MEET THE STAFF
AMANDA TORRES | Co-Founder
Amanda Torres is a loud laughing Mexican American writer, singer, teacher, and organizer who loves avocados. She has performed internationally, showcasing the first youth poetry slam in London and performed with such luminaries as Martin Espada and Yerba Buena. Originally from Chicago, Amanda has been teaching and performing spoken word for over twelve years in schools, juvenile detention centers, libraries, community centers and museums. She is a graduating alumni of Young Chicago Authors and cofounder of L@s Eloter@s, a socially engaged Latinx writing teachers collective. In addition to her teaching and performing, Amanda has led youth spoken word trainings and presentations across the US including the Oklahama Arts Institute and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Convention. She was also a member of the Emerging Poets incubator held by the Poetry Foundation and Crescendo Literary. Upon arriving in Boston, Amanda co-founded the Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective (MassLEAP) which hosts Louder Than A Bomb Massachusetts, the largest youth poetry slam festival in the state, and served as poetry artist in residence at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston. Amanda has recently transitioned from her role as Mass LEAP's Artistic Director to pursue new artistic, educational & professional opportunities. Follow her at www.amandatorreswrites.com
ALEX CHARALAMBIDES | Managing Director
Alex Charalambides is a 2011 Worcester Arts Council Fellowship Grant Recipient. He is a first generation American born son of Greek Refugees who fled Communist Dictatorship Romania. Raised in Worcester Massachusetts, he is a Boston College Graduate who began performing poetry in the fall of 2000. He’s the first poet to represent poetry slam teams from Worcester, Boston & Providence at the annual National Poetry Slam, ranking as high as 5th in the team competition (2003). Alex currently works as a teaching artist, speech & debate coach, performer and Managing Director for Mass LEAP, a 501(c)3 Sponsored Organization that coordinates the annual Louder than a Bomb Massachusetts Youth Poetry Slam Festival. This work was inspired and informed by his time as founder & director of Speakout! Poetry Collective, a group responsible for mentoring teen poets at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival, coaching & chaperoning Worcester Youth Poetry Slam Teams from 2004 to 2011. He’s appeared as a poetry mentor for the PBS kids series “Fetch,” fronted a musical fusion band called Skint, toured North America for 6 months in 2005/2006 in support of his album, “I am B.” He was an original cast member of the Cambridge Poetry Award Winning theater ensemble “Doc Brown’s Poetry Circus.” He’s been a featured artist on WBUR’s Radio OpenSource as well as IndieFeed Performance Poetry & SpokenHeard Podcasts. He continues to host, facilitate workshops, organize & perform at countless events from libraries to rock clubs throughout New England.
PORSHA OLAYIWOLA | Artistic Director
Porsha is a poet, lover hip-hop, feminist, womanist friend, performance artist and Dean of Enrichment at Codman Academy. A native of Chicago, Porsha moved to Boston in 2010 to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA member for the National Coalition for the Homeless. During her year of service, she started the Massachusetts’ Faces of Homelessness Speakers Bureau. Currently Porsha is nationally recognized Poetry Slam Artist and a MassLEAP spoken-word teaching artist, and she founded Codman's award-winning Slam Poetry team, including two Louder than a Bomb Championships. She recently competed in the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam and took first place and won the National Poetry Slam in 2015 with a team from the House Slam at Haley House in Dudley Square. She is also a member of Boston’s HBGC Women’s Council, helping to address issues surrounding queer women of color in the Boston area. Porsha earned her B.A. in African American Studies & Gender & Women Studies from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
Gladys Hidalgo| LTABMA Festival Director
Teresa is an alumni of Raw Art Works having participated in R2R Film School and Art in Words, she has now joined the staff as a co-leading teaching artist for the Speak Up program. Her poetry is rooted in her Latinx ancestry. She has performed at some amazing events such as World Aids Day Boston, The American Voice 2015, Wheaton College's iSpeak, Femme Nouveau Women's Empowerment and The Massachusetts Promise Fellowship and Northeastern University's MLK Day Event as well as co-hosted LTAB Crossing the Street Open Mic 2015. Teresa is currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Creative writing.
SLAMFIND | LEAP Videographer
Live poetry for living people. SlamFind is a mobile app that allows poetry fans to easily discover and connect with live poetry venues and individual poets all over the world. For more information, visit www.slamfind.com