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Christine Ashworth

Christine has been a ballet dancer, a musical theater dancer, an actress, an assistant theater director, and a desk jockey. She now writes romance novels for Boroughs Publishing Group, as well as holding down a Day Job doing Important Stuff. For some reason, she decided she wasn't busy enough, and four years ago started writing a play because dialog is easier than description. Now she's hooked.

Check out her website at http://christine-ashworth.com .

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Jeremiah Benjamin

Hailing from Portland Oregon where he previously developed plays within the PDX Playwrights organization and presented staged readings of several pieces in the Fertile Ground festival, Jeremiah is excited to be part of Fierce Backbone and workshop his dramatic material in the thriving theatric community of Los Angeles.

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Nancy Beverly

Nancy Beverly’s play HANDCRAFTED HEALING, had a workshop production at the Studio/Stage Theatre, in September of 2015, thanks to Fierce Backbone.

Her other play of late, COMMUNITY, placed in the finals of the AACT play contest in the spring of 2015 (top 12) and Nancy is currently looking for a production home for it as well.

Her film script SHELBY’S VACATION had the distinction of making the semi-finals of Chicago’s Pride Films and Plays contest and then being hand-picked by its executive director David Zak for a rollicking reading he directed at a gay pride event in Vermont. She is now gearing up for a full production of SHELBY with director Victoria Rose Sampson attached.

Nancy’s professional life began at Actors Theatre of Louisville, home of the world-renown Humana Festival of New American Plays. She worked as the Assistant Literary Manager and read literally thousands of scripts, acted as dramaturg on a number of Humana Festival plays – and had several of her own plays produced in the ATL short-play showcases. One of those plays, ATTACK OF THE MORAL FUZZIES, was published in ATL’s anthology of ten minute plays and has subsequently been produced several times a year in the U.S. and Canada.

She moved from Louisville to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television and has worked on such hit shows as DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES and GHOST WHISPERER. Simultaneously, she continued working in theatre. Her Los Angeles play productions include A NEW YOU at the Celebration Theatre and GODISLAV at the Miles Memorial Playhouse. GODISLAV had the honor of being selected for the Playwrights Showcase of the Western Region in Denver in 2005.

The first ten episodes of THE CALAMITIES OF JANE, a webseries she co-wrote and co- produced, have been shot and will be on the web in 2016.

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Stephen Blackburn

Writers Unit Leader

A past recipient of an endowed James Michener Fellowship, Stephen Blackburn is a co-founder of Fierce Backbone Theatre Company, a founding board member and former Writers Unit leader.

Blackburn’s short one-man play “Douglass,” starring Rif Hutton, led off LINCOLN ADJACENT, a drama comprised of three blended short plays. The production sold out most of its performances and won an Encore Producers Award at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Backstage praised Blackburn’s ancient Athens murder mystery THE ROCK OF ABANDON as “A Grecian extravaganza… always engrossing and fun to watch,” while Examiner.com hailed the drama as a “masterpiece” that “delivers twists and turns worthy of Hitchcock himself.”

Blackburn’s book EACH ONE TEACH ONE: UP AND OUT OF POVERTY — MEMOIRS OF A STREET ACTIVIST (Curbstone/Northwestern University Press) is the as-told-to autobiography of the late Ron Casanova. Booklist praised the book as “an eloquent voice for Americans too often ignored or scapegoated.” 

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Tom Cavanaugh

Tom Cavanaugh was born in Newark, New Jersey. He received a B.S. in Computer Science and Business Administration from Seton Hall University in 1987. In May of 2000, he received an M.F.A. from the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City. Cavanaugh’s playwriting professors at the Actors Studio Drama School included: Romulus Linney, Jim Ryan, Jeffrey Sweet and Laura Maria Censabella. In 1999 while at the Studio, Tom was a semi-finalist in the Chesterfield Films Writers Foundation Project in Los Angeles.

