Fresno State theatre, creative writing students perform at 2021 Rogue Festival


By Jefferson Beavers

Theatre students and recent alumni from Fresno State’s Department of Theatre and Dance and creative writing students from the Department of English will headline two shows at the 2021 Rogue Festival, happening virtually March 5 through 14.

The theatre collective Teatro Asamblea, directed by Dr. Gina Sandi-Diaz, will present a video-theatre production of “Elizabeth Started All the Trouble,” adapted from Doreen Rappaport’s book of the same name. Pre-recorded performances on Zoom will be at 8 p.m. on March 7, and at 7 p.m. on March 12. Admission is $5. The show is appropriate for all audiences.

Members of the student organizations Hmong American Ink & Stories (HAIS) and the Chicanx Writers and Artists Association (CWAA) will read their poetry and prose for “Fresno Writers Live,” organized by the Creative Writing Program. HAIS will perform live on Zoom at 6 p.m. on March 6, and CWAA at 2 p.m. on March 14. Admission is $5. The shows are rated PG-13.

The Rogue Festival is an annual non-juried fringe festival that celebrates independent artists in theatre, music, dance, film, spoken word, performance art, puppetry, and magic. The event is among the largest cultural arts events in California. The festival, typically held in Fresno’s Tower District, will be virtual this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Theatre: “Elizabeth Started All the Trouble”

Theatro Asamblea marks the premiere of its company in Fresno with “Elizabeth Started All the Trouble,” directed by Sandi-Diaz.

Filmed entirely over Zoom, the story follows Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, and other trailblazers in their quest for women’s right to vote and for social and economic equality. The production was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Fresno and was part of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage, celebrated through a series of events this past fall.

The cast includes Alyssa Benitez, Emily Kearns, Kenia Morales, Arium Andrews, Jacob Gonzalez, Cha Yang, and the voice of R.L. Preheim. Costumes and makeup by Alexis Mera-Diaz; visual work by Rodolfo Robles; sound by Michael Shane Flores; and video editing and stage managing by Karina Rodriguez.

The show will be followed by a short interview with author Rappaport, who discusses her research process for the book, her involvement with the women’s movement, and her hopes for younger generations engaging with her work today.  

Contact Gina Sandi-Diaz at for details.

Elizabeth Started All The Trouble poster

Creative writing: “Fresno Writers Live”

The latest installment in the “Fresno Writers Live” series features original poetry and prose from eight Fresno writers over two storytelling and spoken-word shows.

English department student groups have organized various shows at Rogue since 2006 to showcase the literary works of their members. Readers include graduate students from the Master of Fine Arts program, as well as undergraduates studying creative writing, literature, and other disciplines.

The first show, curated by Hmong American Ink & Stories, will feature grad student Lee Lee, with undergraduates Maiyang Lor, Laura Thor, and Tony Vang. The second show, curated by the Chicanx Writers and Artists Association, will feature grad students L.S. Arévalo, Bradley Samore, and Cristina Sandoval, with undergraduate Ceci Hernandez Monjaras.
Contact Jefferson Beavers at for details.

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