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Vali Forrister

Vali is the producing artistic director of the Actors Bridge Ensemble, which is co-founded with Bill Feehely in 1996. She has produced over 60 productions for the company, has acted over 20, directed more than a dozen, and authored four.

She created and serves as artistic director of Act Like A GRRRL, a year-round autobiographical writing and performance program for girls 12-18 to gain public voice by articulating their lived experience. She is a recipient of the Women Mentoring Women Award from Vanderbilt University and a finalist for the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund to Empower Women and Change the World.
She is a member of Actors Equity Association, and her work as an actor has been called “a tour-de-force,” and “seemingly effortless” by the Tennessean, “consistently excellent,” “major league” and “expert” by the Nashville Scene, and “a lesson on the acting craft without revealing that craft,” by stagecritic.com and "mesmerizing" by BroadwayWorld.

ORDINARY HEROES, the original play she wrote with jeff obafemi carr about Nashville's role  in the civil rights movement, received the 2008 Tennessee Historical Commissions Merit Award.
Vali holds a Master of Arts degree in Performance Studies. Her thesis work in the scripting and performance of intimate personal narratives as a means of personal and social change became the research basis for the highly-praised ACT LIKE A GRRRL program.

Vali serves on the steering committee of the Nashville Arts Coalition.  She is as adjunct faculty at Belmont and Lipscomb universities where she teaches the Meisner Technique. She recently adapted her very successful Act Like a GRRRL program into a college course at the Tennessee Prison for Women through the Lipscomb Initiative for Education.

She is often a featured speaker for organizations that work to end violence against women. She has presented at the National Organization of Victim’s Advocates national conference, the Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence state conference, Nashville Voices for Victims Crime Victims Rights Week Ceremony and has served as keynote speaker at Take Back the Night ceremonies at Vanderbilt and Tennessee Technological University.