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The Season


Luca Baldoni

(Writer) After graduating in German and History at Trinity College, Dublin, Luca specialized at University College London in Italian poetry of the twentieth century with a doctoral thesis on Umberto Saba. He is currently Assistant Professor of Italian Studies at James Madison University (Florence Program). He deals with modern poetry and gay studies, and has published numerous essays and translations in this field in professional journals in Italy and abroad. Volumes of poetry: Sensi Diversi (2005 - Camaiore Award for a debut feature); Territori D’oltremare (2008 - Sandro Penna Award for an unpublished work). Translations: Christina Rossetti, Donne in Amore (2011); J. W. Goethe, Elegie Romane (2012). Edited: Le parole tra glu uomini: Antologia di poesia gay italiana dal Novevento al presente (2012), which has recently appeared in a Dutch version, De beste jeugd. Tweetalige bloemlezing van Italiaanse modern homo-erotische Poezie (2014), co-edited with Gandolfo Cascio. (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 4).

Mark Bibbins

(Writer) (Director) is the author of three books of poems: Sky Lounge (Graywolf Press), which received a 2004 Lambda Literary Award, The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon Press), and They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full (Copper Canyon), which was named one of the best poetry books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly magazine and a standout book by The Academy of American Poets. He has taught in the graduate writing programs of The New School, where he co-founded LIT magazine, and Columbia University, as well as at Purchase College and the 92nd Street Y. A recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, Bibbins edits the poetry section of The Awl. His poems have appeared in such venues as The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, and four editions of The Best American Poetry. He lives in New York City. (WRITER’S READING, June 8)

Maria Grazie Calandrone

(Writer) Born in Milan in 1964 and now living in Rome: poet, writer, performer, and broadcaster of Radio 3 cultural programs, literary critic for “Poesia” and for the newspaper “Il Manifesto.” Books of poetry: Pietra di paragone (Tracce, 1998 – published as the winner of the New Writers Award, 1997), La scimmia randagia (Crocetti, 2003 – Pasolini Award for the Debut Work) Come per mezzo di una briglia ardente (Atelier, 2005) La macchina responsabile (Crocetti, 2007) Sulla bocca di tutti (Crocetti, 2010 – Napoli, Sassari and Prata Awards), Atto di vita nascente, La vita chiara (transeuropa, 2011), Serie fossile (Crocetti, 2015 – Marazza Award) and the pseudo-novel L’infinito mélo, with Vivavox – first cd of her reading her own poems (Sossella Editions, 2011). She has written three monologues for the actress Sonia Bergamasco. Her series of poems are in Nuovi poeti italiani 6 (Einaudi, 2012) and appear in anthologies and magazines of several European and American countries. (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 5).

Liam Craig

(Actor) Liam is thrilled to be working with Jim Calder. He received his MFA from NYU;s graduate acting program in 1998. Since then he has appeared on Broadway as Mark Rylance's understudy in Boeing Boeing. He has appeared off-broadway in The Killer at Theatre For A New Audience directed by Darko Tresnjak, The Internationalist at The Vineyard Theater, and Aunt Dan and Lemon with the New Group. Regionally he has worked at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Guthrie Theater, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. He has been seen onscreen in Unforgettable, Rescue Me, Law and Order, and The Royal Tenenbaums. (THE TEMPEST, June 18).

The Continuum Company

The Continuum Company, under the direction of Jim Calder, is a professional theatre in residence at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program and the Department of Design for Stage & Film.  The Continuum Company, whose mission is to stimulate collaboration among theatre artists who share a common training background, works within traditional methods dating back to Shakespeare, Moliere, and Commedia dell’Arte. With the outstanding support of Ellyn Toscano, Continuum Company began the Essential Shakespeares at Villa La Pietra in 2006 with a three-person TEMPEST.  Consecutive years saw a three-person ROMEO AND JULIET, a collaboration with musician Jonathan Baptiste on MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, THE ILLIAD, HAMLET and a five-person AS YOU LIKE IT and MACBETH. MIDSUMMER went on to tour New York City Parks thanks to Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of the Tisch School of the Arts.  In addition, the Continuum Company has collaborated with E.L. Doctorow, and Company works have been seen all over New York City including Classic Stage Company and New York Theatre Workshop. (THE TEMPEST, June 18).

