Meet LA FPI’s Persons of Interest – voices at the forefront of the movement, and artists working behind the scenes:
Tiffany Antone, Erica Bennett, Nancy Beverly, Jennifer Bobiwash, Debbie Bolsky, Andie Bottrell, Robin Byrd, Korama Danquah, Kitty Felde, Laura Ferejohn, Diane Grant, Cindy Marie Jenkins, Janice Kennedy, Dana Leigh Lyman, Ella Martin, Sue May, Alyson Mead, Katherine Murphy, Anna Nicholas, Analyn Revilla, Laura Annawyn Shamas, Madhuri Shekar, Kimberly Shelby-Szyszko, Constance Strickland, Tanyah Tavorn, Cynthia Wands, Jennie Webb, Laurel Moje Wetzork, Gina Young
LA FPI’s Persons of Interest:
Tiffany is proud to have received her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA’s prestigious school of Theater, Film, and Television, where she also completed her BA in Theater. She also holds her A.A in acting from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Tiffany was a 2008 Hawthornden Fellow, which included a writing residency in Scotland, and a 2009 Sherwood Award Finalist with Center Theatre Group. Tiffany has received the Tim Robbins Award for plays of social importance, James Pendelton Foundation Prize, Hal Kanter Award in Comedy Writing, Dini Ostrov Stage Spirit Award in Playwriting, the Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme Scholarship, and the Florence Theil Herrscher Award.
Her plays have been read and/or performed in Los Angeles, New York, D.C. and Minneapolis. Her plays Twigs and Bone and Ana and the Closet were both Jerome Finalists and O’Neil semi-finalists for 2009 and 2010. Ana and the Closet was also presented at The Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival in 2009. Her play In the Company of Jane Doe was a Princess Grace semi-finalist in 2006, a winner of the New Plays on Campus series with The Playwrights’ Center, and winner of the 2008 New Works for Young Women contest with the University of Tulsa. In the Company of Jane Doe premiered in January 2010 at The Powerhouse Theatre (LA Theatre Ensemble). Tiffany’s play The Good Book was a winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway play festival and is available through Samuel French publishing.
Other plays include The Low Tide Gang, Ham Brown’s House (Princess Grace Semi-Finalist, 2008), Little Phoenix, Stalled, My Pet George, and From the Rubble. Screenplays include The Sisters Roberts and A Disappearing Woman (Golden Brad Finalist 2009).
Tiffany is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and an LA FPI Graphics Consultant
Erica Bennett is a playwright and tenured librarian at Fullerton College, where, as Systems Librarian, her primary responsibility is to coordinate the use of technology in the library.
Her short documentary Mendez v. Westminster: Families for Equality has aired on KOCE-TV (PBS) since October 2010. It is centered about her play El Primer Dia de Clases. Her plays Freed and Jolly and Bean were respectively presented in staged readings at the Laguna Beach New Play Festival and Newport Theatre Arts Center in 2009.
In November 2011, after a two-year development process, her play Water Closet was read by the White Horse Theater Company in New York City at the Dramatists Guild of America. The play was workshopped and read by the Fullerton College Playwrights Festival in January 2012. In May 2012, it was selected by the Orange County Playwrights Alliance “OCPA Studios” for a reading at the Hunger Artists Theatre, which she directed.
Her 10-minute play, A Waffle Doesn’t Cure Insomnia, was selected for publication in the Best American Short Plays 2011-2012. A staged reading was directed by Bennett and presented by OCPA’s Discoveries series in December 2012 at the Empire Theatre, home of Theatre Out. The Fullerton College Playwright’s Festival is producing her 10-minute play, Don’t Ever Love Me, as part of its 10 Cent Story Project in January 2013.
Bennett received her B.A. in Theater Arts from California State University, Fullerton, where she studied acting with Donn Finn and Jose Quintero. Upon graduation she moved to Los Angeles where she studied acting with Stella Adler and Arthur Mendoza. She was featured in Benicio Del Toro’s short film Submission. She worked for nearly ten years in dramatic television production on such shows as The Young Riders, Gabriel’s Fire, Under Suspicion and The Big Easy, as a writer’s and development assistant.
Bennett holds a Master of Library & Information Science from UCLA, and is a member of the Society of California Archivists, the Dramatists Guild of America and the Orange County Playwrights Alliance.
Erica is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Nancy Beverly’s most recent theatrical adventure is her rollicking stage comedy Community, which she developed at her writers’ and actors’ group Fierce Backbone. Community takes place at a community theatre, where, on opening night, everything that can go wrong, does. It’s slated for a full production at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills in 2014.
