Rotimi Agbabiaka

Rotimi Agbabiaka

Rotimi Agbabiaka is an actor, singer, writer, director, and teaching artist. He most recently appeared in Schooled (Thomas Jones) with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, Sojourners (Disciple Ufot) and runboyrun (boy) at Magic Theatre, Hair (Hud) with Bay Area Musicals, Holiday High Jinx (Dancing Dan) with Word for Word, Choir Boy (Junior) at Marin Theatre Company, The Amen Corner (David) with Alter Theater, We Are Proud To Present ... (Another Black Man) at Just Theater, and Raisin in The Sun(Asagai) at Cal Shakes. He is a collective member of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, a former cast member at Beach Blanket Babylon, and his solo play, Homeless, won Best Solo Performance at the SF Fringe Festival. He has done drag at Club Something and Hard French and has presented his writing at the Radar Reading Series and Queer Autonomous Zone. He also teaches youth theatre with Each One Reach One, SF Shakespeare, and the SF Mime Troupe Youth Theatre Project, and is the Features Curator for Theatre Bay Area. As a director he has worked with the SF One Minute Play Festival and helmed the world premiere of VS. at TheatreFirst. He studied at Moscow Art Theatre and earned his MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University. rotimionline.com

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Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson

Resident lighting designer

 

Cathie Anderson is our Resident Lighting Designer.  Cathie has provided stellar lighting environments for many top-flight performers at Brava including Eddie Izzard,  Eden Comedy Show featuring Gina Yashere, and the legendary Trio Los Panchos.  Cathie also provided lighting for the plays Scalpel!, Fou Fou Ha, New Fire and most recently, In A Daughter's Eyes and many more. She is a teaching artists in lighting design to youth in Brava's San Francisco Running Crew. Cathie is available for independent hire!

Cathie Anderson, Lighting Designer, designs stage lighting for live theatrical performance, dance, concerts, and special events.  Originally from Honolulu, Cathie worked for ten years in facility production management for Honolulu's top entertainment center - exposing her to some of the world's most prestigious touring events and production crews.  These events included "Phantom of the Opera", Van Halen, Los Angeles Lakers, Michael Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Pavarotti, Stars on Ice, and hundreds of other international events.  Cathie grew an affinity toward lighting and began to study stage lighting and develop a professional lighting career.  In her first year of theatrical lighting design, she received Hawaii State Theater Council's Po'okela award for Excellence in Stage Lighting. Since moving to San Francisco, Cathie received multiple local lighting awards, and a nomination for a local design by Broadway World.com. Cathie recently received the Bay Area Theater Critics Council award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design for mid-size theaters.  Cathie also teaches Stage Lighting Design for Brava’s Running Crew, and enjoys helping young budding stage artists and technicians to explore the world of stage lighting and all it can contribute to a live theatrical production. Cathie loves working with Brava! for Women in the Arts, an organization she highly respects that works closely with a community that is close to her heart.

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Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe & Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience

Actor, Writer, Director

Edris has been performing more than 20 years with credits at the Sacramento Theater Company; SF Mime Troupe; Theater Works in Palo Alto; Magic Theatre; Intersection For The Arts and was an Associate Artist with Rhodessa Jones' The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women. In 1991, she won the Goldie Award for Acting from the SF Bay Guardian. In addition, Edris has created more than 8 different solo performances, including the recently published Adventures of A Black Girl: In Search of Academic Clarity and Inclusion.

 As a director, Edris  has worked at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI; Capital Repertory in Albany, NY; Southern Rep in New Orleans ; Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Woolly Mammoth in Washington, D.C; Curious Theatre in Denver; TheatreWorks, Palo Alto.  Edris’ Bay Area directing credits include the West Coast premieres of Relativity at the Magic Theatre, Stealin’ Home at Exit Theatre; The Old Settler at TheaterWorks in Palo Alto; Crying Holy at Theatre Rhinoceros, andUrban Zulu Mambo and Blue/Orange at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Her productions of John Henry Redwood's The Old Settler, received the Dean Goodman Award for Excellence (TheatreWorks) and, in Dallas. Best Production, two Best Acting Awards and an Outstanding Direction nomination from the 2003 Rabin awards. In 2006, she received her second Rabin nomination for her direction of Neil LaBute’sThis Is How It Goes at Water Tower.  She holds an M.F.A. in Directing from the University of Iowa and is an alumna of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. Additional training has included theatre research and performance at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and at Shakespeare & Company in Tanglewood, Massachusetts.