Thais Diarra

(Musician) As a young writer, composer and Afrosoul singer Thaïs Diarra has always raised questions with her texts, whilst carrying a message of positivity. In 2002, Thaïs Diarra went back to her roots, travelling from Mali to Senegal which became her second home. Here, she met renowned rapper Didier Awadi and in 2004 she was welcomed as a member to the PBS Radical group. Together they toured Africa and Europe where Thaïs did recordings and collaborations. In 2005 she met Swiss musician and producer Fred Hirschy (Tumi Molekane, Fredy Massamba), with whom she collaborated on a regular basis. The results of this musical cross-pollination are evident in Métisse – Thaïs Diarra’s first solo album that came out in 2013. Recorded in Switzerland and Senegal, the essence of Métisse is in its mixture of African instruments such as kora and balafon, with new American soul vibes. Several prominent musicians participated on Métisse, including Didier Awadi, Fredy Massamba and Noumoucounda Cissoko. The texts are in English, French, Wolof and Bambara. 2015 was the perfect time for the second album. She worked with a bigger production for her new music including horns and the inclusion of more reggae to her recipe of African traditional sounds and soul. This album was produced by Fred Hirschy as well as composed by him and Thaïs Diarra. It speaks about hope and self-confidence, it`s a celebration of Women, femininity and sisterhood. Her experience in music made her proudly realize how much women are starting to embrace themselves. When women rise, the whole nation rises with her. She wants to dedicate this album to these women of ambition that are still fighting for respect and equality, especially in Africa. ( THAIS DIARRA – A CONCERT OF AFRO-SOUL MUSIC, June 23)

Viola di Grado

(Writer) Viola di Grado was born in Catania in 1987. She lived in Kyoto, Leeds and London, where she earned her MA in East Asian philosophies. Her widely translated first novel, 70% Acrylic 30% Wool - published when she was 23- was the winner of the 2011 Campiello First Novel Award and the Rapallo Opera Prima Award. It was also longlisted for the Strega Award and for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2014. Her short stories and essays have been published in numerous magazines and journals. Her second novel, The Hollow Heart, came out in Italy in 2013 and will be published in English in June 2015. (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 5)


Andre Holland

(Actor) André Holland is an alum of New York University’s Graduate Acting Program.  Since receiving his MFA in 2006, André has appeared in numerous plays, films, and television shows. His most recent film and television credits are the Oscar nominated film, Selma in which he played Andrew Young; and, the HBO/Cinemax series The Knick, directed by Steven Soderbergh.  His recent stage appearances include, All’s Well That Ends WellMeasure for MeasureMuch Ado About Nothing and As You Like It (all at the New York Public Theatre/Shakespeare in the Park);  The TempestRomeo and Juliet and Hamlet (with the Continuum Company); The Whipping Man (Manhattan Theatre Club); Wig Out (Vineyard Theatre); The Brother/Sister Plays (NY Public Theatre); Blue Door (Playwrights Horizons Theatre); In the Red and Brown Water (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta).  André has also appeared on television in Burn Notice1600 PennFriends with Benefits and Law and Orderamong others. And his additional film credits include; Miracle at St. Anna (directed by Spike Lee), Bride Wars (with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson) and Sugar (HBO).  He also co-starred in the Warner Brothers film 42 in which he portrayed sportswriter Wendell Smith who chronicled Jackie Robinson’s career. (SONNY’S BLUES/HIGH EXPECTATIONS, May 31)

Korey Jackson

(Actor) Korey Jackson is a native of Maryland who graduated from NYU’s Graduate Acting program in 2011. While studying at NYU, he had the pleasure of performing the world premiere of Tony Kushner’s ‘The Henry Box Brown Play’ in which he played the Virginian abolitionist. Other theater credits include ‘Wild With Happy’ (Public Theater), ‘Far From Heaven’ (Playwrights Horizons), ‘School For Wives’ (Two River Theater). TV: ‘The Following’ (FOX), ‘Law & Order: SVU’ (NBC), ‘Homeland’ (Showtime), ‘Royal Pains’ (USA), ‘Nurse Jackie’ (Showtime). Film: ‘5 Flights Up’ (Focus). (THE TEMPEST, June 18)

Heidi Julavits

(Writer) is the author of The Folded Clock: A Diary, published in April 2015, as well as four critically acclaimed novels (The Vanishers, The Uses of Enchantment, The Effect of Living Backwards, and The Mineral Palace). She co-edited, with Sheila Heti and Leanne Shapton, the New York Times bestseller Women in Clothes. Her fiction has appeared in Harper's Magazine, McSweeney’s, and The Best American Short Stories, among other places. She's a founding editor of The Believer magazine and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Manhattan, where she teaches at Columbia University. She was born and raised in Portland, Maine. (WRITER’S READING, June 15)