Nancy is currently putting together a film production of her screenplay Shelby’s Vacation which was handpicked for a staged reading in July 2011 in Randolph, Vermont, under the auspices of Chicago’s Pride Films and Plays – and the same script made the semi-finals for the Chicago readings.
In 2010 her one-act The Happy Wanderer was part of “Shorts and Briefs,” a sold-out afternoon of play readings that were all written and directed by women. The venture grew out of a discussion she, Jan O’Connor and Mary Casey had earlier in the year about the sorry state of women getting their plays produced. They decided to do something about it.
“Shorts and Briefs” was produced under the banner of The L.A. Women’s Theatre Project. Additionally, Nancy’s full-length play Handcrafted Healing was featured in L.A.W.T.P.’s dynamic weekend of play readings in October 2009 – again, all written and directed by women.
In August 2007 in conjunction with Playwrights 6, Nancy produced her drama Godislav at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica for a month-long run. Additionally, Godislav had the honor of being chosen in 2006 to be part of the Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region in Denver.
Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Nancy worked in the Lit Dept. at Actors Theatre of Louisville and had several short plays produced in ATL’s twice-yearly short play showcase. Attack of the Moral Fuzzies, one of those 10-minute comedies, was published in an ATL anthology of short works and has been performed several times a year for 25 years by theatres all around the U.S. and Canada.
Nancy has also written for the Showtime series Women, knocked out 70 articles for the how-to website ehow.com, conducted radio interviews for KPFK’s weekly show IMRU, and gotten up and done performance art under the direction of Danielle Brazell, the former Artistic Director of the performance space Highways in Santa Monica. She’s also worked in network television as an executive producer’s assistant on and pitched stories to such hit shows as Desperate Housewives and Ghost Whisperer.
Nancy is an active Instigator and was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Jennifer Bobiwash is a First Nation’s Actress, Writer and Accidental Producer. She has worked in most all facets of entertainment and may have finally settled into these. After years of toiling and agonizing, she has finally brought her solo-show “There is no “I” in NDN” out of hiding.
Her works concentrate on the idea of identity in today’s society. Armed with a 3″ binder of writing that dates back to her teen years, Jennifer is always searching for new ways to express her stories.
Writing credits include the play “There is no “I” in NDN, that is currently being workshopped at Native Voices at the Autry. She is also an Artist in Residence at Thurgood Marshall College at UC San Diego for the 2014-2015 season. This play has been years in the making and spawned Jennifer’s creation of her YouTube channel Welcome to the Tipi where she and her co-host Geraldine Chases-her-Tail attempt to figure out how to be NDN.
She is currently working in online content helping create various Webseries as well as her own, currently titled “Collide”. Having always loved technology, she jumped at the chance to make her own content in the infancy of YouTube. Becoming an accidental producer, she has produced over 300 episodes of online content. She is also crazy about Social Media and loves to teach people how to use it effectively.
Jennifer is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Debbie Bolsky is a playwright/screenwriter who has written over ten stage plays and screenplays. Her play Biking With Andrew Scott enjoyed a successful run in Los Angeles in 2008.
She is currently immersed in three projects: the romantic comedy play, Ashes to Ashes; and two screenplays, The Umpire Has No Balls, a story that delves into one of her greatest passions – baseball; and a co-writer on You People a drama currently in development.
Debbie’s experience is multi-faceted, having worked as Associate Producer on Laurel Wetzork’s independent film, Rogues, and at Columbia Pictures (Sony Picture Entertainment) in motion picture media advertising and marketing. At Columbia Pictures for over 16 years and through nine regime changes, Debbie successfully planned and implemented media strategies for over 400 films. You may read more about Debbie at www.dbolskywriter.com.
Debbie is an LA FPI Special Agent
Andie Bottrell is a published writer whose work can be read on hundreds of medical sites all over the Internet. Her poetry and short stories can be read in various publications both online and in print including the Blue Collar Review, Finding the Beat and UH Magazine, where her work has been translated into Italian. Andie’s screenplay Do What You Do won 3rd place in the Comedy Division of the 2011 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition and was an official finalist in the Hollywood Screenplay Competition and a top finalist in the Script Showcase. Andie has written, directed, edited and acted in several short films including the Creative Arts Film Festival and American Academy of Dramatic Arts Alumni Film Festival selected short film Who is the Man in Black? She has completed three full length plays Mad or Married, A Surrogate Life, and (I still want) A Little More. Her one-act Fear premiered at The Vagrancy’s Bacchanalia this past year. Andie is also an actress, director, editor, photographer, artist and musician. Learn more about her work at http://www.andiebottrell.com.