 

SOLO WORK

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe's new solo show, Adventures of A Black Girl: Traveling While Black, debuted at Brava Theater Center for a weekend in March, 2013 and transferred to Eastside Alliance in Oakland in November of 2013.  TWB returned for a longer run in October, 2014.

TWB is the 2nd play in a trilogy entitled, Adventures of a Black Girl. The first production in the trilogy, Adventures of a Black: In Search of Academic Clarity and Inclusion was commissioned by AfroSolo and received its first full production at Intersection for the Arts in 2004.  In 2011, it was presented as part of the solo/black/woman festival and was published in an antholoy, solo/black/woman  edited by E. Patrick Johnson & Ramón H,Rivera-Servera.  Edris is developing the final installment in the series, The Oneness of Blackness; the oneness of mefor a run in June, 2015.

 

BLACK ARTISTS CONTEMPORARY CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

June, 2015

So So San Francisco, a cabaret performance with Marvin K. White

2014

Zakiyyah Alexanders's  bitter satire,Sweet Maladies, set during the Reconstruction Era and starring Brit Frazier, Lisa Anner Porter, Kehinde Koyejo and Stefanee Martin. Awarded Best Ensemble for 2014 Theatre Bay Area Awarads.

2013

West Coast premiere of In A Daughters' Eyes' by A. Zell Williams. Set in Oakland, In A Daughter's Eyes is the story of two women, daughter of an Oakland police officer and the daughter of the man accused of his murder and their struggle to honor their father's and come to grips with their pasts. 

Prior to Brava

Previous productions from Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience,include  On The Hills Of Black America and Hollis Mugley’s Only Wish +2 by Keith Adkins (Intersection for the Arts); Chain and Late Bus To Mecca by Pearl Cleage (Theatre Rhino); and Will He Bop, Will He Drop? by Robert Alexander (African American Art & Culture Complex).  

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Jesus Cortes

Jesus "Jacoh" Cortes and Cuicacalli Dance Company

Founder, Cuicacalli Dance Company

Jesús "JACOH" Cortés, began his training in Mexican folk dance when he was six years old under the direction of his great uncle Juan Natoli. In 2000, he started dancing with Ballet Folklórico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez in the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City after he was trained as a Deer Dancer under the direction of Lucas Zarate Lobato. He was a soloist in the role of The Deer Dance “La Danza Del Venado” for Ballet Folklorico de Mexico de Amalia Hernandez and toured Mexico, Europe, and the US. He was the company choreographer and lead teacher for Los Niños de Santa Fe y Compañia. In addition he taught hundreds of elementary school children as part of the Arts in the Schools program in Española, New Mexico. He joined Moving People Dance Theater performing Contemporary, Jazz, and Modern in June 2005. In 2006 he was a founder and artistic director of Arte Sin Fronteras, a new dance school/company in rural Northern New Mexico now know as Moving Arts Española.

Currently, he lives in San Francisco and works as an artist in residence with the SFUSD and Brava! for Women in the Arts. He is founder and Artistic Director of Cuicacalli (meaning house of culture in nahuatl dialect), and is a lead teacher and choreographer for Dancing Earth. Cortés joined Printz Dance Project Company in 2009 as a guest artist for their tenth anniversary and has also joined the ALICE (Arts and Literacy in Children’s Education) program as a dance instructor since 2008 where he performed in their production called “Burning Libraries,” a multi-media performance about immigration stories. Cortes is a dance consultant and choreographer for Ballet Folklorico de Stanford University. He also choreographed and performed John O'Keefe's ‘Mystical Abyss’ directed by Theatre of Yugen's Founder, Yuriko Doi, at the ODC Theater. In 2012 Mr. Cortes premiered Cuicacalli Dance Company. In the last four years he has developed three works: “Raices sin limites” (Endless roots) “500 Years of Resistance,” and “Cicatrices” (Scars).

