Artists in Performance

Artists in Collaboration
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Gary-Abbott

Gary Abbott

Gary Abbott is an Assistant Professor of Modern Dance in the Conservatory of Dance at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. In 2008, Abbott choreographed ‘Ballad of Emmet Till’ directed by Oz Scott for The Goodman Theater in Chicago. He has choreographed works for numerous dance theaters and companies, among them, Williams/Henry Contemporary Dance Theater of Kansas City, Dallas Black Dance Theater of Dallas, and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance of Denver. He has also choreographed works for Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in Chicago, Il, where he is Associate Artistic Director. That company’s mission is to re-imagine and diversify contemporary dance by bringing together modern, classical, and African-American traditions in movement. Deeply Rooted Dance Theater

Tony-Akudinobi

Tony George Chidi Akudinobi

Tony George Chidi Akudinobi is a master craftsman of innovative sculptural furnishings and mystic who was first published as a poet at the age of 17. He lives and works in Aba, Nigeria. He is the founder of Hammerhead Ethnika, which has grown into a 10,000 square foot space for gifted and skilled craftsmen. Tony is the 2015 Award of Excellence winner, honored for his furniture craftsmanship by the Anambra Book and Creativity Network Anbukraft. Regularly, Tony writes ekphrastic poetry in conversation with his sculptural furnishings. Hammerhead Ethnika

Annette-Billings

Annette Hope Billings

Annette Hope Billings is a poet/playwright/actress from Topeka, Kansas who has written three plays and two collections of poetry. This past February, she retired early from nursing after 38 years in the profession “to move her love of writing from a back burner to the front of the stove.” Her most recent poetry collection, “A Net Full of Hope,” was published in January and readers have dubbed her “the Maya of the Midwest.” She is the 2015 winner of the Topeka ArtsConnect Arty Award in Literature. She has had well-received performances of her poetry in many venues in Kansas Missouri and Nebraska. A Net Full of Hope

Darren-Canady

Darren Canady

Darren Canady’s work has been seen at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Alliance Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Fremont Centre Theatre, Congo Square Theatre, the BE Company, American Blues Theater and Kansas City’s own Barn Theater. Darren is an alum of Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, and the Juilliard School. He is a former member of Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New Writers Group, the T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange, and the America-In-Play theatre collective. He currently teaches playwriting at the University of Kansas. Darren Canady

Rebecca Dove

Rebecca Dove

Rebecca is on the Adjunct Faculty at Avila University where she teaches courses in English as a Second Language. She is also the founder and owner of a children’s education company, Pennez. Her broad mission is to improve the education and literacy of children from diverse backgrounds. Her Master’s thesis focused on children’s literacy and diversity, and she piloted a related program at various schools in Kansas City, MO. Her goal is to transform Pennez into a digital publishing company. Pennez

Rob-Love

Rob Love

Rob Love is a poet, author, mentor, and public speaker. He has worked for the Kansas City Public Library, mentored youth with the Jackson County Family Court division, and was a guest panelist at the 2015 National Storytelling Conference. In 2012, he self-published his first collection of poetry, “Ready to Rise,” and has been performing since. For him, poetry isn’t just a passion but a purpose to be fulfilled. His goal will always be to elevate, inspire, and heal the human family with creative expression and help empower the next generation of leaders. Rob Love Poetry

Iyaba-Ibo-Mandingo

Iyaba Ibo Mandingo

Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, owner of iYABARTS, is a multi-disciplined artist who uses several mediums in his story telling, they include: painter, writer, poet, actor, and musician. Iyaba is also a master teaching artist and has taught Puppet Theatre and fine arts in the tri-state area and abroad. His award winning one man play, unFRAMED had tremendous successful in an off-Broadway run, a tour of several states and most recently has toured Africa. His other stage credits include Deb Margolin’s “The Expenses of Rain,” Derek Walcott’s “Pantomime,” and Zeno Obi’s Calypso musical “The Roaring 70s.” His paintings have been exhibited throughout the United States, the Caribbean, Japan and Western Europe. Iyaba appears regularly in venues across the United States and abroad including: The Nuyorican Poetry Café, NY, Brooklyn Moon, NY, and Next Door Café, CT, among others. Iyaba was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival. iYABARTS