Andie is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Robin Byrd is an Indiana born playwright and poet residing in Los Angeles. Growing up in Indianapolis (sometimes referred to as the northernmost southern city), attributes to the playwright’s affinity toward southern themes and language in some of her pieces.
Her plays which include The Grass Widow’s Son, Tennessee Songbird (the place where the river bends), The Book of Years, Dream Catcher, The Day of Small Things, For This Reason, In Times Like These (Is He the One?), and, Me, My Fiddle, An’ Momma have been read and produced in Los Angeles as well as read in Nebraska, Maine, North Carolina, and recently in Washington, D.C. Robin has performed Me, My Fiddle, An’ Momma in Los Angeles; the piece was also read at the 1st Annual SWAN Day event in Portland, Maine in March of 2008. Her plays Tennessee Songbird and Dream Catcher have won “Best Concurrent Play Lab Script at the 2008 Great Plains Theatre Conference” and been selected as a semi-finalist for the 2008 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, respectively. Her poetry has been read in venues in Los Angeles and Indiana and has been published in two International Library of Poetry books.
The playwright is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., the Theatre Communications Group, the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Native Women Writers (at the Autry), and the American Film Institute from which she holds a certificate in screenwriting. For more information on Robin please visit her website at www.ladybyrdcreations.com.
Robin is the LA FPI Blog Editor and also a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Korama Danquah is a writer and actor with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts from Brown University. She has performed in (and written) experimental and devised work as well as more classical and traditional pieces. Her favorite theatrical experiences have been writing and performing her solo show Mixtape for New Year’s Eve (or Secretly a Love Story) and developing her performance piece on body image, sexuality, and intimacy, Body the Limits. Korama is a member of the collaborative writing group Fell Swoop Playwrights and is thrilled to be a part of the Los Angeles theatre scene. She works on new plays every(ish) day; you can check out her personal blog and more info at www.koramadanquah.com
Korama is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
By day, she’s a public radio reporter covering Capitol Hill. But in her real life, Kitty Felde is an award-winning playwright.
Felde’s written everything from a courtroom drama about the Bosnian war (A PATCH OF EARTH, winner of the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition) to a one woman show about Alice Roosevelt Longworth (ALICE, winner of the Open Book/Fireside Theatre Playwriting Competition) to an adaptation of a trio of short stories by Nikolai Gogol (GOGOL PROJECT, winner of the 2009 LA Drama Critics Circle Award.)
Her one-act TOP OF THE HOUR has been chosen for the Provincetown Theater’s Fall Festival for a reading and will premiere in New York City in December.
She’s a co-founder of Theatre of Note, a Helen Hayes judge in Washington, DC, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, ALAP, and FPI.
Kitty is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Laura Ferejohn wrote her first play at 6, adapting the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale to reflect her life and the mysterious new neighbors in a quiet, perhaps too quiet, suburb of Los Angeles. At 12, she wrote her first pilot for a comedy-western entitled Chaos in Harmony.
She has spent the past several years writing for nonprofit organizations as well as freelancing for various groups and companies. She is and always has been a writer. Words have always been the bane and balm of her existence.
Laura is the LA FPI Resources Editor
Diane Grant is an award winning playwright and screenwriter, whose film Too Much Oregano won the Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize.
She was a co-founder of Redlight Theatre, the first professional women’s theatre in Canada. Her plays, which have been produced and published in the US and Canada, include Nellie! How The Women Won The Vote, Sunday Dinner, Sex and Violence, The Piaggi Suite, Has Anybody Here Seen Roy?, Rondo a la Condo, A Dog’s Life; and The Last Of The Daytons, a semi-finalist for the 2007 National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center.
Will To Win, a documentary on the Southern California Shakespeare Festival, written by Ms. Grant, and produced by filmmaker Kerry Feltham, previewed in Los Angeles and the Folger Shakespeare Library in 2007 and is recommended by the Royal Shakespeare Company of London.
Ms. Grant has performed at the Stratford Festival and the National Arts Centre of Canada. She was Literary Manager of the Los Angeles Write Act Repertory Company, a mentor for the young playwrights’ group HOLA, and a member of Los Angeles’ Wordsmiths. She’s a member of the Dramatists Guild, The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the International Center for Women Playwrights, and is Vice-Chair of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.
