Meet LAFPI’s Persons of Interest – voices at the forefront of the movement, and artists working behind the scenes:
Tiffany Antone, Jennifer Bobiwash, Debbie Bolsky, Robin Byrd, Elena Campbell-Martínez, Chris Farah, Kitty Felde, Diane Grant, Leelee Jackson, Janice Kennedy, Kristen Lazarian, Hannah Marie Lloyd, Elana Luo, Rasika Mathur, Alison Minami, Katherine Murphy, AR Nicholas, Nakasha Norwood, Violet Phillips, Tarah Pollock, Analyn Revilla, Debba Rofheart, Laura Annawyn Shamas, Ayesha Siddiqui, Leilani Squire, Miranda Stewart, Constance Strickland, Chelsea Sutton, Tanyah Tavorn, Gina Torrecilla, Katherine Vondy, Cynthia Wands, Jennie Webb, Carolina Xique, Desireé York
LAFPI’s Persons of Interest:
Tiffany is a playwright, educator, and theatre-maker whose plays have been read and/or performed in Los Angeles, New York, D.C., and Minneapolis. Her play, Cricket Woman Mother Earth (or) A Nasty Comeuppance, (a past O’Neil finalist) recently enjoyed a workshop at The Boston Court as part of their 2017 New Play Festival. Her plays Ana and the Closet and Twigs and Bone were both Jerome Finalists. Twigs and Bone was also a Great Plains Theatre Conference selection in 2014 and received a developmental production with Acadiana Reportory Theatre in 2015 and its world premiere with Washington, DC’s Nu Sass in 2022.
Tiffany’s play The Good Book is available through Samuel French. Her play In the Company of Jane Doe has won numerous awards and received its first NY production in 2012 with CAKE Productions. Tiffany was a 2008 Hawthornden Fellow and a 2009 Sherwood Award Finalist with CTG, and was awarded the 2012 Bucky Award for Outstanding Literary Artist.
As a theatremaker and producer, Tiffany has produced new play festivals and initiated several theatre as social action initiatives through her companies Little Black Dress INK (a female playwright producing organization) and Protest Plays Project, for which she’s currently facilitating an inter-collegiate new play exchange titled Heal the Divide on Campus.
As an educator, Tiffany has taught a variety of introductory and advanced theatre classes for a number of colleges and universities. She has also had the pleasure of working as a guest director for institutes of higher ed, and cherishes every opportunity to work with emerging artists.
Tiffany holds her MFA in Playwriting from UCLA, and currently lives/teaches in Iowa where she writes for stage and screen. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild, The Playwright’s Center, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (for whom she is also a contributing blogger).
Although she has very little free time, Tiffany usually uses any spare moments she can find to play with her curious toddler, wait on her feline overlords, or creatively scheme up new ways to ways to stretch and grow her theatrical resume.
Tiffany is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and an LAFPI Graphics Consultant
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 and producer. She has written fourteen stage plays and screenplays that are in various stages of development and feature strong and layered roles for women. Bolsky’s work explores themes of death, baseball and politics. Her stage play Ashes to Ashes enjoyed a successful six week run in Los Angeles December 2017-January 2018.
Bolsky’s past theatre and film experience includes a production of her stage play Biking with
Andrew Scott (2008); co-founder of The Athena Cats, a collective of SoCal female playwrights
and directors; executive producer of the stage play Blueprint for Paradise (2016); associate producer on the independent film “Rogues” (2003); executive producer on the documentary “Carless In L.A.” (2016); and vice president, media advertising at Columbia Pictures (1999).
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 who loves telling stories that reflect her own family background, as well as other Latinx experiences. As the daughter of a Mexican writer, she spent summers in Guadalajara at her maternal grandparents’ home, but took several detours before choosing the artist life for herself.
Elena was the neighborhood curandera/bruja Doña Lupe on three seasons of the Starz series Vida, which was widely acclaimed for its authentic Latinx representation. Elena’s most recent TV appearances include The Rookie, Rebel, 911, S.W.A.T. and Unbelievable.
