Biographies of FURY Factory Convening Panelists

Jaylyn Abergas

If you can’t find Jaylyn Abergas twirling hair at her salon Smoke & Mirrors, then you will probably find her twirling her long legs at local bars and clubs as her drag persona MISS J. She has performed on the Pride Mainstage three years in a row acting and dancing. She played Suki, in The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, an immersive play depicting the riots in the sixties that started the gay liberation movement. Jaylyn has also acted in Queer AF, at the Bindlestiff Studio, for the Queer Arts Festival. Also in 2018, Jaylyn was crowned Carnaval Royale, the first time a transgender person was recognized at Carnaval, a SF Mission celebration. She has devoted her life to trans visibility and hopes to show the world that trans people are beautiful, are talented, and are lovable.

Claudia Alick

Claudia Alick is performer, producer, and inclusion expert. Named by American Theater Magazine as one of 25 theater artists who will shape American Theater in the next 25 years, Alick has served as the founding Artistic Director of Smokin’ Word Productions, is a NY Neofuturist alum, published playwright, recipient of NYC Fresh Fruit directing award, TedXFargo speaker, the Lilla Jewel Award for Women Artists, featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and former Community Producer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. At OSF for ten years she produced events such as “The Every 28 Hours Plays”, “The Green Show”, The Daedalus Project, OSF Open Mics as well as producing/directing audio-plays with OSF such as the Grammy nominated “Hamlet”. Her personal projects include her podcast “Hold On…Wait for it”, vlog “This Week in Cultural Appropriation”, StreetPoetry, and one-person Show “Fill in the Blank” exploring disability and the medical industry. Claudia is co-president of the board of Network of Ensemble Theaters, serves on Oregon Arts Leaders in Inclusion, and on the steering committee of The Ghostlight Project. She is the founder of CALLING UP a transmedia social justice company facilitating performances that increase justice.

Steve M. Boyle

Steve M. Boyle is the Founder and CEO of Epic Immersive. Under his leadership, Epic Immersive has produced multi-acre immersive theatrical experiences with hundreds of actors in fully-developed fictional cities, hosted intimate experiences in hidden speakeasies and secret societies, crafted custom experiences for companies like Apple and Google, and collaborated with multidisciplinary artists from genres like circus, ballet folklorico, taiko, opera, hip-hop, and more. Outside of Epic Immersive, Steve has built immersive installations for Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s venture capital firm Innovation Endeavors, helmed San Jose Rep’s Emerging Artists Lab, collaborated on San Francisco’s hit immersive experience The Speakeasy, trained in global theatrical techniques across South and Southeast Asia, and run the digital half of the million dollar funding campaign that saved Santa Cruz Shakespeare and attracted Sir Patrick Stewart to its Advisory Board.

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe

Edris has been performing more than 20 years with credits at the Sacramento Theater Company; SF Mime Troupe; Theater Works in Palo Alto; Magic Theatre; Intersection For The Arts and was an Associate Artist with Rhodessa Jones’ The Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women. In 1991, she won the Goldie Award for Acting from the SF Bay Guardian. In addition, Edris has created more than 8 different solo performances, including the recently published Adventures of A Black Girl: In Search of Academic Clarity and Inclusion.

As a director, Edris has worked at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI; Capital Repertory in Albany, NY; Southern Rep in New Orleans ; Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles; Alabama Shakespeare Festival; Woolly Mammoth in Washington, D.C; Curious Theatre in Denver; TheatreWorks, Palo Alto. Edris’ Bay Area directing credits include the West Coast premieres of Relativity at the Magic Theatre, Stealin’ Home at Exit Theatre; The Old Settler at TheaterWorks in Palo Alto; Crying Holy at Theatre Rhinoceros, and Urban Zulu Mambo and Blue/Orange at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Her productions of John Henry Redwood’s The Old Settler, received the Dean Goodman Award for Excellence (TheatreWorks) and, in Dallas. Best Production, two Best Acting Awards and an Outstanding Direction nomination from the 2003 Rabin Awards.

Cooper-Anifowoshe is a co-founder of Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience a performance group that comes together to produce work that challenges the cultural norms and status quo and lifts up intersectional black experiences and narratives.

Carlos Cruz

Carlos Alexis Cruz is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Pelú Theatre project, a physical theatre company mainly interested in researching the convergence between Contemporary Circus Arts and Theatre as performance vocabulary, particularly in the exploration of themes related to the Latino immigrant experience in the United States.

The company is currently invested in the Pícaro project, a physical theatre take on the journey of a central American immigrant set to tour in the Summer of 2018 and for which Cruz was awarded the Princess Grace Foundation 2017 Works in Progress Award for the development of Pícaro with the support of the Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC.

