SAIPRO empowers unknown talented artists

SAIPRO has launched successful productions that connect with the audience and provide not only entertaining shows but life-changing experiences, said one of the founders.

By Araceli César

A new arts organization SAIPRO (Serving Artists in Process) founded in Pasadena empowers and nourishes unknown artists who have talent and passion through music, the visual, literary and performing arts.

Three women founded SAIPRO: Debra De Liso, Elizabeth Wu and Deborah Berman. They have different backgrounds but a common vision “It´s important for us that theater and arts are in a place where a possible change can happen, we want to create art with social consciousness and integrity.” said De Liso

De Liso has been a theater artist for over twenty-five years and has worked as an actress, choreographer/dancer, director, playwright, and teacher. She has also directed more than 300 solo performances at the USC’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts and is the Artistic Director of the SAIPRO. Wu is the executive director of the arts organization and has several years of experience in creating events and writing scripts for Kaiser Permanente. Berman is a concert pianist and has performed all over the world.

Debra De Liso.

With only two years of existence, SAIPRO has already launched successful productions, including Forbidden Rites, an original play performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival; Young Hearts Alone on Stage, a collection of original solo plays performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival; Prison is Where I Learned To Fly, the world premiere drama by new playwright Rochelle “Shelley” Duffy performed at the Pasadena Play House.

“Our productions connect with the audience and provide the community not only entertaining shows, but life-changing experiences” said De Liso.

In the play Forbidden Rites, serious social issues are discussed, including intergenerational sexual relationships, suicide, racism, and homophobia. They presented each of the topics in a scene and “then (we) asked the audience how they would have ended the scene. The interaction was really good” explained De Liso.

An example of empowerment and support of unknown talented artists is the play Prison is Where I Learned to Fly by Duffy.  “She came to my solo performance acting class at Throop Hall in Pasadena and asked if I take people that have no experience. She then presented her life’s work, a project she’d worked on for 10 years, about a part of her life and the relationship she had with one of her 16 siblings who was sexual abused by a member of the Catholic Church. Years later, he became addicted to drugs and was in prison for several years where she kept in touch with him until he died one week after he was released from prison. I realized that she was an incredible writer, and wanted to help Shelley acknowledge her courage and get the voice of the incarcerated out there.”

Elizabeth Wu.

“I believe there´s an artist in everyone” said De Liso “We need people who have talent and passion, and we’re looking for marketing and administrative interns and assistants to help in the promotion and infrastructure building of the organization” added Wu.

SAIPRO has several plans in mind and a big challenge of fundraising with which all their projects will be possible. One of the organization’s goals is to create a film company in the future.

There are three upcoming SAIPRO events scheduled for 2012: The Three Cuckolds, a play by Leon Katz; Sweet Spirits in Santa Fe, readings and pitch of a television series; and the Second Annual SAIPRO Benefit takes place in October, during which well-deserved artist will be honored.

De Liso advises the talented people who have a passion for performing arts that “if they don´t have the money to get into some great acting school, they should think about creating their own work through writing, and should also audition for theater in LA. There are a lot of theaters here, we have over 200 of them.”

Deborah Berman.

In regards to the Latino artist community, De Liso said that there are companies with focus on multicultural people such as “Nosotros”, “The bilingual foundation of the arts”, “The Latino Theater Company” and  “The classical theater”. “However, I don´t think that Latino actors should only try to be in theater companies that are just for Latinos. All of us have to work hard to break the stereotypes to be a truthful mirror of the diversity of Los Angeles” concluded De Liso.

To contact SAIPRO, call 323.972.9665 or 213.804.4496, or send an email to or go to




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