Festival Coordinators

KCACTF/LORT ASPIRE Leadership Coordinator

Maria Amon
California State University San Marcos
patriceamon@gmail.com

I was raised in National City, Ca, a low-income city 10 miles from the border. This city had a large part in shaping my identity. As a Latina, I am committed to creating opportunities for growth and success within my community. PhD, UC Irvine and UCSD; JD California Western School of Law; BA, University of San Diego

Member-at-Large with focus on Arts Leadership/ASPIRE

Roman Sanchez

I am a son, grandson, nephew, and brother born and raised as a 4th generation Mexican-American in California’s Imperial Valley, land of the Cocopah and Quechan peoples. My parents proudly work in retail and road construction and raised me with an encouragement to endlessly explore my creativity and imagination. I was privileged to find theatre at such a young age – 4 years old – and quickly realized the power art can have to spark dialogue and entertain. This led me to pursue a degree in Theatre Arts and to turn my ‘hobby’ into a career. My values as a Theatre-Maker are to uplift narratives that center systemically underrecognized stories — those by BIPOC, Students, Veterans, Seniors, People Experiencing Incarceration. My values as an Arts Administrator and Producer are to help organizations who serve and represent the aforementioned communities grow fiscal health, cultivate new generations of storytellers, and integrate decolonized policies and practices. www.limearts.org @romansanchez001

Member-At-Large with focus on Student Advocacy and Connectivity

Abel Marquez

I grew up in West Covina, Southern California, based in the San Gabriel Valley. I am a Mexican American, Latinx, LGBTQ+, Born Again Christian, California Community College graduate, theatre practitioner, educator, and curator of personal truths. I grew up in a house full of my family: my aunts, my uncle, my cousin, my grandfather. I hold my family and friends close to my heart and rely on them to fuel me as I continue my career pursuits. After the loss of my brother at sixteen I found theatre to be the outlet of my self-expression. I would not be where I am today without the inspiring love of my friends, family, and my late brother.

I find my inspiration in the good of humanity, and try to live by “assuming good intent” wherever I go. I create theatre to exert our inherent need for change and to illuminate the very human need for connection. My goal is to make art accessible, diverse, and alive. My work centers on de-constructing the classist structures that live within our institutions and our field. Outside of my work, I love Marvel/DC comics, enjoy reading with a good book, and love petting animals (I’m allergic, but I’ll take a benadryl).

Citrus College – Associates in Arts, Theatre Arts. California State University, Fullerton – Bachelors in Arts

Member-At-Large with a Focus on Playwriting

Kiki Rivera

I am the child of Andra Rivera Souza and Puipui Fuamatu, the granddaughter of Mary H. Ceno and Engracio Rivera and granddaughter of Makerita Sagatu and Puipui Fuamatu. I come from a line of island warriors, healers, artisans and storytellers who have traversed the Pacific ocean and call it home. I also come from a line of imperialists.

I was born and raised on the island of Oʻahu in the district of Waiʻanae and the smaller (yet largest ahupuaʻa) district of Lualualei. Waiʻanae is a small town with small town vibes and big time aloha for community. It’s where I first learned aloha ʻāina or love for land and love for people. It’s far west, so it’s hot and isolating. I was surrounded by mountains. My grandmother remembers seeing WWII planes flying through the lowest part of the mountain range that overlooks our home. The military still occupies the land in front of our family property and reaches into the mountains. At night we still hear explosives. Military games. Just practicing. Between the mountain and the residents stand two red and white 1,502.99 ft VLF transmitters or radio towers the U.S. navy uses to communicate to submerged submarines. As children we were told that these radio towers would most likely cause leukemia and other cancers because we lived so close to them. The overwhelming smell of pig farms masked the fears brought by military practice.

In my youth I didn’t understand the concept of being a homosexual or what that felt like, but I was attracted to girls, assumed everyone had the same natural queer tendecies and knew not to mention it. I was also raised, from birth, as a Jehovah’s Witness. Coming out was a struggle. My identities have caused me to experience many dramatic shifts and overturns in world-views and self-perceptions, but it’s always been one constant spiritual journey. That journey has brought me to the arts as a creator, but most of all as a champion for people of color, in particular (because it is my responsibility) Pacific people in the arts. Being queer isn’t at the core of my identity. Being from this ocean is.

If lessons were islands that break the water’s surface, I’d say that on this island everything we see is real AND what is also real is everything we are not seeing or chose not to see. The world is expansive and there are many forces in it, so we are never alone in our journeys. We always have help. Expansion is life, so live, love and let joy be at the center right now because islands erode and climate change is real. 

 University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Member-at-Large

Francesca (Cessa) Betancourt

Cessa (she/her) is a performer, intimacy director, producer, choreographer, and educator/facilitator. Cessa is originally from the Southwest but is now based on the East coast. She has worked as an artist in Ireland, India, the Philippines, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Maryland, D.C. and Florida. She holds two BAs from Western Washington University in Theatre Arts and Sociology, and has trained in Applied Theatre at City University of New York. She identifies as mixed-race/bi-racial, Cuban/white, cisgender female, and queer. Cessa is the artistic director of a recurring storytelling event and podcast and is a founding member of an interdisciplinary theatre collective. Her work is based in social/emotional learning, trauma informed arts, social justice, compassion, access, autonomy, and physical storytelling.

