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Vanessa Becker Weig | Executive Artistic Director

Vanessa is Co-Founder of Voices Amplified (formerly known as The Girl Project). She is a transplant from Central Ohio, where she earned a B.F.A. in Acting at Wright State University. Since moving to Lexington 10 years ago, Vanessa has directed or choreographed numerous productions for Woodford Theatre, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, U.K.O.T.’ s Broadway Bound, The Academy for Creative Excellence, Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, and several award-winning productions for the Itheatrics Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta. She was the Education Director for Woodford Theatre from 2015-2019 and served as Artistic Director for the theatre in 2020. Prior to moving to Lexington, Vanessa served for ten years as the Education Director and Resident Director/Actor for the Phoenix Theatre (now CATCO). At the Phoenix, she directed, choreographed, and appeared in more than fifty productions as well as designed and implemented classes, camps, workshops, and in-school residencies. Vanessa specializes in movement theatre and theatre styles such as Kabuki, Commedia Del ‘Arte, Laban, Puppets and Masks, and Musical Theatre, and she was in the regional tour of the musical The Secret Garden, which incorporated both deaf and hearing actors and won several Central Ohio artistic excellence awards. Vanessa is a proud recipient of a Bluegrass Alliance for Women Impact Award and the prestigious Freddie G Fellowship from Music Theatre International.


Ellie Clark | Associate Executive Artistic Director

Ellie Clark is co-founder of Voices Amplified (formerly known as The Girl Project) and currently resides in Atlanta, GA. She is an actress, teaching artist, producer, and movement enthusiast who has spent her lifetime in love with storytelling. Her most recent Film/TV credits include The First Wives Club (BET), The Wonder Years (ABC), and a recurring role on Season 5 & 6 of Tyler Perry’s Sistas. She can also be seen in numerous commercials and Independent Feature films. She has performed throughout the United States and across the pond in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Notable stage credits include Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra, Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice, Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, Marie in Marie Antoinette, Agnes in Dancing at Lughnasa, Anna in Burn This, Sheila in A Chorus Line, and Emma in Stupid F*#!ing BirdEllie has taught acting and physical actor training for 20+ years. She is co-Artistic Director for Arvold Warner Studio in Atlanta (founded by Emmy Nominated Casting Director, Erica Arvold and Master Teacher, Richard Warner) where she works and consults with film/TV actors invested in furthering their craft. She serves as the Chair of Acting and the Movement Specialist for Kentucky’s Governor's School for the Arts and she has served as a visiting artist at several universities and acting studios. She has had the honor of being a Guest Speaker, Moderator and/or Panelist at Summits and Festivals interested in arts leadership, advocacy, and activism in the arts. Her entrepreneurial work includes Co-Founding Voices Amplified, Inc., the Atlanta based self-taping and actor coaching service, Actors Room Atlanta, and the ensemble-based theatre company, Project SEE Theatre. She served as Education Director & Associate Producer of Woodford Theatre from 2012-2015 and co-founded the Lexington Shakespeare Institute, which came to be known as Kentucky Conservatory Theatre and was a teaching artist with the program for nine years. Ellie is trained in the Meisner Approach to acting and has trained extensively with Anne Bogart and the SITI Company in Viewpoints, Suzuki, and Composition in their Saratoga Summer Intensive and throughout her 10 years living in New York City. She obtained her Master of Fine Arts from Ohio University’s Professional Actor Training Program, receiving a Fellowship for her “exceptional talent and dedication to the arts.” Born and raised in Lexington, KY, she is a graduate of the School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA), Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and received a BFA in Acting from the University of Kentucky.  Ellie has worked with the prestigious Actors’ Theatre of Louisville in their yearlong apprentice program. You can visit her website at

Reserach & Advocacy 


Margaret McGladrey | Research & Advocacy Director


Margaret, Ph.D., is an applied sociologist committed to participatory action research with government agency and nonprofit organization partners in the arts, child welfare, education, and public health. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, Dr. McGladrey served as Director of Program Capacity and Support for the Kentucky Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Network responsible for supporting local CASA programs that train and guide community volunteers to advocate in Kentucky courts for the best interests of children experiencing abuse and neglect. She made the difficult decision to leave paid work for CASA in fall 2020 after being recruited back to University of Kentucky as the project director for two institutional research initiatives:1) developing a pilot program to prepare for a major grant application to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to recruit and retain underrepresented minority faculty in biomedical and behavioral science research and 2) managing the implementation of opioid overdose prevention and treatment practices in criminal justice settings as part of the biggest grant UK has ever received, the NIH-funded HEALing Communities Study. With Voices Amplified, she created The Girl Project: Next Generation middle school mentoring program and serves as the Research and Advocacy Director responsible for the program's feminist critical pedagogy and grant-writing/evaluation. She also is a certified teacher of Kundalini Yoga (E-RYT 500) and has been teaching mindfulness, meditation, and yoga classes in community and school settings for more than 10 years.


Jeni Benavides

Jeni Benavides | Artistic Collaborator

Jeni Benavides served as the Voices Amplified Program Facilitator for The Girl Project, Voices Heard and The Girl Project: Next Generation froM 2015-2020. She is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina and attended the University of South Carolina where she studied theatre, focusing on performance.After receiving her B.A., Jeni went on to study at the University of Kentucky, where she received her M.A. in Theatre. Her master’s thesis, Cultivating the Unassailable, analyzed the pedagogy and application of The Pacific Performance Project (also known as P3/East), which integrates the Suzuki method, Shogo Ohta’s slow tempo work, as well as principles of aikido training. Jeni has trained with P3 in both South Carolina and most recently in Seattle. She also is a passionate storyteller for The Girl Project, doing a lot of documentary theatre work for the high school program as well as TGP’s community event Voices Heard: Kentucky.  She is a passionate theatre educator who teaches part time at the University of Kentucky. Many thanks to Vanessa, Ellie, Margaret, and the team who has supported bringing her into this wonderful community of artists and students.


Vanessa Becker Weig | President

Ellie Clark | Vice President

Jill Gookin | Secretary

Siera Arena | Treasurer

 Advisory Committee

Siera Arena

Jeni Benavides

Jill Gookin

Greg Hunter

Uma Jewels

Patrick Lee Lucas

Margaret McGladrey

Shelby Osborne

Raiffa Syamil

Jordan Guffey Turpin 

visiting Artists

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