Diane is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
CINDY MARIE JENKINS is a Storyteller & Consultant based in Los Angeles. Cindy is now exploring interactive street theatre to engage and activate her community. She believes in working within the extremes of social media and hand-to-hand guerrilla marketing for audience development & outreach.
PRIVATE CLIENTS include: The Help Group, Santa Monica Rep, Beans Boutique, Consultant for Eric Garcetti, President of the Los Angeles City Council, & other small businesses, nonprofits, individuals looking to make a career shift, etc.
TEACHING/COACHING: Guest Responder for Kennedy Center College Festival, Cold Reading Workshops for SAG Conservatory at AFI, Co-teacher of Connect the Arts, a Social Media & Marketing Seminar, Academy Teaching Associate and Artistic Associate for The Antaeus Company in North Hollywood; Director of Education for Enrichment Works (teaching writing & theater workshops for young people as well as Professional Development sessions for LAUSD Teachers, writing study guides according to VAPA (Visual and Performing Arts Standards); Mentor/Director for Virginia Avenue Project, Program Director & Writing/Theater Instructor for Safe Moves: DUI Prevention Theater Program and CTG‘s Speak To Me Program. RECRUITING experience upon request.
Art installations/interactions have been shown at Summer Nights on the Boulevard, The Barnsdall Gallery, The Courtyard Gallery, the Silver Lake Jubilee and the Children’s Festival of the Arts in Hollywood.
Her adaptation of VOICES FROM CHORNOBYL has been produced in different venues around Los Angeles since 2006 to build awareness and raise money for the residents and children of Chernobyl. Awareness Events at www.voicesfromchornobyl.com . Cindy regularly contributes to LA Stage Alliance, Atwater Village Now, The Inspired Classroom, Bitter Lemons & LA FPI
Cindy Marie acts as an LA FPI Online Outreach Consultant and was a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Janice Kennedy is a published and produced playwright whose work has been seen in London, New York, Chicago and Seattle as well as other venues. Among the recognition she has received is a nomination for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for women playwrights in the U.S. and Great Britain for her play about the Hatfield-McCoy Feud, The Last Hanging in Pike County. In 2007, Janice won the “Spirit of Moondance” award at the Moondance International Film Festival in the playwriting category for her one-woman drama about Mary Shelley, Shadows Round the Moon.
Janice is also an award-winning screenwriter. Her script for the short film, Man.Woman.Blackbird. (based on her play, The Dark),won “Best Screenplay” at the 2009 Fifteen Minutes of Fame Festival of Shorts in competition with films from around the world. Janice has also won a “Best Screenplay” award from the Dixie Film Festival for a comedy feature, Martial Artiste, co-written with Susan diRende. Janice’s television writing awards include “Best TV Pilot” from the 2009 Cinema City International Film Festival for CROSSROADS and she won the 2010 WILDsound Television and Film Writing Competition in Toronto for her HOUSE spec script, House’s Mouse.
Janice moved to Los Angeles a few years ago from Seattle, where she had co-founded the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. An active member of Women in Film, Janice is the organizational liaison for the Broad Humor Film Festival, an annual event in Venice Beach that screens comedies written and directed by women.
Janice is an LA FPI Special Agent
Dana Leigh Lyman is a Playwright, Stage Producer, Director and all around Arts Supporter born, raised and living in Los Angeles, CA. She started writing short stories at a young age and with a lot of encouragement from her family and teachers, went on to study English Lit/Creative Writing with Short Stories as her focus. In college, she spent her free hours helping out the Theatre Department with casting, dramaturgy and Shakespeare dialogue work. Two years ago, she was invited to fill a spot in a 24 hour theatre project as a playwright and loved the experience of seeing her writing brought to life by a wonderful cast and director. She has participated and written twice for these events and had a monologue “Do they count? How do I count them?” featured in Theatre Unleashed’s 25 Plays Per Hour at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2013 and her short play Sustenance was created as part of the Raze the Space Readings at Samuel French Bookstore in Hollywood in 2014.
After previously working as Director of Development for Theatre Unleashed and as a producing exec, she broke out on her own to do project to project work with other companies. For the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2013, in addition to writing and producing for Theatre Unleashed, she also worked as a Marketing Producer for Village Idiom’s production of [title of show]. That fall, she had the honor of working with Director Scott Marden as Assistant Director for Theatre Unleashed’s production of Trust. In 2014, she worked as a producer with Marden again for the world premiere Riot Grrrl Saves the World by Louisa Hill at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2014. In 2014, she also assistant directed and directed short pieces for Fresh Produce’d.
