ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Erika Dickerson-Despenza (Playwright)
Erika Dickerson-Despenza is a Blk, queer feminist poet-playwright and cultural-memory worker from Chicago, Illinois. She is a 2020 Grist 50 Fixer and was a National Arts & Culture Delegate for the U.S. Water Alliance's One Water Summit 2019. Awards: Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award (2020), Thom Thomas Award (2020), Lilly Award (2020), Princess Grace Playwriting Award (2019). Residencies & Fellowships: Tow Playwright-in-Residence at The Public Theater (2019-2020), New York Stage and Film Fellow-in-Residence (2019), New Harmony Project Writer-in Residence (2019), Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow (2018-2019), The Lark Van Lier New Voices Fellow (2018). Communities: BYP100 Squad Member, Ars Nova Play Group (2019-2021), Youngblood Collective (EST). Commissions: The Public Theater, Studio Theatre & Williamstown Theatre Festival. Productions: cullud wattah (2019 Kilroys List) originally slated at The Public Theater, 2020; Victory Gardens Theater, 2021. Currently, Erika is developing a 10-play Katrina Cycle, including SHADOW/LAND and [HIEROGLYPH] (2019 Kilroys List), focused on the effects of Hurricane Katrina and its state-sanctioned, man-made disaster rippling in & beyond New Orleans.
CANDIS C. JONES (DIRECTOR)
Candis C. Jones is a director and rising artistic leader. Select credits include: Nike (A.C.T.-New Strands Festival), Visions From Eartha (Williamstown Theatre Residency), Eradication (Rattlestick-F*ck!ng Good Plays Fest.), Gloria (American Academy of Dramatic Arts), Cullud Wattah (The Lark), Awakened (NYU Grad Musical Theatre), The Fire This Time Fest (Kraine Theater), Name Calling (The Kennedy Center-Page to Stage ), Brother Rabbit (New Black Fest), Colony (The Movement/NYU Festival of Voices), 48hrs in Harlem (Harlem 9, NBT), The Homecoming Queen workshop (New Harmony Project), New Shoes (Drama League Directorfest), Morning in America (Primary Stages), Black Girl Magic (National Black Theatre), TEMBO! (Zanzibar International Film Fest). Assistant Director: Oedipus El Rey (The Public Theater), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (NY City Center), The Death of the Last Black Man (Signature Theatre). Awards and Fellowships: NY Women’s Foundation Lilly Award, Drama League Alum, Women’s Project Theater 2018-2020. Candis currently serves as the Playwrights Lab Manager at New Dramatists in NYC. www.candiscjones.com
STORI AYERS (MARION)
Stori Ayers is a New York--based actress, director and producer originally from Washington, DC. She has a passion for stories that challenge social norms, create conversations in the community, and ignite within her generation a spirit of activism. Stori is an original cast member and producer of Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root, winner of the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation Prize for its promotion of human rights. This past year she played Regina on the TBS hit series The Last O.G. starring Tiffany Haddish. Other acting credits include: The Christians (Chautauqua Theater Company); Gem of the Ocean (Round House Theatre); Travisville (Ensemble Studio Theatre, NYC); A Raisin in the Sun (Indiana Repertory Theatre & Syracuse Stage); Foster Mom (Premiere Stages); Detroit '67 (Chautauqua Theater Company); Barbecue (Pennsylvania Centre Stage); Jitney (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); Yellowman (Anacostia Playhouse); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre, Pennsylvania Centre Stage, Grahamstown Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide Fringe Festival); Father Comes Home From the Wars Parts 1, 2 and 3 (Round House Theatre); Doubt; Love's Labours Lost; In the Red and Brown Water (Pennsylvania Centre Stage); and An Adult Evening of Shel Silverstein; Voodoo, Sex, & Magic (Horizon Theatre).
Lizan Mitchell (Big Ma)
Lizan Mitchell has performed on Broadway in 'Electra', 'Having Our Say', 'So Long on Lonely Street'; Off Broadway in 'Passage','The First Noel',' brownsville song', Cell, Rosmersholm, Passage, Gum, Ma Rose, Salt; in Regional Theater in 'Skeleton Crew', Richard lll, 'A Raisin in the Sun'(Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress), 'The Tempest', 'The House That Will Not Stand','Dead and Breathing'(UK premiere), The Trip to Bountiful'; on Film and Television in 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt', 'Detroit', 'Deadbeat', 'John Adams', 'The Good Wife', 'Law&Order', 'The Human Stain','Sesame Street', 'The Wire'.
Starr Kirkland (Stage Directions, Understudy)
Starr Kirkland is an actor and spoken word artist from California based in New York. Recent and favorite credits include TJ loves Sally 4 Ever (Jack), Trapt (Joe’s Pub), of the woman…(Normal Ave), HOTTENTOTTED (The Tank), Julius Caesar (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), Hephaestus (LPAC), The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Columbia Stages), and The Average-Sized Mermaid (State of Play). She works with Realize Your Beauty promoting self-esteem and positive body image through theatre arts, and performs an original one-woman show promoting literacy at The Morgan Library and Museum as Belle da Costa Greene. Thanks, Loves! www.starrkirkland.com
Andrea Patterson (Ainee)
Andrea...self described as a human/woman/artist who’s recently fought a hard battle to see herself for herself. To fill Ainee’s shoes meant filling her own shoes with her own feet. Andrea has done an array of theatre in NYC and regionally as well as television. Current day she is first herself, then a human trying to be. Ainee gave Andrea the perfect opportunity to try and be honest. This journey ironically years in the making yet at the beginning. From Detroit soil with roots grown in Highland Park. Andrea joins this cast with a full heart possessing the gift of Love and Gratitude.
Alicia Pilgrim (Plum)
Alicia Pilgrim was born and raised in Washington, DC. This past May, she earned her BFA at SUNY Purchase. Before attending SUNY Purchase. Alicia attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts for Theatre. At Ellington, she was able to learn the moral obligations of being an actor. Alicia would love to thank her ancestors, family, and friends for their endless love and support.
Renika Williams (Reesee)
Renika Williams is a New York based actor originally from Dayton, Ohio. She recently made her Off- Broadway Debut in ALL THE NATALIE PORTMANS by C.A. Johnson at MCC Theater. Off Broadway: THE CLIMB (Cherry Lane Theatre), SWEET (National Black Theatre) Select Regional Theatre: The World Premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s MUD ROW (People’s Light Theatre), PIPELINE (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville & Indiana Repertory Theatre), Toni Morrison’s THE BLUEST EYE (Arden Theatre Company), ANTIGONE (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), & A RAISIN IN THE SUN (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company). Her television debut will be on the series INTRUSION in 2021 on all streaming platforms. BFA in Acting from Wright State University www.renikawilliams1.com Matthews 5:14.