Ayshia Stephenson

Ayshia Stephenson is from Brooklyn, NY; where at the age of five she was performing dance and musical theatre. She is a poet and a playwright; she fuses poetry and storytelling for a provocative and spiritual performance in her writing and on the stage.  She earned her MFA in Writing (for performance) from the California Institute of Arts and has performed at REDCAT in Los Angeles. She has participated in Seoul’s “Night of 1000 Plays” and also has experience teaching drama at Seoul National University in South Korea. She is currently the Executive Director of Performing Fusion, a Boston based theatre-company that produces the Somerville Theatre Festival. A social scientist as well, Ayshia holds an MA in Applied Sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is most interested in looking at race, gender and culture through a performative, narrative, and feminist lens. For Ayshia, community theatre and creative writing should create dialogue and be used as tools for social justice and empowerment. 

Her interdisciplinary work has been published by TESOL Review, Seoul Writer’s Anthology, Seoul National University, A Gathering of the Tribes, The Clarion, Open to Interpretation and Drury University. In 2011, Ayshia won the Silver Grace Notes Prize for Book-Length Poetry and is the most recent winner of Imaginary Friend Press Full-Length Book Award for her book of poems black hands of a morning calm. The book is about her three year expatriate experience in Seoul, South Korea and is set for publication in February 2014. She is currently writing the play, Boston Bedroom, where a woman is passionate about her interracial romance and her research on sexuality, but finds herself in a trap of old ghosts, lies and murder when she has to choose between the two.  Ayshia is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Salem State University and is also starring in an independent romantic comedy, The Stoop.   She spends her free time, whether real or imagined, soaking up the natural hot springs of Southern California and enjoys watching films, talking about a better world, and camping under the stars.

Brian Moore-Ward

Brian Moore-Ward is from Dorchester, MA; his passion for theatre and everything entertainment has been imbedded in him since childhood. He received his BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Massachusetts, Boston in 2006. Brian was actively involved in the Theatre Arts Department at UMass Boston not only on stage but also behind the scenes. Some of his most memorable performances were Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet and Birdboot in The Real Inspector Hound. Brian was nominated to compete in The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition for his portrayal of Birdboot. Behind the scenes , he served as Stage Manager or Assistant Stage Manager for five main stage productions , including the student run production of the Vagina Monologues as a fundraising benefit which earned over $3,000 for Rosie’s Place Women's Shelter in Boston. At graduation Brian was the recipient of the John J. Conlon Prize which recognizes a graduating senior who best exemplifies the spirit of dedication and service to the Theatre Arts Department, fellow students and the community. 

Brian remains actively involved in the Boston community theatre scene. He has performed with The Milton Players, Needham Community Theatre and The Footlight Club. Brian performed the title role in Sully’s Comedy Birthday Party , an improvisational theatre troupe that traveled throughout Boston for two years. He is the Artistic Director of Performing Fusion, a Boston based theatre-company that produces the Somerville Theatre Festival. Brian has appeared in the independent films Veil of Blood and The Drive-In Horror Show. He is currently starring in the independent romantic comedy, The Stoop, set for release in 2014. In real life , Brian is a Applications Project Manager at Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary. When not wrapped up in daily shenanigans he enjoys hot air ballooning, hiking, singing along to musical theatre soundtracks and spending quality time with his husband Charlie and their dogs Boo Radley and Maizie at their home in Canton, MA.