Meet Dr. Ada Cheng

Professor-turned-storyteller, solo performer, and storytelling show producer

Dr. Ada Cheng will lead a compelling workshop designed to teach how to tell stories to connect with people emotionally, to convey meanings with urgency, and to exert impact in personal and public speaking situations through storytelling.

Ada is a professor-turned-storyteller, solo performer, and storytelling show producer. She was a tenured professor in sociology at DePaul University for 15 years from 2001 to 2016 when she resigned to pursue storytelling and performance. During her tenure at DePaul, she taught subjects on gender, sex, sexuality, masculinity and immigration. 

She debuted her first solo show, Not Quite: Asian American by Law, Asian Woman by Desire, in 2017 and has since performed it at National Storytelling Conference (Kansas City, MO), Capital Fringe Festival (Washington D.C.), Minnesota Fringe Festival (Minneapolis, MN), Boulder Fringe Festival (Boulder, CO), and Kum & Go Theater (Des Moines, IA). She debuted her second solo show, Breaking Rules, Broken Hearts: Loving across Borders in January 2018 and has since performed it at The Exit Theatre in San Francisco, Theatre Row with the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York, and Theatre 68 with Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival in LA. She has been featured at storytelling shows and has brought her solo performances to universities all over the country. 

Ada is the producer and the host of four storytelling shows, including Pour One Out: A Monthly Storytelling Series, Am I Man Enough?, Talk Stories: An Asian American/Asian Diaspora Storytelling Show, and Speaking Truths Series. She creates platforms for people to tell difficult and vulnerable stories as well as spaces for people and communities who may not have opportunities otherwise. Because of her work in storytelling, she was recently featured in New City’s “Lit 50: Who Really Books In Chicago.”

Ada is a speaker for 2019-2020 Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau. She is also an adjunct faculty at Dominican University and a teaching artist with Changing Worlds. She recently assumed the position as the Education and Outreach Specialist with Women’s Leadership and Resource Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, doing training on issues related to gender-based violence. Her interests span multiple fields, including academia, storytelling/performance art, and advocacy.

Her motto: Make your life the best story you tell.

Learn how to exert impact in personal and public speaking situations through storytelling.


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