Emjoy Gavino is an actor, casting director, teaching artist, and producer proud to call Chicago her home. The eldest child of Filipino immigrants, Emjoy grew up in the Pacific Northwest, falling in love with the Seattle theater scene.
In 2006, Emjoy made a leap of faith to move to Chicago where she eventually found her way onto its stages for productions including That’s Weird Grandma (Playmaker’s Laboratory), Wait Until Dark (Court Theatre), The Drunken City and You Got Older (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Kentucky (The Gift Theatre Company), Arabian Nights (Lookingglass Theatre), Hair (Paramount Theatre), Bull in a China Shop (About Face Theatre), Vietgone (Writers Theatre), Working (Broadway Playhouse), The Realish Housewives (Second City Theatricals), You on The Moors Now (The Hypocrites), and Do You Feel Anger (A Red Orchid Theatre), as well as the world premieres of Cooperstown (Theatre Seven), Wilson Wants it All (House Theatre of Chicago), A Very Neo-Futurist Christmas Carol (The Neo-Futurists), Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens Theatre), The Good Book (Court Theatre), and Act(s) of God (Lookingglass Theatre). Regional acting credits include The Violet Hour, Into the Woods (ReAct Theatre), A Christmas Carol (ACT), Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (Book-it Repertory), Baseball Saved Us (5Th Avenue Theatre), Searching 4 Y (Village Theatre), Iphigenia in Aulis (The Getty Villa/Court Theatre), and Cry it Out (Studio Theatre).
In 2015, Emjoy accepted the position of casting director at The Gift Theatre, where she is now an associate artistic director. In the same year she founded The Chicago Inclusion Project with a collective of theater artists and activists, dedicated to bringing together artists and audiences typically separated by ethnicity, gender identity, physical ability, and economic status. Through The Gift and Chicago Inclusion Project she has been fortunate to help design ensembles and launch programs that truly align with her mission—lifting up underrepresented communities, exploding stereotypes, and joyfully exploring what a character, story, and room could be.
Casting projects include The Pillowman, Kentucky, Wolf Play, Doubt, Cosmologies, Hang Man, Swell in the Ground, Pilgrims, Unseen, The Grapes of Wrath (The Gift Theatre); Men on Boats, Picnic, Welcome to Jesus, We’re Gonna Be Okay (American Theater Company); Rasca Cielos, Dandelions, and 2020 – A Going Away Party Play (Theatre on the Lake: In the Works).
The Chicago Inclusion Project received the Leppen Leadership Award (AboutFace Theatre), the Hallie Flanagan Award (Stage Left Theatre), and the Katheryn V Lamkey Spirit Award (National EEO). Emjoy received a 3Arts Make a Wave grant in 2017.
Profile image by: Joe Mazza, Brave Lux Photography
- "The Grapes of Wrath" Photo: Claire Demos
- "Kentucky" Photo: Claire Demos
- "Picnic" Photo: Michael Brosilow
- "You on the Moors Now" Photo: Evan Hanover
- "You Got Older" Photo: Michael Brosilow