Francesca Matteoni

(Writer) Francesca Matteoni has written books of poetry: Artico (Crocetti, 2005); Tam Lin e altre poesie (Transeuropa 2010); Higgiugiuk la lappone (in Decimo Quaderno di Poesia Italiana, Marcos y Marcos, 2010); Appunti dal parco (Vydia, 2012, Premio Tirinnanzi 2013); Nel sonno. Una caduta, un processo, un viaggio per mare (Zona, 2014); Acquabuia (Aragno, 2014), while her first novel is Tutti gli altri (Tunué, 2014). She has published on online and paper magazines, journals and anthologies. A long narrative essay on Alice in Wonderland, entitled “Due sguardi su Alice” has been published in 2013 in the number 64 of Nuovi Argomenti, 64. She is an editor of Nazione Indiana (, a renowned Italian blog about literature and culture. She  also edit “Fiabe” ( a blog. More information about her, her writings, books and activities are to be found here: (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 5)

MBB & Co.

(Dance Company) Choreographer and performer Monica Bill Barnes founded MBB&CO in 1997 with the mission to celebrate individuality, humor, and the innate theatricality of everyday life. She is joined by a core of collaborators: Associate Artistic Director and performing partner Anna Bass; Lighting Designer Jane Cox; Set and Costume Designer Kelly Hanson and Creative Producing Director and the host of Happy Hour, Robert Saenz de Viteri. In this new show Monica Bill Barnes and Anna Bass trade their signature sequins and feather headdresses for a pair of everyday men’s suits in the world’s first-ever cocktail party dance show.  Framed by the casual aesthetics of cocktail parties and the inherent failure of karaoke nights, they are two female performers desperate to wrest new meaning from the most familiar male characters.  Happy Hour invites audiences to have a drink, laugh at our collective failures, and celebrate our own shortcomings. (HAPPY HOUR, June 22)

Valerio Nardoni

(Writer) Born in Livorno, 1977, Valerio Nardoni - Hispanist, is a specialist in literature and literary translation and is currently teaching at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. He has translated several Spanish poetry collections for Passigli Editori (P. Salinas, F. G. Lorca, P. Neruda, Á. Crespo, A. Sánchez Robayna), starting his collaboration with La ferita nell'essere, an anthology of Mario Luzi’s work, later re-published with La Repubblica. He has also translated an anthology of Federico García Lorca’s works for Il Corriere della Sera, and the short stories collection Mentre le donne dormono by Javier Marías for Einaudi. He is the director of the foreign section of the Premio Ciampi – Valigie Rosse, of which he is one of the founders. He is also the author of a novel, Capelli Blu, published by Edizioni e/o in 2012. He has been awarded with the Gerald Parks Prize for the translation of F. G. Lorca's Romancero gitano (2013) and the Achille Marazza Prize for the translation of  F. G. Lorca's Sonetti dell'amore oscuro (2015). (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 4 and 5)

Jacob Olesen

(Actor) Has been acting in Italy and abroad for more than thirty years. His distinguished, lengthy artistic career began in 1978-79 at “Clownskolan” in Stockholm, in Sweden where he was born. He went from there to Paris where he spent two years at the Ècole “Jacques Lecoq”. Then, in 1981, he founded the Donati Olesen Company, with whom he performed more than 2500 shows in Italy and around the world over the course of thirty years. With six languages at his command – Italian, English, French, German, Danish and Swedish – he has been able to work in throughout Europe, in North Africa, South America, and Asia as well as in numerous short and feature-length films. He has presented many well-received theatrical performances in which he was not only the lead or supporting actor but also author and director. He has also written and performed in many television and radio programs. Finally, in 2002, he acquired a teacher's diploma in the Feldenkrais Method® in Rome, where he has been living for 24 years. The Season 2012- Servant of Two Masters. (THE KING STAG, June 30)

Meghan O'Rourke

(Writer) Meghan O'Rourke is the author of The Long Goodbye (Riverhead), a memoir about grief, and the poetry collections Once and Halflife (W.W. Norton). A former poetry editor for The Paris Review, she is also a culture critic for Slate magazine and a founding editor of the web site Double X. She was awarded the inaugural May Sarton Poetry Prize, the Union League Prize for Poetry from the Poetry Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and a Front Page Award for her cultural criticism. Her essays and poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry, 32 Poems, and more. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, where she grew up. (WRITER’S READING, June 15)

