We could not be more excited to work with this amazing group of individuals!
Vera Starbard was born in Craig, Alaska with an Alaska Native heritage (Tlingit and Dena’ina Athabascan.) She began editing newspapers in 2000, and has made writing and editing part of her work since, including recent years in the field of public relations. She was editor of the Anchorage Native News for six years, and was a contributor to the University of Alaska Anchorage's Book of the Year, "Alaska's Native People: A Call to Understanding."
Vera completed a historical fiction book in 2010 with an Individual Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation, and has received numerous awards for writing and editing from the Public Relations Society of America, Alaska Professional Communicator's Society, Alaska Press Club, and the Alaska Federation of Natives.
Vera is currently the Editor of First Alaskans Magazine, and owner of Writing Raven Communications. She, along with her husband Joe Bedard and three playwrights from the Alaska Native Playwright Project, founded an Alaska Native theatre company called Dark Winter Productions in 2013. She is also a founding member of the Alaska Native Media Group.
Vera’s play, “Our Voices Will Be Heard,” had its World Premiere in January 2016 with Perseverance Theatre. It was seen in Juneau, Hoonah, and Anchorage. In October 2016, it had special partially-staged readings in Fairbanks during the 50th Anniversary of the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention.
In 2016, Vera was selected for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's National Playwright Residency Program. It is a three-year salaried residency with Perseverance Theatre, in which she will write three new, full-length Alaska Native plays.
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Larissa FastHorse is a playwright, director, choreographer and performer based in Santa Monica. Larissa was awarded the NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, Joe Dowling Annamaghkerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, and numerous Ford and NEA Grants. Larissa's produced plays include Landless, Average Family, Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation, and Cherokee Family Reunion.
She has written commissions for Cornerstone Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, AlterTheater, Kennedy Center TYA, Native Voices at the Autry and Mountainside Theatre. She developed plays with Arizona Theater Company, the Center Theatre Group Writer’s Workshop and Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor. She is a current member of the Playwright’s Union, Director’s Lab West 2015, Theatre Communications Group board of directors and is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Lakota Nation.
Jonathan Mills, Paradigm NY for theater
Britton Rizzio, Writ Large LA for TV/film
Photo credit Conor Horgan.
After receiving her B.A. from Boston University and performing in productions throughout New England, Erika moved to L.A. to pursue her acting career. She has since performed in theaters throughout L.A. in productions including Caligula, Blood Wedding, and Not One More Foot of Land. She is a member of Native Voices at The Autry Ensemble where she has performed in numerous projects. Some film and television credits include Lucky Louie, Spring Breakdown and most recently, the web series Black Dossier and Luke. She is represented by L&L Talent and is a member of SAG/AFTRA. She is enormously grateful to Perseverance Theatre for the opportunity to be a part of this important project.
Aleut actress, director, choreographer and playwright Jane Lind
began her professional career at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and continued her training at New York University and Paris, France. As a co-founder of the Native American Theater Ensemble, she performed in various productions by Peter Brooks, Hanay Geiogamah, John Vacarro, Andrei Serban and Ellen Stewart. Jane was the female lead and choreographer for Donovan Marley’s production of Black Elk Speaks for which she received the prestigious awards of Best Choreographer from the Denver Drama Critics Circle and Best Actress from the First Americans in the Arts. Jane’s film and television credits include Percy Adlon’s Salmonberries, the mini-series Return to Lonesome Dove and TNT’s Crazy Horse. Her theater credits include the Cherokee Historical Society’s Unto These Hills, Juneau, Alaska’s Perseverence Theater’s productions of Raven’s Odyssey and The Vagina Monologues, the Theater of Yugen’s Crazy Horse - Moon of the Scarlet Plums, and most recently Native Voices at the Autry’s The Frybread Queen in Los Angeles and
Leetta is an Alaskan with Tlingit-Irish pride, and a love of story, stage, and heritage. Our Voices Will Be Heard is her first time back on stage since the 1998 premier of Johnny’s Girl.
From Leetta: “Kaaxwan u xhut do a sauk, Nanaahit u xhut du a sauk, Chookaneidi u xhut du a sauk, Wooshketan-yadei u xhut do a sauk.” Thank you, everyone for hearing our words. The cultural lens focuses, and turns our collective
eye to the issues we can at once feel removed from – and at one with. May we all learn the lessons of our ancestors and heritage well.
Frank, whose Tlingit name is Kaash, is an Alaska Native from the Tlingit clan Tsaagweidí. Frank is an actor, director, producer, improviser, and playwright. Frank received his Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Hawaii: Mānoa. Frank is currently the Board President of Juneau Douglas Little Theatre. He is passionate about developing new Alaskan plays for the stage. In 2016-17, his play "They Don't Talk Back" had a rolling World Premiere at Native Voices at the Autry in L.A., La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, and Perseverance Theatre in Juneau and Anchorage. Frank now lives and works in Juneau, Alaska with his wife and two children.
Rico Lanáat’ Worl is a Tlingit/Athabacan formline designer. His work explores living with traditional values today. He further works to be engaged in community with the goal of strengthening the ability of diverse people to be engaged with their greater communities. Rico has been designs a variety of products including skateboards, playing cards and jewelry. Rico is the founder of Trickster Company, a design company promoting innovative indigenous design. Rico lives in Juneau, Alaska where he recently expanded his business by opening a shop to further the goals of Trickster Co.
As an Artist Rico tries to be true to his cultural upbringing. He studies the old masterworks and the cultural histories and stories. On a day to day basis Rico finds that his process of creating is a direct product of consuming. New projects arise from the combination of a broad range of sources; books, art, design, Facebook. After the project identifies itself, it’s added to the list of projects. The end goal for his artwork is to, simply, Represent.