Israel Jiménez – Frida
Israel Jiménez got his start at Childsplay a decade ago as an actor and an educator. Credits at Childsplay include the first National Tour of Tomas and the Library, Alexander and the Terrible,Horrible,No Good,Very Bad Day, Miss Nelson is Missing, The Neverending Story, Honus and Me, and Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! Israel has also performed or directed for regional and local theater companies including Seattle Children’s Theatre, Pacific Conservatory Theatre, Southwest Shakespeare Company, Valley Youth Theatre, Space 55, and Arizona Theatre Company. Israel is the founder of Pinche Teatro – a collective that intends to rethink the way Latinx and Spanish-language theater is produced. He is currently the Director of Learning & Education at Arizona Theatre Company and sits on the Board of Directors for ARTabilityAZ, a statewide organization working to create an inclusive community where people with and without disabilities can learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts. Israel is a graduate of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.
Michelle LoRiccco – When Coquis Sing
Michelle LoRiccco is a passionate educator, director, and playwright who loves to create and tell stories on stage and in the classroom with people of all ages. She works at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, VA as the Education Associate. She recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with her MFA, specializing in Theatre for Young Audiences, and she received her Bachelor’s in Theatre, specializing in Musical Theatre, at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Michelle has developed curriculum and worked in the education departments at the American Repertory Theatre, The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, Christ Fellowship, and Children’s Impact Network. As a playwright, Michelle has developed plays for The Orlando Repertory Theatre’s Writes of Spring program, a writing competition which takes creative writings from K-12 students to create a play. The first staged reading of When Coquis Sing was produced as a part of The REP’s celebration of International Women’s Voices Day 2018, and she is currently working on a commission from Endstation Theatre Company and Kids’ Haven. Michelle was also the Associate Artistic Director for the inaugural season of UCF’s Pegasus Playlab 2018, a play development showcase of new work by emerging playwrights.
Laura King – Merritt Anne and the Mighty Oak
Laura King holds an MFA in playwrighting (with a concentration in dramaturgy) from the Playwrights Lab at Hollins University. Currently, she serves as a Dramatists Guild ambassador for the Atlanta region and on the Southeastern Theatre Conference Publications Committee. Her full-length plays Independence Day at Happy Meadows (which won the 2016 SETC/Stage Rights Ready to Publish Award) and The Harmony Baptist Church Ladies Auxiliary Christmas Jubilee are available for licensing through Stage Rights. Her plays for young audiences, including Youth on the Roof, The Carol of Tiny Tim, and several ten-minute plays, are available through YouthPLAYS.
Annie Cusick Wood – Wheesht
Annie Cusick Wood, from Scotland has worked as a director and theatre creator for nearly 30 years. She worked extensively across the UK for leading companies such as TAG, Citizens Theatre, Leceister Haymarket, macRobert Arts Centre, Northern Stage and was the Artistic Director of Polka Theatre in London before moving to Hawaii in 2006. Her UK shows include “The Red Balloon” (Visible Fictions) and “Martha” (Catherine Wheels, 2001 Victor Award, North American showcase & 2008 Shanghai International Chidren’s festival) and have toured across the Europe, Asia, USA and Canada including Seattle Children’s Theatre and the New Victory Theatre. “Martha”, still being produced 20 years on, is currently touring across Scotland and China with two Chinese adaptations by Annie for Arts Space for Kids, Shanghai and Beijing. Since 2006 Annie has worked with Honolulu Theatre for Youth mostly creating new work for under 5’s including “Happy”, “Ouch”, “The Tiny Tree”, “Home”, “Blue” and “Sparkle”. ”Blue” has been produced by Imagination Stage, Nantucket Dreamland and Dallas Children’s Theatre. She directed Nick Kryah’s play “My name is Loofah Tutu for Write Now in 2017. She coproduced the short film “Dress” with Henry Joe Inc and will be co-producing another short “Red House” in 2019. In Hawaii she serves on the Boards of Hawaii Education for the Arts (HEARTS), Healthy Climate Communities and Ceeds of Peace. Her husband Ian and Annie have three sons, now all grown up age 19, 20 and 25.