Leila Ghaznavi – Leila Karam
Leila Ghaznavi is an actress and playwright of American-Iranian descent and a masters graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, currently residing in New York City.
As an actress Ms Ghaznavi has a wide range, with experience in diverse methods of acting: classical acting, clown, film acting, mask work, puppetry, and aerial acrobatics; as a playwright Ms Ghaznavi weaves together the disparate range of her theatrical studies and her unique heritage in order to further her artistic goals. In particular, Ms Ghaznavi hopes to generate work through her playwriting that gives a voice to oppressed women across the globe, with specific focus on women in the Middle East. Ms Ghaznavi has created works on a variety of topics, ranging from the discrimination of homosexuals in the Middle East to mothers of the “Disappeared” in the Argentinian Dirty War.
Ms. Ghaznavi’s piece, SILKEN VEILS, premiered in the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it was nominated for the prestigious Fringe First Award for best new work. Ms Ghaznavi’s works have also been performed in Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Chicago and Hollywood Fringe Festivals, as well as in Bali, Indonesia, and Kristiansand, Norway.
Ms Ghaznavi believes that art cannot be limited to one acting or storytelling method, and that the process of synthesizing artistic traditions is important in the creation of new methods of artistic expression. Moreover, she is committed to the belief that artists must challenge social conventions of what is sacred and taboo, Art must dare to say what is forbidden, love the undesirable, speak for those who have no voice, mourn those who have been forgotten, challenge what is sacred and dance in the clouds to reveal undiscovered planes of imagination.
Aizzah Fatima – Zada Karam
Aizzah Fatima is a New York City based actor and writer. Her comedy solo play Dirty Paki Lingerie has been produced in NYC, London, Toronto, Turkmenistan, Pakistan (US State Dept. sponsored four city tour), The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, a 15 city tour in the United Kingdom in 2016, and at colleges and universities around the U.S. The Wall Street Journal says the play “Breaks down stereotypes of Muslim women in America” and reviewers call it a “must-see” production. Her second solo play Google, It’s Complicated has had workshops and readings at The Lark and Pan Asian Rep in NYC. She was nominated for an Outstanding Solo Performance award (NYIT 2014), and for a Broadway World award for Best Play in 2016.
Select theatre credits: Acquittal (Pan Asian Rep), Romeo & Juliet (Access Theatre), Half Hearted (Cherry Lane Theatre), #serials@theflea (The Flea Theater), Play by Play Rendezvous (Stageworks Hudson), Circumcaedere (LABrynth Ensemble), Seven (Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, Hostos Cultural Arts Center). TV credits: High Maintenance (HBO), The Good Wife (CBS). She has performed at Upright Citizen’s Brigade, and in sketches for collegehumor.com. She is the recipient of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art grant with Brooklyn Children’s Theatre, and has written the book for the musical The Ten Year Test.
Her play The Scholar was commissioned by the Religion & Diversity Project (Canada). Her short film Stuff in which she starred along with Annette O’Toole won the best comedy award (Asians on Film). Her feature film based on characters from Dirty Paki Lingerie with Emmy award winning director Iman Zawahry was a finalist for the Sundance Writer’s lab, and is being filmed in 2017. She co-produced the horror feature film titled Horror Time which is executive produced by James Franco. http://aizzah.wixsite.com/aizzahfatima
David Glista – Joel Horton
David Glista is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory with a BFA in Dance Performance.At The Conservatory, he performed works by José Limón, Anna Sokolow, Doug Varone, Alwin Nikolais, Paul Taylor, and Bill T. Jones. Since graduating in 2013, David has been a member of Prometheus Dance, The People Movers, and The Anna Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble. David also works as a freelance set and lighting technician, and stage manager.
Joseph Kamal – Youssif Karam
Joseph Kamal is a veteran stage actor with Broadway credits. He has appeared in world premieres by Tony Kushner, Rajiv Joseph, Charles Mee, Lee Breuer, Richard Montoya of Culture Clash and Charles Randolph Wright. The west coast premieres and national tours of Theresa Rebeck and Lynn Nottage. He has worked at Lincoln Center, New York Theater Workshop , The Atlantic Theater, Mabou Mines , La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Arena Stage, Huntington Theater and ACT Seattle among others and was a company member of The Shakespeare Theater in Washington DC. Recently in Los Angeles he appeared in Travis Preston’s production of Prometheus Bound at The Getty Villa. He has numerous film and television credits and has done a lot of voiceover work as well. www.josephkamal.com
Nada Humsi – Nada Karam
Nada Humsi is a graduate of Damascus University with a BA in English Studies. Nada started her career in theatre in the seventies where she attended training workshops in Syrian and abroad and was trained by the pioneers of Syrian theatre at the time.
