Space 55 Ensemble

Shawna Franks

Artistic Director

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.

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Charlie Steak

Associate Artistic Director

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Richard Briggs

Ensemble/Public Relations

Richard Briggs first appeared at Space 55 Theater Ensemble in the 2008 10 Min Play Showcase, and his most recent appearance was in The Seduction of Almighty God by the Boy Priest Loftus in 2009. Other memorable Space 55 credits include Ubu Roi, Untitled, and The Bakers of Lakewood. Richard received his Bachelor’s degree in Acting from California State University, Bakersfield where he is also a founding member of The Empty Space Theater Company. Richard or Dickie as he is known to his family and friends is excited and honored to have found a home here at Space 55.

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Kim Porter


Kim Porter is a playwright, performer, dramaturg and educator who currently writes and teaches in Phoenix, Arizona. Porter’s critically acclaimed plays have won a variety of awards for numerous productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Phoenix. Most recently her play Munched won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award, The LA WEEKLY award and the McDonald Award for Playwriting excellence. As an actor,  Porter has performed in Texas, California and Arizona for the last 25 years. Over the last 15 years Porter has developed and/or directed dozens of solo-plays for many well-respected solo performers. In the 25 years that Porter has worked in professional theatre, she’s done almost every job a person can do in theatre. Porter currently balances teaching playwriting and solo-performance at Space 55 with writing her own plays and screenplays.  In 2011 Porter was the recipient of the Phoenix New Times Big Brain Award.


Ashley Naftule


Ashley Naftule dropped out of college to strike it rich as a writer/performer. He’s a playwright, a poet, a performance artist and puppeteer. He considers himself to be quite good at two of those roles, and not-so-good at the other two, but is modest enough to let others be the judge of which is which. After taking writing and solo performing classes with Kim Porter, he wrote and performed a one-man show, “As Above, So Below” at the 2010 Phoenix Fringe Festival. and is one of the curators of Space55’s “Down-Lo Solo” series. He also helps write and produce “Hollis’s Traveling Treehouse” and is a member of the “What The Fuck Variety Hour” and “Arcana Cabaret” shows. When he isn’t living the good life onstage at Space55, he can be found at local open mics, poetry slams, dance clubs, burlesque nights, all-ages rock shows, karaoke bars and black masses. Sometimes he can be found doing those things in drag. His only weakness is seafood. He credits all of his success to the deities Eris and Ganesh.


Leslie Barton


Since 1998 Leslie has performed and written a series of improvisational and rehearsed performance art pieces. As a solo performer, one of Leslie’s goals is to emotionally reveal herself to an audience, who in turn reveal themselves to her. Leslie’s serves as the mastermind behind the WTF Variety Hour, and she heavily contributes to Hollis’ Tree House and Dance Party. In the past, she has been seen at the Mars Art Gallery, Metropophobobia, Theatre Of Note in Los Angeles, Sanctuary Dance Club, The Lodge, Paper Heart Gallery, Modified Arts, Trunk Space, Firehouse and, of course, at Space 55 where she performed in two theatrical productions, “Night Of The Chicken Part 2: The Rise Of Aunt Lulu”, as well as “Australia”.


Carrie Behrens


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 (then homeless) playwright’s group with a place to meet, and thus the Space 55 writer’s group was born. She currently writes and performs on-stage foley effects for the Night of the Chicken radio play series. She also wrote last season’s Monsters, Mutants and Other Tales of Love. On show nights you can usually find her slinging cokes behind the snack bar, or lurking in a corner with a sketchbook.


BJ Garrett


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.


Nicole Dunlap


Nicole Dunlap has enjoyed theater for many years, strictly from an audience seat point of view. Her natural flair for organization, in addition to her love for Space 55 and all that in contributes to the community—not to mention most of her friends are performance artists—means it was only a matter of time before she stepped in to help them organize themselves. Nicole is glad to stay behind the scenes and help things run as smoothly as possible from the other side of the stage curtain.


Dennis Frederick


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