Member-at-Large 

Fredreka Irvine

Member-at-Large with focus on Representation, Equity and Diversity

Rodney Lloyd Scott

 

InterAct Interviews and Auditions Coordinator

Matthew Schleicher
Rio Hondo College
mschleicher@riohondo.edu

InterAct Interviews and Auditions Coordinator

Ryan Scrimger
Member-At-Large
rabscrimger@gmail.com

InterAct Interviews and Auditions Coordinator

Jeffery Ingman
MiraCosta College
sdauditioncoach@gmail.com

Irene Ryan Coordinator

Vanessa Mizzone Pellegrini
East Los Angeles College
ireneryanskcactf8@gmail.com

Irene Ryan Coordinator

Shaheen Vaaz
Pierce College
ireneryanskcactf8@gmail.com

Musical Theatre Initiative Coordinator

Andrew Barratt Lewis
Weber State University
andrewlewis@weber.edu

Invitational Scenes Coordinator

Amanda Zarr
Chapman University
amandazarr@gmail.com

I have always never fit in. In high school I played volleyball, did yearbook, and also did acting. None of these groups talked to each other at lunch, so I never knew where to sit. I have carried this feeling with me for most of my life. The first time in my life where I felt a feeling of, “these are my people” is when I walked into my first KCACTF festival. Everyone was like me!  They did a lot, in a lot of different areas.  I joined the board to work to give that feeling to other students. I volunteer and give what limited time I have because I want theater/acting/tech/writing/designing etc. to be a force to unite. I see in all my classrooms students capable of great things and feel like to come to festival each year and learn so much for students across our region. BFA, Chapman University in Orange, California, MFA, University of Washington Seattle, Washington.

Respondents Workshop

Judith Royer
Loyola Marymount University
royercsj@gmail.com

Respondents Workshop

Adam Houghton
Brigham Young University
ahoughton@byu.edu

Adam Houghton joined the BFA Acting faculty at BYU in the fall of 2017. Before that he taught acting classes and directed plays for 13 years at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota. Adam graduated from BYU in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Film with an Acting Emphasis. He received his MFA in directing from the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama. In addition to his MFA, Adam has pursued diverse acting training that includes traditional approaches as well as Biomechanics, the Noh Training Project, and Alba Emoting. He has a keen interest in mask making and performance and sees the mask’s primary function in communication as revealing more than it conceals.

BYU has had a profound impact on Adam’s life. Adam’s father grew up in a small mining town and his BYU education changed the direction of his life, lifting him out of poverty. He instilled this value of education in Adam from a young age. And it was at BYU where Adam developed as an artist, scholar, and disciple of Christ, integrating a love of learning, art, and the gospel.​ For Adam, the greatest theatre is that which reveals truth and strengthens the bonds between God​ and his children.

After serving a mission in Germany, Adam met his wife, Lori, on a blind date while they were students at BYU and their family has three girls who will surpass Adam and Lori in every way.

BA, Brigham Young University, 1996; MFA, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, 2003

Respondents Workshop

Lori Siekmann
Concordia University, Irvine
lori.siekmann@cui.edu

My mom’s parents moved from Puerto Rico to the mainland in the 30s, and my mom was born in TX. The whole reason my grandfather moved to St. Louis was to become a pastor and start a Spanish language ministry in the Lutheran church. My dad, an immigrant from Denmark, also became a pastor. With this upbringing, my Christian faith is a big part of who I am. I also deal with the mental health issue of anxiety disorder. I see it as incredibly important to break the stigma of mentioning it, and try to remind all those with mental health issues that you are not alone. My identity as a theatre artist also defines me. I gravitate towards contemporary realism, farce, Theatre for Young Audiences, and musical theatre. More recently, I have found the joy of playwriting. The biggest thing I want to accomplish with my art is to encourage people to have empathy with & for one another, to foster compassion, to listen to one another, and to seek to understand & love all people.

MFA in Playwriting from Spalding University, MA in Theatre from the University of Illinois, Chicago

Directing Program Coordinator

Jeremy Lewis
Concordia University, Irvine
jeremylewisdirector@gmail.com

Devised Performance Coordinator

bree valle
Cuesta College
bvalle@cuesta.edu

A personal identity is the concept you develop about yourself that evolves over the course of your life. This may include aspects of your life that you have no control over, such as where you grew up, your gender identity, sexuality and race or ethnicity, as well choices you have made in life, your beliefs and values, styles and personal tastes. You may demonstrate many portions of your personal identity outwardly and you may also keep some elements of your personal identity to yourself, even when these parts of yourself are very important. We are not asking for you to reveal anything about yourself that you wish to remain private, however we celebrate transparency and even vulnerability.  

BA Urban Planning Lakehead University, Canada; BEd  Lakehead University, Canada; MFA Performance/Directing – Arizona State University

Stage Management Coordinator

Amber Bielinski

University of Utah

amber.bielinski@utah.edu

Institute for Theatre Journalism and Advocacy Coordinator

Arnab Banjeri
Loyola Marymount University
Arnab.Banerji@lmu.edu

Workshop Coordinator

Amanda Crabb
Utah Valley University
workshops8kcactf@gmail.com

Dramaturgy Coordinator

Shelley Graham
Brigham Young University
shelleytgraham@gmail.com

Dramaturgy Coordinator

Janine Knighton
Utah Valley University
jknighton@uvu.edu