Other awards include the 2011 Princess Grace Foundation Theatre Fellowship Award, and the 2014 Arts and Science Council’s McColl award for the development of new, socially-engaged work. With the latter he developed a community powered contemporary circus company, the Nouveau Sud project, from and about the city of Charlotte and the evolving concept of what is often referred to as the New South. The Nouveau Sud project had its debut production in April 2016, was awarded a best of Charlotte Acrobatics and Dance distinction, and is an ongoing initiative with a new show coming up in the summer.

Cruz holds an MFA in Physical Theatre (2007) from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre, trained Circus Arts and Chinese Acrobatics under the tutelage of Master Coach Lu Yi at the San Francisco Circus Center, and currently serve as the Assistant Professor of Physical Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Seth Eisen

Seth Eisen is a San Francisco-based artist who engages LGBTQ history as a living, breathing dialogue by researching lost legacies. Blurring the edge between art, research and activism he creates a hybrid of visual art and live performance. His transdisciplinary aesthetic combines physical theater, dance, puppetry, drag, circus, installation and video art. Eisen performed with Butoh companies Harupin–Ha and Ink Boat from 1994-1999 and from 2002- 2010 with Keith Hennessy and Circo Zero, touring in the US and Europe. In 2007 he founded the ensemble-based company Eye Zen Presents that unearths and elevates the lost histories of queer ancestors whose lives have been erased from the historical record. Recent works include, the sold-out 2014 critical success brought to life Sam Steward, a radical sexual rebel: college professor, a prolific author of homoerotic fiction, an influential queer tattoo artist. In 2016 residencies at Montalvo Art Center, Paul Dresher Ensemble and Lou Harrison House for Art, Music and Ecology, Eye Zen created Rainbow Logic: Arm in Arm with Remy Charlip. An often overlooked genius, Remy Charlip created important works alongside Merce Cunningham, John Cage, and Robert Rauschenberg and was known for his Air Mail Dances and 40 children’s picture books. Commissioned by Creative Work Fund and Rainin Foundation and in collaboration with Shaping San Francisco, 2018 brought the premiere of OUT of Site that takes queer history into the streets. A series of performance-driven walking tours spanning 267 years which make the connections between the people and the sites where histories took place, bringing them to life in interactive, educational and entertaining events around San Francisco. Eye Zen Presents is a House Artist of CounterPulse. More info about their work can be found at

Debórah Eliezer

Debórah Eliezer, writer/performer (dis)Place[d], is a Core Company member and the Co-Artistic Director of foolsFURY, producing new work, a national festival, internship opportunities and public educational programs. She holds a BA Cum Laude from SFSU and a certificate in Sound, Voice, Music Healing from CIIS.

With foolsFURY, Eliezer has created and performed in world premieres: “(dis)Place[d]”, by Eliezer, ”The Unheard of World,” by Fabrice Melquiot, “Faulted,” by Angela Santillo, “Port Out Starboard Home,” with Sheila Callaghan, Monster in the Dark, with Doug Dorst, “The Devil on All Sides,” by Fabrice Melquiot, “All You Can Eat,” by Steven Morgan Haskell, and “The Jensen Files” by Ben Yalom. Eliezer directed and choreographed “The Seeing Place”, by Elizabeth Spreen and Debórah Eliezer.

Choreographic credits include: Boxcar’s “The Speakeasy”, FoolsFURY’s “Port Out, Starboard Home,” “Monster in the Dark,” Charles Mee’s “Big Love,” Shakespeare’s ”Twelfth Night,” and foolsFURY’s adaptation of Don Delillo’s play, “Valparaiso.” Incubator Series performances include: Lucinda Otto’s “Threshold,” Mia Rovegno’s “The Apartment,” Doug Dorst’s “(R)Evolution X,” and Angela Santillo’s “Sera.”

Eliezer has also worked with Golden Thread (SF/Cairo), Woman’s Will, The Puppet Players, Marin Shakespeare, Antenna Theater and TJT. She was the Co-Artistic Director of Eclipse Dance Theater from 1996-2002. As a professional voiceover, you may have heard her voice in over 25 Leapfrog Toys, Sims 2, 3 and 4 video games or numerous radio ads. Eliezer teaches throughout the Bay Area, and maintains a private coaching practice. She produces weddings, workshops and retreats, at Venado, a 33-acre artist retreat center. For more information, visit

