Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko / Playwright
Trans, queer, NB, African, poet-playwright-fiction-essayist NICK HADIKWA MWALUKO: Plays include: 37, S.T.A.R: Marsha P. Johnson; two queer African trilogies Waafrika
and Waafrika 123
; the QTPOC trans masculine S/He:THEY/THEM;
the queer apocalypse Homeless in the AfterLife; Blueprint for an African Lesbian
; SH/eroe; Asymmetrical We
; Brotherly Love; Trailer Park Tundra; Once A Man Always A Man; Mama Afrika; Queering MacBeth; Life Is About the Kill; That Day God Visits You; Ata; To Dyke Trans; Gayze
and many more. Residencies include Resilience and Development (R&D) Writers’ Lab
with Crowded Fire Theater Company
in San Francisco; New York City’s EWG (Emerging Writers’ Group)
at the Public Theater
sponsored by Time Warner;
New York City’s Groundbreakers Group, Djerassi Artist Residency
in northern California, Freedom Train Productions, Ragged Wing Ensemble
and more. Nick is a two-time recipient of the Creativity Fund
issued by the Public Theater
and Time Warner,
and a 2017 Spring grantee of a Theatre Bay Area
) Individual Artist Cash grant
. Nick graduated Magna Cum Laude
at Columbia University
and completed an MFA at Columbia University
as a Point Scholar
, the nation’s largest LGBTQIA scholarship fund, and Columbia University Fellowship
Lisa Evans / Director
Lisa Evans is a black non-binary actor, poet, and cultural worker and a lover of bad horror movies and good comics.
They have worked with several different Bay Area youth development and arts organizations including Youth Uprising, the QT Network of Alameda County, Peacock Rebellion, Destiny Arts Center, The California Shakespeare Theater and more.
They can be seen in award winning filmmaker Cheryl Dunye’s short film Black Is Blue. Lisa was also a 2016 YBCA Fellow and is the co-founder of both the How Spirit Moves Us Project, a healing arts project focused on using performance art to celebrate the struggles, resistance and resilience of Black Queer and Trans folks, and the #BreakingtheBinary Project, a initiative that works with theater arts organizations across the United States to create sustainable practices for TGNCNB2-S (trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary, Two Spirit) inclusion.
Kristoffer Barrera / Sound, Composer & Stage Manager
Kristoffer Barrera set foot on his theatrical journey at Laney College in Oakland as a generation one Fusion Theater member. He has collaborated on and off stage with many East Bay and SF theater companies and is honored to throw down as TheatreFIRST’s production manager and resident sound designer for another exciting season. He says this cast and crew is cooking up the goodness!
Regina Evans / Costume
Regina Y. Evans is the owner of Regina’s Door, an Oakland based social enterprise vintage clothing store which operates as a creative arts healing and sanctuary space for survivors of sex trafficking and young artists. Regina’s Door was named 2015 Social Changemaker, Oakland Indie Awards, 2016 Nancy’s Hero (Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley), and received a 2017 Oakland City Council Commendation in celebration of Small Business Week. As a Modern Day Abolitionist, Ms. Evans is a member of the AC United Council, and the CSEC Program Council/Claire’s House Safehouse (Catholic Charities). She was honored to be a speaker and delegate at the 2017 United Nations 61st Commission on the Status of Women.
Ms. Evans is an award winning social justice poet, playwright and performer. Her stage play 52 Letters, which brings awareness to the fight against modern day slavery, was honored to win a Best of SF Fringe Festival Award, 2013. She is the Creative Director and Costumer for CEREMONY a theatrical ritual troupe bringing healing to survivors of sex trafficking, and a member of House Full Of Black Women (A multi site performance ritual project that addresses the displacement, well being and sex trafficking of Black girls and women.). Ms. Evans is a board member of The Flight Deck Performing Arts Space, Oakland, Ca., and the costume designer for the Lower Bottom Playaz Theater, Oakland, Ca.
Stephanie Anne Johnson / Light
I am a second-generation theater practitioner (my mother worked with The American Negro Theater in N.Y.) who has been a lighting designer working locally, nationally, and internationally for over forty years. Locally, I have worked with Cultural Odyssey, Afro Solo, Ubuntu Theatre, and many other groups. My designs have been seen in Holland, India, France, Italy, and Canada.
