JUNE 13 – 26, SparkFest

SparkFest 2024

Amphibian Stage

JUNE 13 – 26, SparkFest

SparkFest 2024

Amphibian Stage

In 2024, SparkFest, the annual performing arts festival, will shift its focus to celebrate the AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) community. Building on the success of the 2023 festival, which featured the inaugural Acting Competition, SparkFest’24  promises an even grander experience. Like last year, this event will become a beacon for artists from across the globe, fostering community and inspiration in Fort Worth.

 

This year’s festival will continue to showcase and develop new plays, offering Fort Worth a unique glimpse into the future of performing arts. The festival will again host a National acting competition, drawing inspiration from the renowned “Van Cliburn Festival,” offering a substantial $18,000 in cash prizes for the finalists. This competition will be open exclusively to AAPI actors.

 

In addition to the acting competition, SparkFest will feature a variety of engaging events. Past festivals have included highlights such as Light up the Runway, a Project Runway-style fashion show, dance performances, interactive workshops, and more. The festival lineup and details on the acting competition will be revealed in early 2024.

JUNE 13 AT 7 PM, SparkFest

Music from North Africa to the Middle East and Iran

For Adults

JUNE 13 AT 7 PM, SparkFest

Music from North Africa to the Middle East and Iran

For Adults

Join us for an adult music workshop celebrating music from North Africa to the Middle East and Iran. Learn from professional musicians and explore the world of music!

 

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

This is a donation-based event

This event is free, but feel free to explore the suggested donations, ranging from $5-30. It’s your support that allows us to continue providing exciting and inspiring theatrical experiences for any budget; thank you. 

Artists

Teachers

Ehsan Matoori

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

Sign up!

Upcoming Shows

JUNE 14 AT 10:30 AM, SparkFest

Music from North Africa to the Middle East and Iran

For Youth 10+

JUNE 14 AT 10:30 AM, SparkFest

Music from North Africa to the Middle East and Iran

For Youth 10+

Join us for a youth music workshop celebrating music from North Africa to the Middle East and Iran. Designed for youth ages 10+. Learn from professional musicians and explore the world of music!

 

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

This is a donation-based event

This event is free, but feel free to explore the suggested donations, ranging from $5-30. It’s your support that allows us to continue providing exciting and inspiring theatrical experiences for any budget; thank you. 

Artists

Teachers

Ehsan Matoori

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

Sign Up!

Upcoming Shows

JUNE 10 AT 7:00 PM, SparkFest

Rangoli workshop

Adults and Youth Age 10+

JUNE 10 AT 7:00 PM, SparkFest

Rangoli workshop

Adults and Youth Age 10+

We welcome you to participate in the colorful Indian Folk Art of Rangoli making as we invite good luck and prosperity into our space and our lives. Collaborate and work on elaborate, traditional designs brought to life with a play of brightly colored powders.

Age: 10+

Note: While rangoli is traditionally created on the floor, we will be using table tops to make it an accessible activity for most.

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

This is a donation-based event

This event is free, but feel free to explore the suggested donations, ranging from $5-30. It’s your support that allows us to continue providing exciting and inspiring theatrical experiences for any budget; thank you. 

Artists

Teachers

Ayesha Ganguly

Development & Community Outreach Director

Ayesha’s love for theater began in the bustling city of Mumbai, India, where she performed street theater for HIV/AIDS awareness and experienced the art form’s transformational power. Many evenings were spent lining up for student passes, leaning against back walls to watch established theater activists perform. The intersection of arts, social justice and community engagement excites her.

 

Ayesha’s expertise is in nurturing inclusive and empathetic community connections. Across several metropolitan cities like Mumbai, New York, Houston and more recently in Fort Worth, she has designed, led and supported programs at established organizations serving diverse populations. Some of these role have been with South Asian Youth Action, Girls Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, Greater Houston Partnership, Center for the Healing of Racism, Leadership Fort Worth, Multicultural Alliance, Refugee Services of Texas, World Bank- Mumbai Youth Initiative, British Council- Beyond Borders program, Lily Foundation, DNAWORKS among others.