Cavanaugh’s one-act play THE CIRCUS STILL COMES TO TOWN was produced as part of the Thesis Repertory Season at Circle in the Square Downtown (NYC). Veteran playwright Jonathan Reynolds and director/actor Carlyn Glynn mentored the production.

Cavanaugh served as Associate Producer for Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC) in 2000 and his short plays 50TH & 8TH and AMEN were produced there in special presentation. 50TH & 8TH was selected a few months later for a showcase production by the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City.

Under the guidance of playwright Edward Allan Baker, Cavanaugh wrote the one act play DINER TALK in a workshop at Ensemble Studio Theatre. DINER TALK was awarded first prize in the Jersey Voices One Act Play Festival and was produced that summer in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Cavanaugh won his first screenplay competition in 2002. HARVEST, a short erotic thriller, won third prize in Toucan Films Short Screenplay Competition in Burbank, CA. THE HEROES OF ’76, a coming of age screenplay was a semi-finalist in the 2003 Sundance Institute Feature Film Development Project.

Tom’s full length play BEHOLD was a 2010 finalist in the New American Playwrights Development Program at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and was one of three winners of the 2011 Pickering Award for Excellence in Playwriting. His one act play, WONDER won the Irene Bashore Award for Playwriting from Firstage Los Angeles.

Cavanaugh’s “coming of age” screenplay, THE WILDERNESS TREATMENT was one of twenty scripts to receive Honorable Mention at the 2012 Los Angeles Movie Awards. THE WILDERNESS TREATMENT is about a group of teens that are court ordered to attend a wilderness Boot Camp in the Utah desert.

Tom’s full length play ADAM & YOSHI is a finalist in The 2nd Annual McKinney Repertory Theatre New Play Competition in McKinney, Texas, one of three finalist for the 2013 New American Playwrights Development Program at the Utah Shakespearean Festival and won the 2012 Make the House Roar Prize for Comic Plays at the Lionheart Theater in Georgia.

In 2014, BEHOLD was given a staged reading with blocking for one night in The Living Room Series of The Blank Theatre in Hollywood, California. Members of the cast included David Marciano (From the television show HOMELAND) as John and Kerris Dorsey (From the television show RAY DONOVAN) as Rachel.

Cavanaugh has been a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. since 1998 and is currently living in Los Angeles.

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Jon Christie

Jon was born and raised in Dallas, TX and received his education at Collin College in Plano. He has been writing since 2009 where his first play "Dream" was the first ever student written/directed play to receive an encore spring performance due to overwhelming attendance numbers. "Dream" was also picked up by local theatre company The Core Theatre and given a revival run in 2010. His next play "Angels Inc." was picked up by new Dallas production company Mint Presents and was produced at the historical Margo Jones Theatre in the fall of 2013. In total Jon has written nine theatrical plays ranging from short one act to full length two acts, and with only one exception Jon has self-produced each of his plays. Most notable: "One Phone Call" produced as part of the 2011 Dallas FIT Festival, "The Exotic Flavors of Bradley Copperfield" produced in the LA Complex's Flight Theatre in 2013, and most recently "Happy No Year" in Burbank's Missing Piece Theatre in 2014. Jon's play "The Zookeeper's Journal" has been published by Next Stage Press as of 2012. Jon also strives to write for TV, swiftly compiling a collection of original TV pilots and scripts for online web series.

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Consuelo Flores

Consuelo Flores a multidisciplinary artist from East Los Angeles with an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from Antioch University. She has been an established member of the Latino Arts Community since the 1980s as a writer, performer, poet and mixed media installation artist.
Consuelo has written and performed/presented her work at various colleges and universities including USC, UCLA, Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University, Cornell University, California State University, Northridge, Los Angeles, & Dominguez Hills, Otis College of Art & Design and La Universidad Autonima de Mexico in Mexico City. She has also performed/presented her work at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, The Gene Autry Museum of Western Heritage, the J. Paul Getty Museum and various galleries in Southern California. She's written/directed three plays which were produced at the Frida Kahlo 10-Minute Play Festival in 2014, 2015 & 2017. Her work focuses on cultural, family and community themes and relationships.