Francesco Pacifico

(Writer) Francesco Pacifico is the author of The Story of my Purity (Farrar, Strout and Giroux, 2013). He has written for a number of Italian publications, as well as for ROLLING STONE and GQ, and has translated into Italian the works of Henry Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dave Eggers, Will Eisner, and more. He lives in Rome. (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 4)

Annie Purcell

(Actor) She most recently appeared off-Broadway in Fashions for Men (The Mint) Broadway: The Coast of Utopia: Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage at Lincoln Center, Dividing the Estate, and Awake and Sing!  Off-Broadway: Illusions(Baryshnikov Center for the Arts) Twelfth Night (Fiasco), Cycling Past the Matterhorn(Theater Row) What May Fall (Fordham Alumni Theatre Company). Regional: Awake and Sing! (Huntington Theatre Co.) Partners (Humana Festival, ATL), The Real Thing(Studio Theatre), Ed, Downloaded (Denver Center Theatre Co.), ScorchedA Christmas Carol, and Endgame/Play (American Conservatory Theatre), The Tosca Café (Theatre Calgary, Vancouver Playhouse), In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Elektra (Getty Villa), Mary's Wedding(Portland Stage Company), The House in Hydesville (Geva Theatre), and Uncle Vanya (Cal Shakes).  Film and Television: The Private Lives of Pippa LeeLouie and The Black Donnellys. B.A., Fordham University at Lincoln Center, M.F.A. NYU. Annie also writes plays, teaches, and delights in making theater in all ways. (THE TEMPEST, June 18)

Ruibo Qian

(Actor) New York and Regional credits include Water by the Spoonful (Old Globe Theatre), Henry IV, Part 1 (Pearl Theatre Company), and You For Me For You (Woolly Mammoth Theatre). Television and film credits include Broad City (Comedy Central), Mozart in the Jungle (Amazon) and the upcoming film Manchester By The Sea. Ruibo holds an MFA from the NYU Graduate Acting Program and a BFA from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts.(THE TEMPEST, June 18)

Alessandro Raveggi

(Writer) Born in Florence, 1980. Author, scholar and Professor of Modern Italian Literature at New York University, Florence campus. He held a Postdoc in Italian Studies at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México for two years. He wrote the novel “Nella vasca dei terribili piranha” (Effigie, 2012), the essays “Calvino Americano” (Le Lettere, 2012), “Il saggio in viaggio” (Mucchi, forthcoming), the first Italian introduction to David Foster Wallace (Doppiozero, 2014), the collections of poems “La trasfigurazione degli animali in bestie” (Transeuropa, 2011) and “Disney contro le metafisiche” (Zona, Leve48, 2008), the series of short stories "Talenti da export / Le vite illustri" for the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” (2012-2013) among other publications in fiction, non-fiction and poetry in Italian and international web-magazines, academic and literary reviews, anthologies (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 4 and 5)

Rosaria Lo Russo

(Writer) Poet, translator, essayist, actress, she has published: Comedia ( Milan, Bompiani, 1998), Penelope ( Naples, Editions of ?if?, 2003), Lo Dittatore Amore. Melologhi ( Milan, Effigie, 2004, alongside an audio CD) and Io e Anne. Confessional poems (Naples, of ?if?, 2010, alongside an audio CD, Nel nosocomio (Massa, Transeuropa, 2011), Crolli (Florence, Le Lettere, 2012), Poema (1990-2000) Arezzo 2013. She has edited three volumes of translations of poems by Anne Sexton: Poesie d’amore (Florence, Le Lettere, 1996), l’estrosa abbondanza (Milan, Crocetti, 1997, together with Antonello Satta Centanin and Edoardo Zuccato), Poesie su Dio (Florence, Le Lettere, 2003). She has also edited poetry translations by Erica Jong: Miele e sangue (Milan, Bompiani, 2001) and along with Lucia Valori a work by Alfonsina Storni, Senza rimedio (Florence, Le Lettere, 2011). As a reader and performer of texts from her writings or as an interpreter of contemporary poetry, she has collaborated, among others, with: Piera degli Esposti, Joseph Brodsky, Mario Luzi, Giorgio Caproni, Andrea Zanzotto, Nanni Balestrini, Friederike Mayröcker, Erica Jong , Wislawa Szymborska and the cultural programs of RAI. For RAI, she participated as a featured columnist (with a portion titled Dire la poesia, in which she did a poetry reading) on the TV show "L’ombelico del mondo", created and directed by Nanni Balestrini, for RAI Educational 3. (THE WRITER’S SEASON, June 4)