Development & Community Outreach Director

Ayesha Ganguly

Ayesha’s love for theater began in the bustling city of Mumbai, India, where she performed street theater for HIV/AIDS awareness and experienced the art form’s transformational power. Many evenings were spent lining up for student passes, leaning against back walls to watch established theater activists perform. The intersection of arts, social justice and community engagement excites her.

 

Ayesha’s expertise is in nurturing inclusive and empathetic community connections. Across several metropolitan cities like Mumbai, New York, Houston and more recently in Fort Worth, she has designed, led and supported programs at established organizations serving diverse populations. Some of these role have been with South Asian Youth Action, Girls Scouts of San Jacinto Council, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, Greater Houston Partnership, Center for the Healing of Racism, Leadership Fort Worth, Multicultural Alliance, Refugee Services of Texas, World Bank- Mumbai Youth Initiative, British Council- Beyond Borders program, Lily Foundation, DNAWORKS among others.

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

Sign Up!

Upcoming Shows

JUNE 13 AT 10:30 AM, SparkFest

Rhythm and Instruments from the Middle East

For Youth 10+

JUNE 13 AT 10:30 AM, SparkFest

Rhythm and Instruments from the Middle East

For Youth 10+

Join us for a youth music workshop celebrating rhythm and instruments from the Middle East. Designed for youth ages 10-15 with an interest and/or background in music. Learn from professional musicians and explore the world of music!

 

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

This is a donation-based event

This event is free, but feel free to explore the suggested donations, ranging from $5-30. It’s your support that allows us to continue providing exciting and inspiring theatrical experiences for any budget; thank you. 

Artists

Teachers

Ehsan Matoori

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

Sign Up!

Upcoming Shows

JUNE 3 AT 8:30 PM, SparkFest

Neighborhood Leap Walk

Amphibian Stage

JUNE 3 AT 8:30 PM, SparkFest

Neighborhood Leap Walk

Amphibian Stage

Pre-Walk Reception in the Amphibian Stage Lobby!

Join us for Neighborhood Leap Trail, the FREE app-based augmented reality art walking trail, covering .6 miles of the South Main Village. Created by Amphibian Stage in partnership with Blue Zone Project Fort Worth. The app features over 50 artists with over 20 stops, honoring South Main’s past, present, and future through a range of virtual experiences, including visual art, music, movement, and storytelling. Available on iOS and Android.

Note: The Neighborhood Leap is ADA accessible (wheelchair, scooter, and cycle-friendly!)

8:30 – 9:00 pm

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

This is a donation-based event

This event is free, but feel free to explore the suggested donations, ranging from $5-30. It’s your support that allows us to continue providing exciting and inspiring theatrical experiences for any budget; thank you. 

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

RSVP HERE!

Upcoming Shows

JUNE 14 AT 8 PM, SparkFest

Voices Unveiled Performance & Closing Reception

Ehsan Matoori, Maliheh Moradi, Mina Deris, & featuring Ronnie Malley

JUNE 14 AT 8 PM, SparkFest

Voices Unveiled Performance & Closing Reception

Ehsan Matoori, Maliheh Moradi, Mina Deris, & featuring Ronnie Malley

Voices unveiled… the voices that live beyond time, beyond place, and beyond death.
“The Voices Unveiled” musical project magnifies the voices of the Woman-Life-Freedom movement heroes, the Iranian Women.

 

Starting at 7 pm before the performance, join us in the Amphibian Stage lobby for a catered reception provided by Break Bread, Break Borders.

 

The seeds of The Voices Unveiled musical project were sown when Matoori (composer) read multiple tragic news articles about multiple women refugees who left their motherlands in quest for equality, justice, and freedom, but lost their lives while crossing the borders. The story of the woman who died of hypothermia because she put her clothes on her children protecting them from the cold; the story of the women who were detained, tortured, raped, kidnapped, and killed were among those. The two characters of “Voices Unveiled” were born after Matoori met with one of the survivor and listened to her horrifying recounts of the unbearable conditions she endured.

 

Matoori’s unrest and concerns with women’s pain and suffering has been a longstanding one. He grew up in a family where women were deeply admired and valued. But soon, he noticed the unmerited censorships, prejudices, oppressions, and suppressions that women, particularly, female artists in his homeland, have been facing for years. Though Matoori believes that his music “should bring happiness to people,” he could not stay silent and felt the obligation to translate his rage and pain into music and use his musical voice to echo the voices of the brave and tireless women who have refused to be silenced.

