GUEST ARTISTS

 

Gritty City Repertory is honored to produce staged readings of new work with powerful playwrights, actors, designers, and theatre-makers from the Bay Area and beyond.

JANELLE AGUIRRE
JANELLE AGUIRRE

Actor for Flight

SHAHD ELKHIER
SHAHD ELKHIER

Actor for Circles

RACHEL FINLEY
RACHEL FINLEY

Dialect Coach for Culture Shock

AMY MARIE HAVEN
AMY MARIE HAVEN

Director for TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever

HALILI KNOX
HALILI KNOX

Actor for Culture Shock

OWALA MAIMA
OWALA MAIMA

Actor for Culture Shock

Gloria Majule
Gloria Majule

Playwright for Culture Shock

NICK MALAKHOW
NICK MALAKHOW

Playwright for Seeing Eye

AIDAA PEERZADA
AIDAA PEERZADA

Director for Circles

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ

Actor for TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever

CLEAVON SMITH
CLEAVON SMITH

Playwright for Oakland Tales

Janelle Aguierre (Actor, Flight) is a native Bay Area theater artist and alumni of CSU East Bay's Theatre Program. Her most recent credits include playing Matilde in The Clean House (Altarena Playhouse), Jennifer in Let's Kill Jessica (Awesome Theater), and most recently this past summer as Verges in the virtual production of Much Ado About Nothing (Plethos Productions). She wants to thank Gritty City Rep for the opportunity to participate in this staged reading of Flight.

Shahd Elkhier (Actor, Circles) was Sudan born and Minnesota raised. She is the living definition of fresh off the boat. Her love for acting began in college while being an architecture major. Not long after her first acting class, she switched my major to acting. She loves telling stories and connecting with people. It's important to her to tell important stories that need to be heard. She's honored to be a part of this production!

Rachel Finley’s (Dialect Coach, Culture Shock) work includes spoken word poetry, stage, film and performance art.  Her most recent one-woman performance piece, American Bullet, funded in part and developed in collaboration with GableStage is set to be released on September 4, 2020 on their digital platforms as part of the Engage@Gablestage program.  Ms. Finley’s most recent stage appearance was as Lena in Mad Cow Theatre’s production of Boseman and Lena. Since the start of the pandemic, Rachel has remained active, performing in several online “staged” readings, including Play Development Project’s Touch the Moon, by Arianna Rose (appearing as Becca), and Mad Cow Theatre’s Science Play Festival by several playwrights (appearing as The Griot and Jen) among others.  She is currently awaiting continued filming of her lead role in the pilot of Motherless, a dramatic series and the short film The Sweetest Girl for which she serves as both the casting director and intimacy director.  Rachel Finley's professional directing career began in 2006 with Alliance Theatre Lab's production of Lee Blessing's Down the Road. Since then, she has directed numerous productions both on stage and on camera including her most recent productions, Venus by Susan Lori Parks at The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, For Colored Girls Who've Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enough by Ntozake Shange  at The Pompano Beach Cultural Arts Center and the pilot episode of The Jaxons, a family friendly sitcom produced by Pinnacle Productions.  Since the pandemic, Rachel has also directed Judge Mablean Said, by Darius Daughtry via Zoom for New City Players.  As a founding member of the poetry performance troupe, Chaos Theory, Rachel co-wrote Unbroken, the group’s full-length performance piece which premiered at Mainstage Playhouse in 2016. She was Florida’s first State Poetry Slam Champion and has ranked in the top 3 at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam.  She has also served as a screenwriter on several projects for 1310 Bandits and Pinnacle Productions.  Rachel made her first inraods into the world of dialect coaching in 2018 with Theatre Lab’s staged reading of Andrea Stolowitz The Berlin Diaries.  Most recently, it was her great honor to serve as the dialect coach for Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre’s Zoom Reading of Gloria Majule’s Culture Shock.  Ms. Finley's work has been described as bold, provocative, entertaining and thought-provoking.  You can find her latest productions and class offerings at RachelFinleyArts.com and follow her on Facebook (Rachel “Flow Diva” Finley) Instagram (@RachelFinleyArts) and Twitter (@FlowDivaFlow).

Amy Marie Haven (Director, TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever) is an acclaimed director, producer, actress and community builder. She has directed for and acted with many award-winning local companies including Cal Shakes, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Magic Theatre, The Quixote Project, We Players, Alter Theatre and Sleepwalkers Theatre. Her international experience includes Theatre of Heart and Four Larks Theatre in Melbourne, Australia; as well as youth street-theatre in Tulum, Mexico; and educational program creation at San Jeronimo Bilingual School in Cofradia, Honduras. Amy Marie is a proud UCSC grad, Associate Artistic Director of African-American Shakespeare Company, Co-founder of Tomorrow Youth Repertory, former Director of Theatre Programs at Throckmorton Theatre, & former Oakland School for the Arts faculty member.