Brad Erickson

Brad Erickson serves as executive director for Theatre Bay Area, one of the nation’s largest regional performing arts service organizations, with 300 theatre company members and 2,000 individual members. Since 2003, he has led the organization’s efforts to support, promote and advocate for the region’s vibrant theatre community. Under Erickson’s leadership, TBA has gained a national reputation for innovative programs and services and commissioning groundbreaking research for the field. Erickson serves as treasurer of Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates and as California State Captain for Americans for the Arts. In 2016 he received the Alene Valkanas Awards for Statewide Arts Advocacy from Americans for the Arts. Also a playwright, his plays have won several awards and have been produced in theatres from San Francisco to Indianapolis. Erickson’s play American Dream, el sueño del otro lado received its world premiere in 2014 at New Conservatory Theatre Center (NCTC) in San Francisco, playing to popular and critical success. His play, The War at Home, premiered in 2006 at New Conservatory Theatre Center and won “Best New Script” from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. His play Woody & Me was named best new play in the 2000 Festival of Emerging American Theatre and later received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support its world premiere in 2001 at the Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. Erickson received a BFA in Acting from the Goodman School of Drama (now The Theatre School) at DePaul University.

Judith “Jud” Ferrer

Judith “Jud” Ferrer is an Oakland based youth developer, cultural worker, and resident artist at Bindlestiff Studio. As a creative Jud puts out work that reflect their twisted view of the world producing shows like Queer as Fuck, Bad Ass Bitches, and sketch comedy shows Midnight Mass and Good Friday. Jud has written and directed numerous plays for shows like Stories High and the Bakla Show. Jud has performed with sketch comedy group Granny Cart Gangstas and the queer pinay collective, Kreatibo. Most recently, Jud produced “Bad Trip” a live shadow play that was featured in APICC’s 2018 United States of Asian American Festival.

Monique Jenkinson

Monique Jenkinson is a multifaceted artist whose work considers the performance of femininity as a powerful, vulnerable and subversive act. She and her drag queen alter ego Fauxnique (who made herstory by winning a major pageant) perform locally, nationally and internationally in a range of contexts from nightclubs to theaters to museums. Most recently, she engaged in an embodied conversation with Gender Theory pioneer Judith Butler and was in residence at Headlands Center for the Arts. She has created curriculum for San Francisco Art Institute and St. Mary’s College of California and is writing a memoir for Amethyst Editions/Feminist Press.

Joe Landini

Joe Landini is a SF based curator, choreographer and founder of SAFEhouse Arts, a performance gallery in the Tenderloin. He received his BA from UC Irvine and his MA from the Laban Centre (London). He recently celebrated his 25th anniversary making dances in SF and received the GOLDIE Award in 2012 from the SF Bay Guardian. He directed the AIRspace program for new queer performance at both the Jon Sims Center and SAFEhouse Arts for fifteen years and is presently the AIRspace advisor emeritus.

Cynthia Ling Lee

Cynthia Ling Lee instigates postcolonial, queer, and feminist-of-color interventions in the field of Asian diasporic performance. Committed to intimate collaborative processes and foregrounding marginalized voices and aesthetics, her interdisciplinary performance work has been presented at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop (New York), East West Players (Los Angeles), Taman Ismail Marzuki (Jakarta), and Chandra-Mandapa: Spaces (Chennai).

Cynthia was the recipient of a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, an Asia-Pacific Performing Arts Exchange Fellowship, and a Taipei Artist Village Residency. Influential teachers and mentors include Simone Forti, Eiko & Koma, Judy Mitoma, Pallabi Chakravorty, Bandana Sen, Kumudini Lakhia, Anjani Ambegaokar, and the contact improvisation community. Cynthia is an assistant professor of dance in the Department of Theater Arts at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the Post Natyam Collective, a transnational, web-based coalition of dance artists whose work triangulates between art-making, activism, and theory.

Pratik Motwani

Mumbai born Pratik Motwani is a self producing actor/creator/collaborator who specialize’s in eastern and western forms of mask performance and devised theatre. Pratik collaborate’s with other national/international artists and cross-genre/cross-sector partners to create, produce, and tour original works of devised theatre. His work seeks to manifest new worlds by integrating multiple mediums/art forms and searches for new/unique forms of theatrical vocabulary and story telling within it. Pratik is a resident actor/teaching artist/company member with Dell’Arte International in Blue Lake, California; has been invited as guest teacher of mask performance technique/devised physical theatre at Pennsylvania State University; University of California in Berkley; Michael Chekhov School NY.

Recent works include:
#//<EMBEDDED>//#: 2018 FURY Factory festival, SFO; 2018 CAATA Con Fest, Chicago; 2018 CoHo SummerFest Portland, OR.
The Long Way: Off Broadway showcase, 2017 United Solo Festival, NYC.
The Mysterious Magical Brandishers of Magic: 2018 NY Clown Festival, NYC; 2017 Play the Fool Festival, Edmonton,Canada.
IN’Tents: OSF, Ashland, Oregon as a part of the 2014 Green Show; Selected by the US embassy to be a part of 5th annual Hakawy International Arts Festival in Cairo and Alexandria.