 

In September 2022, a 22 year old woman, Mahsa (Zhina) Amini was killed in custody of the Islamic Republic’s “morality police” for not properly following the hijab rules. Subsequently, a movement led by Iranian women has begun against the cruelties imposed on women. Soon, Iranian men had risen up in support of women. The slogan Woman Life Freedom has become the main chant of the protests. The freedom seeking movement of Iranians has been viciously and brutally attacked by the Islamic Regime through massive arrests, imprisonment, shootings, torture, and even executions. Despite all, Iranians’ fight for freedom continues to grow louder. In fact, people around the world have now become the voice of Iranians, creating an aspiring global unity for freedom and human rights. This movement is now believed to be one of the first and most important feminist led revolutions in the world that is demanding justice, democracy, equality, and freedom. Various artists have been beautifully bringing the world’s attention to the Iranians’ movement. “The Voices Unveiled” musical project is also hoping to magnify the voices of the Woman, Life, Freedom heroes, the Iranian Women.

 

Following the performance of Voices Unveiled, join us for the closing reception of SparkFest 2023.

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

Amphibian Stage’s New Tiered Ticket Pricing Model

Tickets for this show range from $10-30, but YOU get to decide what you pay in an effort to make theatre more accessible for any budget. Read more about our tiered ticketing model here!

video-cover

Artists

Artists

Ehsan Matoori

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

Composer/Santour

Ehsan Matoori

Ehsan Matoori is the composer and Santour of Voices Unveiled. www.ehsanmatoori.com

Maliheh Moradi

Vocalist

Maliheh Moradi is a vocalist for Voices Unveiled. www.malihehmoradi.com

Vocalist

Maliheh Moradi

Maliheh Moradi is a vocalist for Voices Unveiled. www.malihehmoradi.com

Mina Deris

Vocalist

Mina Deris is a vocalist for Voices Unveiled.

Vocalist

Mina Deris

Mina Deris is a vocalist for Voices Unveiled.

Ronnie Malley

Artist

Ronnie Malley is an oudist for Voices Unveiled.

Artist

Ronnie Malley

Ronnie Malley is an oudist for Voices Unveiled.

Ali Montazeri

Artist

Ali Montazeri is a bam-taar player for Voices Unveiled.

Artist

Ali Montazeri

Ali Montazeri is a bam-taar player for Voices Unveiled.

Jonathan Jones

Artist

Jonathan Jones is a clarinetist for Voices Unveiled.

Artist

Jonathan Jones

Jonathan Jones is a clarinetist for Voices Unveiled.

Moslem Alipour

Artist

Moslem Alipour is a kamancheh player for Voices Unveiled.

Artist

Moslem Alipour

Moslem Alipour is a kamancheh player for Voices Unveiled.

Connor Kent

Artist

Connor Kent is a drummer for Voices Unveiled.

Artist

Connor Kent

Connor Kent is a drummer for Voices Unveiled.

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

Get Tickets

Upcoming Shows

JUNE 2 AT 6 PM, SparkFest

Layla Murad: Egyptian Cinderella

Dr. Hanan Hammad, event held at Leaves Book & Tea Shop

JUNE 2 AT 6 PM, SparkFest

Layla Murad: Egyptian Cinderella

Dr. Hanan Hammad, event held at Leaves Book & Tea Shop

Join us for a special lecture by Dr. Hanan Hammad exploring her book “Unknown Past: Layla Murad, the Jewish-Muslim Star of Egypt” about Egyptian star Layla Murad. “A biography of the “Cinderella” of Egyptian cinema—the veneration and rumors that surrounded an unparalleled career, and the gendered questions that unsettled Egyptian society.”

 

Free event (with donation suggested) at Leaves Book at Tea Shop. Pop-up food and Egyptian tea available for sale.

 

This event will be held at Leaves Book & Tea Shop located at 120 St Louis Ave #101, Fort Worth, TX 76104.

 

Dr. Hanan Hammad is an Associate Professor and Director of Middle East Studies at Texas Christian University. She is the author of Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt (2016), which won prizes from the National Women’s Studies Association, the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies, and the Arab American Book Awards.