For the last 10 years, Cortés has been presenting Cuicacalli's annual production "Tradición, Movimiento y Pasión" at Brava Theater.

In 2013, Mr. Cortés choreographed and performed a section of the production “Noche de Muertos” with Calidanza Dance Company at the SF Symphony ‘Dia de los Muertos’ Community Concert. And in 2014 Mr. Cortes was commissioned to choreograph and perform a solo to the music of“La Llegada de los Muertos” played by the SF Symphony for the same event. 

Also In the past three years he has presented his work with Cuicacalli Dance Company at Baile en la Calle The Mural Dances, San Francisco Son Jarocho, Cuba Caribe, FLACC! Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, San Francisco Carnaval, and  D.I.R.T Dancing In Revolt(ing) Times.

 

Cuicacalli

Cuicacalli Dance Company

Cuicacalli Dance Company is a multidisciplinary organization, fusing various styles into a unique story of their own. By including dance styles such as Indigenious, Folkloric, Contemporary, Cuicacalli hopes to expose, sustain, and expand traditional and modern dancing with a new lens.  Cuicacalli Dance Company develops choreographies to revive traditions and address cultural, social and environmental situations.

In order to reach new levels of artistic innovation and exposure to importance of these cultural traditions, Cuicacalli engages in collaboration with  musicians, singers, graphic designers, aerialist, and more in and outside of the SF Bay Area. 

Cuicacalli holds its own annual performance “Tradicion, Movimiento y Pasion,” on Brava's Mainstage and has  developed relationships and performed with San Francisco’s Exploratorium, San Francisco’s Earth Day celebrations at Civic Center as well as been invited as guests with the Ballet Folkorico of Stanford University.Cuicacalli looks for the opportunity to present their works at festivals and events across the country and internationally.

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Marga Gomez

Marga Gomez

Comedian, Writer, Performer

Marga Gomez was named a 2015 "Agent Of Change" in the Huffington Post. She is the recipient of KGO television's 2014 "Profile Of Excellence." Gomez is the author and performer of eleven solo plays which have been produced nationally, internationally, and in New York at The Public Theater, Performance Space 122, Dixon Place, and La Mama Experimental Theatre Company and in San Francisco at Brava. The Marsh and Theater Rhinoceros. Her latest solo piece "POUND" will premiere in New York City at Dixon Place as a commissioned centerpiece of the annual "Hot! Festival." In October "POUND" will open for 5 weeks at Brava's Studio. "The Marga Gomez Workshop" for solo performers will continue for it's third season this fall at Brava. And look out for her annual fundraiser for Brava, "Brava's New Year's Eve Comedy Fiesta" in its 4th year.

Gomez was also a founding member of Culture Clash. She collaborates frequently with New York director David Schweizer. In San Francisco Gomez curates a monthly performance variety series "Performerama" at Oasis. Her acting credits include Off-Broadway and national productions of The Vagina Monologues and roles in Warner Bros films "Sphere" and "Batman Forever." Her other awards include the GLAAD Media Award for Off-Broadway Theatre, The Los Angeles "Ovation Award” for Best Featured Actress and the 2010 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for "Best Performance" Gomez is a triple winner of the SF Bay Guardian's "Best Comedian" and the 2015 "Bestie Award for Comedy" from The Bay Area Reporter. She was nominated for the 2006 New York Drama Desk Award. Her website is www.margagomez.com.

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Rhodessa Jones

Rhodessa Jones

Rhodessa Jones is Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco acclaimed performance company Cultural Odyssey. She is an actress, teacher, singer, and writer. Ms. Jones is also the Director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, which is a performance workshop that is designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women. On May 16, 2014 Rhodessa was the Keynote Speaker for Graduation Commencement, Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Jones was just recently the Spring 2014 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence for the College of Letters and Science and the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Beginning in 2015 Rhodessa will be a Visiting Professor at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. During January 2014 Rhodessa traveled to New York City to the PUBLIC THEATER to direct BLESSING THE BOATS: THE REMIX, Sekou Sundiata’s acclaimed solo theater work. Other directing credits include the upcoming new play Lost in Language by the renowned NTOZAKE SHANGE; the 2007 production of Lysistrata, produced by the African American Shakespeare Company; Eve Ensler’s Any One of Us, VDAY: Until the Violence Stops Festival, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York; and Will Power's The Gathering.

