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Rosa Fernandez - Playwright

Rosa Fernandez is a theatre artist that has worked locally in recent productions such as Secret Soldiers: Heroines in Disguise (TOY), Miss Bennet; Christmas at Pemberly, Motherf*cker with the Hat and Water by the Spoonful (RLTP). Her play, Curse of the Puerto Ricans, was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and received its world premiere at Bishop Arts Theatre Center in Dallas, TX in 2022. Her new play A Skeptic and a Bruja received its World Premiere at Urbanite Theatre in Sarasota, FL in 2022. She cares deeply about creating theatre that is inclusive and timely.


Jeff Goode - Playwright

(Playwright, ELF SPACE and THE FUTURE FORMER HOME OF THE TIME TRAVEL MUSEUM) is a Garland Award-winning playwright and Emmy-nominated screenwriter: The author of THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES and creator of Disney's AMERICAN DRAGON: JAKE LONG.  His latest work will be featured in the upcoming First Look Buffalo world premiere of FURSONA NON GRATA.  (And also here tonight.)

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Donna Hoke - Playwright

(Playwright): Donna's work has been seen in 46 states and on five continents. Plays include BRILLIANT WORKS OF ART (2016 Kilroys List), ELEVATOR GIRL (2017 O’Neill, 2018 Princess Grace finalist), and TEACH (Gulfshore New Works winner). She has been nominated for both the Primus and Blackburn Prizes, and is a three-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (SEEDS, SONS & LOVERS, ONCE IN MY LIFETIME). In its final three years, Artvoice named her Buffalo's Best Writer—the only woman to ever receive the designation. Donna has served the Dramatists Guild since 2013 and is an ensemble playwright at Road Less Traveled Productions.

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Wendy-Marie Martin - Playwright

(Playwright for JUST SIGN ) - Wendy-Marie is a playwright, dramaturg, and director as well as the Department Chair of the Undergraduate Theatre Department at Hollins University. She holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Arts & Playwriting from Ohio University and an MFA in Playwriting from The Playwright’s Lab at Hollins University. For over twenty-five years, Wendy-Marie has taught, directed, and performed in Europe and the U.S. Her plays have been produced in Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Japan, Ireland, and the U.S and published by Smith & Krauss, Theatrefolk, and YouthPLAYS. Her play TO BE A STARFISH, was a finalist for the Jane Chambers Award for Excellence in Feminist Playwrighting in 2022. Wendy-Marie is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

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Drew Fornarola - Playwright

(Writer QUIET CONNECTION, director QUIET CONNECTION and DO THE SPIRITS CONVEY?) is a songwriter and playwright from New York City and the artistic director of Starring Buffalo.  He has written for DreamWorks’ SHREK and VEGGIETALES franchises, and was most recently represented off-Broadway by STRAIGHT, a New York Times Critics’ pick now adapted into a major motion picture set for release this fall.  Other theater: THUCYDIDES (pub. Samuel French), UNCLE PIRATE (pub. Samuel French), TILLY THE TRICKSTER (collab. With SNL’s Molly Shannon, pub TRW), among others. Film: 1 NIGHT IN SAN DIEGO (Hulu), VEGGIETALES: NOAH’S ARK (DreamWorks Animation), STRAIGHT (BH5 Studios – Post Production), HIGH SCHOOL ZOOMSICAL (Broadway Unlocked).  Drew has headlined concerts around the world including Lincoln Center (NYC), London Theater Workshop (London), Broadway au Carre (Paris) and Bar Fedora (Los Angeles) among others.  Recent directing credits include LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS starring Tony Award-Winner Matt Doyle, SUNDAY IN THE PARK… starring Tony Award-Nominee Josh Young, and the upcoming world premiere of Jeff Goode’s FURSONA NON GRATA for First Look Buffalo.  @drewfornarola

Adam Hahn - Playwright

(Playwright OPEN HOUSE OF THE DAMNED) – Adam’s play OVERLAY was presented by First Look Buffalo in the fall. Several of his plays have premiered with SkyPilot Theatre Company in Los Angeles, including OVERLAY, MURDER . . . MURDER . . . MURDER . . . , KONG: A GODDAMN THIRTY-FOOT GORILLA, THE MERMAID WARS, and the musical EARTHBOUND (with composer Jonathan Price and lyricist Chana Wise). Other productions include FROGGER and DEAR ABE at Studio Roanoke in Roanoke, VA and FEEDBACK LOOP in the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Some of his short plays for young audiences are available from YouthPLAYS. Adam holds an MFA from the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University.
Adam holds an MFA from the Playwright's Lab at Hollins University.

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Samantha Macher - Playwright

(Playwright DO THE SPIRITS CONVEY) is an award-winning playwright and filmmaker based in Washington, DC. Since beginning her career in 2011, she had over 70 productions of her written work both in the US and abroad. Her play RESET was a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Playwriting Award (2015) and her play WAR BRIDE was the winner of the StageScene LA Play of the Year (2012). Her award-winning documentary LAST PYRAMID (2015) was accepted into several festival and her newest film TO THE NEW GIRL is now available on Amazon Prime. Her scripted podcast ST. MARY’S SCHOOL (FOR CHILDREN WITH THE STIGMATA) has charted internationally for audio dramas on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and has reached over thirty-thousand listens since it launched in 2021. Samantha is also a theater educator, and was a Visiting Professor in the Hollins MFA Playwriting Program and was also the Keenan Lecturer for the UVA Drama Department while her play THE ARCTIC CIRCLE *AND A RECIPE FOR SWEDISH PANCAKES was in production (2016). Samantha is resident playwright at First Look Buffalo, a resident playwright emeritus at SkyPilot Theater in Los Angeles, a proud graduate of the University of Virginia, and the Playwrights Lab at Hollins University.

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Avery LaMar Pope - Playwright

(Playwright, RECIPES ON USED NAPKINS) is an actor, singer/songwriter, playwright, and poet from Cleveland, OH. His 10-minute play THE BLESSING OF ABRAHAM was featured at Dobama Theatre’s Summer Shorts Festival, A WORLD APART was a 2021 Horizon Theatre New South Young Playwrights’ Festival selection, and STAND TRIAL was a 2022-2023 Nord Playwriting Fellowship finalist. He is currently an Actor-Teacher at Great Lakes Theater, an EMC Candidate and a proud member of the Dramatists’ Guild of America. He gives all the glory to God and thanks his circle for support. Keep watching over me, Mom.

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Bella Poynton - Playwright

Dr. Bella Poynton (she/her) is a playwright, director, actor, and theater scholar. Her creative work has been published with Samuel French (Concord Theatricals) and can be seen in The Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2019, The Best American Short Plays 2018-2019, The Weirdest Plays of 2020, and WE-US: Monologues for Gender Minority Characters. Her plays have been produced and developed at Alleyway Theatre, The Great Plains Theatre Festival, Road Less Traveled Productions, 3rd Act Theatre Company, Oklahoma City University, Otherworld Theatre, Theatre Viscera, and the Pittsburgh New Works Festival among others. Poynton is a co-chair of the Playwriting Symposium at the Mid America Theatre Conference, and the director of the Playwrights Wing at First Look Buffalo Theatre Company. Upcoming productions include: The AI at Delphi (First Look Buffalo), 20,000 Leagues (Otherworld Theatre), Another World: One Acts for the Imagination, (Worthington Kilbourne High School), and Medusa Undone (Tulsa Community College). Poynton holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from SUNY Buffalo.

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