Consuelo was a member of the Board of Directors at Self Help Graphics from 2008 - 2011, the avant garde performance art groups ASCO, Alienz, and LA Coyotas. Known as an expert on the Day of the Dead, she has given dozens of lectures on the celebration throughout the country and most recently worked with the LA County Metro to provide a Guided Art Tour for Day of the Dead, in November 2014 and 2015.

Consuelo has two artist sons and lives with her playwright husband, Stephen Blackburn and their two cats.

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Leslie Hardy

Leslie Hardy was an actress, and now she's a writer. She lives in Los Angeles, Ca. with her family and dog, Louie.

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Cailin Harrison

Cailin Harrison, an American and Irish citizen, is a graduate of the University of Illinois BS for Broadcast Journalism and USC's MFA screenwriting program who is loving the climate change here in LA after living and working in London, New York and Chicago in film/ television. She's worn a number of hats from Production Assistant to Producer and Writer for companies including CBS, FX, USA, New Line, Columbia Pictures, Discovery Channel and Viacom Networks and ISSA-UK. She is currently a member of Fierce Backbone, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights, and several USC women's film/TV organizations. Her theater work has included plays she written or directed at both the New York and Hollywood Fringe Festivals, Secret Rose (LA) and Network Theatre (London) and workshop productions at RADA (UK). Her favorite ways to avoid writing, directing and producing are globe trotting, sailing, swing dancing and shooting wildlife (with a camera).

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Matthew Kamm

I work in non-profit by day and write plays by night. I'm honored to be a part of Fierce and grateful to all of our members.

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Jeremy Kehoe

JEREMY KEHOE
Jeremy hears voices. These voices call him to create characters and place them on a quest. These characters heckle and haunt him – bantering and bickering and thrusting and parrying – until their voices muffle from roars to murmurs at the words “End Play”. Audiences have listened to Jeremy’s voices in the U.S. and Canada at such shows as “Let’s Dance for a Little While” (Emerging Artists Theatre/New York); “Existential Magic Eight Ball” (Roots & Wings Theatrical, UPTheatre/New York, DaPoPo Theater/Canada); “God Help Us” (Fierce Backbone/Los Angeles); “Urban Wash” (Emerging Artists Theatre/New York); “Pitch Me” (Emerging Artists Theatre/New York) “AMMO” (2104 Hollywood Fringe Festival); “Car Play: She & Him” (Lounge Theatre/Los Angeles); “Killing Russell Crowe” (Group Repertory Theatre/Los Angeles); “A Few Good PB&Js” (Fierce Backbone/Hollywood Fringe Festival, Longwood University/Virginia); and “Banana Intervention” (Fierce Backbone/Hollywood Fringe Festival). He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights and a former newspaper editor and reporter, where he earned awards from the NAACP and the New England Press Association. As a freelance writer he has published articles in newspapers including the Houston Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Sacramento News & Review. Jeremy also strangled himself with a necktie as a PR executive for 10 years until the oxygen drained from his brain.

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Marina Palmier

Marina was chosen to participate in the prestigious American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women. Her script, "White Like the Moon," about prejudices and bigotry between light and dark-skinned individuals within the Latin community, was selected out of thousands of submissions. Marina’s writer/directorial debut, "White Like the Moon," received dozens of awards, including Best Short Film at the New York Latino Festival, The Los Angeles Imagine Foundation, The Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, the Eastman Kodak Prize, and was ultimately broadcast on HBO. Marina has had numerous plays produced in Los Angeles including "Spousal Spat" at Towne Street Theater (African American Ensemble), "White Elephant" and "A Fine Line" at Write Act Rep, "The Love Letter" at the Lonny Chapman’s Group Rep and Neo Ensemble. Her one-act comedy, Maria Conchita Alfonso Alfonso Alfonso, which she wrote and starred in, about a sexy Latina star grasping to hold onto her youth by seducing a young aspiring Latino actor, was part of The Hollywood Fringe Festival produced my Fierce BackBone.