 

Following the lecture, join us for a reception.

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

Amphibian Stage’s New Tiered Ticket Pricing Model

Tickets for this show range from $10-30, but YOU get to decide what you pay in an effort to make theatre more accessible for any budget. Read more about our tiered ticketing model here!

Lecturers

Lecturers

Dr. Hanan Hammad

Lecturer

Hanan Hammad is an Associate Professor and Director of Middle East Studies at Texas Christian University. She is the author of Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt (2016), which won prizes from the National Women’s Studies Association, the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies, and the Arab American Book Awards.

Lecturer

Dr. Hanan Hammad

Hanan Hammad is an Associate Professor and Director of Middle East Studies at Texas Christian University. She is the author of Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt (2016), which won prizes from the National Women’s Studies Association, the Association for Middle East Women’s Studies, and the Arab American Book Awards.

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

Get Tickets

Upcoming Shows

JUNE 9 AT 5:30 PM, SparkFest

Round 2: Acting Competition

Amphibian Stage

JUNE 9 AT 5:30 PM, SparkFest

Round 2: Acting Competition

Amphibian Stage

Round 2

 

Round 1 is on June 8th, Round 2 is on June 9th, and Round 3 is June 10th. 

 

The ten actors were selected from a nationwide search. For round 2, they will be given a scene and only 30 minutes to prepare before performing it for the judges. The judges will give adjustments and hear the scene at least twice for each actor. Five actors will be eliminated after round 2. For the final round (June 10th), actors will perform their monologue again, taking into consideration written notes provided by the judges. 

 

The 1st Place winner will receive $5000; the 2nd place finalist will receive $4000; the 3rd place finalist will receive $3000; the audience favorite will receive $1000. Finalists will be judged by notable figures in the performing arts industry from outside of Texas.

 

This event is part of our enthralling two-week adventure, SparkFest 2023. Explore other SparkFest events. 

 

 

Amphibian Stage’s New Tiered Ticket Pricing Model
Tickets for this show range from $10-30, but YOU get to decide what you pay in an effort to make theatre more accessible for any budget. Read more about our tiered ticketing model here!

Meet the Actors & Judges

Actors
Judges

Ari Derambakhsh

Actor

Ari Derambakhsh is an Iranian-American actress and singer. She recently graduated with her BFA in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Prior to graduation, she trained and performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Most recently, Ari was part of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre company of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘English.’

Actor

Ari Derambakhsh

Ari Derambakhsh is an Iranian-American actress and singer. She recently graduated with her BFA in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Prior to graduation, she trained and performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Most recently, Ari was part of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre company of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play ‘English.’

Ahmad Kamal

Actor

Ahmad Kamal is an Egyptian actor based in the Washington DC area, where his regional theatre credits include Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Olney Theatre Center, among others. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Instagram: @king_o_egypt.

Actor

Ahmad Kamal

Ahmad Kamal is an Egyptian actor based in the Washington DC area, where his regional theatre credits include Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Olney Theatre Center, among others. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Instagram: @king_o_egypt.

Andrew Nicolas

Actor

Andrew Nicolas is beyond grateful to be able to act alongside some remarkably talented MENASA actors. Andrew is a recent Graduate of the BFA Acting program at TCU (Go Frogs) throughout his time at university, Andrew has been grateful to act throughout the DFW metroplex at theaters such as WaterTower Theatre, Circle Theatre, Lyric Stage, Shakespeare Dallas, Theatre Arlington to name a few!

Actor

Andrew Nicolas

Andrew Nicolas is beyond grateful to be able to act alongside some remarkably talented MENASA actors. Andrew is a recent Graduate of the BFA Acting program at TCU (Go Frogs) throughout his time at university, Andrew has been grateful to act throughout the DFW metroplex at theaters such as WaterTower Theatre, Circle Theatre, Lyric Stage, Shakespeare Dallas, Theatre Arlington to name a few!