Elena supports new voices in the theatre as well as the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Latino Scene Showcase. 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
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
Kitty’s an award-winning playwright, podcaster, and writer of children’s books.
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.)
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.
Most recently, she’s turned her decade of covering Capitol Hill for public radio into a series of mystery books for kids set in the U.S. Capitol. Her newest book in The Fina Mendoza Mysteries series “State of the Union” (Chesapeake Press) will be published August 2021. A mysterious bird poops on the head of the president during the State of the Union address. Can Fina Mendoza, the 10-year-old daughter of a congressman, outsmart the Capitol Police and the Secret Service to find that bird and uncover its secret message?
Kitty is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
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
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 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.
Kristen is an LAFPI Special Agent
Hannah Marie Lloyd is an actress, singer, and dancer based in Los Angeles, California earning her B.A. in Theatre Acting Emphasis from the USC School of Dramatic Arts and a Minor in Dance at the USC Kaufman School of Dance. Her awards include an Outstanding Theatrical Work recognition by the California Educational Theatre Association, Nominated Best Female Dancer of the Year by the John Raitt Awards for Youth, and most recently the Alumni and Friends Award from the USC School of Dramatic Arts. Currently, Hannah is working alongside acting superpower Kate Burton at USC on the production team for The Winter’s Tale, is an Associate Company Member at the Ensemble Studio Theatre LA, and is thrilled to be collaborating with LAFPI!
Hannah is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Elana Luo is a Los Angeles-based director. Directing credits include the original short play “Kingdom Keeper” by Alyssa Lizarraga and Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World” at HOOLIGAN Theatre Company, as well as the original one-act musical “Quarantine Breakup” by Jackie Brenneman and Lisa Sedares at Conundrum Theatre Company. She assistant directed the world premiere of Jessica Goldberg’s “Babe” with director Chris Fields at the Echo Theater Company, where she is also associate literary manager. Other assistant directorships include Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” at Greenway Court Theatre with director Ryan O’Connor, as well as the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble’s 50th anniversary production of Jean Claude van Itallie’s “The Serpent” and a series of one acts including “Victoria Station” and “A Kind of Alaska” by Harold Pinter, both times with director Ron Sossi. Readings include the first staged reading of the award-winning musical “Angels of the Southern Accents” by Rus McCoy, presented by 5 Star Theatricals and High Street Arts Center. She holds a degree in English from UCLA.
Elana is always looking for new plays to direct and develop, and is honored to be part of LAFPI.
Elana is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Rasika Mathur is an award-winning storyteller and comedy writer. She won a Hollywood Fringe Festival Scholarship in 2017 for her audience-interactive one-woman-show “Hey Hollywood, My Hustle Has A.D.H.D.,” directed by Deana Barone. She combines her passions for mental health and comedic storytelling on The FunnYoginI Show, heard on Spotify, iTunes, Rukus Avenue Radio & Dash Radio. She’s worked as a sketch comedy writer for Kevin Hart, Jo Koy, Rick Najera, Bob Odenkirk and the CBS Diversity Showcase. She served as Writer-Producer-Actress for two original web series for Superdeluxe.com. And her notable TV/Film credits include 5 seasons on MTV’s “Nick Cannon Presents Wild N Out!,” “My Name is Earl,” “Weeds,” “Crazy Stupid Love” and the 2018 revival of “Will & Grace.” She has toured sketch comedy festivals alongside Danny Pudi and Ranjit Souri as 1/3 of the troupe, Siblings of Doctors. So even though she doesn’t have a medical license, she still helps people live and think healthier as an RYT-400 Certified Yoga Teacher and soon to be Certified Meditation Teacher.
