Story Collectors

Erasing the Distance is known for true-story documentary theatre performed by some of Chicago’s finest actors.  It all starts with the story, where real people share true story experiences with our team.

Heather Bodie

Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Theatre Arts and Music. She studied Improv and Musical Improv at The Second City Training Center. She is the Co-Founder and Associate Artistic Director of The Fine Print Theatre Company and has been a part of the development process of over 40 new plays in Chicago. She has been working with Erasing The Distance since November of 2013, first on the show Veterans’ Voices and since then, performing at a variety of schools and speaking engagements.

Jared Fernley

Jared has been an actor and artistic associate with ETD since 2010, after Brighid spied him playing a mean fiddle in The Grapes of Wrath. In addition to his work as a performer, Jared has served as a story collector and early deviser for Veteran’s Voices and Tell Me What You Remember. Jared has also worked as an ETD teaching artist and facilitator at the middle school and high school level.

Chicago credits include The Diary of Anne Frank (Writers Theatre), The Arsonists, Old Town (Strawdog Theatre Company), The Killing of Michael X (Jackalope Theatre Company), The Burnt Part Boys (Griffin Theatre), Richard II, As You Like It (Two Pence Shakespeare), Exit, Pursued by a Bear (Theater Seven), and FRAT (The New Colony). He earned his BA at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf.

“A special gift of ETD high school performances is the chance it provides to converse openly with young people about mental health and well being. We get to spark insightful, honest conversations that most students aren’t having at that age, and, hopefully, shape the way they will continue that conversation in the future, both with themselves and their peers.” 

Maura Kidwell

In March of 2009, Maura found an audition in Performink (remember Performink?) for a local touring production calledWhat’s Behind Our Eyes? and thus began her beloved kinship with Erasing the Distance. Maura has been fortunate enough to play so many roles in ETD shows over the years that she has lost count. As seems to be the case with many artists when they cross paths with ETD, Maura immediately knew she had fallen in with the right crowd for her goals as an artist. She’s forever grateful for that Performink post, and for the opportunity to spark dialogue and help change lives.

Maura has worked around town with various companies including Court, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Cole, The Gift, Eclipse and Redtwist. Maura is also a cast member on the Chicago-based comedy series “Sirens” on USA, as well as a guest star on “Chicago Fire” and “Mind Games”. More about Maura can be found at

“The most rewarding moments with ETD are when an audience member comes up to the actors after a show and says, ‘You could have been me up there. I thought I was the only one going through what I’m going through.’ It happens all of the time. We actors have learned to stick around a few minutes after shows, even after the audience has left, because you just never know.”

Allie Long

Allie has been working in Chicago as a professional actor for eight years.  In that time, she has worked locally with The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists,The Artistic Home, Griffin Theatre, Tympanic, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and Northlight Theatre among others, as well as appeared on TV in Chicago Fire and Betrayal and various commercials.  Her work has afforded her the opportunity to travel as well, to such places as Durango, CO, Lansing, MI, New York, NY, and a tour of The Bacchaein Greece.

“My most rewarding work to date has been the work I’ve done with Erasing the Distance.  The personal interactions I’ve had with individuals after both performing and collecting these stories have opened my eyes and my heart in a very empowering way.  I’m so proud of this work, and am excited to see this company grow and touch many more lives.”

Adam Poss

Adam has been a proud member of ETD since 2009. His most recent appearance with the company was in I’ve Never Told This To Anyone, part of the 2016 PopUp Series. Chicago credits include: 2666 (World Premiere), Teddy Ferrara (World Premiere), A Christmas Carol, The Magic Play and The Solid Sand Below (New Stages), and dark play or stories for boys (Latino Theatre Festival)-(Goodman Theatre); 1984, Animals Out of Paper– (Steppenwolf Theatre); Oedipus el Rey (Victory Gardens Theater); The Lake Effect (World Premiere), and Scorched (Silk Road Rising); The Beats (16th Street Theater). Regional credits: Macbeth (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), Lot’s Wife (World Premiere)-(Kansas City Rep.), The North Pool (World Premiere), The Lake Effect (TheatreWorks, Palo Alto), The History Boys (Studio Theatre, DC). Television: Shameless, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Crisis, The Chicago Code and The Mob Doctor. Film: The Middle Distance, The Drunk, The King of URLS and Speed Dating. He holds his BFA from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Jana Ross

Jana is a documentary theatre artist, arts administrator and poet. She is deeply grateful to have joined the Erasing The Distance team, and is excited to come to work each day and take part in both the artistic and administrative spheres of the organization.

She is drawn to perspectives that are underrepresented in mainstream media, with the goal of promoting dialogue across generational, cultural, racial, religious and socioeconomic lines. To that end, she has worked with Actors Theatre Workshop, Touchstone Theatre, Cornerstone Theater Company and American Theatre Company.

She has a soft spot for second-hand objects and everyday language. In her free time, she can be found thrifting, crafting, exercising, trying (burning) new recipes, and performing her narrative poetry around town!

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