Liza Jessie Peterson credit Ani Berberian.jpeg

Liza Jessie Peterson

Liza is an actress, playwright, poet, author and youth advocate who has been steadfast in her commitment to incarcerated populations both professionally and artistically for over two decades. Her touring one woman show, The Peculiar Patriot, premiered at The National Black Theater in Harlem for two separate runs, was nominated for three Audelco Awards (Best solo performance, light design and sound design) and has garnered rave reviews from The New York Times, The Boston Globe and a five star review in Time Out NY. Liza is author of ALL DAY: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island (Hachette). She was featured in Ava DuVernay’s Emmy award winning documentary The 13th (Netflix) and was a consultant on Bill Moyer’s documentary RIKERS (PBS). Liza began her poetry career at the Nuyorican Poets Café and was a vital member of the enclave of notable poets that inspired Russell Simmons to bring “spoken word” to HBO where Liza appeared on two episodes of Def Poetry.


Stefanie Batten Bland

Stefanie Batten Bland is a choreographic artist and artistic director of Company Stefanie Batten Bland (Company SBB).  New York Resident Magazine in 2012 wrote “When it comes to tackling demanding subject matter, there are few choreographers as intellectually ambitious as Stefanie Batten Bland.” Through the dance arts, she creates performances rooted in community, highlighting the delicate threads that connect us to one another and to our planet. Based in contemporary dance theatre, Batten Bland construct futuristic environments with installations ripe in poetic theatrical flavors that are emotionally driven.

James Blaszko

James Blaszko

International theatre and opera director James Blaszko has been called “a major young, new directing talent” (Zimbabwe Situation), generating amplified live experiences that show “the potential our increasingly multidisciplinary future holds for both theatrical innovation and inclusion” ( A first-generation American raised in a Polish-Pakistani household, Blaszko’s varied education in arts and culture began at an early age and has translated into diverse collaborations across the globe. Last season, Blaszko staged Puccini’s Il Trittico in South Korea, the opening ceremony of the Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe, and an original dance/theatre work based on the memories of a ballerina before and after her brain hemorrhage in New York City.