She has served as social media manager for organizations and stage productions as well as helping out with supplemental promotional material and events. She is also a grant writer and in addition to her work with Theatre Unleashed and a number of individual artists and organizations, she also worked with and helped form a documentary production company called Sueno Documentary Films.
In addition to writing and working on her first full length play, she is actively working as a freelance producer, director and dramaturge and is eager to connect and collaborate with as much of the LA Theatre Community as she possibly can.
Dana is part of the LA FPI Social Media Team (Twitter)
Ella Martin is a writer, director, and actor. Ella attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she was named a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar and focused in acting, directing, and theatre history, earning a B.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Theatre Mab, a collective of risk-taking L.A. theatre artists conducting creative experiments & provoking audiences of all backgrounds.
She has directed for the Rubicon International Theatre Festival, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, Santa Monica College Opera Workshop, LA Women’s Theatre Project, Theater Charity, and Theatre Mab, and assistant directed for The Road Theatre, LA Theatre Ensemble Scriptyard, Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, and LA County High School for the Arts.
She has written plays that have been developed or performed at the Rubicon International Theatre Festival, the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, Theater Charity, and PianoFight LA.
Ella is an active member of 12on12off, a non-profit organization striving to regulate workers’ hours to create a safer, healthier working environment for professionals in the film industry.
To see some of her work as an actor, click here.
Ella is an active Instigator and was the LA FPI Study Director
Sue May is an multi award-winning independent filmmaker, fine art photographer and writer (Screenwriter/Playwright/Poet). She holds a B.F.A. in Sculpture, and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from USC. Sue formed My Dog Spot Productions, an independent documentary production house addressing universal social themes focusing on the marginalized and underrepresented, women in society, spirituality, and the Arts.
The primary reason I choose to communicate through dialogue/film/visual art/imagery is to encourage a positive transformation within society, the kind of communication that displaces the notions of ignorance, fear, prejudice, hatred, and inequality. I believe that all beings ultimately seek happiness and when we illuminate each others’ minds by demonstrating our similarities – verses stressing our differences – the consequences can only be positive. ~ Sue May
Sue produces the LA FPI Videos and “Persons of Interest” Video Blogs.
Alyson Mead’s fiction, essays and articles have appeared in over thirty publications, and she has received the Columbine Award for Screenwriting, the Roy W. Dean Filmmaking Grant, and awards from Writer’s Digest, Indie Excellence, Writer’s Block, and USA Book News.
Her book Searching for Sassy: An L.A. Phone Psychic’s Tales of Life, Lust & Love won Hay House’s Book-to-Screen Pitchfest, and resulted in a deal with the producers of USA Network’s PSYCH to develop the book for television. She’s produced a documentary on mandated medical care featuring Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon, and a feature film starring Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis.
Her plays have been staged at Off-Off Broadway and regional theaters around the country, including La MaMa, St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, 8BC, Venus Theatre, the 9th Women Playwrights International Conference in Sweden, & Limelight, among others. Her newest play, The Other F Word, enjoyed a successful run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and was extended at the Lounge Theatre. She’s a founding member of Crooked Heart Theater, a writer-driven company producing new American plays in Los Angeles.
Alyson produces the LA FPI Podcasts, “What She Said”
Katherine Murphy is a playwright, director and dramaturg. In the summer of 2012, her sideways retelling of the Oresteia from the women’s point of view, To Hades and Back (Again), premiered at Hunger Artists Theatre Company. Also that summer, Katherine’s Word of the Day was presented at the 20th Anniversary Last Frontier Theatre Conference and month-long artist residency at The Studio at Key West. In Key West, she began the work of turning her play Box Store Cowboys into the musical Weathered.
Produced by Bare Bones Theatre Company and First Seen at The Next Stage in San Francisco, Critics’ Choice Greater America premiered in 2002. Reviewer Anna Mantzaris, SF Gate, noted “Murphy’s script is at its best when the narrator steps out of character and spins metaphoric observations based on park rides that, at times, are sheer poetry.”
In the interim, she has had numerous readings in Los Angeles and San Francisco. As co-artistic director of First Seen in San Francisco and exAngelus in Los Angeles, she produced several readings, workshops, and full productions.
