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The Mass Media

UMass Boston alumni hold Somerville Theatre Festival

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Performing Fusion Theatre

Performing Fusion Theatre held the Somerville Theatre Festival between Jan. 24-25. The festival was directed by two University of Massachusetts Boston graduates, Ayshia Stephenson and Brian Moore-Ward.
Executive Director Ayshia Stephenson had a love of theatre at a young age. She was on stage at the age of five performing dance and musical theatre in Brooklyn, NY. She has her MFA in Writing (for performance) from the California Institute of Arts and has performed at REDCAT in os Angeles.
Ayshia has gotten involved with Seoul’s Night of 1000 Plays after having taught “Advanced English through Drama” at Seoul National University in South Korea. She feels that theatre allows the opportunity to create dialogue about sociological issues of race and gender.
Stephenson graduated summa cum laude in 2005 with a BA and MA in Sociology with an African-American Studies minor. She met Moore-Ward in one of the African-American Studies courses at UMass Boston. Ayshia enjoyed studying race, gender, and oppression and is still concerned with equality, social justice, and female-valued multiculturalism.
A former writer for The Mass Media, she covered events like the annual African-American History Month celebration. Ayshia is now a poet and a playwright who writes to promote multiculturalism and social justice. She has a book coming out, “Black Hands of a Morning Calm,” and is writing “Boston Bedroom,” which Performing Fusion Theatre plans on staging for the Boston community.
Brian Moore-Ward, Artistic Director for Performing Fusion, also grew up with a passion for everything to do with theatre and entertainment and has been active in Boston theatre for 20 years. He graduated from UMass Boston in 2006 with a BA in Theatre Arts. Moore-Ward was also a writer for The Mass Media and covered art events.
Performing Fusion’s Creative Consultant Heather Phillips was another Theatre Arts major from UMass Boston. One of their actors, Chris Louis, is currently a Theatre Arts major at UMass Boston. Both Stephenson and Moore-Ward agree that UMass Boston produces a lot of talent.
While Moore-Ward attended UMass Boston, he was nominated to compete in The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Irene Ryan Scholarship Competition for his portrayal of Birdboot in “The Real Inspector Hound.” He graduated with the John J. Conlon Prize, which is awarded to a graduating senior who best exemplifies the spirit of dedication and service to the Theatre Arts Department, fellow students, and the community.
Stephenson and Moore-Ward created the theatre company Performing Fusion in June of 2013. It was during that summer that they put on their first theatre festival in Somerville. Their motivation for starting up a theatre company was to bring a larger representation of assorted ethnicities and sexual orientations to the stage and the audience. The mission of the company’s creators is to integrate the Boston audience using multicultural theatre.
Performing Fusion celebrates their passion for integrated arts with the Somerville Theatre Festival. They put on an event dedicated to diversity and equality, with an evening filled with great music and live performances of plays from award-winning playwrights.
Stephenson and Moore-Ward have organized a festival with an energetic atmosphere for those who appreciate art, theatre, and equality. They hope that the audience enjoys and remembers the performances of the festival and spreads the message of Performing Fusion Theatre to promote multiculturalism.