Haneen Arafat Murphy

Actor

Haneen Arafat Murphy (she/her) lives in South Orange, NJ and has spent her life as a creative and performer. She began her career as a dancer in the pre-professional program at TCU, in her native Fort Worth. Drawn to broadcast media, she moved to New York, and was among the founding program directors at Sirius Radio. Her national campaigns as a voice actor include Pringles, Delta, Walmart, and Ford. Her most recent stage work includes the debut season of American Fast (Constellation Stage).

Actor

Haneen Arafat Murphy

Haneen Arafat Murphy (she/her) lives in South Orange, NJ and has spent her life as a creative and performer. She began her career as a dancer in the pre-professional program at TCU, in her native Fort Worth. Drawn to broadcast media, she moved to New York, and was among the founding program directors at Sirius Radio. Her national campaigns as a voice actor include Pringles, Delta, Walmart, and Ford. Her most recent stage work includes the debut season of American Fast (Constellation Stage).

Jamie Rezanour

Actor

Jamie Rezanour is a native Texan from Houston, currently living in New York City. She is of Iranian descent and is a proud MENASA artist. Regionally, she has performed at theaters such as Dallas Theater Center, Hartford Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Guthrie, and MilwaukeeRepertory Theater. Her TV credits include The Blacklist, Bull, Blindspot, and a recurring role on Blue Bloods. Education: MFA in Acting (Southern Methodist University).

Actor

Jamie Rezanour

Jamie Rezanour is a native Texan from Houston, currently living in New York City. She is of Iranian descent and is a proud MENASA artist. Regionally, she has performed at theaters such as Dallas Theater Center, Hartford Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Guthrie, and MilwaukeeRepertory Theater. Her TV credits include The Blacklist, Bull, Blindspot, and a recurring role on Blue Bloods. Education: MFA in Acting (Southern Methodist University).

Lois Abdelmalek

Actor

Lois “Lo” Abdelmalekis an actor, singer, director, and photographer. Most recently she was in KISS (Wilma Theatre) and the world premiere of400 Barrels of Wine(Theatre Ariel & Theatre Company of Jerusalem). Lo has an MFA in Performance and African American Theatre Certificate from The University of Louisville and has studied at the HB Studio in NYC. As an artist-activist, Lo created and directed Umuryango: Rwandan Stories which was a staged reading and photography exhibit that honored the lives of the street children she met in Rwanda.

Actor

Lois Abdelmalek

Lois “Lo” Abdelmalekis an actor, singer, director, and photographer. Most recently she was in KISS (Wilma Theatre) and the world premiere of400 Barrels of Wine(Theatre Ariel & Theatre Company of Jerusalem). Lo has an MFA in Performance and African American Theatre Certificate from The University of Louisville and has studied at the HB Studio in NYC. As an artist-activist, Lo created and directed Umuryango: Rwandan Stories which was a staged reading and photography exhibit that honored the lives of the street children she met in Rwanda.

Mariana Saba

Actor

Mariana Saba is an actor based in Northport, NY.

Actor

Mariana Saba

Mariana Saba is an actor based in Northport, NY.

Savannah Yasmine Elayyach

Actor

Actor

Savannah Yasmine Elayyach

Christian Tannous

Actor

Christian Tannous is a Houston-based actor and director. He is currently pursuing his B.A. in Fine Arts and Art Administration at the University of Houston-Downtown. He is thrilled to be able to share the stage with the incredibly talented individuals here at SparkFest! He would also like to thank his friends and family for their unrelenting outpour of support and affirmation through this exciting chapter of life.

Actor

Christian Tannous

Christian Tannous is a Houston-based actor and director. He is currently pursuing his B.A. in Fine Arts and Art Administration at the University of Houston-Downtown. He is thrilled to be able to share the stage with the incredibly talented individuals here at SparkFest! He would also like to thank his friends and family for their unrelenting outpour of support and affirmation through this exciting chapter of life.

Victoria Nassif

Actor

Victoria Nassif strives to live on the hyphen-between Lebanese, Palestinian, and American, between performer, intimacy director, and narrator, between her many hobbies and her personal commitments to family, to growth, and to hope. Her work has been seen across the globe at places like the New Victory Theater, The Kennedy Center, American Players Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Constellation Stage &Screen, TheatreSquared, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Playhouse Square, Arts Center at NYUAD, FringeArts, and many more. Free Palestine!