In 2013 The Office of Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Art Commission presented the Mayor's Art Award to Rhodessa Jones, for her lifetime of artistic achievement and enduring commitment to the role of the arts in civic life. The SF Weekly Magazine recently proclaimed Rhodessa as San Francisco’s Best Artist-Activist Working with Prisoners. In June 2012 the U.S. Department of State, Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau selected Rhodessa as an ARTS ENVOY! As one of San Francisco’s most revered artists she received grant support to journey to South Africa to continue her work inside the Naturena Women's Prison in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2007 Rhodessa conducted her first U.S. Department of State Speakers Tour of Russia where she conducted performances and workshops at University of Moscow, the American Center, and University of Rayzen. In December of 2007 Ms. Jones received a United States Artist Fellowship to support her work.

Ms. Jones was honored with an Honorary Doctorate from California College of the Arts in 2004. Rhodessa has received many awards for her work including a Sui Generis Foundation Award in 2014, GOLDIE Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the San Francisco Bay Guardian in 2003, an Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theater in 2002, and a San Francisco Foundation Community Leadership Award commending her for developing the Medea Project as "an intersection of art, politics and social rehabilitation". In June 2001, her film collaboration We Just Telling Stories, a film profiling Ms. Jones and her work with the Medea Project in the San Francisco County jails, won Best Documentary at the San Francisco Black Film Festival.

Rhodessa’s work has been published in a new book entitled, Solo/Black/Woman: Performing Global Traditions and Local Intervention featuring a chapter devoted to Rhodessa’s landmark play, Big Butt Girls, Hard-Headed Women . Other publications include A Beginner’s Guide to Community - Based Arts ; Colored Contradictions An Anthology of Contemporary African American Plays ; and Let’s Get It On: The Politics of Black Performance . Her work with incarcerated women is the subject a book by Rena Fraden titled Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and Theater for Incarcerated Women. Most recently, The Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care have published Rhodessa’s work with the Medea Project’s HIV Circle titled An expressive therapy group disclosure intervention for HIV-positive women: a qualitative analysis. Other scholarly works include Deep in the Night in the Journal of Medical Humanities; Staging Migrations Toward an American West: From Ida B. Wells to Rhodessa Jones by Marta Effinger; Rhodessa Jones, Teacher in Women’s Jails, in Conversations with Great Teachers by Bill Smoot. In addition, a new film has been released charting and legacy of Rhodessa’s work with HIV positive women entitled, Talk Back Live, by Japanese filmmaker, Kaori Sakagami. It is currently receiving worldwide distribution. 

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Lisa Mezzacappa

Lisa Mezzacappa

Musician, Curator and Producer

Bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa was described by San Jose Mercury News as  “one of the most imaginative figures on the Bay Area creative jazz scene”. - San Jose Mercury News

In October, Lisa will present the Bay Area premiere of her expansive new work, Glorious Ravage, a multi-media song cycle for a large ensemble of virtuoso California improvisers.

Lisa Mezzacappa is a San Francisco Bay Area-based bassist, composer, and music curator and producer. An active collaborator in the Bay Area music community for more than a dozen years, her music spans avant-garde jazz to ethereal chamber music, scores for experimental film and immersive sound installations. Mezzacappa was voted “Rising Star” bassist in the Downbeat 2013 and 2014 critics polls, and leads her own groups Bait & Switch, Nightshade, the Lisa Mezzacappa Trio, Eartheaters and the Interlopers, and co-leads the ensembles duo B., Cylinder, BODABODA, LMNOP, and Les Gwan Jupons. She has released her music on the Clean Feed, NoBusiness, Leo, NotTwo, Evander and Edgetone record labels, and has recorded as a sideperson for the Tzadik, Kadima and Porto Franco labels. Her own label, Queen Bee Records, was launched in 2013 to disseminate the work of her West Coast creative musician peers. Lisa organizes concerts for jazz and experimental music in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and collaborates frequently on cross-disciplinary projects in sound installation, experimental film, and visual art.