Nada was a founding member Damascus Mime Centre and Mosaic Art Production. In 1988, Nada wrote and performed her first one-woman show The Choice, directed by renowned Syrian playwright/director Riad Ismat. Later Nada created several one-woman shows that she toured across the world and garnered her large number of awards and recognitions. Nada also lived and presented theatre in Japan. Nada moved to Canada in 1999 where she worked with a number of theatre makers in Toronto, Montreal and Kingston before moving to Kitchener and joining the MT Space. At MT Space Nada co-created, acted and helped produce a number of original productions including the acclaimed The Last 15 Seconds, as well as Body 13 and The Raft. She also co-created several Theatre for Social Change. Nada served as a grant juror at both the Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council. Recently Nada was invited to be on the awards jury at the Arab Theatre Festival in Morocco in 2015.
Nada was a founding member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Arab Canadian Theatre (KW- ACT) in 2013, where she wrote and directed My Name is Dakhil Faraj – a play presented in three languages: Arabic, English and American Sign Language. Nada presents her most recent work Sultan Basha, on February 16 -18 at the Registry Theatre.
In Films, Nada helped in creating a number of documentaries and short films in Syrian, Japan and Canada and she played a role in the Syrian film: Al-Layl (The Night) directed by Mohammad Malas.
Cecilia Lynn-Jacobs – Ana Horton & Podcast Host
Cecilia Lynn-Jacobs is a Brooklyn-based performer, artist, and educator. She currently holds a recurring voiceover role with the Award-winning Scifi podcast Wolf 359 in addition to creating the audience outreach program for Crawl with Kate Ladenheim and the People Movers. Cecilia is also a teaching artist with Zara Aina, an arts education non-profit. As a freelance performer, Cecilia has worked with Jamie Poskin, Liz Thaler, Zoe Beloff and Vanessa Walters/Andrew Schneider. She received her degree in Theater from Wesleyan University.
James Bryce – Dr. Skylar Adhar
James Bryce wears several hats.
As an actor, he has appeared in over 100 theatre productions across the length and breadth of the UK, most recently old Nijinsky in ‘Nijinsky’s Last Jump’ (Company Chordelia’) and the title role in ‘Chaplin’ (Ace Production).
His TV and film work includes Taggart, River City, King James Bible, and most recently ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII’ (BBC4). He has made over 200 broadcasts for the BBC and others, and recorded over 100 audiobooks.
As a composer, he has written for numerous theatre companies, including the musical ‘Whisky Kisses’ (Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s showcase production 2014); for over 10 years wrote songs and scripts for the under nines for BBC educational radio and writes for concert hall. And in the genres of rock, pop, folkish and jazzish.
He also enjoys building drystone walls.
James Stewart – Reverend Joseph
When asked if there was an Edinburgh based actor, able to play a theologian interested in sci-fi and extraterrestrial life, there could be only one choice!
James Stewart read English Language and Literature at Oxford University, but after a few years retrained as a priest in the Anglican Communion (specifically the Church of England, but attached to the Scottish Episcopal Church now he is north of the border!) at Durham University.
Picking up a lifelong love of performance and storytelling, he then retrained AGAIN as an actor and singer at Birmingham School of Acting, becoming an alumnus of the Carlton Hobbes BBC Radio Drama Award in 2006.
Unfortunately, life hasn’t offered many performing professional opportunities other than various parts for the BBC Radio Drama Department, his college days, and for Riding Lights Theatre Company; roles such as Prospero, Henry V, The Player, Valmont will mean something to those in dramatic circles). All interests of representation gratefully received!
On the theological side, he has ministered in parishes in Durham and Worcester Dioceses, as an assistant warden at Marygate House on Holy Island, and been a chaplain for Edinburgh Airport, the Gyle Shopping Centre, and Keele University in Staffordshire.
As for the sci-fi, he is a born geek and will happily discuss any mashup of fandoms you require, especially his beloved Doctor Who from the BBC.