Meet LAFPI’s Persons of Interest – voices at the forefront of the movement, and artists working behind the scenes:
Tiffany Antone, Jennifer Ashe, Jennifer Bobiwash, Debbie Bolsky, Robin Byrd, Elena Campbell-Martínez, Eloise Coopersmith, Chris Farah, Kitty Felde, Laura Ferejohn, Synidie Fontes, Diane Grant, Leelee Jackson, Janice Kennedy, Kristen Lazarian, Kitty Lindsay, Rasika Mathur, Alyson Mead, Katherine Murphy, AR Nicholas, Jessica Lea Risco, Analyn Revilla, Debba Rofheart, Zury Margarita Ruiz, Laura Annawyn Shamas, Miranda Stewart, Constance Strickland, Chelsea Sutton, Tanyah Tavorn, chandra thomas, Katherine Vondy, Cynthia Wands, Jennie Webb, Jenny Winstead, Carolina Xique, Desireé York
LAFPI’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 LAFPI Graphics Consultant
JENNIFER ASHE is a NY transfer producer and performer now based in Los Angeles. She is a proud member of Theatre Unleashed which is dedication to both the development of new works and original takes on established classics, 2CENT’s Theatre Group dedicated to the rejuvenation and exposure of great and original works from all eras and is a founding member of the Foundry Theatre Works, a developmental theatre company creating original works since 1992.
For The Foundry she produced and acted in The Whole Truth by Viki Boyle and Cornered by Andrea Goyan for Hollywood Fringe Festival 2015 and Occupation by Merri Biechler for The Fringe 2016. With 2CENTS INKFEST 2016 she performed It Leaches, Post Office, and Stringmates by Amanda Newman and just finished INKFEST 2017 with Aura Lord of Dawgtown by Caroline Marshal and Aruba by Susan Goodell. Coming soon for Theatre Unleashed she will perform Camp Ragnarock-a serial comedy. She was a member of NYC’s Manhattan Class Company helping to develop Beirut and enjoyed 10+ years on stage and television there. She began her career in the original cast of ABC’s Loving and spent many happy years on As the World Turns as Meg Snyder Reyes Landry. www.jenniferashe.us
Jennifer is a Special Fringe Femmes Agent
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 LAFPI Special Agent
Robin Byrd is a playwright, poet, and screenwriter. A Midwestern voice residing in southern California, Byrd likes to incorporate authentic regional flavor in her work. 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 work also deals with things of the spirit; she is known for sifting through memories and ghosts and other intangible things for stories… Byrd has studied acting to enhance her voice as a writer.
Her newest plays include Oops! and Sweet Lorraine’s Bag of Waters. Her plays and poetry have been read, produced, and performed in Los Angeles, Indiana, Nebraska, Maine, North Carolina and Washington D.C. Her work has been a semi-finalist in the O’Neil Her blog articles can be read in the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LAFPI). Byrd holds a certificate in screenwriting from the American Film Institute.
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), the Playwright’s Center, the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LAFPI), the Edward Albee Society, and the American Film Institute (AFI). For more information on Robin please visit her website at www.ladybyrdcreations.com.
Robin is the LAFPI Blog Editor and a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Elena Campbell-Martínez is a bilingual Mexican-American actor-director. Currently, Elena is the neighborhood curandera Doña Lupe on three seasons of the Starz series Vida. Other recent TV & film appearances include This Is Us, Unbelievable, Papi Chulo, Atypical and Liza On Demand.
Elena volunteers her time supporting new voices in the theatre as well as the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Latino Scene Showcase. She recently directed a play about the family separation crisis at our border as part of the Latino Program of the Short+Sweet Hollywood festival. Elena and her husband Dennis share their cozy Highland Park home with their family of three adorkable rescue pups.
Elena is an LAFPI Special Agent
Eloise Coopersmith is an actress and playwright who celebrates the amazing work of those artists in the Fringe bringing new stories to life.
This year she brought her project to the web, “Home for Mom” a musical about finding the courage to be brave…at any age.
Visit www.homeformom.online.com to learn more about Eloise and her work.
Eloise is a Special Fringe Femmes Agent
Chris Farah is an actress/improviser/comedian/writer and has performed at Upright Citizen’s Brigade LA and NYC, in Perezprov, There’s No Crying in Improv, Girls Gone Blue, The Quick & Funny Musicals, Sketch Cram, The Dirtiest Sketch Show in LA, her own musicals Lil’ Tw*t of Horrors and Oh Well! Oh Well! and many, many more. She also has had the honor of working with Cornerstone Theatre Company for Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical and Celebration Theatre in their musical improv show GLAADLIBS. She frequently performs at the Cavern Club Theatre, UCB, and various stand-up and variety shows around LA. She is also an expert pop-culture writer and panelist on shows like “Chelsea Lately” and “Hello Ross.”