Beatrice Thomas

Mx. Beatrice Thomas aka Black Benatar is a queer multidisciplinary social practice artist, director, and arts and equity consultant, grants consultant, multi-disciplinary artist, & performer. She comes from a family lineage of pastors, performers, doctors and healers. She is dedicated to integrating exceptional art from queer communities and queer communities of color into meaningful public experience. For over 20 years she has worked in administrative, curatorial, creative and educational roles in the arts for the municipal agencies, community colleges, galleries and non-profits. Ms. Thomas leads workshops and facilitates dialogues on grant strategy, queer arts, and cultural equity. Ms. Thomas received a BA from Hampshire College and a MFA from the University of Texas. She has served as a Program Officer & Manager of San Francisco’s Cultural Equity Grants program, Program Manager for First Night Austin, an interdisciplinary, urban, arts festival, and Chair of the Austin Art and Public Places Panel. She uses the artifice of drag to inhabit her alter ego, Black Benatar, an exaggerated black femme creature that challenges misogyny, blackness, whiteness, oppression & convention. She is a featured drag queen for RADAR Productions “Drag Queen Story Hour” a program that brings drag queens to read stories at public libraries. Her work has graced the stages of the deYoung Museum, CounterPulse, Academy of Science, SomArts Cultural Center, and has shown in galleries across the United States.

Ben Yalom

Ben Yalom (foolsFURY Founder and Co-Artistic Director) has directed many foolsFURY productions including the world premieres of Sheila Callaghan’s Port Out, Starboard Home, and Doug Dorst’s Monster in the Dark (both created collaboratively with the foolsFURY ensemble), the US premiere of Fabrice Melquiot’s The Devil on All Sides (which he also translated), the West Coast premiere of Martin Crimp’s seminal avant-garde work Attempts on Her Life, and many others. With Inverse Theater he directed the controversial musical Banger’s Flopera in the New York Fringe Festival (“One of the top three musicals of the NY Fringe” American Theater Web; “Outstanding New Musical” Talkin Broadway). With Traveling Jewish Theatre he directed Naomi Newman’s award-winning one-woman show Fall Down, Get Up. Ben has also worked with A.C.T., the Playwrights Foundation, the Magic Theatre, Playground, the Aurora Theatre, and Encore Theatre (San Francisco); The Cell (New York); Playwrights’ Arena and EST LA (Los Angeles); and Théâtre Ange Magnétique (Paris).

Ben has taught at Stanford University, California College of the Arts, the Lee Strasberg Institute (NYU/Tisch), UC Riverside, the La Mama Umbria Director’s Symposium, the National Theater Institute, Vassar College, the Berkeley Rep School of Theater, and elsewhere. He is currently helping develop a new theater program at the United Nations International School in New York, and teaching at Fresno State.

Ben holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and his fiction and essays have appeared in magazines nationwide. His translations of Fabrice Melquiot’s The Devil on All Sides and Albatross were recently published by Exit Press. He proudly serves on the board of the Network of Ensemble Theaters.

Torange Yeghiazarian

Torange Yeghiazarian (Executive Artistic Director) founded Golden Thread in 1996. Torange’s plays include Isfahan Blues, 444 Days, The Fifth String: Ziryab’s Passage to Cordoba, and Call Me Mehdi. Awards include the Gerbode-Hewlett Playwright Commission Award (Isfahan Blues) and a commission by the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California (The Fifth String).

Her short play Call Me Mehdi is published in the anthology “Salaam. Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Drama,” TCG 2009. She adapted the poem, I Sell Souls by Simin Behbehani to the stage, and directed the premieres of Our Enemies: Lively Scenes of Love and Combat and Scenic Routes by Yussef El Guindi, The Myth of Creation by Sadegh Hedayat, Tamam by Betty Shamieh, Stuck by Amir Al-Azraki and Voice Room by Reza Soroor, amongst others.

Her articles on contemporary theatre in Iran have been published in The Drama Review (2012), American Theatre Magazine (2010), and Theatre Bay Area Magazine (2010), and HowlRound. Torange has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures and Cambridge World Encyclopedia of Stage Actors. Born in Iran and of Armenian heritage, Torange holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts from San Francisco State University. Torange has been recognized by Theatre Bay Area and is one of Theatre Communication Group’s Legacy Leaders of Color. She was honored by the Cairo International Theatre Festival (2016) and the Symposium on Equity in the Entertainment Industry (2017).