HOMEGROWN is City Theatre’s two-year playwright development program created to nurture, elevate, and promote Miami’s emerging BIPOC playwrights. This initiative forms an artist cohort to engage in creative instruction led by renowned master playwrights, train with theater professionals, and network with literary agents and publishers. Over the two-year process, playwrights will develop exciting new works authentic to Miami’s multicultural voices; present developing works at neighborhood venues as part of the play development process; and culminate with the premiere of select plays as part of City Theatre’s 2023 Season.
Interested in learning more about HOMEGROWN? Send us a note! Email us at email@example.com.
Meet the Cohort!
HOMEGROWN is led by Miami Master Playwright Vanessa Garcia
VANESSA GARCIA is a Cuban-American multidisciplinary artist working as a playwright, screenwriter, journalist, essayist, and novelist. She’s the author of The Amparo Experience and other plays include Ich Bin Ein Berliner and #Graced. Her journalism, essays and thought pieces have appeared in The LA Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, National Review, Boston Globe, ESPN, The Hill, among others. She writes for Sesame Street, Caillou, We Are Family, and is a consultant on the reboot of Dora the Explorer. Her Debut novel, White Light, won an International Latino Book Award and was one NPRs Best books of the year. Her picture book entitled What the Bread Says launches in October of this year. She holds a PhD from the University of California Irvine in Literary Journalism (Creative Nonfiction) and hosts a podcast about family with her mom and sister called Never the Empty Nest.
JOEL CASTILLO is a theatre artist from Hialeah, Florida. His passions include teaching, directing, designing, acting, and playwriting. He has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Miami. His favorite credits include Mamma Mia! (Director/Scenographer) with the Seminole Theatre Players, Constellations (Lighting Designer) at New York Film Academy, and the role of Jackie in Motherf*cker with the Hat at the University of Miami. He has written many plays presented at his schools and wishes to take his work out to the community. He hopes to inspire the community so all can experience the magic of the theatre.
ARIEL CIPOLLA is a Mexican-Argentine playwright, director, and dramaturg based in Miami, FL. He graduated from Florida International University in 2020 where he studied Broadcast Media and Creative Writing. During the day, Ariel works as a Television Producer, focused on informing and engaging with the communities of South Florida. But at night, you can find Ariel constructing his deviant and defiant little plays. After being a part of NEXTGEN YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS in 2017, Ariel is proud to announce that he is returning to City Theatre as a member of their first ever HOMEGROWN cohort.
CHRIS ANTHONY FERRER is a proud first generation American of Cuban descent whose family immigrated to Miami, FL in the late 60's. In May '22, Ferrer had his professional playwriting debut at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, GA for the production of his play, Swindlers. Screenwriting credits include: The Branded, Other Than Honorable, Catapult Joe, and Waiting to Inhale. Ferrer is also a filmmaker and classically trained actor. Member: The Dramatists Guild of America. Ferrer earned a B.F.A. from New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL.
SEFANJA RICHARD GALON is a Surinamese-American playwright, director and actor. He was born in Miami, Florida, but when he was eight moved to Paramaribo, Suriname and was raised there. He works now in the Miami area as an actor and playwright. He has a B.F.A. in Theatre from New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. During his tenure there he was President of the Student Government Association and wrote ‘A Secret for the Mad’, a one person show. His past credits include Sibling Rivalries/Spooks in an Ivory Tower (Sheldon Henderson), Ragtime (Ensemble) and In the Red and Brown Water (Shango).
LUIS ROBERTO HERRERA is currently a South Florida based Colombian playwright with a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Florida and an M.F.A. in Playwriting from The New School. He was a resident playwright in the GREENHOUSE Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm and a Fellow at Athena Theatre in 2019.He has had work produced at the Fort Lauderdale Fringe Festival, and the New York Summer Theatre Festival. His full-length plays include Poolside Glow, Born Still, SAA(not that one), and BLOOD ON THESE HANDS. He was most recently a part of the LatinX Playwrights Circle 2022 Mentorship Intensive.
IVAN R. LOPEZ is a Cuban-American playwright and theatre artist born and raised in Miami. His first full-length play, The Lion Tamer, was selected by The Greenhouse at FIU for a one-week new play development residency. Ivan is on the theatre faculty at Florida International University and has directed and acted in Miami, New York, Denver, and Atlanta. Most recently, he directed the world premiere of Swindlers at the Aurora Theatre. He also works for Healthy Humor as a healthcare clown at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Ivan has an M.F.A. in Acting from the National Theatre Conservatory.
PHANÉSIA PHAREL is a playwright from the great state of Florida and even greater city of Miami!! Grounded in poetry and Afrofuturism she often writes about the divine metaphysical dilemma of colored girlhood. Her plays span revolutions, islands, and explore futures built on love by centering women's pleasure, safety, and joy. AKA hopeful and magical survivor stories for the young, poor, women, colored, and those audacious enough to be all of the above.
Full lengths; LUCKY (New York Stage and Film). BLACK GIRL JOY (Frank Moffett Mosier Fellowship for Works in Heightened Finalist Prize, Jane Chambers Finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist, O'Neill Semi-Finalist). Other Honors include City Theatre National Short Playwriting Finalist and Blank Stage “Future of Playwriting” Semi-Finalist.
Phanésia is a member of the Obie award-winning EST/ Youngblood group. Commissions include City Theatre Miami, the Latinx Playwrights Circle & Pregones/PRTT Greater Good Commission and Thrown Stone Theatre. Residencies include New York Stage and Film, Echo Theater Company of Los Angeles, the Playwrights Center Core Apprenticeship and the Inaugural 068 Magazine Thrown Stone Theatre Fellowship. Publishing: Concord Theatricals, Smith and Kraus Best Plays of 2020, Reset Coalition 2020 Anthology and the City Theatre Anthology.
She loves tv & audio too. Especially mysteries! Recent favorites include Single Drunk Female, Blood & Water, Maid, Red Collar and Homecoming.
B.A.: Urban Studies, Barnard College of Columbia University.
M.F.A.: UCSD Playwriting 25'
LOLITA STEWART-WHITE is a poet, filmmaker, and educator. Her poetry has appeared in the "Boston Review", "Interim Magazine", "Green Mountains Review", "Quarterly West" and "Beloit Poetry Journal”. She was the grand prize winner of the Paris American Prize. Stewart-White has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Palm Beach Poetry Festival and the Sundance Screenwriters Lab Intensive. She has been awarded grants from the South Florida Cultural Consortium, Miami Individual Artist Stipend Program and Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs. Her films have been exhibited at the Pan African Arts and Film Festival in Los Angeles and Langston Hughes’s Film Festival in Seattle.
Support for this program is generously provided by The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at The Miami Foundation.