IG || @jalapenopopper2012 • @funnyogini
Rasika is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
Alison Minami is an LA based writer, performer, and educator. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from UC Riverside. Her fiction has appeared in Angel City Review and Connotation Press as well as been a finalist for the Meyerson Southwest Review Fiction Contest and the California Exchange for Poets and Writers. She has attended The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Kundiman Writer’s Retreat, and the VONA Writers’ Conference. As a playwright, she works with the Antaeus Theater Playwrights Lab and the Company of Angels Playwriting Group. Her play Face to the Sun has had professional readings at the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation, East West Players, the Victory Gardens Theater as part of the CAATA Confest, and at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as part of their Black Swan New Play Development Program. Her play Urban Scholars was a semi-finalist for the Ashland New Play Festival and her play Dear Baby X was chosen for the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights’ New Works Reading in conjunction with East West Players. It also had developmental readings at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, All Terrain Theater of Berkeley, and Here and Now Theater of Los Angeles. Her one-act play Shizzy’s Story was produced by Enrichment Works and toured across LAUSD schools. She was a member of Playground LA, a 10 minute play collective, for which her piece This is a Banana was selected for Season 6. Her storytelling can be heard on the Moth Radio Hour Podcast.
Alison is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger
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.
Nakasha Norwood is an Actress/Producer. She’s originally from Des Moines, IA, but has lived in FL, VA and NY before settling down in CA. She began to develop her interest in performing while an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech. Upon graduating, she made her way to New York City and began to study acting at Stella Adler Studio of Acting. It was there that she got her first taste of theater and loved it! She continued her studies in acting at the Atlantic Acting School. She performed in several Off-Broadway shows, including The C Word/Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Acceptance/Sundog Theatre, and Criminal Hearts/Stella Adler Studios. She also worked part-time for the theater company Ars Nova and was able to get her start working backstage.
Once Nakasha moved to Los Angeles, she immediately got involved with Company of Angels. She performed in the company’s LA Views X: Sanctuary, Short Play Festival: TomorrowLAnd, and CoA’s Virtual Play Festival: What’s Going On. She’s also been in other projects, including Dracula/New Hollywood Theater Company, The Art of Facing Fear/Red Curtain International & Os Satyros, and the short films Door Post/Screenland Productions, Mindy and BJ: A Platonic Love Story/Scrawny Strange Productions, and You’ll Never Meet My New Friends/Good Medicine Storytelling LLC. She’s also worked behind the scenes doing production assisting and social media marketing for projects with the American Film Institute, USC, Unabashed Productions, ChicArts Productions, and All Is Well Productions.
Nakasha is currently on the leadership team with Company of Angels as the Company Manager. She’s also been developing her skills as a producer. She co-produces the company’s in-house improv team: Angel City Improv. She is also one of the lead producers for their production of Rise. Nakasha recently became a company member of Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills and has been began performing and working behind the scenes with Moving Arts in Atwater Village. She’s excited and honored to build her write chops with LAFPI!
Violet Phillips is a senior at mills college and a brand-new playwright.
In high school, she got an early taste of the literary world, through two pre-college summer writing workshops, editing the literary magazine, and poetry performances. She also had certain community engagement experiences, such as babysitting, co-founding a feminism club and volunteering for a group that gives toiletries to homeless women that made her interested in how writing might be a source for social change.College brought similar opportunities such as writing for the newspaper, transcribing student government meetings and being appointed secretary of the disability advocacy club (although sadly, the club never met due to multiple complications). Because of the extra time that came with the pandemic, she was also able to proofread a chapter of a book and do copywriting/marketing/editing volunteer work for small nonprofits. She also took her lifelong interest in feminism a step further, by interning for a motherhood-themed museum and a women’s history institute. Most recently, she volunteered in an online staged reading about presidents mistresses, with the goal of raising money to build a women’s history museum. Since then, she has been very interested in the intersection between performance, writing and feminism.
She hopes to get an mfa in playwriting and be part of diverse theatre companies. She feels many living playwrights don’t get the recognition they deserve because theaters are excessively focused on Shakespeare and only want to hire playwrights who resemble him. She hopes the future of the playwriting industry will focus more on living playwrights, especially women, queer, disabled and non-white perspectives. She also hopes her own stories can create scenic worlds, and offer fresh perspectives.
Violet is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Tarah Pollock is an actor, producer, & director. Originally from Texas, she has lived in LA for over ten years. With an MFA in Acting from USC, Tarah is now a co-founder of the award winning company Elan Ensemble and a member of EST/LA.
She primarily focuses on new play development and amplifying new voices.
