The 2022 New Voices Program Cohort
Raleigh Little Theatre and The Ink Project are excited to introduce you to the writers chosen for our 2022 New Voices Program cohort. Read more about the New Voices Program here and learn about each participant below:
MK Alova (they/she) is an aspiring Filipino-American writer hailing from Raleigh, NC. After taking a break from playing music to major in nursing at UNCG, they gained an even more fiery passion for the arts thanks to UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College program and Filipino-American Student Association (FASA). If they are not consuming art at the moment, you might spot them in the corner of the room jotting down ideas – horror short stories, picturesque lyrics, abstract poems, silly jokes, you name it.
Harrison Casey (They/he) is very passionate when it comes to their writing. They participated in a program at their high school before COVID where one of their writing pieces was going to be made into a film. It is still one of their favorite pieces to this day that describes falling in love. He has taken 3 different creative writing courses including a workshop on poetry writing. Through this program, they are looking to fight their inner critic and learn how to effectively tell their and many others stories.
Rishi Chowdhary was born in Mombasa, Kenya to Punjabi Indian parents and immigrated to Miami, Florida at a young age. Graduating with a Business degree from Florida International University, he got a job in Poughkeepsie, NY. Inspired by the arts and cultural scenes in New York, Rishi wrote his first short play, COLOR ME DESI, which ran in Desipina’s Seven.11 Production. Since then, he has written other short plays including COUNTING SHEEP and SAFARI. Rishi now works as a Project Manager in North Carolina and enjoys theatre, stand-up comedy, and National Parks. He is excited about the New Voices program!
Shane Dittmar (they/them) is a blind composer, writer, and teacher who does everything loudly. As a songwriter, they combine moving, memorable melodies with witty and evocative lyrics that demand to be sung, often with tongue firmly planted in cheek, and their multiple published compositions for choir have been performed internationally. Shane’s work as a dramatist features characters and stories shaped by their uniquely intersecting experiences as someone who is disabled, gender non-conforming, and a person. They also have a passion for accessible music education, a guide dog named Chevelle, and an infectious – and very loud – laugh.
Judy M. Dove
Judy M. Dove is a Raleigh playwright, director, and teaching artist. She has written several plays for youth which were toured by the RLT Storytellers to Go! Two of her short plays were selected for Goodly Frame Theatre’s ZoomFest2020. She is the recipient of the NCTC Theatre Educator Award, Capital University Alumni Achievement Award, United Arts Council of Raleigh/Wake County Business Support of the Arts Award-Arts Education, numerous awards for directing from the North Carolina Theatre Conference, and a United Arts Council Artist’s Support Grant for which she wrote Haiku, which was accepted into the 2021 Sips&Scripts New Works Festival.
Josue Ruiz Elizondo
Josue Ruiz Elizondo is a Costa Rican actor, director and screen player who recently relocated to the Raleigh area. Josue has played characters as Macbeth, Oberon, Kassandra, Ivanov and has directed plays like midnight summer dream and The Dance of Death. As a playwright, he writes for the scene and the actor. Josue is very visual when it comes to create, and writes thinking of what he would like to be acting or directing. Josue created Dopamine Overdose and twelve roses as part of his formation in Universidad de Costa Ricas as a Dramatic arts student. Josue is in Raleigh looking for new stories to tell and new ways to tell them.
Margaux Escutin (she/her/hers) is a person. Her experiences as a cisgender woman of Asian descent and first-generation United States American growing up in North Carolina inform her worldview. She is passionate about good food, the environment, and travel. Margaux proudly serves on the board of Keep Durham Beautiful, a non-profit that works with communities and businesses throughout Durham in greening and pollinating efforts; litter prevention and waste reduction; and supporting other environmental organizations. She holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Qualia Akili Holder-Cozart
Qualia Akili Holder-Cozart is a young new writer and actress/musician originally from Durham, NC. Her writer’s journey began as a songwriter and then a poet, slowly evolving into a [still closeted] short story author. She was introduced to the world of live theater in 2016 and it completely reformed her performance and storytelling landscape. Not just in her music, but also on live theater stages does she bring a whole new atmosphere to her audience through superb engagement, authentic musicality and deep insight in her performance approach. In her creative writing work, Qualia uses very bold and descriptive imagery, which she hopes will entice future readers of her working short film and musical scripts.
Anna Muthalaly is a student currently pursuing her degree in Public Policy and Statistics at Duke University. As a writer and activist, Anna is thrilled to transition the passion she has for her work into the realm of play writing. At Duke University, Anna serves as the President of Planned Parenthood, working to combat the growing threat against reproductive safety in America. Anna is also deeply involved in the Duke art scene, having recently been seen in Duke Mainstage’s production of Golem. Anna has been involved with theatre for most of her life, and she is very excited to explore the form from beyond the stage. Anna’s other work as a writer can be found here, where she specializes in topics covering the range of the female experience. In her free time, Anna enjoys movie theater popcorn and planning Halloween costumes.
Hello! My name is Diamone Ricketts and I am a business developer, college graduate, self marketing manager, Brand owner, musician, writer, comedian and a creative content individualist. I sometimes go by my artist name “Diamoneanae.” Despite my brain injury, my biggest dream is to become a famous musician and be within the entertainment industry. I do happen to have a talent for a sense of humor in the comedian area but even though all my dreams fall underneath that umbrella, I feel my job is to step outside my disability, be a spotlight into shining upon multiple creations and being an inspiration through how creative I am. I’ve always had an ambition with the acting producing and being on TV shows, for so many years. I just never got a chance. I am my only missing piece but for time being, I go by one of my quotes: “A heart is like a beat of a drum. Listen to it.”
Christina Sapien-Iezzi is a Latina who was raised in El Paso, Texas and has lived in Durham, NC for the last 7 years. She is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and has been focused primarily in trauma work. She has also been a writer since she was a child and has enjoyed the creative and healing aspects of writing. After all her research and education, it seems like the best ways of healing from trauma are the arts; writing, dancing, music, creating art especially with community. She hopes to bring healing to a larger audience through her work.
Monique Stokes is a community health worker for Southeastern Healthcare of NC where she helps respond to the needs of people who have been affected by the pandemic. Originally from Washington, D.C., Monique lived in Provo, Utah before making her home in Raleigh in 1992. She attended Millbrook High School prior to North Carolina A&T State University with major in Professional English. Although the New Voices program will be the first creative training she will receive formally, Monique remembers a contest in elementary school where she won 3rd place by creating an original story, illustrating and binding it!