Moving into 2014, we’re excited to usher in our London team of writers, directors, actors and producers – an Anglo-American mix of established and emerging talent:
Babou Ceesay, Nick Cheesman, John David Coles, Malachi Kirby, Neil LaBute, Jonathan Guy Lewis, Ben Mills, Zoe Nicole, James O’Donnell, J Dakota Powell, Michael Steger, Brandee Tucker
Focusing on the transatlantic development of new dramatic work and the intersection of art/media and technology, this team is in the planning stages of new programming for 2014.
Among our members is Cannes Golden Palm winner Neil LaBute, a prolific writer/director whose latest film – Some Velvet Morning with Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve – debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival to glowing reviews. His films include: In the Company of Men; Your Friends & Neighbors; Nurse Betty; Possession; The Shape of Things; The Wicker Man; Lakeview Terrace; Death at a Funeral; Some Girl(s); Some Velvet Morning. Theatre includes: Bash: Latter-Day Plays (Douglas Fairbanks Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Shape of Things (Almeida Theatre, Promenade Theatre); The Distance from Here (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Mercy Seat (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); Filthy Talk for Troubled Times (MCC Theatre); Fat Pig (MCC Theatre, Trafalgar Studios); Autobahn (MCC Theatre); Some Girl(s) (Gielgud Theatre, MCC Theatre); This is How it Goes (Donmar Warehouse, The Public Theatre); Land of the Dead/Helter Skelter (Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Bush Theatre); Wrecks (Everyman Palace Theatre, The Public Theatre, The Bush Theatre); In a Dark Dark House (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); The Break of Noon (MCC Theatre, Geffen Playhouse); Reasons to be Pretty (MCC Theatre, Almeida Theatre); In a Forest, Dark and Deep (Vaudeville Theatre, Profiles Theatre); and Reasons to be Happy (MCC Theatre).
The London 2014 Team
John David Coles is an award-winning director and producer known for evocative material with compelling performances. He has enjoyed success in features, television and theater while his production company, Talking Wall Pictures, has focused on the development of cutting-edge feature and television projects. Coles' first feature film, Signs Of Life, starred Beau Bridges, Vincent D'Onofrio and Mary Louise Parker. The film won the International Critics Prize at the Deauville Film Festival and the Best Director award at the Cadiz festival in Spain. Other credits include Rising Son starring Brian Dennehy and Matt Damon (winner of the Audience award at Deauville); Darrow starring Kevin Spacey; Friends At Last starring Kathleen Turner; The Good Fight, starring Christine Lahti and Against Her Will starring Marlee Matlin. In the world of episodic television, Coles has directed numerous award-winning series, including West Wing, Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and Damages. Coles also directed and produced Thief which led to Andre Braughers' Emmy award. His executive producer credits include Elementary with Lucy Liu and Jonny Lee Miller, Law & Order: Criminal Intent with Jeff Goldblum, 3LBS with Stanley Tucci, and New Amsterdam. Coles continues to write and create original dramas through Talking Wall Pictures, which produced the CBS drama Songs in Ordinary Time (based on the Oprah Book Club pick) starring Sissy Spacek and Beau Bridges and co-created and executive produced the series Crash and Burn. Talking Wall has developed numerous projects with HBO, CBS, New Line, IFC and Bravo. His Off-broadway credits include directing the critically acclaimed play The Impostor by J Dakota Powell, starring Austin Pendleton and Calista Flockhart.
Based in LA, Michael Steger and Brandee Tucker have an artistic home in London via LoNyLa. Steger is known for his role, "Navid Shirazi," on CW's drama series 90210 as well as Assisting Venus (2010) and The Cheetah Girls: One World (2008). He is currently lensing as "Riley Smith" in the film, The Circle.
Tucker can be seen in the film, The Punisher: Dirty Laundry, with Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman. Her one-woman show Brandee Built on Crazee - a comedy loosely based on her life - was directed by Michael Steger and Sean Hankinson.
In this show, Tucker plays over 15 characters where she walks the audience through her experiences starting from age six. The audience meets childhood bullies, a beauty shop guru, relatives with mental illness and an inspiring grandmother. The show premiered to a sold out audience in November 2011 and will be on iTunes in 2013.
Babou Ceesay is a British actor known for his role as “Billy” in the film, Severance (2006) as well as roles in Shirley (2011) and Stolen (2011). He can be seen as “DC Alex Gray” in the hit ITV drama, Inspector Lewis (2013) and was recently “Hansley” in the BBC4 TV series, Getting On (2012).
In the realm of theatre, Ceesay played various roles in Bang, Bang, Bang at the Royal Court Theatre and was “Gavin” in The God’s Weep at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Other theatre appearances include “Lysander & Snout” in Pocket Dream at the Propeller Theatre Company, Elektra at the Young Vic and Doctor Faustus at Present Moment.
