AeJay Marquis Mitchell (They/Them) is a multi-hyphenate performance artist, scholar, educator, and activist whose work centers the decolonization of the theatrical canon, the black avant-garde, and queer political performance practice. They were recently witnessed in the critically acclaimed The Ni¿¿er Lovers at The Magic Theatre and served as the co-director, choreographer, and vocal arranger for the world premiere of Ryan M. Luevano’s Dance Plague. Some of their favorite creative projects include Antigonick and Marisol with The Black Box @ SPA, The Legend of Pink, Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Sister Act with Theatre Rhinoceros, as well as Robert O’Hara’s Booty Candy and American Ma(ul) at the Brava Theatre with BACCE. They serve as an Artistic Producer at Playwright’s Foundation, and they are a member of the Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience collective, Omega Delta Kappa Honor Society, Literary Manager and Dramaturgs of the Americas, and Actor’s Equity.
When Cathleen Riddley (she/her) was a wee one, her first-grade teacher sent her to the Community Playhouse in Des Moines, Iowa, where she played Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, her very first show, and discovered that a life in art was what her heart wanted. Since then, she has become a multiple award-winning actor, having performed at ACT, The Aurora Theatre, SF Playhouse, Marin Shakespeare Company, The Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Theatreworks, Shotgun Players, and Cal Shakes, to name a few. She has been fortunate to have portrayed characters outside what one might expect for her, including a lion, a Pirate King, an Aunt Jemima cookie jar, every role in Hamlet, and the personification of addiction. She is a certified ASL Interpreter, has an MA from UPenn, and is a member of the first cohort of Making Good Trouble. She is a proud Black elder, loving mother, loyal friend, fierce advocate, lover of life, truth-teller, sensitive soul, adventurous spirit, and believer that art is the ultimate healer.
Elena Wright (she/they) is a Bay Area actor, educator, and fight/intimacy director. As an actor they have worked at SPARC, TheatreWorks, Marin Shakespeare, SF Playhouse, Capital Stage, California Shakespeare Theatre, Pacific Repertory Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare, Marin Theatre Company, Commonwealth Shakespeare, CentralWorks, Shotgun Players, and B Street Theatre among others. Elena has designed violence and/or intimacy for SF Playhouse, Santa Clara University, Chabot College, Left Edge Theatre, The Pear Theatre, Aurora Theatre, College of Marin, Shotgun Players, AlterTheatre, TheatreFirst, Custom Made, Sonoma State University, Landmark Musical Theatre, City Lights Theatre, Role Players Ensemble, Ross Valley Players, Marin Shakespeare Company, and Laney College among others. Elena received their MFA in acting from the University of Washington, and a BS in theatre from Northeastern University and is a teacher with Dueling Arts International. They are a Playground and Actor’s Equity member.
Joey Pagaduan is an actor, writer, and storyteller. He was introduced to Shakespeare and theatre quite by accident, fell in love, and hasn’t looked back. After playing various roles in many productions, Joey decided to expand his experience and impact in the space. He founded Performances @ Solano to give incarcerated theatre artists, poets, and musicians opportunities to write, workshop, and perform their original works. For P@S, he wrote, directed, and curated several short plays. Joey’s daily work at a social justice non-profit is close to his heart. He and the team he works with provide wrap-around services and housing to formerly incarcerated people. Their aim is not just reentry into the community, but to build community. He believes in the restorative power of art, that everyone has a story, and that taking control of their narrative is empowering, healing, and builds stronger relationships. Joey lives in Berkeley and can often be found running for the hills.
Leontyne Mbele-Mbong is a long-time Bay Area actress. Recent performances include Cyrano and Hurricane Diane at the Aurora Theatre, Lear at CalShakes (BATCC award for Goneril). She has also performed around the Bay Area at A.C.T., African-American Shakespeare Company (TBA award for Medea), Berkeley Rep, Central Works, TheatreFirst, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and Shotgun Players, as well as regionally at the Guthrie in Minneapolis, MN and TheatreSquared in Fayetteville, AK. Leontyne is a proud founding member of the Actors’ Reading Collective with whom she serves as resident production coordinator. She has also worked around the theater arena as production manager and stage manager, usher, box office treasurer, President and Secretary-Treasurer of the FOH Union Local B18, and Board Member. Leontyne holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from Macalester College.