Other past theatrical endeavours have in included literary committee member (Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Magic Theatre), director (over a dozen plays and many more readings) and an assistant director (Guthrie Theatre, Pacific Shakespeare Company and Somar), dramaturg for several original plays.
She has studied theatre at San Francisco State University (MA), U.C., Irvine, (BA), The Siti Company (Suzuki/Viewpoints), and The Train Station (Suzuki/Viewpoints, Bio-Mechanics), and improvisation with a multitude of teachers and schools including Second City, Upright Citizens Brigade, Bay Area Theatresports, Impro, Keith Johnstone, and Jim Cranna.
Katherine is part of the LA FPI Communications Team
ANNA NICHOLAS is a writer, actor and director whose career spans 30 years and is comprised of work for stage, film, television and individual consumption.
Produced plays include “Our Dark Connection,” “The Elegant Dinner,” “Searching for Mary Jane,” commissioned for THEATRE IN THE DARK, The Odyssey Theatre, LA, nominated for LA Weekly Award; LU/LOU (Dorothy Lyman), THE BEAVER SUITE (Friends and Artists Theatre and Metropolitan Stage NYC) and INCUNABULA, performed for radio by LA Theatre Works, available on Audible. Her plays have been included in reading series at Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Women’s Theatre Project, Ft. Lauderdale, FL (2014) and Rogue Machine Theatre, LA. Her farce, VILLA THRILLA, will have its world premier at the Atwater Village Theatre in the Fall of 2014.
She wrote, produced and directed the prize-winning film, UNIVERS’L (starring Tony Todd), a multilingual mockumentary about the LA riots of 1992, rebroadcast on PBS; Her short film, THE BIG BOWLING BALL, with James Remar, was nominated for best live action short.
Nicholas is the author of THE MUFFIA, the first of a “chick lit” series of novels published by Water Street Press/Bournos.com and HOMEGROWN: THE TERROR WITHIN (written as Cialan Haasnic). She has contributed columns for Vine Times and Touring & Tasting Magazines, as well as articles for the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of the Horse and others. Her first book of non-fiction, ROYAL MACK’S TEENY TINY WINE GUIDE (2005), was reissued in 2012, and an essay, “On Wine and Men,” appears in Penguin Books’ IN MY MOTHER’S KITCHEN. She blogs at www.themuffia.us
As an actress, Nicholas was a member of THEATRE IN THE DARK at the Odyssey Theatre, Los Angeles (nominated for LA Weekly Award 2013 for Best Ensemble). Other favorite roles include Lane in Sarah Ruhl’s THE CLEAN HOUSE (also at The Odyssey), Alice in A.R. Gurney’s POST MORTEM, Kate in Harold Pinter’s OLD TIMES (Ensemble Theatre), Shakespeare in Snoo Wilson’s MORE LIGHT and Eva in Alan Ayckbourn’s ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR. Films include: FINAL ANALYSIS, COTTON CLUB, BLOODSTONE and FUNNY ABOUT LOVE. She’s been on TV as Sue Ellen’s secretary on DALLAS, Mike Hammer’s sidekick, and Mary Tyler Moore’s foil.
She has taught writing at the University of Oregon, and has been involved with the Ojai Playwrights Conference, both as dramaturg and Managing Director. She is a member of the Playwrights Unit of Ensemble Studio Theatre LA and the Dramatists Guild of America. More info at: annanicholas.com and annroyalnicholas.com.
Anna is part of the LA FPI Social Media Team (Facebook)
Analyn is a new playwright, and she is currently working on her first play, “Original Sin”. This play has been in the works for two years, though it had its first public reading in April 2010. Like “Alice” in Lewis Carroll book, she gets deeper into the rabbit hole of the story and emerges from the burrows with a wealth of subtexts about her humanity and the characters in her story. Analyn imagines a life of living fully in the theater, but for now she supports her imagined life with a career in Information Technology. She believes our humanity lives in our imagined life and contributes by actively supporting LAFPI and in writing, imagining and writing some more.
Analyn is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Laura Annawyn Shamas, Ph.D., is a writer and mythologist.
More info: laurashamas.com.
Laura co-founded LA FPI
Madhuri Shekar is a playwright based in Los Angeles, born in the Bay Area, and brought up in Chennai, India. 2014 saw the world premiere of two of her plays – In Love and Warcraft(Alliance Theatre, Atlanta) and A Nice Indian Boy(East West Players, Los Angeles.)
