Written by Phaedra Michelle Scott
Directed by Pascale Florestal
DIASPORA! follows Sunny, a writer tracing her lineage to find a long-lost grandparent. Aided by her niece, her best friend, and her best friend’s new boyfriend, she searches for answers in history. Time begins to cross over, and we find ourselves in Boston during the rise of the civil rights movement and a certain young minister making waves at the Twelfth Baptist Church and Boston University. Says Scott:“Sunny, an idealistic black millennial, is writing a history about the legacy of her family. Janae wants to reject everything about her ancestry in favor of a created one. Sunny discovers the mystery of her grandparents and decides to confront her past head on in order to put the spirits in her life to rest.” DIASPORA! was a SpeakEasy Stage commission as part of their Boston Project, developed and workshopped in Boston from 2017-2019.
COVID POLICY: Due to the intimacy of our space and for the safety of our performers, we are requiring all audience members to be masked while inside the theater.
Phaedra Michelle Scott (WGA and DGA member) is a screenwriter and playwright based in New York City.She is a staff writer on the show KING SHAKA with CBS/Showtime. Playwriting credits include GOOD HAIR, commissioned by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation & Ensemble Studio Theater and developed with Pipeline Playlab; DIASPORA! commissioned by SpeakEasy Stage and developed at the 2022 Great Plains Theater Conference; and PLANTATION BLACK, developed at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Playwrights Horizons (NYC) and InterAct Theater Company (Philadelphia). Her podcast PLEASURE MACHINE was developed with Colt Coeur. Other plays include THE PURITANS, commissioned by Sparkhaven Theater Company and UNITY, commissioned by University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is a member of Youngblood with Ensemble Studio Theater. As a dramaturg, Phaedra has developed work with: New Victory Theater (NYC), New Dramatists (NYC), MTC Theater (NYC), MCC Theater (NYC), The Playwrights Realm (NYC). Regional credits include Huntington Theater Company (Boston), Cleveland Play House, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Salt Lake Acting Company, American Ballet Theater (NYC) and Geffen Playhouse (LA). Her plays GOOD HAIR and PLANTATION BLACK are published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide. She is a crocheter, horror enthusiast, and a deep lover of all things obscure.
Pascale Florestal is a first generation Haitian American Queer Woman. She is an Elliot Norton Nominated Director, Educator, Dramaturg, Writer and Collaborator based in Boston, MA. Recent directing Credits: Fairview with SpeakEasy Stage, Spring Awakening at Brandeis University, The Colored Museum with The Umbrella Performing Arts Center, Once On This Island with SpeakEasy Stage, This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing with Emerson Stage, Everybody with Boston Conservatory and others. As an Assistant to the Director, she has worked with Timothy Douglas, Liesl Tommy, Billy Porter, Paul Daigneault and M. Bevin O’Gara. Pascale served as the Associate Director to Gil Rose on X:The Life and Times of Malcolm X with Odyssey Opera and Kimberly Senior on Our Daughters, Like Pillars at The Huntington Theater. Pascale also serves as the Associate Director for The Broadway National Tour of Jagged Little Pill. Pascale was named one of the WBUR ARTery 25 Artists of Color Transforming the Cultural Landscape in Boston. In 2020 she won the Inaugural Greg Ferrell Award for her excellence in teaching and supporting young people. She serves as the Education Director and Associate Producer for The Front Porch Arts Collective and is an Assistant Professor of Theater at Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music. Pascale is also a full member of the SDC Union.
Lorraine Victoria Kanyike (She/Her/Hers): Lorraine is excited to be a part of the New Repertory Theatre Season! Past Credits include (regional): CLYDE’S (Huntington Theatre Company), Chicken and Biscuits (Front Porch Arts Collective), JOHN DESERVES TO DIE (Fresh Ink Theatre Company), The Colored Museum (Umbrella Stage Company), QUOTABLES! (Company One), BLKS (Speakeasy Stage Company), Splash Hatch on the E Going Down (Central Square Theater). Lorraine graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts and Africana Studies. She is excited for the new roles she’s taking on in her career, and to bring exciting work to life – classic and new!