In 2012 she premiered her cult character Fancy which was was nominated for Best Solo show and won the Veterans for Virgin award at Hollywood Fringe 2013. In 2014, Fancy returned with a whole new show and won Best Cabaret/Variety for Hollywood Fringe 2014 and the Bitter Lemons Trailer Trash Award. As an actress Chris Farah was cast in the LA production of Women (Winner of Best Show for Hollywood Fringe ‘14) and originated the role of Linda in Theatre Unleashed’s Pope! An Epic Musical.
Chris is a Special Fringe Femmes Agent
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 LAFPI.
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 LAFPI Resources Editor
Synida Fontes, a.k.a. Syn, is a multi-racial/multi-ethnic, pussy-powered artist. Her Mexican-Yaqui grandfather named her after his favorite song, Zanaida Ingrata, which she doubted the existence of until she found his old cassette tape.
She studied acting and dance in NYC, then began teaching English in Europe, Russia (1.) and Korea (2.). (1. Yes, on the vodka-imbibing; 2. yes, on the dog-eating.) She survived Cyprus (hired as Tina Turner impersonator), escaping an obsessive Elvis impersonator and greasy mafioso boss, and was rescued by the U.S. Embassy.
She lived in Italy and speaks Italian as a second language. She has worked in Moscow, where her admirers included an ex-KGB spy, and Siberia, where she became a celebrity with Jazz Ballet Valery. According to the Russian media, she’s a Female Bob Fosse – and just as famous. (Google her name in Cyrillic and see!)
She has worked as a high profile nanny/governess for oligarchs, celebs, and royalty, even interviewing for/in the homes of Tommy Hilfiger, and super sleaze Harvey Weinstein. (!)
Her experience makes The Nanny Diaries look like Mary Poppins. (Wait for the tell-all bestseller!)
Last year, she searched for love online…and found her married nanny employer, trolling for oral sex, when he popped up as a 91% match (!?). She now has no faith in the algorithms of free dating sites, and so, continues her role as the Sexiest Spinster Alive.
Currently living in Long Beach, she proudly holds the title, “Only Person Who Has Never Gotten High”. (Her old friend Snoop expresses his disbelief…and chagrin.)
Syn is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
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
The work of Leelee Jackson centers postmodern narratives of the African diaspora. While obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts at the University of California, Irvine, she encountered phenomenal Black professors who too were invested in archiving and protecting Black narratives and taught her how to do the same. Their influence and wealth of knowledge in Black politics led Jackson to write her first one act play, “Comb Your Hair (Or You’ll Look Like a Slave)” that went on to be a national finalist at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in 2016 for the John Cauble outstanding short plays award. Since then, CYH has been featured in multiple performances different colleges and theatre companies including SkyPilot in 2017 and Sorority in 2018. Jackson currently resides in Riverside, California and is a holder of a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of California, Riverside where she graduated in 2019.
Leelee is 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 LAFPI Special Agent
Kristen Lazarian is an award-winning playwright based in Los Angeles who has had her plays produced at many venues in L.A. including the Geffen Playhouse, Theatre 40, East-West Players, Theatre Geo, the Road Theatre, Pacific Resident Theatre, 68 Cent Crew, and the Blank Theatre.
Her plays have also been staged across the United States and internationally. Her plays include Grace of God, Food & Drink, Push, Love Like Blue, Flesh & Tenderness, Inviting Karma, Sophisticated Barflies & Other Short Plays, and more.
In addition to writing plays, Kristen is a screenwriter. She wrote the screenplay for THE SHIFT, based on the spiritual teachings of self-improvement pioneer Wayne Dyer (HayHouse). Kristen did the screenplay adaptation of her play PUSH which is currently in production in NYC, starring Victoria Justice and Matthew Daddario.
Kristen is an LAFPI Special Agent
As a writer, theatre maker, and feminist, Kitty Lindsay is committed to creating opportunities for women and girls to share their stories. Currently, Kitty advances this unapologetically feminist agenda by contributing her creative talents to four inspiring areas of art making: blogging, podcasting, theatre directing, and community organizing.
