Liza Birkenmeier is a current Audrey Resident at New Georges and was a recent member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group. Her play Radio Island was a finalist for the Relentless Award and on the Kilroys List. She is a commissioned artist at Ars Nova and Carnegie Mellon University. Her work has also been developed at The Public, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, University Settlement, The Playwrights Realm, Rattlestick, San Francisco Playhouse, The San Diego Museum of Art, City Theatre, and elsewhere. She has been a Yaddo, Millay, and MacDowell Colony fellow. Her play the hollower will premiere this spring with New Light Theater Project. She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon.
Kathleen Coombs is a writer, director, composer, and performer who holds an MFA in Playwriting from UCLA as well as a BA in theatre from Emerson College. Kathleen co-wrote “8, The Play” with Dustin Lance Black which has now been performed in hundreds of cities across America. As supported by a Lincoln City Fellowship Grant, Kathleen is currently writing the book for the new musical “Life Sentence” along with composer Patrick Burns. Her play, “click” will be performed at this summer’s She LA Arts Summer Theatre Festival in Los Angeles. Other written works include the original musical, “Sat Nam,” (LA Workshop), “The Great Buford Fire Funnel” (UCLA Coppola Festival), and “Cuore Mio – My Heart” (DC Source Festival).
Dubbed the Ancient Jazz Priestess of Mother Africa, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi is a Nigerian, Cuban, Indigenous, American Performance Artist, Author, Teacher, Choreographer, Priestess, Speech Writer, Playwright, Writing Coach, Advocate, Healer, a Founding Member of Force Collision, and a 2x Helen Hayes Award Nominee (2016, 2018) and co-editor of the Black Trans Prayer Book. She is the founder of The Inanna D Initiatives, which curates, produces and cultivates events and initiatives designed to center and celebrate the work of TGNC Artist of Color. Considered one of the most prolific artist of our time, she is the first Trans woman of color to be nominated for a Helen Hayes Award (2016), and in DC to publish a work of Fiction (Yemaya’s Daughters (2013). In 2015 she received an emerging Leader Award for her work with the D.C. Trans Community, is the GLBT History Project’s 2018 receipt of the Mujeres en el Movimiento Arts Award and received Trans Latinx DM’s Community Artist Award. She has costarred as Patra in the new web series King Ester. Her play Klytmnestra: an Epic Slam poem will be receiving a world premiere at Theater Alliance in May 2019.
Jahna Ferron-Smith is a Philly-born but currently New York based playwright and member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Obie Award winning playwrights collective, Youngblood. Her work has been presented at Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Cherry Lane Theatre and the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival. They include, SIR., SALT: A Rom Com, and could(n’t) you just.
Amy Gijsbers van Wijk is a first-generation American playwright & performer from Pasadena, TX, now based in New York. Her work has been developed with The Flea, Pipeline Theatre Company, Fresh Ground Pepper, New Light Theatre Project, Red Caravan, and elsewhere. BA, Brooklyn College. MFA, Carnegie Mellon University.
Rae Mariah MacCarthy
A Real Boy
Rae is an award-winning writer, a performer, and a birth mother. Their first Young Adult novel, Squad, was published in Spring of 2019 by FSG. They’ve written for BuzzFeed, Refinery29, Yes! Magazine, LOOK Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and others. Their plays have been performed all over the world, and the New York Times called their immersive party play Mrs. Mayfield’s Fifth-Grade Class of ’93 20-Year Reunion “a lot of fun.” They live in Astoria with their cat, Sophie.
Elisa and the Swans
Lea is so excited to be involved in such an inspiring and awesome podcast. Lea is an actor, writer, and singer, based in New York. She trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, and has performed at regional theaters across the US, and all around NYC. She studied playwrighting with Arlene Hutton at the prestigious Barrow Group. Thanks to the wonderful cast and crew—and to you, dear listener!
Hansel & Gretel (& Minna)
Jennifer is a director, an actress, a playwright, an Assistant Professor of theater at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and the co-Artistic Director of Open Door Theater in Montpelier, Vermont. She has directed and choreographed almost 60 productions (favorites include Urinetown, Proof, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and The 25th Annual Putnam Co. Spelling Bee), performed in more than 30 (Mrs. Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer and Kate in The Taming of the Shrew), recorded vocal tracks for various albums, and written several plays and musicals. Earlier in her career she created the theater company: New Mermaid Players in Philadelphia, PA and served as its Artistic Director for five seasons. She received an honors BA in Performance Studies from Bradford College and an MFA in Directing from Florida State University. She is also the proud mother of Madeleine Arden Sassaman who is the coolest person she knows.
Rudy the Female Reindeer
Delaney Yeager writes for TV and – occasionally – the stage. Her television credits include The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (for which she won 1 Emmy and 1 Peabody), The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Approval Matrix, and a kids’ sketch show – The Who Was? Show – coming to Netflix in January! She is currently looking for work. If you know of anything, slide into her DM’s. Twitter: @delaney_yeager