Actor

Victoria Nassif

Victoria Nassif strives to live on the hyphen-between Lebanese, Palestinian, and American, between performer, intimacy director, and narrator, between her many hobbies and her personal commitments to family, to growth, and to hope. Her work has been seen across the globe at places like the New Victory Theater, The Kennedy Center, American Players Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Constellation Stage &Screen, TheatreSquared, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Playhouse Square, Arts Center at NYUAD, FringeArts, and many more. Free Palestine!

Taylor Blackman

Taylor Blackman (he/him) is an actor, writer, producer, director, and professor based in Brooklyn, NY. As an actor, Taylor recently finished the first National Tour of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. He has also performed with Roundabout Theatre Company, The Movement Theatre Company, The Public Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and New York Stage & Film. Taylor can also be seen on Comedy Central’s “Alternatino” and on CBS’ “FBI”. As a playwright, he is currently under commission with Ensemble Studio Theatre & Roberta P Sloan to create a new scientific play. He has held residency with Hi-ARTS Harlem to develop new works, as well creatively produced readings and workshops of his own work. Taylor recently served as the movement director for a recent production of Sweet Chariot that premiered at The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival. He holds a professorship with the New School in the Theatre Department. Taylor is currently working on a new musical titled Hero, created by Shariffa Ali and Vuyo Sotashe.

Taylor Blackman

Taylor Blackman (he/him) is an actor, writer, producer, director, and professor based in Brooklyn, NY. As an actor, Taylor recently finished the first National Tour of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. He has also performed with Roundabout Theatre Company, The Movement Theatre Company, The Public Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and New York Stage & Film. Taylor can also be seen on Comedy Central’s “Alternatino” and on CBS’ “FBI”. As a playwright, he is currently under commission with Ensemble Studio Theatre & Roberta P Sloan to create a new scientific play. He has held residency with Hi-ARTS Harlem to develop new works, as well creatively produced readings and workshops of his own work. Taylor recently served as the movement director for a recent production of Sweet Chariot that premiered at The Public Theater’s Under The Radar Festival. He holds a professorship with the New School in the Theatre Department. Taylor is currently working on a new musical titled Hero, created by Shariffa Ali and Vuyo Sotashe.

Spencer Gualdoni

Casting Director

Spencer Gualdoni, CSA (he/him/his) is an Associate Casting Director at Tara Rubin Casting. Spencer joined Tara Rubin Casting in January 2020. Prior to TRC, Spencer began his casting career in the summer of 2016 at The Telsey Office where he served as an intern and had the pleasure of assisting on The Producers at Paper Mill Playhouse and numerous other theatrical productions and national commercials. Post-graduation, Spencer worked for over three years as the Executive Assistant to Broadway Director + Choreographer Jeff Calhoun. In conjunction with his work with Mr. Calhoun, Spencer also served as the Casting Assistant for the National Tour of Bandstand under Kate Lumpkin Casting. During Spencer’s time at TRC, he has had the pleasure of working on the Broadway and National Tour of Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The TemptationsTrevorJersey BoysLes MisérablesThe Who’s TommyCOMPANYMamma Mia! and Sing Street to name a few. Spencer also served as the children’s Casting Director for the World-Premiere Production of The Hours at The Metropolitan Opera in the Fall of 2022 starring Kelli O’Hara, Joyce DiDonato and Renée Fleming.

Originally from Southern Illinois, Spencer received his Bachelor’s of Music  in Musical Theater from Oklahoma City University. As a teacher and Guest Artist, he has taught with Carnegie Mellon University, Oklahoma City University, Marymount Manhattan, Reinhardt University, West Texas A&M University, Broadway Artists Alliance, Broadway Kids Auditions, The Actor’s Connection and many more. Spencer enjoys helping aspiring artists hone in on their craft while also examining the ins and outs of preparing for an audition.