An emerging British talent, Ben Mills is a Westminster Film School graduate whose award-winning short film Wrestling Yetis was called "funny, heartwarming" by Alice Jones in the Independent and screened at the BFI, the House of Commons and the Olympic Park. He has previously collaborated with LoNyLa for TimeWave Festival 2013, directing Off The Hook by Jonathan Guy Lewis.
Mills' other directing work includes Scatter Like Ash (Camden People's Theatre) and the European/Japanese tour of Maid Marian for White Horse Theatre, playing to audiences of over 30,000. He is part of the Proteus Developing Artists Program and the Young Vic Genesis Directors Program.
James O'Donnell is a British director. His theatrical work includes: The Poet by Alan Fielden for Offcut Festival/Riverside Studios, Shakespeare Project at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Improvisation Evening at Natural History Museum Lates, The Space Between Us by Myself at the Northumberland Arms, Venue Director for Shakespeare Schools Festival/Various Theatres. Directed Workshops: Oceans of Loneliness and The Whitest Frothiest Blossom both by Aaron Anthony Wallace and The Rialto Burns at the Theatre 503 (assistant director). Radio: Wrote and directed The Dark Places for Resonance FM. Education: BA (hons) in Acting - Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Member of the Young Vic Genesis directors scheme, former actor member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Nominated for an Ian Charleson award in 2001.
Malachi Kirby is a British actor known for his roles as “Yemi” in the film Gone Too Far (2013), “Danny” in My Murder (2012) and “Socrates” in Checkpoint (2012). His television appearances include “Nkanta” in Way to Go, “Tony Coe” in Doctors, “Michael Clark” in The Bill and “Tic-Toc” in Silent Witness. To date, Kirby plays the role of “Clive” in The Showing (2014 release) and is currently lensing as “Shaun” in Dough with Jonathan Pryce and Ian Hart.
Kirby was shortlisted Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his role in the acclaimed play Mogadishu, set in a failing London school. Kirby also stars in two feature films set to be released. In Offender, a crime thriller, he plays “Harry,” an inmate who was convicted for finding himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. In My Brother the Devil, Mr Kirby portrays J-Boy, a young man who ends up falling in with the local gang. This film won the World Cinema Cinematography Award at Sundance, and the Europa Cinema award for Best European Film.
Another emerging British talent, Nick Cheesman is a South London based writer and has written and directed plays all over the UK. He started his career as a playwright whilst studying for a BA in Classical Civilisations at the University of Leeds; writing and directing Fuck Our Wives and Waiting and receiving rave reviews from local media outlets and enjoying sell out runs. Nick made his London debut last year with Grotto at the Old Red Lion Theatre, which was selected as part of the Writers Bloc Christmas showcase. In April, Prime enjoyed its London debut as part of the Stay on the Bus Productions Showcase at the Troubadour, Earls Court and will now be making its transatlantic debut as part of the TimeWave festival. Currently, Nick is working on a number of projects including; Eromenos and Penny for the stage, Falstaff Court for television and Miscall for BBC radio. He is currently an MA student in the Writing for Stage and Broadcast Media course at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Zoe Nicole is a British actress who is breaking out on the London stage after recently graduating from the East 15 Acting School (BA Acting). Recent roles include “Lily” in Taranis at the Paper Tiger/ Ovalhouse Theatre directed by Rachel Briscoe, “Alex” in The Proper Boundaries at the Writer's Response-Theatre 503, “Oracle” in Green and Pleasant Land at the fanSHEN/Arcola Theatre, “Ameera” in Small Fish at the Unicorn Theatre, “Asha” in Same Same at fanShen/Ovalhouse Theatre and “Elisha” in Thugz n Tearz at Raw Perceptions/Edinburgh Fringe/Cockpit Theatre. Nicole played "Jenna" in the short film, Sibling, by Brown Boy Productions and Leon Lopez.
Producing Artistic Director J Dakota Powell is finishing a trilogy of plays tracking the nuclear era - atom bomb to current proliferation. Powell gathered the American theatre to respond in 911 in Brave New World on Broadway. Plays include: Bliss Moon, The Impostor, Savage Light, Blackwater, Harry Black. Harry Black was produced in the Ensemble Studio Theatre's New Works Series. Blackwater was selected for the National Playwrights Conference, O'Neill Theatre Center and by John Guare for the Lincoln Center Reading Series. The Impostor was twice nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and received an Honourable Mention for the Jane Chambers Playwrighting Award. Powell has been produced by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Philadephia Theater Company's New Works Series, Circle Repertory Theatre Lab, the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Duke University's New Works Series; she has been commissioned by South Coast Repertory Theatre, Talking Wall Pictures, PBS Great Performances. Powell is a winner of the Writers Guild of America, East screenwriting fellowship (NYC) and won the Scriptapalooza (LA) competition with her first teleplay. Graduate of Yale and ITP/NYU.