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meet our new fellows!

We're happy to welcome three new fellows to our 2023-24 Gamm Fellowship Program. This third cohort of emerging artists of color includes Tess Cruz, Jared Nobrega and Mireya Celline Hoffens. The fellows are recent graduates of the University of Rhode Island (URI), Rhode Island College (RIC), and Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI), respectively.

The 10-month program in partnership with Rhode Island’s public institutions of higher education is a paid fellowship designed to provide an immersive experience and establish mentoring relationships between aspiring and established theater professionals. Over the course of The Gamm’s 2023-24 season, fellows will engage in all areas of creative, administrative, and educational theater making. Additionally, each has been paired with an advanced career mentor who will provide guidance about making a living in the theater industry.

Including the pilot cohort, this marks the third consecutive year of the highly successful program. All six former fellows are currently working, performing, or pursuing additional training in the field. Autumn Jefferson, a 2022-23 fellow, was recently hired as The Gamm’s full-time education associate and fellowship advisor. Erik Robles, a 2021-22 fellow, is entering his first year at the graduate David Geffen School of Drama at Yale this fall.

"The impact of the first two seasons of our Fellowship Program has been immediate and powerful beyond our expectations. On top of their personal successes, the fellows have left their mark on The Gamm and will continue to be a part of our artistic family,” Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella said. “Theater artists learn best by actually making the art. The day to day immersion and training model of all-in, all-around participatory theater making is as old as the theater itself. Mireya, Tess and Jared are ambitious and talented young artists. I can't wait to collaborate with each of them. Thanks to their mentors at Rhode Island's public colleges and university for preparing them to fly."

The Gamm Fellowship Program has been made possible in part by the Otto H. York Foundation and the Bank of America Foundation.

The 2023-24 Gamm Fellows are:

Tess Cruz graduated from the University of Rhode Island ('23) with a B.F.A. in theater and a subplan in stage management. She was the recipient of the department's medallion for academic excellence. At URI, Tess stage managed Into the Woods and Exit, Pursued by a Bear, as well as the 2022 URI Distinguished Achievement Awards ceremony. Tess assistant stage managed several URI productions including The Radio Plays, The Importance of Being Earnest in a Pandemic, and Twelfth Night. She also worked as a production manager, house manager, and charge artist. In the summer of 2022, she received a fellowship with URI's College of Arts and Sciences, serving as assistant production manager to the university's theater department through the summer of 2023. Tess is from Highland Park, Illinois. Tess’ mentor is Anaïs Bustos, an AEA stage manager with many regional credits including Trinity Rep, The Gamm, and Hartford Stage.

“I am tremendously honored to have been selected as a fellow and could not be more excited for new experiences and challenges! I look forward to immersing myself into this creative and supportive environment,” Tess said.

Jared Nobrega graduated with a B.A. in theater performance from Rhode Island College ('22), where he appeared in numerous productions including The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Much Ado About Nothing, Awake and Sing!, and Everyman. He directed Never the Sinner at RIC and, most recently, Twelfth Night for The Gamm's 2023 middle school summer camp. Jared's acting credits include The Squirrels and Witch at Burbage Theatre Company and As You Like It and The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Contemporary Theater Company. In addition to performing and directing, he is a teaching artist for The Gamm's education department which serves youth across the state. Jared’s mentor is Steve Kidd, an acting teacher and theater director at Moses Brown School, and a Gamm actor (Sweat, Ironbound) and director (The Children, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?).

“During my time as a Gamm Fellow, I’m most looking forward to working hands-on in the theater and learning as much as I can from industry professionals. I hope to grow and discover new things about myself as an artist,” Jared said.

Mireya Celline Hoffens graduated from Community College of Rhode Island ('23) with an A.F.A. in theater performance. Previous roles with CCRI Players include Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra, Rosaline in Love’s Labour’s Lost, and Popo in Clown Bar. For her performances as Yazmin Ortiz in Water by the Spoonful and Caroline Wales/Tallulah Bankhead in Something Cloudy, Something Clear she was twice nominated for an Irene Ryan Scholarship. Mireya has also worked off stage for Yellowman (assistant stage manager), Death Trap (assistant director), and Three Years from Thirty (props master). Other Credits include Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Arjuna/Krishna in Start Here at Wells College, and Young Anna in the short film The Promise by Elissa Parente. Mireya’s mentor is Sophia Blum, an actor for stage (Describe the Night at The Gamm), TV (The Chosen) and film (21 Bridges), as well as a teaching artist and independent monologue coach.

“I’m excited to have received the opportunity to be a Gamm Fellow,” Mireya said. “I’m looking forward to working with and learning from professional artists, including some past fellows. I also hope to gain a lot of guidance from my mentor to further my acting career.”

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