A Ms. blogger and regular weekend contributor at Hello Giggles, Kitty’s editorial writing, highlighting the creative contributions of women in theatre, TV, film, and beyond, has also appeared in Ms. magazine and on the Feminist Majority Foundation blog, Awesomeness TV, The Establishment, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Theatre Is Easy.
Featuring conversations with feminist artists and activists from across the United States, Kitty’s podcast, Feminist Crush, explores the intersection of art, activist, and feminist practices.
In addition to blogging and podcasting, Kitty is also a passionate theatre maker, directing new works by women (and women only!) in New York and LA. Recent LA credits include the award-winning world premiere of Tiffany Cascio’s THANKSGIVING as part of the 2017 Hollywood Fringe Festival, the LA premiere of Johnna Adam’s WORLD BUILDERS, and the award-winning world premiere of Kato McNickle’s GIRLS. IN BOYS PANTS as part of 2Cents Theatre Group’s 2015 Acting Out INK! Fest. She has also directed staged readings of exciting new plays by women for The Blank Theatre, The Vagrancy, TinyRhino, and Crooked Heart Theater.
Lastly, with the goal of joining the creative and change-making forces of LA’s feminist, performing arts, and fine arts communities, Kitty organizes and facilitates free writing and performing workshops at the Women’s Center for Creative Work and Theatre for Arts in Hollywood. Kitty’s Inspiring Social Change Through Storytelling, Writing for Performance, and [Working Title] workshops inspired her to organize Feminist AF, a reading series showcasing new, revolutionary works by emerging feminist artists and presented seasonally at the Samuel French Film and Theatre Bookshop in Hollywood.
Follow Kitty on Twitter and Instagram: @KittyLindsayLA
Kitty is an LAFPI Special Agent
Rasika Mathur has worked in the Writers Room for Kevin Hart, as an Improv cast member on MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents Wild N Out” and booked a spot on “Will & Grace” just days after the 2017 Thomas Fire swallowed the Ojai residence where she was living. Earlier that year, she was a Hollywood Fringe Scholarship Winner for her one woman show, “My Hustle Has ADHD.” As a former President of Ventura’s Oceanview Toastmasters Club, Rasika cultivated a supportive environment to overcome the fear of public speaking. She has recently acquired a second 200HR Yoga Teaching certification, this time from YogaWorks. She has gone on to receive an Opus Award winning grant for her inspiring and contemplative post-fire piece, co-authored by fellow )|( Burner and Ventura College Writing Professor, Gwendolyn Alley, M.A., entitled “What Does Thomas Teach Us?”
YouTube/Ras76 – Twitter @RasiRas – IG @jalapenopopper2012, @funnyogini
Rasika is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Alyson Mead studied at Yale, the Slade School of Art in London, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and with iO West, UCB and Tectonic Theatre Project. Her plays include THE FLORA AND FAUNA;(Princess Grace Award finalist, Henley-Rose Award winner, Bridge Initiative New Work winner, American Stage’s 21st Century Voices winner, Apollo Theater Chicago, The Tank, WAM Theatre, Magnolia Theatre, Cherry Lane Theatre, Capital Rep NEXT ACT! New Play Summit, Project Playwright semi-finalist), THE PULSE PROJECT (Steppenwolf, Emerald Theatre, Stage Q),THE QUALITY OF MERCY (Urban Stages Emerging Playwright Award finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival semi-finalist, Elephant Theatre, Skylight Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Winterfest), THE HONOR SYSTEM (Cimientos/IATI Theater finalist, Manhattan Theatre Works’ Newborn Festival semi-finalist, Pasadena Playhouse), THE FLOWER (Kenneth Branagh Award for New Dramatic Writing finalist, NEWvember New Plays Festival finalist, Rough Writers New Play Fest), STORIES WE TELL AROUND THE FIRE (National Winter Playwrights Retreat workshop) and PUNK ROCK MOM(Venus Theatre), among others. She was awarded residencies and fellowships through Ragdale, Marble House Project, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland, La Porte Peinte, Can Serrat and the Women’s International Study Center, among others, and her work has been developed and commissioned by Kenyon Playwrights Conference, Playwrights Center San Francisco, 360repco, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and the 365 Women a Year Playwriting Project. She’s published by Original Works Publishing and Smith & Kraus, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Ammunition Theatre’s Writing Workshop, the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Playwriting Unit and the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative.
Alyson produces the LAFPI 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 LAFPI Communications Team
AR 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, had 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: arnicholas.com. and annroyalnicholas.com.
AR is an LAFPI Special Agent and Blog Contributor.