“Her presence on the bandstand is a reliable sign that something extraordinary is going down.”
– Contra Costa Times
“The work of San Francisco bassist-composer Lisa Mezzacappa demonstrates an admirable balance of grit and whimsy …”
– Time Out New York
“Lisa Mezzacappa is a Bay Area treasure.”
– KQED Arts

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Cherrie Moraga

Cherríe Moraga

Cherrie Moraga is a co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, republished in a new edition by SUNY Press in 2015. In August 2017, Moraga premiered her latest play The Mathematics of Love at Brava Theater Center. The Mathematics of Love emerged through many years of development (off and on the page).  The play grew to be a theatrical conversation with her forthcoming literary memoir, The Native Country of a Heart – A Geography of Desire, to be published by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. Mathematics is Moraga’s fifth world premiere at Brava, spanning over twenty-five years of association. Those other works include: Shadow of a Man, Heroes and Saints, Watsonville: Some Place Not Here, and New Fire: To Put Things Right Again.

As a political and literary essayist, Moraga has published several collections of writings, including A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness -- Writings 2000-2010.  Moraga is the recipient of the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature, the American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lambda Foundation’s “Pioneer” award, among many other honors.

For nearly twenty years Moraga has served as an Artist in Residence in the Department of Theater and Performance Studies and in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.  She has mentored a full generation of now published writers and playwrights who credit Moraga as one of their most influential teachers. This fall, she will assume a professorship at the University of California, Santa Barbara to establish Las Maestras Center for Chicana Indigenous Thought and Art Practice, with visual artist, Celia Herrera Rodríguez. 

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Lisa Marie Rollins

Lisa Marie Rollins

Lisa Marie Rollins is a playwright, poet, freelance director, and dramaturg. Most recently she co-directed Young Jean Lee’s The Shipment (Crowded Fire Theater) and a reading of Tearrance Chisholm’s Br’er Cotton (Playwrights Foundation). She is the director of All Atheists are Muslim by by Zahra Noorbakhsh, and was a co-producer of W. Kamau Bell’s Ending Racism in About an Hour. Lisa Marie performed her acclaimed solo play Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girl’s Story of Being Adopted by a White Family…That Aren’t Celebrities in festivals, universities, and academic conferences across the US. She was Poet in Residence at June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at U.C. Berkeley, a CALLALOO Journal London Writing Workshop Fellow and an alumni in Poetry of VONA Writing Workshop. Her writing is published in Other Tongues: Mixed--Race Women Speak Out, River, Blood, Corn Literary Journal, Line/Break, As/Us Literary Journal, The Pacific Review, and others. Currently, she is finishing her new manuscript of poems, Compass, for which she received the 2016 Mary Tanenbaum Literary Award from SF Foundation. She is currently developing her new play Token. She holds degrees from The Claremont Graduate University and UC Berkeley. She is a Lecturer at St Mary’s College in Performance Studies, and a Resident Artist with Crowded Fire Theater. Lisa Marie was a 2015-16 playwright member of Just Theater Play Lab and was a 2016 Fellow of the San Francisco Writers Grotto.

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Vidhu Singh

Vidhu Singh

Theater Director and Scholar

BRAVA Artist-in-Residence, Vidhu Singh is a San Francisco based theater director, dramaturg and scholar. Vidhu holds a Master’s degree in Dramatic Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a Western theater focus and a doctorate in Asian theater from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has been the Managing Director of the Asian American Theater Company and  taught theater at Foothill College. At Foothill College, she developed a multicultural theatre studies curriculum that focused on engaging students from at-risk, under-served communities in the performing arts. 

As a professional director, Vidhu has explored provocative contemporary plays in a variety of theatrical styles . In 2004, she founded RasaNova Theater to produce bold new plays from across the globe including South Asia and it's diaspora. Her recent production,Dancing on Glass by Ram Ganesh Kamatham, was selected for the National Asian American Theater Festival in June 2011.  A graduate of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, Vidhu belongs to an international theater directors collective, World Wide Lab, which did its inaugural residency at the Watermill Center in October 2011 followed by a second residency at the Irondale Center in August 2012. World Wide Lab will have their third residency at the Irondale Center in August 2013. Vidhu has played a key role in nurturing South Asian theater in the Bay Area.

Projects at Brava:

  • Waxing West 
  • Burqavaganza

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