Halili Knox (Actor, Culture Shock) is a versatile performing artist and, most recently, a member of the acting company for the 44th Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville (FLEX). She is an Associate Artist at Ubuntu Theater Project in Oakland where she last appeared in The Gospel of Loving Kindness (Theatre Bay Area Award nomination, Outstanding Female Actor). She has also appeared in Detroit '67 at Aurora Theatre Company (Bay Area Critics Circle Award nomination, Principal Actress in a Play) and Barbecue at SF Playhouse (Bay Area Critics Circle Award, Best Ensemble). Halili is an Emmy nominated television host who made her national debut on HGTV. In addition to stage and screen, she has performed internationally as a jazz vocalist.

Owala Maima (Actor, Culture Shock) is a black migrant, actor and writer currently based in Texas and NYC. She is a graduate of Columbia’s MFA acting program (2020) where her recent credits include Olivia, Twelfth Night (Classical Theatre of Harlem) and Hester, In the Blood (Columbia).

Gloria Majule (Playwright, Culture Shock) is is a playwright from Dodoma, Tanzania presently residing in New Haven, CT. She is an MFA Playwriting Candidate at the Yale School of Drama. Gloria holds a BA from Cornell University in Performing & Media Arts and Spanish. Selected plays include CULTURE SHOCK (Bay Area Playwrights Festival: Finalist), UHURU (f.k.a Tilted) (Aye Defy, Yale School of Drama) and LIFE SENTENCE (Schwartz Center For the Performing and Media Arts). Gloria is fluent in Kiswahili and is currently learning French. 

Nick Malakhow (Playwright, Seeing Eye) is a Dominican and Ukrainian writer and theater educator based in Boston. His full-length work includes SEEING EYE (developed with Victory Gardens, Fresh Ink, Actors Studio at Newburyport, finalist for the 2019 O'Neill NPC, the 2018 LTC/HowlRound Carnaval, and the 2020 In-Progress Reading Series at the Unicorn Theatre), A PICTURE OF TWO BOYS (developed with Abingdon Theatre Company, Skylight Theatre Company, the Quarantine Series), and GRIT (developed with Playhouse on Park, Fuse Theater, Theatre@First). His other work has been developed or produced by the Open Theatre Project, the Q Collective, and as part of the 2018 Boston Theater Marathon. Nick was a Company One Playlab Unit member for C1's 2019 season. He has also taught theater, English, and creative writing at the secondary level for over ten years in the greater Philly and Boston areas. He grew up in the diverse town of Teaneck, New Jersey, and has a BA from Swarthmore College and an MA from Emerson College.

Aidaa Peerzada (Director, Circles)  is an actor and writer who grew up between the suburbs of Baltimore, MD and the suburbs of Lahore, Pakistan. She is currently a recipient of the Theatre Bay Area’s Director’s Residency and is SF Bay Area Theatre Company’s Artistic Development Director. Aidaa studied at the Baltimore School for the Arts and went on to receive her BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University. While at CMU she Studied abroad at The Rhodope International Theatre Laboratory in Bulgaria and at The Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in Pakistan. She debuted her voice as a writer in Carnegie Mellon's "Playground" Festival with her play “Scheherizade” which and went on to the NY Fringe Festival. Workshops of her original work include: One Googol and One with SFBATCO, Grandma Science, with The Greenhouse Theatre Solo Lab, Shining; in development with The Ground and Field Theatre Festival at UC: Davis. She is currently co-writing the book of an original musical Sunflowered, in development with Northern Sky Theatre. As an actress Aidaa has performed with The Pittsburgh Public Theatre, The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, The Utah Shakespeare Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The American Players Theatre, Theatre Lila and and Quantum Theatre. Her on-camera credits include the HBO series Girls, the web series Blank My Life, as well as the independent films Gorenos, and Stay Home.

Francisco Rodriguez (Actor, TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever) is a theatre-maker, primarily as an actor and producer. He has worked with a number of theatre companies and schools within the Bay Area as well as in Mexico. He is the founder and the Artistic Director of the Mexican American Conservatory Theatre, an international theatre company focusing on translating and producing works from Mexico and Latin America into English, with the intention of spreading and uniting their diverse and rich theatrical art.  

Cleavon Smith (Playwright, Oakland Tales) is an Oakland-based Playwright in Residence at TheatreFIRST. His short play “Just One Day” was included in the Theatre Bay Area (TBA) “Best Anthology” winning production Between Us, and his play The Last Sermon of Sister Imani was nominated for the TBA “Best Production.” So far in the year 2020, Cleavon has had short plays produced and/or read by theatres in Ann Arbor, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. Coming this fall is The Flats, an audio drama in three parts produced by Aurora Theatre Company and co-written with Lauren Gunderson and Jonathan Spector. Also premiering this fall is Affinity, a mini-series of short videos filmed via Zoom and produced by TheatreFIRST. Cleavon teaches English at Berkeley City College and in the winter will be working on commissions by Oakland’s Skyline High School Drama Department, the Bay Area Children’s Theatre and Aurora Theatre Company.