She was the 2013/14 winner of the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award and an alumnus of the 2013/14 Center Theatre Group Writers’ Workshop. She was a finalist for the 2013 Princess Grace Award for Playwriting, and the 2013 Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights Center. Her plays have been showcased or developed at the Kennedy Center, the Alliance Theatre, the Old Globe, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC.
Madhuri is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Kimberly is a writer for the stage and screen whose work has been produced, presented and developed at theatres and cultural centers throughout New York and California, among them LaMaMa, Hunter College, Irondale Theatre Ensemble, International Theatre Festival Berlin, Xoregos Performing Company, Manhattan Repertory, Red Thread Theatre, Left Hip Productions, Metropolitan Playhouse, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Kimberly mentors and teaches creative writing and theatre for various organizations, including the Virginia Avenue Project, and serves as Literary Manager for the new play development program, Seedlings, at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. She also works as a dramaturg and script consultant for a number of theatre and film production companies, festivals and conferences, including Young Playwrights Inc. and Pride Films and Plays.
Kimberly has produced work for Manhattan Theatre Source’s Estrogenius Festival and served as Filmmaker-in-Residence for Girl Be Heard, née Project Girl Performance Collective. As a performer, Kimberly has voiced commercials and radio shows, live-modeled for sculptors, painters and installation artists, and been featured in television and film, as well as in theatre productions. She was a regular writer/performer at Brooklyn’s Write Night cabaret series, in Fort Greene.
Kimberly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing at Hofstra University and is a member of the Antaeus Playwrights Lab and Fell Swoop Playwrights, in Los Angeles. Her prose, poetry, and articles on education, health, and the arts have been published in anthologies and periodicals, online and in print. Her work has been recognized with a Gold Award from Parenting Publications of America.
Kimberly is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Constance Strickland started creating dance/theatre pieces when she was a young girl at the neighborhood Boys & Girls Club and has been on a theatrical journey ever since. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before transferring to Los Angeles City College Theatre Academy where she trained in Suzuki and Viewpoints, while simultaneously discovering Anne Teresa & Lynn Nottage in theatre school. Inspired, Constance always choreographs dance and theatre pieces using the body as a way into the movement, using silence and sound as a vehicle to explore what it means to be human. Constance & Memory began Theatre Roscius as a place to create experimental works that focused on relevant social issues facing women. Constance was seen in Dara Friedman’s RITE & Play presented recently at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York, Migros Museum in Switzerland, the Hammer Museum and the Kayne Griffin Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles. Constance’s original Theatre Roscius works HerSheMe & Chitlin Blues: Dancing in the Grey both premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival and Constance’s current Theatre Roscius film projects include producing and starring in the short film Black Like Her & Dear Nina in collaboration with Sunday Kinfolk. She hopes to continue to collaborate with a wide variety of artist from various disciplines, to dig deep & explore the human psyche.
Constance heads LA FPI Fringe Femmes Outreach
Tanyah Tavorn is a fiber, mixed media and theatre artist, with a BA in Art and Theatre from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She participated in shows for Hawaii Craftsmen, UH Art Gallery, Trash2Fashion and Pacific Arts League. For theatres including UHM Kennedy & Earle Ernst Theatres, Kipuka Theater, Soho Think Tank/Ohio Theatre and Diamond Head Theatre she has held positions including designer, graphic artist, stage manager, running crew and worked in set construction.
A member of the Hawaii Arts Alliance, she has been a designer for organizations including Earth Celebrations, Ka Leo O Hawaii and the UMH Art Department, and provided graphic design as a board member for UMH Late Night Theatre. She has also worked at events for Heritage Museum, Life Foundation and Mark’s Garage/The ARTS at Mark’s.
She currently serves on the board of non-profit arts organization Hawaii Craftsmen, promoting and staffing events for Hawaii Fashion Month and the Honolulu Museum of Art, and is and a creative collaborator with Kipuka Theater and LA FPI.
Tanyah is part of the LA FPI Communications Team
I am looking to create language based plays which explore the mystic and historic elements of our consciousness.
I worked for many years as a stage actress in San Francisco, Boston and Los Angeles, and had the opportunity to work with some extraordinary theatre artists. My work included plays produced at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco Rep, Celebration Theatre, and the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival. I have also had the opportunity to read as an actor for new works for the Theatre Series on KCRW (The House In The City), and independent play readings at the Coast Playhouse (The Crimson Thread), Burbage Theatre (Pearls & Marlowe), and the Marin Playwright’s Festival (Sarah Bernhardt).
My exposure to the plays and playwrights gave me an appreciation for magical realism, and my writing explores the connection between the natural and unknown.