My mixed media art work was exhibited in two one-person shows in San Francisco. I have also written and performed a one-person show entitled Every Twenty-One Days: Cancer, Yoga, and Me. In the realm of education, I am a professor and founding faculty member of the Visual and Public Art Department at Cal State University, Monterey Bay.
I serve on TheatreFirst’s Board of Creative Development. WAAFRIKA
is my sixth production with this group. Recently I was nominated for two awards in lighting design excellence: by Theatre Bay Area (TBA) for HeLa
which was produced at TheatreFirst, and by the Bay Area Critic Circles for Ubuntu Theater’s production of To The Bone
My work can be seen online at www.lightessencedesign.com
Celeste Martore / Scenic & Properties
Celeste Martore is an art director/ set designer in the Bay and LA. Originally from San Francisco, Martore holds a BA in Environmental Design from the University of California, Berkeley and is a Cal Women’s Soccer Alum. Her artistic sensibilities draw from afrofuturism in literature & film, and the cubism movement in painting. Her work explores world-making through abstract spatial forms and the possibility of stretching imagination through object and image distortion.
Randy Wong-Westbrooke / Scenic & Properties
Randy Wong-Westbrooke is a local scenic designer born and raised in the Bay Area. Driven by their own identity as a multiple minority person and desire to bring unheard voices from around the world to various audiences, they seek opportunities to work with diverse creative teams to tell relevant, impactful, and intersectional stories. Local credits include: Madame Ho (Eugenie Chan Theater Projects), The Crucible (Los Altos Stage Company), MacBitch (The Breadbox), Ghost Limb (Brava), brownsville song (b-side for tray) (Shotgun Players), Beneath the Tall Tree (TheatreFIRST), Apocalypse, Please (PianoFight), dark is a different beast (6NewPlays), Taming of the Shrew (ACT M.F.A. Program), Stories High XVI (Bindlestiff Studio), Avant GardARAMA! (Cutting Ball). They are proud to be a resident designer at TheatreFIRST. They have also been a scenic art assistant in Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s F.A.I.R. Program and a mentee in the USITT Gateway Program. Education: Ithaca College, B.F.A. rwwestbrooke.com
Tierra Allen / Assistant Director, Choreographer
TIERRA ALLEN uses live performance to make her ancestors and descendants proud. She’s directed for PlayGround and Playwrights Foundation and has devised original works with her theater collective, The Bonfire Makers: WE GO BOOM!
, which explored the impact of the tech industry on Oakland, and PLACE to LAND (an oakland love story)
, which examined Oakland’s histories of displacement and how to make its ideal future. She won an Isadora Duncan “Izzie” Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Company Performance for her role as Babygirl in An OPEN LOVE LETTER to Black Fathers: A Choreopoem
, earned a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination for her role in The Farm
at TheatreFIRST, and has performed at the Black Choreographers Festival, Dance Brigade’s Dance Mission D.I.R.T. (Dance in Revolt(ing) Times) Festival, New Conservatory Theatre Centre, the One-Minute Play Festival at Z Space, Bay Area Children’s Theatre, and more. Tierra is one of the 13-member Coalition of Black Women Professional Theatre Makers who organized against antiblackness and rape culture perpetuated by Marin Theatre Company’s production of Thomas and Sally
. As Community Discussion Coordinator at TheatreFIRST and Artistic Engagement Manager at Cal Shakes, she bridges performance, audience, and activism to further social change. She holds a B.A. in Theater & Dance with concentrations in Black Studies and English from Amherst College, where she graduated magna cum laude
JahniahOmi Bahari / Assistant Costume Designer
JahniahOmi Bahari is a multifaceted spirit artist/medicine woman infused dancer/choreographer, musician/producer, designer, teacher, sound healer, photographer rooted in Oakland CA.
Elena Wright / Fight Director
Elena Wright is a bay area actor, teacher, and director.
She has taught and/or directed for All Terrain Theatre, San Francisco Shakespeare, University of Washington, Napa Valley College, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Shakespeare Theatre, Laney College, Oakland Technical High School and Redwood High School among others.
Some of the companies she has performed with are California Shakespeare Theatre, Shotgun Players, Sonoma County Rep, B Street Theatre, Marin Shakespeare, Capital Stage, Symmetry Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare, Foothill Theatre, and Commonwealth Shakespeare. She is a company member of Playground, BA Northeastern University, MFA University of Washington.
Vanessa Rochelle Lewis / Intimacy Facilitator