Ronda-Miller

Ronda Miller

Ronda Miller is a poet and Life Coach whose two books of poetry include “Going Home: Poems from My Life” (2013) and “MoonStain” (2015) published by Meadowlark Books. Her poetry appears in “Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems.” Tallgrass Voices and Renunciation is in the archives of The Smithsonian Art Institute with Roger Shimomura’s personal papers about the Japanese American internment. Miller is author of documentary ‘The 150th Reride of The Pony Express’ (2010) and has over 20 poems printed by The World Company. Activities and Societies: IPEC graduate (2006), Institute of Professional Empowerment Coaching, KAC (2010), VP for Kansas Authors Club (2015), Writer’s Place member (2015). MoonStain

Paul Rudy

Paul Rudy

Dr. Paul Rudy has been called “The High Priest of Sound” and “Sage.” His music and sonic art balance conservatory training with shamanic practices, subtle energies, and technology, each of which guide his intuitive performances and compositions, bridging science and spirituality. He is a Rome Prize (2010), Guggenheim (2008), Fulbright (1997) and Wurlitzer Foundation (2007 and 2009) Fellow, and his music has won two Global Music Awards (2012, for Innovation in Sound and Mixing/Editing), the Sounds Electric ’07 (Dublin), EMS Prize (Sweden), and Citta di Udine (Prize ex aequo, Italy) competitions, to name a few. He is a Curators’ Professor and Coordinator of Composition at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Conservatory, where he received the Kauffman Award for Artistry (2008).  Paul Rudy’s Music

Melissa Stiehler

Melissa Stiehler

Melissa Stiehler is the coordinator of the Cross Border Network for Justice and Solidarity where she travels throughout the Americas analyzing the impact of trade agreements on human rights, domestic policy on workers and the intersectionality of global movements. She is a civil and workers’ rights activist and former organizer with the AFL-CIO, where she managed campaigns in Missouri, Minnesota, and Nevada. Melissa has been active in the Kansas City community since relocating here in 2010, where she has spent her time organizing around issues of economic inequality and empowerment of marginalized communities. While serving as the Cross Border Network’s Vice President, Melissa created the first ever LGBTQIA focused human rights delegation to Honduras. Melissa is a student of economics with a focus in labor studies at the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Cross-Border Network

Olive L. Sullivan

Olive L. Sullivan

Olive L. Sullivan has lived in small towns, big cities, mountains, the desert, and three foreign countries, but her work continues to be inspired and informed by the landscape of her Midwest roots. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, The Little Balkans Review, The I-70 Review, Radiance, Room of One’s Own, and Backwoods Home Magazine, as well as in two anthologies, one of which was named a Kansas Notable Book in 2013.

Victor-En-Yu-Tan

Victor En Yu Tan

Victor En Yu Tan has designed lighting for over 40 plays for Pan Asian Rep including: Rangoon, Imelda, Shogun Macbeth, Joy Luck Club, Cambodia Agonistes, Tea, and Rashomon and over 25 plays for the Public Theater including the premieres of For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Isn’t Enough, The Colored Museum and Dance and the Railroad.  He also designed Romeo and Juliet, Death of a Salesman, Carousel, Broke-ology, Borderland, and The Whipping Man for the Kansas City Rep; Vanya Sonia Masha and Spike for Center Stage; Sheila’s Day, Hartford Stage: The Ballad of Emmitt Till, Goodman Theatre; Resurrection, Arena Stage and Hartford Stage co-production; Stickfly, McCarter Theatre; KC Swing!, Fishy Waters, Train to 2010, Crossroads Theatre; Odd Couple, Virginia Stage;: Black Pearl Sings!, Virginia Stage/Capital Rep/Santa Barbara ETC co-production; and many others. Victor En Yu Tan is currently Professor of Lighting Design at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.

 Not pictured: Kelsey Crawford, Breeanna Dorsey, Makenna Dowling, DaJuan Johnson, Glenn Linder, Ayana Roberson, John Swapshire, Nia Towe.