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The Ignite Project is an 8 week lab for artists to create brand new plays written for or inspired by our company

Thank you to everyone who participated in
The Ignite Project Cohort #2 First Flames!

Congratulations to writers Alex Ubokudom, Baylee Shlichtman, Nicholas Pilapil, Joe Eastburn, Cat Davidson, Tonya Cornelisse, Katherine Chou

and Joe Louis Cedillo!


And thank you to the 40 actors and directors who came together to breathe life into these brand new works, the audience members who came out to support these artists, and to facilitators David Johann Kim, Jennie Webb and Rosie Narasaki for your inspiring leadership of this program.



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Joe Luis Cedillo—Left-handed Chicano Playwright-Director, born in Pacoima, schooled at College of the Canyons, CSUN, and Iowa, former Marine Paratrooper, Life Guard, bookseller, 2nd 2nd Assistant Director, and Cancer survivor.  Former Associate Artistic Director for El Teatro Campesino, current Associate Artistic Director for Texas State’s Black and Latino Playwright’s Celebration, and worked at the Alley Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum.  Plays include: 7, 8IGHT, 9;  ON PAINTED SKIN; 69 PORTRAITS OF CHE; and COLUMPIO.  He’s been commissioned by the LA History Project, MET and MFAH Museums, and been a two-time Runner up for the Kennedy Center’s National Latino Playwriting Award.

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Katherine Chou is a writer, filmmaker, and theatre artist. Theatre credits include work with the Denver Center for Performing Arts, Artists at Play, and Montreal Fringe. As a filmmaker, she has worked on films like Dunkirk and The Hate U Give at Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and HBO. Awards/Training: B.A., L'Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris, the Armed With a Camera Fellowship, BIFAN Fantastic Film School in South Korea, Imago Theatre's Artista Program in Montreal, and the Telling Our Stories Contest presented by STARZ, The Wrap, and Women in Film. She is a producing member of Artists at Play. 

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Tonya Cornelisse is an award winning actress that has worked with over 60 credits on IMDB. Tonya is currently recurring on Showtime’s hot new series YELLOWJACKETS and the comedy Series HITMEN (SKY ONE) on NBC’s Peacock.  Tonya recently wrapped the feature film SLUMBERLAND (2022) for Netflix along with Nick Cassavetes’ latest GOD IS NOT A BULLET.  In addition to her acting credits, Tonya has penned a number of screenplays, plays and short stories including Dog Lovers, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Tonya hails from NYC's Tisch School of the Arts where she double majored in theatre and psychology.(EST/LA COMPANY MEMBER)

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Cat Davidson is an African-American female playwright and genre screenwriter specializing in strong female leads and culturally diverse storylines. Cat has made over 10 short films and has been recognized for a some of her stage plays. Recently, Cat was the Staff Writer on the AMC series Anne Rice’s THE MAYFAIR WITCHES. She holds an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University. Cat worked for numerous Chicago-based theater companies prior to moving to LA. Her most recent play THREE BLACK BIRDS is published in the Black Lives Black Words anthology of 32 Short Plays. (PLAYWRIGHT'S UNIT)

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Joe Eastburn lived fourteen years in New York City, where his parents t onstage at the Cherry Lane Theatre in 1941. As an actor, he appeared in over twenty-five productions, including A Study in Scarlet at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. He’s written eleven plays: Blue Moon, Insultarama, and Wild Blue Yonder were presented in Winterfest. His essays, short stories and poems have appeared in literary journals including, Forge, Crack the Spine, Shark Reef, and The Sun Magazine. His novel, Kiss Them Good-Bye, was published by Morrow and HarperCollins brought it back in 2016. He taught writing at USC for 10 years. (PLAYWRIGHT'S UNIT)

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Nicholas Pilapil is a Filipino American playwright. His plays include "if all that You take from this is courage, then I've no regrets" (winner of the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Play Festival) and "The Bottoming Process" (Victory Gardens' Ignite Chicago Festival of New Plays, Bay Area Playwrights Festival finalist with honorable mention). His work has also been developed with Artists at Play, Playwrights Foundation, Theatre Rhinoceros, Fountain Theatre, and The Vagrancy, among others. Nicholas is a member of Geffen Playhouse’s The Writers' Room, and an alum of IAMA Theatre’s Under 30 Playwrights Lab, The Vagrancy Playwrights Group, and artEquity.

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Baylee Shlichtman is a writer from Santa Ana, CA. She has had her work read or developed with AlterTheatre Ensemble, Long Beach Playhouse, Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative, Nelson Hall Theatre, OC-Centric New Play Festival, Orange County Playwrights Alliance, Phantom Projects, The Playground Experiment, and The Skeleton Rep(resents). Most recently, her play Witch Queen was selected for New Manifest Theatre's fourth annual Manifest Minifest. She graduated from USC in May 2020 with a B.A. in Journalism.

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Alex Ubokudom is an actor, writer and producer. He just recently moved to LA from New York CIty where he performed in many Off-Broadway productions. He also trained and performed improv and sketch comedy at New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade and the People’s Improv Theater. His online satirical comedy series BOK TV has been featured on Huff Post and Blavity. Catch him on the newly released Audible graphic novel WAKE with DeWanda Wise, Chante Adams and Jerri Johnson. Alex loves to create worlds and work with others to bring them to life - pure and simple.  

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