BJ Garrett is a native Phoenician actor, producer, director, and filmmaker who has been performing on valley stages since 1999. He was a member of the Space 55 Artistic Ensemble from 2013 to 2017, during which time he appeared in multiple Space 55 productions, including Uncle Vanya, Night of the Chicken, A Bloody Mary Christmas, The Norwegians, and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. He was the titular character in the Space’s popular late-night series, Captain Jack’s Space Attack, and a regular host of 7 Minutes in Heaven and other cabaret-style shows. He has been the Artistic Director of Space 55 since January 2020.
Elsewhere in the Valley, BJ has acted and/or directed for Theater Works, Algonquin Theatre Company, Randy Murray Productions, Ghostlight Theatre, Stage Left Productions, and Aside Theatre. He has been nominated for two ariZoni Theatre Awards of Excellence.
BJ is also a partner in local indie film collective Synthetic Human Pictures, whose award-winning short films have been screened at film festivals around the country and online since 2005.
Associate Artistic Director
Ashley Naftule is a writer and performer based in Phoenix, AZ. A resident playwright and ensemble member at Space55 since 2011, he’s written and produced three plays at the Space: Ear, The First Annual Bookburners Convention, and Radio Free Europa. His fourth play, The Canterbury Tarot, premiered at Aside Theatre in 2019. A fifth full-length, Peppermint Beehive, will be opening at Space55 in Spring 2021. He’s acted in several productions at Space55, including Laurel And Hardy Go To Heaven, Night Of The Chicken 3, Luna Gale, Remote Control, Blue Galaxy, Monsters Mutants And Other Tales Of Love, Demdike’s Devils, Titanic, Marisol, and the title role in Ubu Roi. His writings have been published in Pitchfork, Vice, The AV Club, Longreads, Bright Wall/Dark Room, Rinky Dink Press, The Hard Times, Ghost City Press, Phoenix New Times, Echo Magazine, and in Chris Gaines Fanclub, his recurring newsletter: https://ashleynaftule.substack.com/.
Aleksandra Hollis (she/her+they/them) is an actor, foley artist, writer, photographer. They recently performed in Sp55’s Radio Free Europa and with Wedding Party at Free Fringe and VS: Improv Cagematch. They’ve acted in Dark of the Moon, Measure for Measure, and Blood Wedding. They’ve been a foley artist for Night of the Chicken, Torch Improvised Radio Show, and Az Actors Academy’s The Maltese Falcon. They co-created/co-hosted Represent!, a monthly POC improv jam. They’re looking forward to standing in the middle of Yayoi Kusama’s installation You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies again.
Amy is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and has been a working actor for over 20 years. She has performed onstage in Washington, D.C. (Arena Stage, Source Theatre, Horizons), Maryland (Vpstart Crow Repertory), New York City (NY Fringe Festival, Musical Theatre Works) and Phoenix (Desert Stages, MET, Theater Works, Ghostlight); along with television/film/commercial/stage work in Los Angeles. Favorite roles include Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (Vpstart Crow), Heidi in The Heidi Chronicles (Long Beach Playhouse), Annette in God of Carnage (Ghostlight Theatre), and Elizabeth in The Crucible (TheaterWorks). Amy is stoked to be part of this amazingly collaborative ensemble!
Normally content to be out of the view of humans doing techy things, Dennis Frederick does get to venture out with more forward-facing endeavors at times. Recent credits include The Tower in Canterbury Tarot, Stan Laurel in Laurel and Hardy Go to Heaven, directing The First Annual Bookburners Convention, and running in the occasional Longform Improv show. Dennis is extremely grateful for all his past and present Space 55 comrades, and for his family, whose faith in him has surprisingly never wavered.
Kyle Olson is an award winning writer. True, they’re not awards most of you would have heard of, but it proves that more than his wife thinks he’s a good writer. He won the 2019 Original Script (Youth) AriZoni award for his female centric adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. He was also nominated for an ariZoni award in 2011 for his Clue parody title MISTER E. He still loves that show, but he mainly brings the conversation back around the script for which he actually won. He is the co-founder of Ox and Hare Media, LLC, home of The Swashbuckling Ladies Debate Society, a podcast adventure story he writes about a married lesbian couple in steampunk France, fighting evil with swords and words. (Subscribe on your podcatcher of choice, it’s free!)
Marcella Grassa first appeared on the Space 55 stage almost a decade ago with the Arcana Collective. She’s gone to perform in plays such as Sexual Perversity in Chicago, Marisol, Blue Galaxy, Ear, Country Blue Saloon, The First Annual Bookburners Convention, and Radio Free Europa; dance as part of the tap troupe Tap That AZ; and eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches while reciting Shakespeare scenes at 7 Minutes in Heaven. She holds this tiny little theatre in the heart of downtown Phoenix very close to her heart. As an ensemble member, she is grateful to share residency with other kindred spirits who carry that same love and passion for Space 55 and for our local theatre community—artists who embrace diversity in the arts and freedom of expression. This spirit of inclusivity has infused this place since its conception and that’s a beautiful thing.
Sarah Starling is an actor and director who is thrilled to be a part of Space55’s ensemble. Her debut role with Space55 was Night of the Chicken: Revenge of the Angry Booger, as Andi Hafferton. Previous roles in the Valley include Edith in Southwest Shakespeare’s Blithe Spirit, as well as directing and performing as Draco Malfoy in A Very Potter Musical at Tempe Marketplace. You can also catch her onstage as a host for various Burlesque shows throughout the Valley, and if you’re very clever, you can find her devious Harry Potter fan fiction somewhere on the internet.
Willa Eigo is an actor, arts administrator, and community organizer. She was most recently seen in Space 55’s Unmentionables and has been performing at Space since 2012. Willa received her BFA in Acting from Boston University in 2018. Favorite roles include Caroline in I And You, Kattrin in Mother Courage, and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Willa can be found on Instagram @willa.eigo