Serenity S’rae (she/her) is a multi-talented theatremaker and performer hailing from Atlanta, Georgia. As an actress, writer, and producer, she has already begun to make waves in the theatre industry with her unique voice and dedication to promoting and uplifting black stories and voices. She is an alumnus of Boston University’s School of Theatre who graduated this May with a BFA in
Theatre Arts Performance. Serenity’s passion for the arts began early, and she honed her skills at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy, studying theatre, where she spent her final two years of high school. Her credits include playing Sibyl in Private Lives, Yelena in Uncle Vanya, Sophie (Mom) in Dontrell Who Kissed The Sea, and Nina in Stupid Fucking Bird. Keep up with her on her website www.serenitysrae.com.
Jae Woo (He/Him) is an actor based in New York. He is an artistic collaborator with Broken Box Mime Theater Company and Apocalyptic Artists Ensemble. Some of his favorite theater credits include: “The Chinese Lady” with Central Square Theater/Chuang Stages, “Take Shape” at A.R.T. New York with Broken Box Mime Theater Company, “Twelfth Night” (Sebastian) with The Classical Theatre of Harlem, “Twelfth Night” (Antonio) and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Puck) with Shakespeare On the Sound, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Lysander) with Apocalyptic Artists Ensemble, “Where Do We Live” (Leo) at the Lenfest Center for the Arts. Jae received his BFA in Acting at Boston University and MFA in Acting at Columbia University.
Sean Patrick Gibbons (he/him/his) is an actor, and certified Intimacy Director with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators mentored under Claire Warden. Sean is also a Voice and Movement specialist, theatre educator, and director. He is also in the process of becoming a certified teacher of the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique with the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortium through Kent State. He has performed Off-Broadway and in various regional theatres across the country including Front Porch Arts Collective, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Scranton Shakespeare Festival, Bridge Repertory Theatre, Atlantic Rep, Theatre Lab, and many more. A member of Actor’s Equity, and SAG-AFTRA eligible, he has also worked and taught at the International Theatre and Dance Project in Greece, Emerson Stage, Brandeis University, Wellesley College, American International College, Florida Atlantic University, Harvard University, and Boston Theatre Company. Sean holds an MFA in Acting from Florida Atlantic University, and two undergraduate degrees in Acting and Theatre Education from Marywood University. Sean is also on the admissions recruitment team for the American Musical Dramatic Academy, and on the theatre faculty of the Boston Arts Academy where he teaches Acting and Voice and Movement for the Actor. www.seanpatrickgibbons.com
Valyn Lyric Turner (she/her/hers) is an actor, playwright, and social justice poet from Sugar Hill, Georgia. Her recent acting credits include Ruby in Seven Guitars at Actors’ Shakespeare Project and Sally Hemmings in Kirsten Greenidge’s world premier of Little Row Boat, or Conjecture at Boston University’s School of Theatre. Valyn’s plays HALF and MARIAN have appeared at Boston University and Locust Grove High School. She holds a BFA in Theatre Arts and a BA in Spanish from Boston University. Valyn is passionate about theatre education, mentorship, and new work that reflects the new world.
Valyn is honored to get to live in the words of Hansberry and Scott and share the new life we find in them with all of you!
Jon Vellante (he/him/his) is a Boston-based theater, film & TV actor. Recent credits include Fairview
(Speakeasy Stage Company); Much Ado About Nothing (Commonwealth Shakespeare
Company); Julia (HBO Max); The Taming of the Shrew (Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare); Listen to
Sipu (New Repertory Theatre); Machine Learning (Science on Stage – MIT & Central Square
Theater); and the short film Automate (winner, best actor – London Shorts). Jon also proudly
worked for two years as an actor with IBIS Consulting in partnership with Google for their
diversity, equity and inclusion training. For upcoming projects, visit jonvellante.com or
@guessimjonvellante on Instagram. Love to Amie & Nora
Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez (they/she) is delighted to return to New Repertory Theatre after working on multiple special events in the last year, as well as Keyping during the pandemic, and Lonely Planet and Statements After an Arrest… in 2018. While found most often at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Elizabeth is very active throughout New England and has worked with City Ballet of Boston, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Hanover Theater Rep, Speakeasy Stage, Lyric Stage, Front Porch Arts Collective, Central Square Theater, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Greater Boston Stage Company, and Reagle Music Theater. When not backstage, they advise student stage managers at Wellesley College, and work with Flat Earth Theater as company member. Proud elected councilor for Actors’ Equity.
