BY CLEAVON SMITH | DEVELOPED & DIRECTED BY CATHLEEN RIDDLEY
VISUAL DESIGN BY TROY ROCKETT
A group of activists have a major problem: their leader, Affinity, has abandoned them just when the group was about to launch their major initiative. Their planning sessions on Zoom disintegrate into fights about who’s responsible for Affinity’s leaving. Is the success of the initiative compromised? Will they ever work with Affinity again?
The story will be told in three chapters over the season, with the full production in the spring.
ASL interpretation will be provided.
Affinity is one of six new commissions told episodically through our season. From October to June, audiences will join characters and artists for intimate stories told in chapters through a serialized format, delivered to you online each month.
MEET THE CREATIVE TEAM
CLEAVON SMITH (HE/HIM/HIS) PLAYWRIGHT
Cleavon Smith is the playwright in residence at TheatreFIRST. His credits include Vs. and The Last Sermon of Sister Imani as well as the one-act, “Just One Day” featured in the Theatre Bay Area award-winning anthology production Between Us. He’s won a PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award and had work featured in UC Berkeley’s New Play Reading Series, Jeffrey Lo’s annual Bench Project, the Ohlone College Playwrights Festival, and Utopia Theatre Project productions. Cleavon was a finalist for the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’s 2018 Playwrights Festival and is the artist mentor for Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Young Writers of Color Collective. You can also listen to Cleavon’s work in collaboration with Lauren Gunderson and Jonathan Spector in the audio drama The Flats, featured in Aurora Theatre Company’s 2020-21 season.
CATHLEEN RIDDLEY (SHE/HER/HERS) DIRECTOR/DEVELOPER
Cathleen Riddley is proud to be a TheatreFirst company member. She is an award-winning Bay Area actor whose favorite roles include Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet at Queen Mab Productions, every role in Hamlet, Lena in Brownsville Song: b side for tray, at Shotgun Players, Nurse in Medea at African American Shakes, Mrs. Price in Tree at SF Playhouse directed by Jon Tracy, and Azucar in Bondage by Star Finch at Alter Theater. Cathleen is a member of AEA and TBA, and is also a company member with Shotgun Players and PlayGround. She is an alumna of The Juilliard School, an ASL Interpreter and has an MA in Sociology from UPenn. Cathleen is proud to be a member of the Coalition of Black Women Professional Theatre Makers in the Bay Area, who are working to make meaningful change in our theatre community and speak truth to power.. She loves interacting with audience members after powerful shows by facilitating post-show conversations. She is committed to engaging with diverse perspectives while amplifying marginalized voices in a quest for a deeper understanding of one another.
TROY ROCKETT (HE/HIM/HIS) VISUAL DESIGN
Troy Rockett is a multidisciplinary artist and theatre-maker based in Oakland California. In 2012 Troy was part of a community based learning project with the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project and since then has prioritized collaborating with BIPOC and LGBT+ productions and performance ensembles. He is the current Box Office/Patron Services Manager and a Visual Designer with TheatreFIRST. In the past he has been a part of the ticketing team with SF Frameline, Crowded Fire and Golden Thread and has been on production crews at Destiny Arts, Brava Theater, Mills College, San Francisco State and with a number of independent artists of whom he has built artistic relationships with.