Clare Solly (executive director), a confessed seltzer addict, is an assimilated New Yorker, having lived here for almost ten years. A writer/actress/singer Clare has been performing for over thirty years including a couple of Off-Broadway credits - although she's been storytelling for longer than that. Basically, at any time, she could burst into a story or song, and sometimes Shakespeare. She is extremely excited to be tapped to be part of The Bechdel Group's Leader Ladies, as she truly believes the world needs more meaty roles for women (as she seems to get cast most often in supporting male roles these days). She also does some fun work over at Company of Fools.Feel free to come to Bechdel workshops and chat with her or visit her website.
Gina L. Grandi (founder and artistic director) worked in the San Francisco Unified School District for 13 years, teaching 4th grade, 5th grade, and high school Theater and Humanities. As a founding teacher of Metropolitan Arts and Technology HS, Gina designed and implemented the school-wide drama program; productions included After Juliet, Discontented Winter, and bi-annual student-devised work. After moving to New York, Gina served as the Program Director at Opening Act, a non-profit that provides free after-school theater programs for New York City’s most under-served high schools. She is currently a part of the Theatre and Dance Department at Appalachian State University, specializing in Educational Theatre. Other fancypants credits: Artistic Associate and Dramaturg for NYU's New Plays for Young Audiences series, editorial board of the peer reviewed journal Voices in Urban Education, curriculum consultant for Two River Theater, Doctorate in Educational Theatre from NYU.
M.J. Moneymaker (digital communications director and board member)(she/they) is an artivist/writer, analyst, learner, and U.S. Navy veteran. They are a digital communications specialist who uses their skills in art, data analysis, and writing for digital content and media production. An experienced media producer, they have worked as a screenwriter; web designer and producer; social media manager; and video editor. M.J. has an MFA in Creative Writing and a BA in TV/Film Production. Previously, she's worked for OutRight Action International, WITNESS, as the Production Supervisor for NYC LGBT Community Center's TV Show, and as a freelancer on projects like the Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Short Subject, "Freeheld".
Patti Veconi (resident dramaturg) is a Brooklyn-based music and drama teacher, director of youth theatre, and playwright. Her scripts are available through Eldridge Publishing in the US and Lazy Bee Scripts in the UK. Patti holds theatre degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University (BFA) and New York University (MA). Though her niche is writing in the adolescent voice, Patti’s short plays featuring older adults have also been produced in theatres around the country. (There’s just something about senior citizens and seventh graders.) She is also an avid vegetable gardener and award-winning quilter.
Gabrielle Gilliam (board member) is a fund development and non-profit management professional. Currently serving as Chief Development Officer for Oliver Scholars, Gabrielle has over two consecutive decades of experience in fundraising and institutional advancement. Gabrielle has been an independent consultant with a client list that includes the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Fiver Children’s Foundation, The Peter Westbrook Foundation and Brooklyn Children's Theatre. Gabrielle’s expertise includes strategic campaign planning, major gift fundraising, and annual giving campaigns, with equal emphasis on fundraising and volunteer management. Gabrielle is particularly committed to both the arts and empowering youth, and especially efforts where the two intersect. She is former Board Chair of viBe Theater Experience and served as Director of Development at Opening Act. Gabrielle received her BA in Drama and African Studies from Vassar College and her MA in Performance Studies from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts.
Mary Weaver (intern) was born an raised in Concord, North Carolina. She is a senior Theatre Education major with a minor in Non-Profit Organizations at Appalachian State University. She has a passion for making the arts more accessible for underserved youth and hopes to work for a big time arts education facility in the future. Ask her about how much she cried during Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.
Sophie Zapf (intern) is a senior Theatre Education major from Southport, NC, with minors in English and Nonprofit Management at Appalachian State University. She hopes to one day work to provide theatre arts to communities and schools that are lacking it, because she has lived in those communities and schools and it was no fun at all. If you want to get on her good side bring her some coffee. Or ask about her cat. She loves talking about her cat
What Our Members Are Saying
"What a fantastic evening in Kristine's Eggs on Ice reading!! Thank you so much y'all!!" ~ Thelma M. Reyes
"The casting was fantastic, and the light staging worked perfectly. The whole night was really helpful to me for continuing to develop the piece, especially the dramaturg-led talkback." ~ Francesca Pazniokas