Elise Bryant launched her labor arts career as the artistic director of the University of Michigan’s labor theater project, Workers’ Lives/Workers’ Stories in 1982. She joined the National Writers Union and began her screenwriting career with a script for the documentary, Porgy and Bess: an American Voice which aired on PBS. In 1998 Elise made her Washington, DC stage debut in Theatre J’s production of Goodnight Irene and founded the DC Labor Chorus.
She directed two productions of the labor jazz opera, Forgotten: the Murder at the Ford Rouge Plant, in Detroit and in the Washington, DC area (see www.forgottenshow.net). Most recently she directed the labor jazz opera Love Songs From the Liberation Wars: the 1940s Tobacco Workers Struggle.
After working 35 years as a labor educator, Elise retired from her professorship at the National Labor College to start her own consulting service, the E.L.I.S.E. Consortium. Her areas of expertise include Communication Skills, Effective Committee Training, Leadership Training, Teaching Techniques, Labor History and Culture, Diversity Training, Organization Development and “Arts as a Tool for Organizing”.
Elise is a lifetime member of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World), a member of the AFM Local 1000 as well as CWA/Newspaper Guild Local 32035. In 2012 she was given the Lifetime Achievement award from the international organization, United Association of Labor Educators. In 2017 she was elected President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW).