Teaching Artist, John A. Thomas, brings his experience as an singer/composer, actor, director and teacher to the Autism Unites program.
Born, and raised, in the Bay Area, John began his teaching artist status as one of many artists involved in the first West coast version of a program connected with Lincoln Center in New York.
Through the Julia Morgan Center, in Berkeley, CA, John learned to design and implement his own curriculum, in drama and music, for classrooms and kids ranging K-12 grades in San Francisco and Bay Area schools.
He also worked as a teaching artist for the California Shakespeare Company and for the playwriting program in juvenile detention promoted by the Berkeley Repertory Theater.
As an actor John worked with the Oakland Ensemble Theater (where he had the opportunity to work with Maya Angelou) for three seasons. He spent five seasons with the Shotgun Players, where he composed the music for their production of Brecht’s Mother Courage, as well as played two roles in that production, played eight roles for their production of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle and was Music Director for their first musical production of Cabaret!
With two other actors, John was a producer and director, for six years, for Actors Reading Writers a monthly venue where local actors were hired to read stories to the public for free at the Berkeley City Club. After ten years this program is still going strong!
Along with being a choral director, music director, composer and private vocal instructor, John spent the rest of his time pursuing a singing career.
With his wife, Alicia Thomas, holding up the business end John arranged and performed in several concerts, recorded two CDs, Here’s One and Living Room, as well as spending two years as vocalist for John Patitucci, the bass player for the Wayne Shorter Quartet. In the coming years, John hopes to be a valuable resource as a teaching artist for the Autism Unites program