Readings from actors and writers to launch Short Plays on Reproductive Freedom, a book collection featuring a wide diversity of 34 writers of drama, spoken word, poetry, and other performance pieces included in the internationally live-streamed Reproductive Freedom Festival and Words of Choice, touching upon an array of reproductive freedom and social justice topics, including abortion, contraception, birthing, bodily autonomy, sexual assault, human rights and more; readings followed by a discussion with activists and writers.
Cindy Cooper, editor and writer, is founder of the Reproductive Freedom Festival and Words of Choice, theater organizations that celebrate and support reproductive rights, health, freedom and justice, and leads the Reproductive Freedom Walking Tour for Social Justice Tours (allied with Bluestockings). Her plays, 14 full-length and 30 short, have been produced in New York and throughout the country, and are published in 16 volumes; she is the author of eight books on justice-related topics.
Dr. Grisel Y. Acosta is an associate professor at the City University of New York-BCC. She is the editor of the recently published Routledge anthology, Latina Outsiders Remaking Latina Identity. Select works can also be found in the American Studies Journal, VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, The Lauryn Hill Reader, and the forthcoming sci-fi anthology, The Latinx Archive. Dr. Acosta is a Macondo Fellow, a Geraldine Dodge Foundation poet, and a regional representative for the Modern Language Association.
Francesca Mantani Arkus, director, has worked at the Hudson Guild, Anne Frank Center, HERE, Signature, Blue Heron, Phil Bosakowski Theatre, 78th Street, The Director’s Company, Barrow Group, Pulse Ensemble, with Words of Choice, and in readings at New York Theatre Workshop and the Public Theatre. Regionally, she’s worked at Mark Taper Forum, Capitol Theatre and the Open Eye, and served as Assistant Director to Tina Landau on Floyd Collins at Playwrights Horizons.
Alinca Hamilton is an actor who has appeared in Reproductive Freedom Is What We Want and on the Reproductive Freedom Walking Tour. She has appeared in Julius Cesar, Classic Stage Company; Someone Dies at the End, Edinburgh Fringe Festival; The Seagull, Columbia University, and the film Actress for Hire. She is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Acting program and has a BBA for Baruch College.
Yvette Heyliger, writer and actor, is the recipient of the AUDELCO Recognition Award for Excellence in Black Theatre’s August Wilson Playwright Award and a Best Playwright nomination from the NAACP’s Annual Theatre Awards, among others. A contributor to Short Plays on Reproductive Freedom, Yvette is also a contributor to various on line and print theatre publications and author of What a Piece of Work Is Man: Full-Length Plays for Leading Women.
Carl H. Jaynes, actor, appeared in New Light Theater Project’s premiere of Still Dance the Stars by Jayme McGhan. He has also performed with the Negro Ensemble Company, Ensemble Studio Theater and Flock Theater of New London Connecticut where he performed the title role in Shakespeare’s Othello. A member of the Words of Choice company since 2006, he has travelled to a dozen states helping present dynamic theatre on reproductive freedom to vulnerable communities.
Stacey Linnartz, co-editor and actor, is Executive Producer of Third Wing Media, which produces film, online content and theatre in NYC. She is a founder and Artistic Director of Kids Creative Collective, a nonprofit organization that makes theatre in underserved NYC public schools. Her acting credits include New York theaters and regional companies across the country, as well as several independent films. She has a Masters of Fine Arts from the NYU Graduate Acting Program.
Cassandra Nwokah is a theatre artist whose work centers on identity politics and the intersectional stories of women of color. She is the founder of Smash the Box, an arts collective serving women of color. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Acting program.