• Cast

    Betty Brutus


    Betty Brutus, who plays the part of Arionna, is honored to be a part of the Latin X Theatre Project. Before this production, Betty appeared as Mama Morton in Chicago at the Arkansas Public Theatre, as the lead player in Pippin, and as Marie Manning in the touring company of Auditions, both at the University of Arkansas. She has also toured through the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock in Arkansas Experience, Diamonds and Dastardly Deed, and Opening Night. Betty has a BA in Drama and an MA in Education from the University of Arkansas. She is a native of Fort Smith AR and now lives in Fayetteville, AR.

    Samm Canales


    Samm Canales is a cast member and full-time mother of five. Although this is her first production, she has always had an interest in both writing and comedy. For Samm, being a part of the LXTP has been an incredible experience, and she hopes to continue performing with the group.

    Damian Dena


    Damian Dena is an MFA graduate of the University of Arkansas and is currently a working actor based out of Rogers, AR. His passion for acting, performance, and deep appreciation for his culture give him the drive to utilize his art to make a positive impact on the world and theatre. Some previous credits include: Dracula, Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night, Ralph D in Mother F**ker With the Hat, and Caliban in The Tempest. He dedicates his work on this project to his family: “It is for them he hopes to inspire social change so we can build a better world together.”

    Martin Garay


    Martin Garay has performed in Follow Me @ Tio Sam and other LXTP sideshows. He believes the group is important for developing public trust, offering guidance to younger people, and understanding community relations in NWA. Martin sees the LatinX Theatre Project as a way to involve members of the community that would otherwise be excluded or discouraged from engaging in public events. He strives to expand the project until current members are off the stage and are giving the youth in the community a chance to work on their own art and talents.

    Samuel Lopez


    Samuel Rivera Lopez is a writer, actor, and rapper. He is the founder of Stitches NWA and On West End Music group, one of the founding members of LatinX Theatre Project, and a partner for the Outta City Limits productions group. He helped write La Gran Posada with Artist Lab Theatre and acted in its second rendition. Originally from La Municipal De Tejupilco De Hidalgo, México, Sam is also a native of Austin, Texas and Springdale, Arkansas. He is an entertainer, aspiring chef, and future stay-at-home father. Sam’s current goal is to expand the arts community of NWA: “I want to share our narratives and our stories,” Sam says. “I want people to sit and talk with one another, I want people to get to know the beauty of NWA, and help create cultural competence within the area.”

    Alex Nilsson


    Alex Nilsson is a new addition to the Latin X Theatre Program. He has studied acting at Northwest Arkansas Community College and the University of Central Missouri, where he was also a member of the theatre department’s official improv comedy troupe. Regional credits include Sonnets for an Old Century, Give Me Shelter, Tambien, and Pride @ Prejudice at Northwest Arkansas Community College, and Sense and Sensibility at the Arts Center of the Ozarks.

    Audrey Romero


    Audrey Romero is a nineteen-year-old Mexican-American artist. She loves writing, acting, dancing, and watching stand-up comedies. Audrey is an original creative and cast member of Follow Me @ Tio Sam, which premiered in the spring of 2017. She is attending the University of Arkansas to gain more experience in theater, the study of people, Latin American studies, and possibly business management. Audrey enjoys this project because it allows her to express her creativity and tribulations as a Latina in our current social and political climate. She hopes that young girls and POC can become inspired to strive for what they are in search of and develop a voice to speak up as well as listen to one another."I am proud of who I am and where I come from,” Audrey says, “but I’m still in search of how much better I can become.”

    Fernando Valdez


    Fernando Valdez is a Sophomore at NWACC, where he is earning his Associates of Fine Arts. He has written and acted in several productions, including his original play, Depression. He has also appeared in Blood Wedding, Nerdlandia, and Doctor Faustus. When he graduates, Fernando is excited to see where his artistic endeavors take him. This season, he would like to give a special thanks to Ashley Edwards for always inspiring and pushing him to succeed. Fernando has loved every single moment of the creative process and everyone who has taken part in LatinX.

    Nicole Vasquez


    Nicole Vasquez, also known as Coco, was born on Broadway, New York City. And just like the city, she always sleeps—that’s how the saying goes, right? Coco is a graduate of Rogers New Technology High School and Northwest Arkansas Community College, where she received an Associate of Arts. She plans on attending the University of Arkansas next year, where she will pursue a major in Higher Education. She enjoys singing, dancing, acting, and writing in third person about herself in her free time. Coco has been in Follow Me @Tio Sam, Kiss Me Kate at the Arts Center of the Ozarks and The Antigone Project at Northwest Arkansas Community.

    Savannah Vaughan


    Savannah Vaughn is pursuing an Associate in Fine Arts at NWACC. She was one of the original members of the LatinX Theatre Project, and Follow Me @TioSam was her first production. Savannah is a writer, singer, and actor in the group, and is very excited to continue working and performing with her cast mates.