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Beth Polsky

A veteran television writer/producer she was one of the creators of E! Entertainment Television's "Talk Soup", and a member of
The Producers Guild Of America.
Her other television credits include NBC's "Who Wants to Marry My Dad" & "Meet The Folks" as well as NBC's "American Ninja Warrior"; Entertainment Studios "Who Wants To Date A Comedian" and E! Entertainment Television's "The Gossip Show"" & "E! News Live"; Reelz Channel's "Dailies"; The TV Guide Channel's "Watch This" and Disney's "Live Big With Ali Vincent" on The Live Well Network.
She is thrilled to be part of Fierce Backbone and was very excited to have two of her short plays
premiere at The 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival in Fierce Backbone's WTF?
She has just completed her first full-length play, "Gorgeous".

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Leda Siskind

My one act play. 'The Liar's Punishment' has been read at Fierce Backbone and as part of the Theatre 40 play reading program known as T40too. 'The Liar's Punishment', a one act play about homelessness, will be presented as a full production in a benefit for the Pacific Palisades Task Force coalition for the homeless May 21 and 22. My full length play, 'All My Distances Are Far,' a monologue-driven play about troubled teens, is being considered by several L.A. theatres for a full production next year.

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Amy Tofte

President

Amy received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and was the first CalArts playwright selected for the Kennedy Center’s MFA Residency Program. Her plays and solo pieces have been performed and developed across the country and internationally, including London, Seatttle Rep and LaMama ETC in New York. She was a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship and Washington, D.C.'s Source Festival. She's spent five summers as a guest playwright at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez, AK, and has been produced twice at the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival. Amy is a founding member of Fierce Backbone and a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. She is very prolific and probably writing or directing something as you’re reading this. www.amytofte.com

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Dylan Wallace

As with any playwright, Dylan Wallace's true passion is storytelling. He attended Cal Poly Pomona where he studied acting for the stage and received a degree in Theatre arts. Recently he self-produced his original work "Feast" and "Hippopotamoidea" in the Hollywood Fringe Festival; both of which were met with great reviews, pleasing and horrifying audiences. Dylan Wallace is an advocate for LGBT advancement, animal rights, as well as environmental protection.

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Steve Waverly

A native of Los Angeles with a degree in film, Steve caught the Hemingway bug and moved to Paris, France. Fluent in French, Steve worked in Paris as a copywriter for the prestigious advertising agency, Young & Rubicam, and later as an award-winning copywriter for HDM in Brussels, Belgium.

Returning to Los Angeles, Steve has written for television, film, and the theater. He wrote an award-winning short film, THE INGRATE, starring Kathy Bates, and has sold television shows to NBC/Universal, Sony, and Fox TV Studios, among others. Steve recently sold a TV series to Norwegian television. His theatrical play, a comedy called DOWN IN FRONT, was performed at The Lounge Theater as part of The 2013 Hollywood Fringe Festival, and was nominated for Best of Fringe. Steve was selected for the 2013 Dreamago International Screenwriting Lab for his feature script, LOVE & OATMEAL, which was recently optioned by Black Label Media.

Steve is repped by Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment, and is a member of Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights.

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Dianne Williams

DIANNE WILLIAMS - Playwright, activist, singer and performer, is the author of The Rise and Fall of My Breasts.

A native of Massachusetts, Dianne currently lives in Southern California, where she makes substantial contributions and volunteer’s time and effort on behalf of humanitarian, social service and charitable causes and organizations.

As a writer Dianne has completed a novel; “Out of the Dark”, as well as a collection of short stories, and plays. Dianne contributes articles to electronic magazines, and is a theatre critic for NoHo Arts District.

Dianne was a contract singer with Soul Unlimited. She toured as a solo artist performing with her own band throughout Southern California and Asia. As an actress she used her multiple talents performing in dramas and musical theatre. Dianne is developing a musical combining her passions of music and writing.

“I am grateful for every day that I am able to be of benefit to mankind, it is an honor to participate in the creative world.”

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Tom Porter

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Gary Wilson