Jessica Lea Risco hails from the frozen lake country of Northern Minnesota and has worked on as actress across the United States from New York to the San Francisco/Bay Area, and now Los Angeles, which has become her home. Theatrically, she has worked with Berkeley Rep, San Francisco Playhouse, Golden Thread,The O’Neill Foundation and Boxcar Theatre where she originated the role of Dorothy in The Speakeasy, for which she was nominated for Broadway World’s Best Actress in a Featured Role. Jessica has two feature films coming out this year. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Dance, Jessica has studied at The Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin and continues to take master classes with Richard Seyd and Carole D’Andrea. www.JessicaRisco.com.
Jessica is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
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
Zury Margarita Ruiz is from Inglewood, California. She received her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the University of Southern California in 2013. Zury is a former member of both the Latino Theatre Alliance/LA’s Writers Circle and Ensemble Studio Theater/LA’s New West Playwrights. Currently, she is a member of the Son of Semele writer’s group, Semele Scribes.
Zury is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Debba Rofheart is a Los Angeles based actor who holds a BFA in Theatre Performance, from the University of Florida. After a long indentured servitude as a corporate wage slave, she returned to acting in 2013. Since her emancipation, she has been training steadily at various studios, especially with the Independent Shakespeare Company and The Antaeus Academy, where she nurtures her great love of The Immortal Bard.
Recently, Debba has been seen on stage at The Sherry Theatre, T. U. Studios, The Secret Rose, The Whitmore/Lindley, and Son of Semele Ensemble, where she is a company member.
In the past couple years, she’s been seeking out and joining playwright groups, as she expects one day to write something, but mostly because she loves doing staged readings and workshops to help actually writing writers to bring their creations to life.
Debba is part of the LAFPI Social Media Team (Instagram)
Laura Annawyn Shamas, Ph.D., is a writer and mythologist.
More info: laurashamas.com.
Laura co-founded LAFPI
Miranda Stewart is a freelance theater director based in Los Angeles. Her work spans genres, including musicals, classics, and new works. The connecting thread comes from her desire to connect with and discover the characters in each play. She is interested in making the fantastical seem real and finding the humor in tragedy. She loves exploring new plays, and has directed readings for the Rapid Development Series at the Fountain Theatre, The Living Room Series at The Blank, Seedlings at Theatricum Botanicum, and Blossoming at The Vagrancy. Her directing credits include The Chocolate Affair (Scribe Stages), Raise Your Hand (Acting Out INK Fest), Vital Records (GLO), Eleemosynary (Hollywood Fringe Festival), Catalyst (Loft Ensemble), ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Archway Theatre), A Part and Funeral Party (Hollywood Fringe Festival), Old Times (Occidental College), Little Shop of Horrors, and Metamorphoses (both at Caltech). Her feature film Fishbowl was recently released. When not directing, she is passionate about working in the theater in other ways whether she’s stage managing, running a board, or sewing curtains.
More at www.mirandastewart.net
Miranda is the LAFPI Onstage Editor
Dear Nina was awarded the jurors’ choice award at the Women of African Descent Film Festival for outstanding achievement, and her play HerSheMe was a Best of Fringe 2013 winner at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, while her play,Chitlin Blues’: Dancing in the Grey was nominated for Best Physical/Dance Theatre at the Hollywood Fringe in 2014.
Constance is Creative Director of Theatre Roscius, an experimental theatre company that focuses on creating pieces reflecting past/present social issues facing the lives of women. Constance’s original Theatre Roscius plays include HerSheMe which premiered at the 2013/2014 Hollywood and New Orleans Fringe festivals, including winning a Best of Fringe Extension. Chitlin Blues: Dancing in the Grey, premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2014 to strong reviews. Constance’s current Theatre Roscius play The Death of Medea is in research/development. Her film projects include writing, producing and starring in the short films Black Like Her & Dear Nina and Out of the Dark / Into the Light shot on 16mm, premiered at the 2018 56th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Her film triptych Illusions of Beauty, Summer of 87 and Pieces of Her experimental documentaries shot on Super 8 film will premiere Spring/Summer 2020/2021. She hopes to continue to collaborate with a wide variety of artists from various disciplines to dig deeper into what it means to be human.