For more: IG tarah_pollock
Tarah is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Analyn was among the initial group of women blogging with LAFPI. Writing is a journey that began with keeping a lockable diary, a gift for her first Canadian Christmas in 1975. It was a circuitous journey meeting LAFPI Co-Founder Jennie Webb thru her husband Jim – Analyn was writing music reviews for his website “City of Angels”. At the time, she was working on a play, her first endeavor. The love and support of being around other writers and playwrights has made it possible for her to imagine that one day this play will be seen and heard.
“It takes so much courage to write. It takes so much love and discipline to do it… Why do I write? I ask myself. It makes me a better person.”
Analyn 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, especially with The Antaeus Academy, where she nurtures her great love of The Immortal Bard.
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.
Recently, Debba has been seen on stage with The Open Fist Theatre Company, where she is a company member. She is also proud to be a member of Playground-LA’s actor pool, supporting playwrights’ new works.
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
Ayesha Siddiqui is a Los Angeles based writer of Pakistani-American descent. Her work explores time and memory, our relationship to nature, earth, and the creatures on it, and ponders how we are impacting and being impacted by climate change.
Plays include: The Intervention (Climate 10-Minute Play Festival, 2023; Best of Playground-LA 2022). Jaldee/Hurry (WAVE Director’s Festival, 2023; The Vagrancy’s Blossoming New Works Festival, 2021), The Young Woman is a Boar (Atlantic Theater/NYU Tisch One Act Festival 2021), Water Lily (Semifinalist, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, 2020) and Baba, Jee (Father, Yes) (Hollywood Fringe Scholarship Winner, 2018).
In 2019, she was selected for the inaugural Sundance Institute Los Angeles Playwriting Intensive. She is a member of the Playground-LA writer’s pool (2022-present) and is a 2x Best of Playground-LA recipient (2022, 2023). Her prose was most recently published in Lit Angels.
Read her work on the New Play Exchange.
Leilani Squire is an award-winning playwright, published writer, certified creativity coach. She is CEO of Returning Soldiers Speak, 501(c)(3), whose mission is to empower veterans, and their families to tell their stories through the written and spoken word to the community. For her day job, she works for Coverfly and reads and writes coverage for screenplays, teleplays, and the occasional play, and judges tons of contests. She is a company member of Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA, the Playwrights Unit, The Dramatist Guild, and alumna of The Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive and EST/LA’s Ignite Project. 15 Dead Souls won Veterans Repertory Theater’s inaugural 10-minute playwriting contest, and the play is forthcoming in Smith & Kraus publication, 2023 Best 10-minute Plays.
Leilani is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
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
I’m the founder and Creative Director of Theatre Roscius, known for my singular hybrid of experimental film, physical theatre, avant-garde movement, and visual art. As a physical theatre artist, I investigate physically to see how memories, trauma, and isolation live in the body. Do we pass down memories from one generation to the next? How does this exhibit itself gesturally into the lives of women who carry these stories in their bodies? My work digs deep and explores the fragility, femininity, and masculinity, the many facets of the female condition, unflinchingly. I create work that is bold, brave, disturbing at times, and uncompromising, yet made to be gentle and inviting. I merge physical theatre with performance art using the body as the main vehicle to understand how history, generational trauma, memory, mental health, and joy live within the body via the female body. My new physical play, This Grief Will Be of Use Parts I + II, and my physical photography exhibition, An Antebellum Theory, an interdisciplinary work that examines the physical relationship between Black and white women in the face of white patriarchal violence, premiered at Art Share L.A April -September, 2022. My new physical theatre film, And Then They Swallowed Their Pain, centers on the grief of women who have lost a child and will premiere in Spring 2023.