Athéna-Gwendolyn Baptiste (They|Them|Theirs) is a Trinidadian-American musician, actor and stage manager in the Greater Boston area. Some of their stage management team credits include Breath and Imagination, The Cake (Lyric Stage Company of Boston), A Christmas Carol, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Central Square Theater). They have also acted in capacities such as: anti-racism consultant, Ain’t Misbehavin’, (Central Square Theater, Greater Boston Stage Company, the Front Porch Arts Collective). Performance credits include: Madame White Snake (Opera Boston), Youth Underground, Various (Central Square Theater), Boston Playwrights Festival.
Janie E. Howland (Scenic Designer) has been a member of the New Rep family for 25 years and is thrilled to return! Recent designs include: Color Purple (Umbrella Stage), Rooted (Lyric Stage Company), Greater Boston New Works Festival (Moonbox), Urban Nutcracker (year 7, City Ballet of Boston), English (Speakeasy Stage), Turn of the Screw (New England Conservatory), 3 Decembers (Berkshire Opera Festival), Paradise Blue (Gloucester Stage). Venues include: NYC Dance Alliance, Lynn Redgrave Theatre (NY), InterAct Theatre (PA), Mass MOCA, Reagle Players, ASP, Odyssey Opera, Weston Playhouse (VT), Umbrella Stage, North Shore Music Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Ohio Star Theatre(OH), Company One, Merrimack Rep, Seacoast Rep, NJ Shakespeare Festival (NJ). 4 time Elliot Norton Award winner, 4 time IRNE Award winner; adjunct faculty at BSU, Emerson and Wellesley College. Founder of the Prop Co-Op. USA Local 829. www.janiehowland.com
James Cannon (he/him) is a freelance audio engineer, sound designer, composer, and music producer based in Watertown, MA. He is thrilled to be making his debut at the New Repertory Theatre this season! In recent years, his work has been heard at The Umbrella Stage Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, Fresh Ink Theater Company, Moonbox Productions, Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music, Wellesley Theater Project, The Hovey Players, Boston Arts Academy, and many more on productions of all sizes.
Outside of theater, he mixes audio for concerts and corporate events and also produces hip hop music for local artists like Red Shaydez, Brandie Blaze, Joe Grizzly, J. Jordan. Somewhere in there he finds time for a little sleep. If you want to nerd more about any and all things audio, or if you are looking for the perfect chili recipe, you can feel free to email him at MoreThanFaders@gmail.com
Becca Jewett (She/Her) was the 2015 recipient of the Virgil C. Jonson Award for Excellence in Costume Design. She is currently a freelance costumer. Her most recent design credits include Costume Designer at MRT’s production of “A Christmas Carol”, Speakeasy’s “Fairview” and “The Sound Inside”. Her other recent credits at New Rep include, “Trayf”, “We Will Not be Silent”, “Heartland” and “Blackberry Winter”. Greater Boston Productions include, Costume Designer for Umbrella Arts Center’s “The Colored Museum”, Greater Boston Stage Company’s Production of “Last Night at Bowl-Mor Lanes”, and Mask Designer for the Liars and Believers show “A Story Beyond”. Other recent credits include Crafts Department at the Glimmerglass Festival 2014-2017, Costume Shop Manager at Commonwealth Shakespeare Summer 2018, and Assistant Dyer Painter at the Santa Fe Opera 2019-Present. She looks forward to working on many new creative projects and hopes you enjoy the show.
Roisin Daly (she/they) is a Boston based multi-hyphenate artist. Her recent credits include costume designer for Sound of Music, Jr, assistant director for Cinderella (Philipstown Depot Theatre), and stage manager for Constellations (Gettysburg College). She recently graduated from Gettysburg College.
◊ member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
º member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829