Constance is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and heads Fringe Femmes Outreach
Chelsea Sutton is a playwright, director and fiction writer based in Los Angeles, and a graduate of the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara. Her plays have had readings and productions in Santa Barbara, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. She has participated in workshops, readings and productions with Skylight Theatre’s Playlab and LABWorks, The Vagrancy, Brimmer Street Theatre Company’s Blueprint Series, Playground LA, Wordsmyth Theater’s New Play Reading Series, Inner Circle Theatre, Theatricum Botanicum’s Seedlings, Eclectic Company Theatre, Westmont College, UC Santa Barbara, Center Stage Theatre, Live @the Libe with the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and Eclectic Voices.
Her play Falling Slanted, Sad & Crazy was named a finalist for the 2015 Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, and her play The Dead Woman was a finalist for the Stanley Drama Award and the Woodward/Newman Drama Award, as well as a semifinalist for the Eugene O’Neill, PlayPenn and Seven Devils Playwright Conferences. Other plays include The Many Deaths of Kassie McGreevy, The Sudden Urge to Jump, The Graveyard Shift, Judy Presley on a Binge, and others. Chelsea is currently writing an adaptation of Pinocchio with Rogue Artists Ensemble, set to premiere in November 2015.
She has been a member of the selection committee for The Blank’s Young Playwrights Festival 2014-2015 as well as served as a director and literary advisor for The Vagrancy’s Young Playwrights Contest in 2014. She is a co-founder of Eclectic Voices Writers Group and an Ensemble Member with Rogue Artists Ensemble. Her fiction has appeared in Farmhouse Magazine, Spectrum, Catalyst, Fictionade Magazine, The Best of Farmhouse Magazine Anthology (Editor’s Choice Award), NYC Midnight, Bourbon Penn and The Cactus Heart. Chelsea spends her daylight hours doing arts marketing and her nighttime hours making pies. Follow her at withcoffeespoons.com or on Twitter @wthcoffeespoons.
Chelsea is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and part of the LAFPI Communications Team
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 LAFPI.
Tanyah is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
chandra thomas is an award-winning actor-writer-producer. She’s worked at theatres across the country including the Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, SoHo Rep, Guthrie Theater, Centerstage. Some of her television and film credits include LABOR DAY, 9-1-1, LAW & ORDER: SVU, BLUE BLOODS, THE GOOD WIFE, COMPLETE SENTENCES? Her play The ‘Edge, about a haphazard group from a working-class housing project who band together to form a competitive step team, is currently under development. chandra is currently developing two new plays. Originally from New York, chandra is the child of immigrants and has gleefully lived all over the world. She has an MFA from Columbia University. Instagram: @chandrathomas | Twitter: @chandra7thomas
chandra is part of the LAFPI Social Media Team (Twitter)
Katherine Vondy is a Los Angeles-based writer and director working in theater, film, and literature. Kat received the Davey Foundation Theatre Grant for THE FERMI PARADOX, and has developed and produced plays with the Athena Project, Salt Lake Acting Company, Campfire Theatre Festival, The Blank, HBMG Foundation, Paper Wing Theatre Company, The Script Readers (UK), All Terrain Theater, CalArts TSA, and The Vagrancy (where she currently serves as Writers’ Group Moderator). Her plays have been finalists for the B Street Theatre New Comedies Festival, Garry Marshall New Works Festival, and Relative Theatrics’ Playwrights Voiced, and semi-finalists for the O’Neill NPC and The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep. She has received dramatic writing residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Starry Night, Wildacres, and the Voice and Vision ENVISION Retreat.
As a director, Kat helmed Sharyn Rothstein’s “Troublemaker” for THE PUSSY GRABBER PLAYS LA Pop-up as well as THE COMPLETE HUMAN EXPERIENCE, a live show from noted musical comedy group Lost Moon Radio. She also directed the world premieres of All Terrain Theater’s SUDDENLY SPLIT AND SWIPING OVER by Tracy Held, and Jon Caren’s FRIENDS IN TRANSIENT PLACES with Fresh Produce’d LA. Her award-winning short film, THE BROKEN HEART OF GNOCCHI BOLOGNESE, has played at festivals worldwide. She has an MFA in Film and Television Production from USC, and received her BA from Amherst College.
Find more information about all her creative adventures at katherinevondy.com.
