yura: Let us know how we can connect more with Breaking Wave Theatre Company.

CJ: Breaking Wave Theatre Company. We’re at @bwtcguam on Instagram and Facebook. And then we also have our website, which is also bwtcguam.com, and we’re always happy to connect. If anyone wants to connect with us directly, [email protected] and we’ll definitely reach out, because we love to collaborate and work with folks

Yura: Like, subscribe, follow Breaking Wave Theatre company. Thank you so much, CJ. It was such an honor and pleasure to connect.

CJ: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so grateful to have this space and this time. Thank you.

Yura: This podcast is produced as a contribution to HowlRound Theatre Commons. You can find more episodes of this show and other HowlRound shows wherever you find podcasts. Be sure to search with the keyword HowlRound and subscribe to receive new episodes. If you love this podcast, post a rating and write a review on those platforms. You can also find a transcript for this episode, along with a lot of other progressive and disruptive content on howlround.com. Have an idea for an exciting podcast, essay, or TV event the theatre community needs to hear? Visit howlround.com and submit your idea to this digital commons.

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