    Sativa Vela


    M. Sativa Vela studies theatre and music at the University of Arkansas. She has been a writer and performer with the LatinX Theatre Project for a year now and was in the first full production, Follow Me @Tio Sam. For Sativa, this project is important because it offers representation to people who do not otherwise feel visible in the media. She believes theatre to be an art that is inaccessible to many people in Northwest Arkansas—whether that is because tickets are too expensive, or because productions are reserved for a certain demographic. Through this project, Sativa wants to show young people that pursuing a career in art is possible, no matter what you look like or where you come from.

    Ever Villalobos


    Ever Villalobos studies civil engineering at the University of Arkansas. He has performed in Follow Me @ Tio Sam and some of the follow-ups, small community shows at Good Lutheran Church in Fayetteville and the Station in Springdale. He contributes both to the creative writing/development side and the acting/performance side. Ever enjoys being a part of LXTP because he believes that his experience amounts to more than just being in a show—it is about telling his story the way he wants it to be told and hoping someone in his community will relate.

  • Production

    Ashley Edwards


    Ashley Edwards is Professor of Theater and Theater Department Coordinator at Northwest Arkansas Community College. Receiving her BA in English from LTU and her MFA in Playwriting from UofA, she serves as the Region VI Chair for the National Playwriting Program with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Her play, Bear State Of Mind, was produced by Walton Arts Center and Trike Theater for Youth. Her other plays have been produced regionally and nationally since 2008. As Theater Coordinator, she's directed and produced twelve productions at NWACC. She is currently the playwright and a member of management for LTNX Theater Project and served as the playwright for the their play, “Follow Me @Tio Sam” and is currently the company manager and playwright for the new play slated for production this Spring. Edwards is a current and active Dramatists Guild of America member and an advocate for fostering new work regionally and nationally. She works as Guest Services Manager and Associate Programmer for Bentonville Film Festival.

    Michael Landman


    Michael Landman is Head of the M.F.A. Directing Program at the University of Arkansas. He is passionate about teaching and believes in creating opportunities to empower students to reach their full artistic potential. Recent productions directed include The 39 Steps, Rabbit Hole (TheatreSquared), Tutta Casa Letto e Chiesa (Festival Internazionale Valle Christi, Italy), Death of a Salesman, A Christmas Carol (Walton Arts Center), and The Sound of Music (Arkansas Shakespeare Festival). Michael was the first Chair of the Fayetteville Arts Council. He served for a year as the University’s Faculty-in-Residence and has been a Faculty Associate for the Maple Hill Residence Halls. Before arriving at Arkansas, he taught at Southwestern University, Texas State University, East Stroudsburg University, Marywood University and the University of Scranton. Most recently, Michael has returned to collaborating with the LatinX Youth Theatre Project, directing an original project that will tour Northwest Arkansas (and possibly elsewhere) this spring.

    Vicente Yépez

    Writing Director

    Vicente Yépez is a third-year poetry candidate at the University of Arkansas’ MFA in Creative Writing. Vicente is also an essayist, literary translator, and a staff member for the Writers In The Schools (WITS) Program at the U of A, which is devoted to introducing K-12 students all over the state to the benefits of writing as both a literacy tool and a creative outlet.

    Vicente has been involved with the Latinx Theatre Project since its inception, as he conducted the writing workshops which produced the material that became the inaugural LxTP script, Follow Me @ Tío Sam. In his role as Writing Director of the LxTP, Vicente hopes to continue working with youth in Northwest Arkansas to help them develop their writing skills and creative abilities to advocate for themselves and their communities.

    Felicia Deatherage

    Stage Manager

    Felicia Deatherage is the Stage Manager for The Latin X Theatre Project's production "Scratch That". She was first involved with the ACO volunteering as run crew for “The Sound of Music”, “Bad Seed “and most recently Stage Managing "Sense and Sensibility". At NWACC she served as Stage Manager for “Give Me Shelter, Tambien”, Properties Master for "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged “as well as volunteered for The Bentonville Film Festival. She then transferred to University of Central Missouri to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts : Theatre Design and Technology where she served as Assistant Stage Manager for “The Secret Garden”, “The Toxic Avenger” and got involved with student black box productions. She’s returned to NWA taking some time off before attending the University of Arkansas, diving back into the thriving arts community of NWA, and settling back into what all of NWA has to offer. She has loved working with LXTP for bringing to life a unique show that amplifies voices from the community. Reminding that we are not only consumers of art, but producers of art in this community."

    Laiken M.

    Assistant Stage Manager

    Ashleigh Burns

    Set Design

    Ashleigh Burns is a scenic designer based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After receiving her MFA in scenic design from the University of Arkansas department of Drama in 2013, Ashleigh has worked with several theatres in the area, and most recently settled into the Scenic Charge/Properties Artisan position at TheatreSquared in Fayetteville. Ashleigh is thrilled to be working with LatinX Theatre Project for its second year in a row, as one of her favorite things about design is getting to collaborate with a group of artists on new projects that are evolving on a daily basis. It makes the task of creating a world in which performers can truly play and explore very exciting and ultimately fulfilling.