My theatre writing has been informed by studying with Dakota Powell at UCLA and also with Murray Mednick at the Padua Playwrights Workshop. I have also studied playwright classes with Leon Martell at UCLA, and studied with Jack Grapes in his Method Writing classes.
I have developed scripts at the Ohio State University retreat for playwrights with the ICWP (International Center fro Women’s Playwrights). The Dramatist Guild has hosted a reading of “The Lost Years” in November 2007 for Footlight Series in Los Angeles.
I am a member of The Dramatist Guild, ALAP (Alliance for Los Angeles Playwrights), LAFPI (Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative) and ICWP (International Centre for Women Playwrights). My theatre works include: Best Fest Forward, The Lost Years, Emily, and The American Woman. Screenplays include: Whitley Heights, The Wedding Ring, and The White Datura.
I am the author of two novels, Gift of Afternoon Light, and Improbable Fiction. My short stories have been published in Mo+h Magazine and Bombshelter Press.
Cynthia is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Jennie Webb is an independent Los Angeles playwright whose plays, including Anticipating Leftovers, Yard Sale Signs, Remodeling Plans, The Complete Story of the War, Men & Boxes, Tilting, Buying a House and Unclaimed Assets, have been presented on stages and in/at/around alternative venues throughout the U.S. and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her works have been published by Heinemann Press and International Centre for Women Playwrights, and supported by the now defunct A.S.K. Theater Projects, The Playwrights Center in Minneapolis’ PlayLabs, the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights and The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, where she is currently playwright-in-residence and created “Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights.”
She is a resident playwright at Rogue Machine Theatre, and a proud member of The Playwrights Union EST/LA’s Playwrights Unit and Fell Swoop Playwrights. She was profiled on NYTheatre.com and is the recipient of a 2010 Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award. Visit www.jenniewebbsite.com or @jenniewebbsite.
Jennie co-founded LA FPI and is Editor-at-Large
An award-winning writer and artist, Laurel holds two degrees from USC, a Masters in Professional Writing (stage and screen emphasis), and a B.A. from USC’s film school. Her first theatrical play was a finalist in the N.E.T.C., her second produced for victims of domestic abuse at T.H.A.W., her third became Rogues, an independent film. Laurel wrote, edited, directed and co-produced Rogues, and has won a couple awards for her screenplays.
Laurel is a writing consultant, web content strategist, fine artist, comes from a family of paronomasiacs, and loves to cook. She’s taught film production, screenwriting, and film history at the university level. While at USC’s M.P.W. graduate program, she was the Stage and Screenplay editor for the literary journal, the Southern California Review. Her thesis, a full-length play set in Hollywood during 1940-1941, is in the production pipeline. She’ll also have a short play in this year’s Hollywood Fringe. www.mojewetzorkstudios.com
Laurel is the LA FPI Onstage Editor
Gina Young is a Los Angeles-based writer, director and performer. Her most recent play, Femmes: A Tragedy, a contemporary lesbian adaptation of Clare Boothe Luce’s The Women, was hailed as “slyly riotous” and “dazzlingly reconceived” by The Hollywood Reporter and is the 2014 recipient of the Jane Chambers Award for Playwriting. Gina’s other plays include Asuncion Playwrights Project Semi-Finalist Tales of a Fourth Grade Lesbo, Time Out New York Critic’s Pick she cuts herself / she likes to write and BAX Grant Recipient God in a Girl.
Gina’s work has appeared at REDCAT, Highways, WOW Cafe Theatre, HERE Arts Center, The Lyric-Hyperion Theatre, The Carrie Hamilton Theatre at The Pasadena Playhouse, The BRIC Studio Theater,
The FUSE Festival curated by Dixon Place, BAX/The Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Live Girls! in Seattle, Washington, The Baltimore Playwrights Festival and the Page to Stage Festival at the Kennedy Center.
As a performer, Gina has toured the US and Europe extensively with original musical and theatrical work, including performance art pop duo Team Gina, whose video Butch/Femme screened at LGBT film festivals worldwide, won multiple awards and has over 250,000 hits on YouTube. She also appeared in Wynne Greenwood’s Sister Taking Nap at On the Boards and Sheila Callaghan’s Dead City at New Georges.
Gina studied drama at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is developing a rock opera called sSISTERSs and working on her first screenplay. A collection of her plays is forthcoming from Topside Press.
Gina is part of the LA FPI Social Media Team (Instagram)Tweet