Casting Director

Spencer Gualdoni

Spencer Gualdoni, CSA (he/him/his) is an Associate Casting Director at Tara Rubin Casting. Spencer joined Tara Rubin Casting in January 2020. Prior to TRC, Spencer began his casting career in the summer of 2016 at The Telsey Office where he served as an intern and had the pleasure of assisting on The Producers at Paper Mill Playhouse and numerous other theatrical productions and national commercials. Post-graduation, Spencer worked for over three years as the Executive Assistant to Broadway Director + Choreographer Jeff Calhoun. In conjunction with his work with Mr. Calhoun, Spencer also served as the Casting Assistant for the National Tour of Bandstand under Kate Lumpkin Casting. During Spencer’s time at TRC, he has had the pleasure of working on the Broadway and National Tour of Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The TemptationsTrevorJersey BoysLes MisérablesThe Who’s TommyCOMPANYMamma Mia! and Sing Street to name a few. Spencer also served as the children’s Casting Director for the World-Premiere Production of The Hours at The Metropolitan Opera in the Fall of 2022 starring Kelli O’Hara, Joyce DiDonato and Renée Fleming.

Originally from Southern Illinois, Spencer received his Bachelor’s of Music  in Musical Theater from Oklahoma City University. As a teacher and Guest Artist, he has taught with Carnegie Mellon University, Oklahoma City University, Marymount Manhattan, Reinhardt University, West Texas A&M University, Broadway Artists Alliance, Broadway Kids Auditions, The Actor’s Connection and many more. Spencer enjoys helping aspiring artists hone in on their craft while also examining the ins and outs of preparing for an audition.

Kate Moore Heaney

Kate Moore Heaney (she/her) is a theatre director, producer, and dramaturg. Kate is the Artistic Associate, Literary at Long Wharf Theatre, Artistic Producer of Noor Theatre, and a founding steering committee member for the Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA). She has directed and/or developed new work with The Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, The Playwrights Realm, The Civilians’ R&D Group, New York Theatre Workshop, The Amoralists, The Flea, The Shakespeare Society, The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals, and other NYC companies. She has assistant or associate directed with Ibex Theatricals/The New Vic, McCarter Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, and The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. B.A.: Yale. katemooreheaney.com

Kate Moore Heaney

Kate Moore Heaney (she/her) is a theatre director, producer, and dramaturg. Kate is the Artistic Associate, Literary at Long Wharf Theatre, Artistic Producer of Noor Theatre, and a founding steering committee member for the Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA). She has directed and/or developed new work with The Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, The Playwrights Realm, The Civilians’ R&D Group, New York Theatre Workshop, The Amoralists, The Flea, The Shakespeare Society, The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals, and other NYC companies. She has assistant or associate directed with Ibex Theatricals/The New Vic, McCarter Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, and The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. B.A.: Yale. katemooreheaney.com

Sharifa Yasmin

Sharifa Yasmin (she/her) is a trans Egyptian-American director, actor, playwright and intimacy coordinator. She has completed directing fellowships with The Drama League, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Manhattan Theatre Club, Geva Theatre, and was a Eugene O’Neill national directing fellow. Yasmin’s playwriting focuses on the intersection of Queer and Arab identities. Her plays have been produced with the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Uprising Theatre, Amphibian Stage, Trans Theatre Fest, Women’s Theatre Festival, taught at DePaul, Susquehanna, and Kansas Universities, and published in The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays. Yasmin was honored as the inaugural recipient of the SCDF Barbara Whitman Award in 2021. She currently serves as a member of The Drama League’s Directors Council, and is completing her MFA in Directing with Brown/Trinity Rep. www.sharifayasmin.com

Sharifa Yasmin

Sharifa Yasmin (she/her) is a trans Egyptian-American director, actor, playwright and intimacy coordinator. She has completed directing fellowships with The Drama League, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Manhattan Theatre Club, Geva Theatre, and was a Eugene O’Neill national directing fellow. Yasmin’s playwriting focuses on the intersection of Queer and Arab identities. Her plays have been produced with the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Uprising Theatre, Amphibian Stage, Trans Theatre Fest, Women’s Theatre Festival, taught at DePaul, Susquehanna, and Kansas Universities, and published in The Methuen Drama Book of Trans Plays. Yasmin was honored as the inaugural recipient of the SCDF Barbara Whitman Award in 2021. She currently serves as a member of The Drama League’s Directors Council, and is completing her MFA in Directing with Brown/Trinity Rep. www.sharifayasmin.com

THANK YOU TO OUR 2023 SPARKFEST SPONSORS

Get Tickets!

Upcoming Shows