Michael Torres, recently played Claudius and the Ghost in Jon Tracy’s adaptation of Hamlet at Marin Shakespeare. Also under Mr. Tracy’s direction Michael played Agamemnon in his adaptation of the Iliad, In The Wound: The Salt Plays Part 1 and as Caliban in The Tempest (Marin Shakes). In ‘96, he co-founded Campo Santo where he originated roles for Dave Eggers, Denis Johnson, Jose Rivera, Jessica Hagedorn, Octavio Solis and more. An award winning actor, Michael has played at The Aurora Theatre, The San Francisco Playhouse, The Shotgun Players, Crowded Fire, Word for Word, Berkeley Repertory, Teatro Campesino, California Shakespeare, The Magic, and TheatreFirst among others and has toured the U.S.A. and Europe.. During the pandemic Michael streamed for Playground Disbelief: a Cassandra Tale playing Apollo and El Henry in Herbert Siguenza’s El Henry for ARC. He co-directed with Elena Wright The Farm by Jon Tracy for TheatreFirst. Film wise, you can see him in About Cherry as Po and as Crow in The Other Barrio. Michael is the Chair of the Laney College Theatre Arts Department where he founded The Fusion Theatre Project and DaMTspace. Michael holds a BA from San Francisco State and an MFA from the University of California at San Diego.
Nick spent many formative years as a young actor in the Bay. Originally from San Francisco, he started acting in Fairfield, learning from Terry Rucker, professors at the Actors Training Program at Solano Community College, and Jon Tracy. Nick trained at the California State Summer School for the Arts, A.C.T., Santa Clara University, and UCLA where he earned his degree. He studied acting at various studios in Los Angeles under Ivanna Chubbuck, Larry Moss, Lesly Kahn, and Margie Haber. He studied Shakespeare under Aldo Billingslea, Joe Olivieri, and Mark Rylance. In addition to his acting work in film and television, Nick became a member of Theatre West, Los Angeles’ longest running theatre. He served on its artistic board, moderated the Shakespeare and acting workshops, and created several original roles, one of which he premiered Off-Broadway. He continues to adapt Shakespeare for film and television and is thrilled he had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with Jon on Hamlet, and now for the chance to have an artistic home with Marin Shakes alongside such incredible artists.
Nina Ball (she/ her) is a scenic designer, visual artist, and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been seen at American Conservatory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Rep., St. Louis Rep., Theatreworks, California Shakespeare Theater, Shotgun Players, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, among many others. Recent productions include the west coast premiere of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 at Shotgun Players (nominated for a SFBACC Award), Romeo and Juliet, How I Learned What I Learned (transferred to Seattle Rep), and Confederates (transferred to St. Louis Rep) at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Hamlet and Twelfth Night at Marin Shakespeare Company, and In Every Generation at Theatreworks. Other awards include TBA awards for Blasted at Shotgun Players and The Nether at SF Playhouse. SFBACC awards for My Fair Lady at SF Playhouse, Metamorphosis at the Aurora. Ms. Ball is also a production designer and has worked on numerous film, TV and commercial productions locally and in LA. Notable projects include Pushing Dead, by Tom Brown, and A Blank Slate, by Sara Eliassen. She received her MFA in Scenic Design with a Costume Design secondary from San Francisco State University. Ms. Ball holds a bachelor degree in biology with an emphasis in marine ecology from UC Santa Cruz and studied visual art and photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. Ms. Ball has been a company member at Shotgun Players in Berkeley since 2009 and is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. She teaches Scenic Design at Stanford University.
Stevie DeMott (she/they) is an actor, teacher, and devised theater maker. She graduated summa cum laude from SFSU with a B.A. in Theater Arts and Creative Writing, and received her M.F.A from the American Conservatory Theater. She has performed with A.C.T., Magic Theatre, Marin Shakespeare Company, TheatreFirst, Word For Word, and San Francisco’s award winning devised theater company, Mugwumpin, among others. Favorite roles include Viola in Twelfth Night, Horatio and Guildenstern in Hamlet, May in Fool For Love, Sara in Stop Kiss, Orlando in Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Mercutio in Romeo & Juliet. Stevie has taught for CIIS, specifically at Burning Man exploring devising theater under extreme conditions, and for A.C.T.’s YC and Studio programs. She took part in Jon Tracy’s first Groundswell intensive in San Miguel de Allende, and developed and performed a piece for SMA’s theater festival, TEATRAL.