Antonio David Lyons is the founder of We Are Here, a social sculpture project that seeks to foster an environment where the arts can impact social conditions, attitudes, perceptions and structures. The campaign was birthed in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2010. It utilizes discoursive play to engage men and boys in themes of gender violence, identity, relationships and HIV/AIDS. The goal of the campaign is to provide a nurturing environment where men and boys can discover, develop and share tools that will help grow themselves and their communities.
He holds an MA in Applied Theatre from the City University of New York (CUNY). His thesis project The WHY Factor was conducted in collaboration with CUNY/BMI (Black Male Initiative). The project provided concrete opportunities for participants to practice different ways of being successful while developing useful skills for navigating life. In addition to his studies Antonio continued to integrate his artistry with social activism while working at the Creative Arts Team (CAT), an educational theatre company that specializes in creating interactive learning experiences with youth and adult populations. The scope of his work within the organization has allowed him to devise and implement curriculum that addresses bullying, college preparedness and conflict. He was also instrumental in shaping Project CHANGE, a CAT program that trains undergraduate students in utilizing theatre based interventions, social media, community development and Evidenced Based Intervention (EBI) curricula to engage community around healthy sexual lifestyles.
He has been a Guest Lecturer at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), Wits University (Johannessburg), Columbia College (Los Angeles) and the Newtown Film and Video School (Johannesburg). He is also Chair of the newly formed Black Theatre Commons.
Workshops/Performances of We Are Here have been presented at:
- Women NOW 2016 Conference (Durban,SA)
- MPAACT Theatre (Chicago); dir. Daniel Bryant 2015
- CASS Commons (Detroit) 2015
- University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) 2015
- Soweto Theatre (performed by TX Theatre Productions) 2014
- The Midnight Projects at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2013
- The Performing the World Conference( New York);dir. Kelly Thomas 2012
- SEASONS: One Act Play Festival(ATH-New York) 2011
- The HUB Johannesburg 2011
- Space.com/Joburg Theatre (Johannesburg,SA) ;dir. Warona Seane 2010
- Tour - Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.(Fulbright awardee) 2009
- The MenEngage Africa Symposium; dir. Lindiwe Matshikiza 2009
Awards | Fellowships | Residencies
- Centre Stage Theatre - Crossing Rivers (Baltimore, MD) 2016
- Blue Mountain Center - Crossing Rivers (NY) 2016
- Oregon Shakespeare Festival Producing Fellowship 2013
- Fulbright Award - We are Here: Kwa Zulu Natal Tour (SA) 2009
- Fulbright Award – Beautiful Struggle: Commissioned by US Consulate (Johannesburg, SA) 2008