Samara (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based activist, educator, facilitator, theater director, performer, and single mama to a new baby.
The Founder and Artistic Director of Truthworker Theatre Company, Gaev is a Senior Fellow at Center for Whole Communities. Her work has taken her to Zimbabwe, Senegal, Hawaii, Brazil, Peru, Cuba, Germany, Scotland, throughout the United States, and beyond. With 20 years of experience using performance as a tool for cross-cultural healing & social change, her work examines & challenges constructions of power, privilege, the prison industrial complex, & systems of oppression that not only excuse, but enable cycles of violence. Gaev is committed to reframing story through creative engagement that translates the most pressing issues of our time into stunning artistry, catalyzing her audiences to activate the transformation they wish to cultivate within themselves & their communities.
Gaev graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She completed advanced training in Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed from the Paul A. Kaplan Center for Educational Drama & received her Master’s Degree in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, with research and scholarship around trauma, advocacy, & witnessing. Her work as a performer, educator, & facilitator has afforded her opportunities to present at colleges, universities, & conferences including The United Nations, New York University, The Findhorn Foundation’s New Story Summit, Bioneers, Yale University, Vassar, & Oberlin College. Under her direction, Truthworker Theatre Company has written, devised, & self-produced three original hip-hop theatre productions through the lens of a dozen youth directly impacted by mass incarceration.