Awele is thrilled to be working on her second production with TheatreFIRST! She celebrates what it means to be human, in the moment, speaking your truth, forgiving, and a social justice warrior! She gives honor to the ancestors for their blessings. Her African ancestry DNA is Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Benin, Mali and Bantu. Some of her favorite performances include: the world premiere of Nambi E. Kelley’s XTIGONE (Spirit/Old blind Woman) at African American Shakespeare Company, The Winter’s Tale (Antigonous/Old Shepard), directed by L. Peter Callender, City Council Meeting (Aide/ensemble) co-created by Erika Chong Such, Mallory Catlett, & Aaron Landsman, , Philip Gan Kotanda’s The Wash, Jamaican Project (Wife) with Carl Lumbly, The Story directed by Margo Hall (Detective/ensemble) at SF Playhouse, The Othello Papers (Cleopatra/Ensemble) by Robert Henry Johnson, and her internationally acclaimed solo show, Rage Is Not A 1-Day Thing! (Ellen Sebastian Chang /Benny Sato Ambush), past readings of Waafrika 123 at the Breaking the Binary Symposium (CalShakes/Berkeley Rep), and CalShakes’ Glass Menagerie (Amanda understudy).
“She has mesmerized audiences around the world as a storyteller from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Musikverein in Vienna, Tsinchu Teacher’s College in Taiwan, Suriname (U.S. Dept. of State Tour), Russia, Australia, France, Canada to TED-Ed, and Stanford University. Her featured award-winning CDs include, Tell That Tale Again, This Land Is Your Land, plus the Oregon Public Radio recording of The Undiscovered Explorer: Imagining York with Danny Glover, and Trailblazers: African Americans in the California Gold Rush. She is a voice-over artist/narrator in an episode of the award-winning documentary, Have You Heard From Johannesburg and the voice of Rose on PlayStation2, Legend of the Dragon. Film credits include Ella Hill Hutch in MILK (Gus Van Sant, FOCUS Films. Awele is proud of her high school drama students who were invited to perform in Edinburgh Scotland August 2017. Visit Awele.com
Leela Kiyawat / Dee
Leela Kiyawat is so excited to be a part of this production! She is fifteen years old and is a sophomore at Oakland School for the Arts, where she is in the Playwriting/Directing department. Her past work includes Fiddler on the Roof
(Sprintze), The Wiz, The Sound of Music, and The Little Mermaid
with Berkeley Playhouse, and Footloose
(Wendy Jo), A Midsummer Night’s Dream
, Once upon a mattress
, and Broadway on Broadway
with Oakland School for the Arts. She recently wrote the script for and directed a thirty minute adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s All Summer in a Day,
which was produced on the Ashby Stage. Leela is the Education Director for Bay Area Zeta Players, a teen run theatre company. Leela sends her love to her family, friends, and her dog, Nobi. Enjoy the show!
Unity Tambellini-Smith / Tara
Unity is thrilled to be taking part in developing and acting in her first professional show, The People’s History of Next
. She is a Junior at Contra Costa School of Performing Arts in Walnut Creek, California, where she is majoring in Theatre. She has been acting since age six. Some of her past roles include Sandy in Grease
, Therapist and “A” in Metamorphoses
, and Martha in The Secret Garden
. In addition to theatre she enjoys singing, writing, drawing and snuggling her cat, Rory. She would like to give special thanks to her theatre teachers, Directors AeJay Mitchell and Melissa Martinez, for helping shape her as an artist, and also to Jon Tracy and TheatreFirst for making this wonderful opportunity possible. Lastly, she would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support.