Badara Seck

(Musician)is a Senegalese singer and composer from a Griot family. He has traveled the world, performing first in Canada and in the countries of Central and Western Africa, then in Switzerland, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe. At home in Senegal, where he frequently vists, he continues to exercise his role as a musician and Griot. Since 1992 he has collaborated with Luigi Cinque with whom he has starred in dozens of concert documentary films and CDs. He has participated in numerous festivals, international and Italian, working with world-renowned artists, including Francis Bebey, Serena Sartori, Peter Brook, Andreas Wollenwaider, Miriam Makeba, Paolo Fresu and Raiz. He has also performed with his group Penc in numerous concerts in Africa and in Italy. Badara Seck is part of the new generation of Griot who have traveled the world but do not intend to give up their identity or an active role in the transformation of Africa and Africans. His songs and his musical projects are outstanding examples (BADARA SECK – A CONCERT OF ITALO–AFRICAN SOUNDS, June 9)

Joaquín Torres

(Actor) New York: Off-Broadway:  The Civilians' Brooklyn @ Eye Level, (dir. Steven Cosson, Brooklyn Lyceum) Scariest (dir. Ari Edelson, Meredith McDonough, Bleeker Street Theatre); Widows (dir. Hal Brooks, 59E59 Street Theaters); King Lear (dir. James Lapine, Public Theatre); Beauty of the Father (dir. Michael Greif, MTC); Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 (dir. Liz Diamond, Lincoln Center Institute); Winter's Tale (dir. Barry Edelstein, CSC). Regional:  In the Next Room (dir. Les Waters, Berkeley Repertory Theater) Sarah Ruhl's Passion Play (dir. Mark Wing-Davey, Yale Repertory Theatre, Goodman Theatre), King Lear (dir. Robert Falls, Goodman + Shakespeare Theatre Company), Our Town (dir. Bartlett Sher, Intiman); Much Ado About Nothing (dir. Peter Dubois, Cal Shakes). Film/TV: Filters (dir. JohnFiorelli); Third Watch, Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC); One Life to Live, All My Children (ABC). Training: New York University's Graduate Acting Program. (THE TEMPEST, June 18)

Kathleen Turner

(Actress) Screen icon Kathleen Turner has garnered critical acclaim for her performances in various movies including Body Heat, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe; Romancing The Stone and Prizzi's Honor, which earned her a Golden Globe Award for each; Peggy Sue Got Married, which brought Turner both an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination; and War of the Roses, and yet another Golden Globe nomination.  Turner's extensive film credits also include The Man with Two Brains, with Steve Martin; Jewel of the Nile, with Michael Douglas; The Accidental Tourist; V.I. Warshawski; John Waters' Serial Mom; Naked in New York; Moonlight and Valentino; The Real Blonde; and Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides.  Ms. Turner has also starred on Broadway in Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, for which she received a Tony nomination; Indiscretions; The Graduate; and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, for which she received a second Tony nomination. More recently, Ms. Turner had a major recurring role playing the role of Sue Collini on Showtime’s hit series, Californication as well the starring role in an independent film called The Perfect Family.  Recently on stage, Ms. Turner starred as Molly Ivins in Red Hot Patriot: The Kick Ass Wit of Molly Ivins at Philadelphia Theater Center, The Geffen in LA and Arena Stage in DC.  She also starred on Broadway as a nun in HIGH and took the show on tour for some of 2011 and 2012.  Her most recent film, Dumb & Dumber To with Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels was in theaters last year and has made nearly $200 million dollars worldwide.  Last summer she starred opposite Ian McDiarmid in BAKERSFIELD MIST in the West End and following that she went to Berkeley Rep to do the Molly Ivins play from the middle of November to January, 2015.  In addition to her film and stage credits, Turner wrote of her many accomplishments and life experiences in her 2008 autobiography titled Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on my Life, Love, and Leading Roles, which secured a position on the New York Times Best-Seller List. (“RED HOT PATRIOT, THE KICK-ASS WIT OF MOLLY IVINS”, June 25)

Colson Whitehead

(Writer) Colson Whitehead is the author of five novels and two books of nonfiction. His most recent book is The Noble Hustle, his account of the 2011 World Series of Poker. He has received a Whiting Writers Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Harper's. (WRITER’S READING, June 8)