Shawna Franks is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University. She began acting in Chicago, where she originated the role of Dottie in Killer Joe by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts. Shawna performed this role at The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, The Bush Theatre in London and The Vaudeville Theatre on London’s West End. She has also appeared onstage in Dublin and Los Angeles. In 2006, she founded Space 55, where she has produced and appeared in numerous productions.
Duane has so far had a 30+, non-stop professional career. The first 20 were almost exclusively stage – including 2 years as an opera singer – and the recent ten years have included film and TV. His work as a director and producer began in 1991 when he founded The Fritz Theatre in San Diego and served as Artistic Director for 18 years. During his tenure there, The Fritz produced over 200 plays, half of them premieres. The Fritz recognized emerging voices in theatre and produced works by writers such as Brad Fraser, Nicky Silver, Maria Irene Fornes and eventual Pulitzer Prize winners Paula Vogel, Donald Margulies and Suzan-Lori Parks. Duane produced several premiers in New York and directed three times at the famed La MaMa Experimental Theatre, The Second City in Hollywood and The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. He has directed highly acclaimed productions of HAIR twice, starring Sara Ramirez (Spamalot, Grey’s Anatomy) and Steve Gouveia (Jersey Boys). He has costarred and toured with Tony winner Alice Ripley (Next to Normal) as Jud Fry in Oklahoma twice, played opposite Cathy Rigby in Peter Pan, appeared with Harold Nicholas in My One and Only, been conducted by Lorin Maazel, danced with Carol Lawrence, and just generally been hanging around theatres since forever. He has won the Drama-Logue Award, ACT Award, Patte Award, Blitz Award, and been nominated for The L.A Critics Association, LA Weekly and Garland Awards (Variety Magazine). He has also three times played the title role in Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Stephen Sondheim.
Additionally, Duane has logged over 2000 performances in Triple Espresso, a highly caffeinated comedy, in venues from San Diego to Dublin, Ireland. Theatre credits include gigs in Minneapolis, Toronto, Calgary, Rochester, Albany, St Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, Atlanta, London and Paris.
In television, Duane is most often remembered for his role in the critically acclaimed Veronica Mars, and also appeared in Big Shots, Invisible Man, Tremors, Fashion House, Terriers, Kate Brasher and The Chronicle. He plays a hit man and a terrorist in the feature films Fathoms Deep and First Strike – both due out this year.
Duane is also an acting teacher in Los Angeles and is head of the Contemporary Theatre Program at Acting Abroad Conservatory in Normandy, France.
Film critic Michael Phillips (Talking Pictures) called Duane “a pleasantly maniacal over-achiever”.
Ashley Naftule is a writer, performance artist and native-born Phoenician. He co-created Space 55’s “Hollis’s Traveling Treehouse” series, and is the coordinator behind the theater’s “7 Minutes in Heaven” and “9 Muses” shows. He’s acted in “Night of the Chicken 3”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, “King Lear”, “Dragons Harder” & “Monsters, Mutants & Other Tales of Love”. He’s been published in Four Chambers Press and the Phoenix New Times, he organizes the Trunk Space’s annual H.P. Lovecraft Birthday Party and won 3rd place in FilmBar’s 2014 Air Sex championship. He also does all the chalk artwork at Space 55.
Carrie stumbled into theatre by accident when a friend coerced her into taking a playwriting class (“just for fun”) and she hasn’t looked back since. In 2009 the good people at Space 55 offered her playwright’s group with a place to meet, and Carrie found her home. She currently writes and performs on-stage foley effects for the Night of the Chicken series. She also wrote 2012’s Monsters, Mutants and Other Tales of Love and has contributed material to PHIL Talks, Heyre Be Dragons, Dragons Harder, and the 7 Minutes series. Carrie plays the voice of the “Motherboard” in Space 55’s monthly late night adventure show, Captain Jack’s Space Attack.
When BJ Garrett was 10 years old, he saw his older brother act in a high school production of The Fantasticks and decided that one day, he was going to do that too. 20-some-odd years and as many shows later,he is a member of the Artistic Ensemble, as well as a partner in local film collective Synthetic Human Pictures. Also a DJ, ordained minister, and licensed bounty hunter, BJ has worn several shirts but his favorite one right now is the large black tee with “Space 55” written on the front.
Dennis Frederick started his involvement with Space 55 in 2011 after seeing a show rekindled his love of theatre and performance. He has since grown to work behind the scenes as Technical Director but enjoys getting to play on stage as well. Some recent credits include Dr. Bendo in the recurring series Captain Jack’s Space Attack, Ed Huddle in Dragons Harder: The Dark Matter and the voice of Father Time in Resolutions. Dennis is also a member of the Space 55 Writer’s Group and has written and performed in various solo performance pieces and skits for the 7 Minutes series, Down-Lo Solo and Heyre Be Dragons. He derives a great deal of pleasure seeing any artistic vision come to fruition and is elated to call Space 55 his home base of operations.
Glen showed up at Space55 in 2012 to shoot a couple of shows. He’s been here ever since. Glen handles all our videography/ photography needs. When not at Space55, Glen shoots various events and shows around Phoenix. He also assists with smaller tech and theatre needs thus freeing talent to focus on what they do best, creating unique theatre experiences.
Belle Ransom is a young artist who studied theatre at Arizona School for the Arts and hopes to continue her artistic education at Columbia College in Chicago. She’s been working at Space 55 since 2013, and joined the ensemble in 2015. Her recent work there includes the role of Mozambique in the monthly late-night show Captain Jack Space Attack and stage managing the annual holiday musical, A Bloody Mary Christmas. She was first seen onstage as SKINHEADgirl in Xanthia Walker’s production of Naomi Izuka’s Polaroid Stories at Phoenix Center for the Arts. She’s been behind the scenes for countless productions around the Valley, and worked as the resident stage manager at the University of Great Falls’ Theatre during a brief stint living in Montana. She’s adored her time at Space 55 and hopes to spend many more years precariously perched in the booth (and to perhaps someday help build one that isn’t quite so detrimental to one’s health).
Kevin Patterson is a writer, improviser, actor, photographer and director. His Blog “How to Get Ready for the Apocalypse” won the Phoenix New Times 2012 award for “Best Blog about the End of the World.” Kevin was the showrunner for the Arthouse Series, which won third place for “Best Comedy web series” at the Jerome Film Festival. He is currently the Haiku champion of the Lost Leaf, mostly because everyone has forgotten that this is a title. Of all the gigs his favorite is MC of fashion shows. If you need one, you know who to call.
Ron is a self-described writer, actor, thinker, wit, performer, and musician. He’s also an east coaster who talks too much and too loudly. Despite that, he has managed to find a way to fit himself into the Phoenix art community – mostly thanks to his favorite folks who either presently inhabit or previously inhabited Space 55. Ron has performed in a number of Space 55 productions. He is the co-creator, along with Charlie Steak, of the late night series Captain Jack’s Space Attack and he also produced 2014’s PHIL Talks.