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Thursday, January 21 at 7:00 p.m.
The Festival begins with Celebrating Community Voices, an evening of short works created by San Diego residents through the Globe’s arts engagement programs Community Voices and coLAB. The evening will include works by Queen Kandi Colke, KishaLynn (“KL”) Moore Elliott, Jonathan Hammond, and Thelma Virata de Castro. The readings will be directed by Freedome Bradley-Ballentine, Katherine Harroff, Lamar Perry, and Gerardo Flores Tonella. The Community Voices and coLAB initiatives are play-development workshops that provide professional theatre-making skills to select San Diego communities. This evening is a curated collection of some of the best short scripts developed in these programs.
Only one ticket per household is needed.
Queen Kandi Cole (Playwright, Celebrating Community Voices) is a Los Angeles–bred international recording artist. Her career got its start among the greats at Project Blowed, where she learned to write verses, understand cadence, and sharpen her delivery. After years of honing her craft, she emerged as a hip-hop artist who spoke first-rate lyrics that often revolved around themes of respect and empowerment. As she began to shake up the city with commanding performances, it came as she carried herself as such and built a reputation that solidified her as a force to be reckoned with. Consistency and hard work have put Queen Kandi Cole on stages across the U.S., India, France, Amsterdam, and Spain, to name a few. With a storied career, she is committed now more than ever to move the culture forward and be the voice for the unheard.
KishaLynn (“KL”) Moore Elliott (Playwright, Celebrating Community Voices) is a playwright, author, creative entrepreneur, and Co-Founder of the Black Leadership and Abundance Center (www.BLAAC.life). She has published A D.R.E.A.M. Comes True: Five Steps to Planning and Creating Your Personal Success Story NOW!, a bestselling self-help ebook, and CHILDish: Stories from the Life of a Young Black Girl (www.childishthebook.com), which is based on true stories from her childhood. She developed her first professional play, No Easy Exits, by participating in the SoulKiss Theater Playwriting Community Voices Workshop. Her play addresses the challenges of coming out as a lesbian. She currently lives in San Diego with her wife and son. She graduated from Spelman College in 2002.
Jonathan Hammond (Playwright, Celebrating Community Voices) is a director, editor, and writer of a dozen films, accruing a Pacific Southwest Emmy Award nomination; San Diego Film Award for Best Writer and nominations for Best Director and Picture; two consecutive San Diego Film Con Challenge wins for Best Film; four San Diego 48 Hour Film Project Audience Awards; Four Points Film Project Award for Best Ensemble Acting; San Diego CityBeat “Best Of” selection; three Indie Short Fest Awards including Best Screenplay; two KPBS Explorer designations; Women Making a Scene International Film Project winner for Best Screenplay; and grants from National Endowment for the Arts and Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice. He is also the winner of Outstanding Writing for 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival. He is a teaching artist and producer with So Say We All. He attended University of Illinois and New York University Tisch School of the Arts before moving to San Diego.
Thelma Virata de Castro (Playwright, Celebrating Community Voices) has written works performed by Asian Story Theater, OnStage Playhouse, The Old Globe, Logan Squared Productions, Circle Circle dot dot, and others. She was a Creative Catalyst Fellow with The San Diego Foundation, and she has worked on several California Humanities projects, including the upcoming Saving Stories with New Village Arts. She is a San Diego Dramatists Guild Ambassador, a teaching artist for Playwrights Project, and the founder of San Diego Playwrights. She is a Hedgebrook alumna, and she attended A Room of Her Own Foundation’s retreat. The San Diego Union-Tribune included her in its list of “Phenomenal San Diego Women.”
Freedome Bradley-Ballentine (Co-Director, Celebrating Community Voices), The Old Globe’s Associate Artistic Director and its first Director of Arts Engagement, has been in San Diego for five years, but his impact on the community has been unforgettable. His work forges social connections with economically, geographically, and culturally diverse communities throughout the county, making the Globe truly accessible for all and facilitating the Globe’s commitment of making theatre matter to more people. Since joining the Globe, he has implemented dozens of new in-person and online programs, from Reflecting Shakespeare for people experiencing incarceration, to free Community Voices playwriting workshops, and art collaborations with artists and community called coLAB. Other innovative programs include Word Up!, Bard Basics, Behind the Curtain, Breaking Bread, and the Shakespeare in Prisons Conference 2018. He leads the free Globe for All Tour, which brings professional Shakespeare to underserved and diverse multigenerational audiences in neighborhoods throughout the region. It is now a national model for accessible theatre. On campus, he developed AXIS plaza programs, Pam Farr Summer Shakespeare Studio for teens, and Globe Learning professional development opportunities; he transformed Behind-the-Scenes Tours, Free Student and Senior Matinees, Sensory-Friendly Initiatives, and School in the Park; and he helped start the Technical Center internships and professional development programs. Prior to his arrival in San Diego, Bradley-Ballentine led the theatrical program for SummerStage and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater in Central Park, both part of CityParks Foundation. He was also Creative Director of Creative Stages Entertainment, developing and producing Off Broadway theatre. He holds an M.F.A. in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College and a B.A. in Education from New York University, and he served in the United States Peace Corps in Ethiopia.
Katherine Harroff (Co-Director, Celebrating Community Voices) has worked with The Old Globe since 2011, when she first originated the Community Voices playwriting workshop. From 2011 to 2014 Harroff instructed and produced short-play workshops and presentations throughout San Diego County. In 2016 she rejoined the Globe and the newly formed Arts Engagement Department under the helm of Freedome Bradley-Ballentine and began managing the Community Voices program as it expanded to new genres of performance development. In 2016 she developed and implemented the coLAB workshop program, an offering that partners communities with professional devising artists, with a culminating goal of producing an original play collaboratively. In 2017 she took over producing the Globe plaza performing arts series AXIS and has since curated over 15 different community-driven events for large Balboa Park–attending audiences. Harroff is also a playwright, director, and performing artist. In her spare time she acts as Artistic Director and Head Playwright for the local community-based theatre company Circle Circle dot dot. In 2019 she was awarded a local playwright commission from The Old Globe.
Lamar Perry (he/him/his) (Co-Director, Celebrating Community Voices; Co-Director, An Evening with the San Diego Black Artists Collective) is a Queer Black director, producer, and writer originally from Windsor, Connecticut. In addition to working as a freelance director and educator, he currently serves as the Globe’s Artistic Associate, having formerly served as Producing Associate at Classical Theatre of Harlem. His recent projects include the podcast Gather Round! (The Old Globe) and audio plays Punchbowl Spaces and The Family Sound (Blindspot Collective/La Jolla Playhouse). Recently he taught, directed, and conducted a semester-long devised-theatre project at UC San Diego in their graduate acting program with their second-year M.F.A. acting candidates. He is a 2020–2021 Roundabout Theatre Company Directors Group member and a 2020 National Alliance for Musical Theatre Observer. Perry was recently featured in American Theatre magazine’s “Roll Call: People to Watch” and is an alum of Schusterman Family Foundation’s REALITY Storytellers program (2019). He holds a bachelor of science from St. John’s University and is an alum of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.