Alesha Borbo Kilayko
Growing up in the borough of Staten Island an hour long car ride away from Broadway, little Alesha always thought theatre was only for rich people. Her family of six didn’t have the time or money to do “fancy fun stuff like that,” and ironically, her private Catholic elementary school had zero art programs. So, instead, Alesha played a lot of videogames and watched a lot of cartoons! No matter the videogame or show, she was awe-inspired by the stories she saw and heard in the background environments, the costumes that characters wore, the music and sounds underscoring a scene or battle sequence. When she saw Steve from Blue’s Clues draw in his handy dandy notebook one day, it clicked with her—she could make that stuff too! And her love for art began.
Fast forward to the last week of her first year of high school, Alesha was waiting for her friend to buy Swedish Fish when the director of the drama club approached her and asked if she wanted to apply to become the assistant stage manager, saying “We could use the artistic eye of someone like you.” Alesha was very confused—she was just a quiet, to-herself teen—but then remembered seeing her French teacher a few months back show the drama club director the collage that she did of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings. She decided to apply, got the role, and deeply, deeply fell in love with the community artform of theatre over those next three years—so much so that in her senior year, she hard-pivoted at last minute from applying to so many graphic design programs to applying to one theatre program in Manhattan.
As an Excellence in Theatre Scholar, Alesha got their degree in Theatre: Design and Production from Fordham University in 2019. In those four years of college, her love for theatre simultaneously flourished and blossomed and was questioned and challenged. Recognizing how the systemic oppressions of the world infiltrated the artform they so dearly loved, Alesha became determined to combine her loves of theatre, education, community engagement, and liberation work somehow, some way. And here they are at OA—doing just that.