I created Theatre Roscius in 2013 as a space where I could experiment, research, and explore l. My physical plays HerSheMe was Best of Fringe Extension in Physical Theatre, and Chitlin’ Blues: Dancing in the Grey was nominated for Hollywood Fringe Best in Dance & Physical Theatre. My short film Dear Nina was awarded the Juror’s Director’s award at the Women of African Descent Film Festival for outstanding achievement in filmmaking in 2015. My short film Black Like Her screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in 2017, and Out of the Dark / Into the Light had its U.S. premiere in 2018 at the 56th Ann Arbor Film Festival. Currently, Theatre Roscius will be in residency at The Getty Villa Theatre Lab in April, 2023 and has been awarded a 2022 NEFA Artists Development Grant to expand our new physical play Medea Refracted. We also have an exciting residency in NY coming this November that will allow the work to live in ways unimagined. As Theatre Roscius celebrates ten years, we our overwhelmed with the support we have received over the years that has allowed us to continue doing the work no matter how small.
Constance is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and heads Fringe Femmes Outreach
Chelsea Sutton is an Emmy-nominated LA-based writer and director. She is a PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, a Humanitas PlayLA award winner, and a Clarion Workshop alum. Her macabre steampunk adaptation of Pinocchio written with Rogue Artists Ensemble, Wood Boy Dog Fish, appeared in the inaugural season at the Garry Marshall Theatre. She co-wrote the Emmy-nominated Welcome to the Blumhouse Live, an interactive film event for Blumhouse/Amazon. She also co-wrote The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, a virtual event for TNT + Little Cinema Digital, and Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin with Lisa Sanaye Dring, an award-winning immersive horror event produced with Rogue Artists Ensemble. Her plays have been finalists for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, Woodward/Newman Drama Award, Reva Shiner Comedy Award, and others. Her fiction has appeared in Apex Magazine, Uncanny Magazine, Bourbon Penn, F(riction), CRAFT Literary, Orca Literary, and The Dread Machine, among others. She is the Associate Artistic Director of Rogue Artists Ensemble. She holds an MFA from UC Riverside.
Chelsea is a “Persons of Interest” Blogger and part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Gina is an actor and a writer whose credits include:
Writer – Gentileschi, Attack of the Second Bananas, Born Again, All’s Well That Ends, You Can Always Tell, The Basement, The American Sisters (Screenplay), Used (TV pilot) Gina has a B.A. in Theatre and an M.F.A. in Drama.
Actor – HBO’s Winning Time, Superstore, 9-1-1 Emergency, Kidding, Brooklyn 99, Scandal, Mad Men, Bones, Die, Mommie, Die, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Failure: A Love Story, Currency, The Exit Interview, Reckless, Othello, A Little Night Music, As You Like It, Britney Baby…, Twinkies and Donuts. IMDb Gina Torrecilla.
Gina is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
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 her plays have been developed and produced with the Athena Project, Salt Lake Acting Company, The Blank, Clamour Theatre Company, Campfire Theatre Festival, HBMG Foundation, Paper Wing Theatre Company, The Script Readers (UK), All Terrain Theater, CalArts TSA, and The Vagrancy (where she currently leads the new play development program). Her plays have also been finalists for the B Street Theatre New Comedies Festival, Garry Marshall New Works Festival, and Relative Theatrics’ Playwrights Voiced, as well as semi-finalists for the O’Neill NPC and Ashland New Plays Festival.
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, played at festivals worldwide, and her prose and poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize multiple times and appears in many literary magazines and journals. She earned an MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Amherst College. Find more information about all her creative adventures at katherinevondy.com.
Kat is part of the LAFPI Communications Team
Some of my plays appear as magic realism, exploring the mystic and molecular memories of our consciousness. I also write comedies because I love it when an audience recognizes something in a script that takes them by surprise and makes them laugh.
In my young years, I performed in new works with the Magic Theatre, San Francisco Rep, and the Celebration Theatre; and these roles sparked my interest in hearing new voices for theatre. I pursued readings of new works with the Theatre Series on KCRW (The House In The City), the Coast Playhouse (The Crimson Thread), The Burbage Theatre (Pearls & Marlowe), and the Marin Playwright’s Festival (Sarah Bernhardt). During our pandemic years I’ve performed in online readings for new scripts, including: Running For My Life, (CCCT Theatre), Shloshim, (Words That Speak Workshop), and Flora Welles, (Words That Speak Workshop).