Kat is part of the LAFPI 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 and dramaturg (she currently runs workshops, and created and ran “Botanicum Seedlings: A Development Series for Playwrights” at Theatricum Boranicum ). Her plays, including “Currency,” “Remodeling Plans,” “Unclaimed Assets,” “On Tuesday,” “It’s Not About Race,” “Smiling Cat Candy Heart,”“Buying a House” and “Yard Sale Signs” have been produced in LA (by companies including Rogue Machine Theatre, Inkwell Theater, EST/LA, Santa Monica Rep., Theatre of NOTE and Green Light Productions), on stages across the country and in the UK. Her plays have been part of The Playwright Center’s PlayLabs, La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Little Black Dress INK Female Playwrights ONSTAGE, Protest Plays Project, Virginia Avenue Project, National Winter Playwrights Retreat, 365 Women A Year, Playground-LA, EST/LA Winterfest & Launchpad, The Blank Theatre Living Room Series, Road Theatre’s Summer Playwrights Festival, Moving Arts MADlab and Rogue Artists Ensemble’s inaugural Rogue Lab and have been Finalists ( O’Neill Playwrights Festival) or Semi-Finalists (O’Neill , PlayPenn, Trustus Theatre Playwrights Festival, Athena Project) in several competitions; her work is published by Heinemann Press and ICWP. She is currently a member of the Playwrights Union, Honor Roll, EST/LA, Road Theatre’s “Under Construction” and the Dramatists Guild. She is the recipient of a Women in Theatre Red Carpet Award and two Max K. Lerner Playwriting Fellowships. Visit www.jenniewebbsite.com or @jenniewebbsite.
Jennie co-founded LAFPI and is Editor-at-Large
Jenny Winstead is a playwright, dramaturg, and literary researcher who has an unhealthy relationship with watching documentaries and eating chocolate. After graduating from the University of Kentucky in May 2017 with degrees in Creative Writing and Playwriting, she trekked west to pursue storytelling as a profession. She’s taught playwriting with Shakespeare Society of America, had her plays produced by Actors Theatre of Louisville and other Kentucky-centered theatres, and most recently joined the LAFPI Social Media Team as head mistress of Twitter.
Jenny’s excited for the opportunity and looking forward to meeting the community – say hello at @theLAFPI!
Jenny is part of the LAFPI Social Media Team (Twitter)
Carolina Pilar Xique has multiple titles in her career as theatre artist and arts nonprofit administrator. An LA Native, she’s finishing up her B.A. in Theatre Arts Performance from Cal State Long Beach, acting in shows like Vagina Monologues, Macbeth, Funfair, Stop the World, I Want To Get Off, and After Orlando with Cal Repertory Company. She is also an avid playwright, having written and assistant directed the devised production of Generation XYZ with Theatre Threshold and held readings for her short and full-length plays. Carolina has been involved as a devising theatrical artist in shows like Dreamers: Aquí y Allá (voted “Best Play” by the OC Weekly), previously-mentioned Generation XYZ, and Mi Amiga La Luna. She also directed Venus in Fur and was musical director for First Date, West Side Story, Mulan Jr., and High School Musical. Her dream is to help youth gain better access to arts education in the Los Angeles community, and inspire other Afro-Latinx artists to share their stories. She is currently writing screenplays and auditioning in Los Angeles. Carolina is a founding ensemble member of Contigo Theatre Company and director of the company’s debut play, “Stitching Stardust.”
Carolina is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Desireé York is a woman playwright/director who writes for women and underrepresented voices. Originally from a small farm town in Pennsylvania, she is the recipient of the 2015 Kennedy Center’s Rosa Parks Playwriting Award for THE PUPPETEER. Her plays include: THE PUPPETEER (finalist 2017 Ashland New Plays Festival, 2017 Futurefest staged presentation, finalist 2017 Henley Rose Playwright Competition, semifinalist 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, finalist 2016 Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, semifinalist 2015 CTG/Humanitas Playwriting Prize, staged reading 2015 Ophelia’s Jump Productions), ONE SECOND CHANCE (semifinalist 2017 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, staged reading 2016 Rogue Machine Theatre), BREAK TIME (staged reading 2017 Athena Cats New Works Festival), UNDONE (2017 Theatricum Botanicum GreenReads), RUNNING MATE and THE SUITCASE (student productions California State University, Fullerton).
A director as well, Desireé was the recipient of a National Directing Fellowship by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and is currently developing a play about a transgendered man for the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Her recent directing credits include: Director – ALL THAT WE SEE OR SEEM at the Exposition Review Festival of Short Plays, A GRAVE SITUATION at the Athena Cats New Works Festival, Assistant Director – VENUS AND FUR at South Coast Repertory, Assistant Director – A POWER PLAY at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and Directing Fellow at Seven Devils Playwrights Conference. She graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Women’s Studies. She and her husband relocated across the county to California with nothing but a U-Haul and their chocolate Labrador retriever. www.desireeyork.com
Desireé is part of the LAFPI Communications Team