Some of my current work includes:
- “THE LOST AND FOUND OF 2020”, a full-length comedy, follows a magical tarot reader who helps people search for their lost identity in 2020. This script is currently in development.
- “CHANGE FOR MARTHA WASHINGTON”, is a full-length play exploring the afterlife trial for Martha Washington as she tries to negotiate her way to heaven. An online reading of this work was performed in a workshop run by Jennie Webb in 2021.
- “THE HOARDING HOUSE”, examines the gluttony of hoarding, the molecular memory of slavery in a historic home, and the permission to grow beyond one’s legacy. This full-length drama had a reading with the Seedlings Dramaturgy Workshop.
- My full-length play “THE LOST YEARS”, centering on the backstage life of women during Shakespeare’s time, had it’s premier at the Contra Costa Civic Theatre in 2017, under the direction of Marilyn Langbehn.
- My writing is included in “ALICE IN QUARANTINE”, a collaborative script written by eleven playwrights, in a peculiar pandemic-proof play: ALICE IN QUARANTINE: A Drive-Thru Adventure, and is published by Next Stage Press.
I’ve had some incredible teachers; as an actor I studied with Jose Quinterio in Los Angeles, and also with Peter Frisch when he taught in Boston and Sydney Walker in San Francisco. I studied writing with Dakota Powell and Leon Martell at UCLA, Murray Mednick, Jack Grapes, Lee Wochner in his “Words That Speak” workshops. I also studied with Jennie Webb at the Seedlings Dramaturgy Workshop that she developed with the Theatricum Botanicum. I’ve been involved in the reading and development of new scripts with the Dramatist Guild of America, Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LAFPI), the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and the International Centre for Female Playwrights.
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 locally (by companies including Rogue Machine Theatre, Inkwell Theater, EST/LA, Santa Monica Rep., Theatre of NOTE, Green Light Productions, Virginia Avenue Project and La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival), on stages across the country as well as by high schools, colleges & universities and in the UK, India and Iceland.
Her work has been supported by The Playwright Center’s PlayLabs, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Little Black Dress INK Female Playwrights ONSTAGE, Protest Plays 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, Rogue Artists Ensemble’s inaugural Rogue Lab and Road Theatre’s “Under Construction 1” and her plays 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, Next Stage Press and ICWP.
She is currently a member of the Playwrights Union, Honor Roll!, EST/LA 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
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 (she/her) is a Los Angeles area based playwright and director who writes for women and underrepresented voices. Her plays include: The Puppeteer, One Second Chance, Undone, Fractured, Floating, Break Time, Human(e) and Hiding Out Loud among others. She is a recipient of the 2015 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and was recognized by Dayton Most Metro as the Best New Work of 2017-2018 Season for The Puppeteer. Her plays have been produced/developed at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse/Cal Tech Mach 33, The Garry Marshall Theatre, Rogue Machine Theatre, OC-Centric New Play Festival, Dayton Playhouse, PlayGround-LA, The Wayward Artist, The Athena Cats, Theatricum Botanicum and Ophelia’s Jump Productions. Additionally, her plays have been finalists for the Ashland New Plays Festival, Futurefest New Play Festival, Henley Rose Playwright Competition, Inkslinger Playwriting Competition and semi-finalists for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, CTG Humanitas Playwriting Prize, Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings, Forward Flux Production Three New American Plays and Trustus Playwrights Festival. Desireé’s poetry has been performed/produced by Sacred Fools Theatre Company, Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble and The Wayward Artist. Commissioned works include the one woman show Fractured and a dance collaborative called Next of Kin for The Wayward Artist.
A director as well, Desireé received a National Directing Fellowship awarded by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Directing credits include: The Blank Theatre, Dayton Playhouse, California State University Fullerton, LA Broads Female Playwrights Festival, Exposition Review and Athena Cats New Works Festival. Desireé obtained her B.A. in Theatre Arts with a minor in Women’s Studies with the a focus of using art for social justice. She is also a member of the PlayGround-LA Writers Pool, LAFPI, Honor Roll!, Dramatists Guild, Playwrights’ Center and a mentor for WriteGirl. www.desireeyork.com
Desireé is part of the LAFPI Communications Team