The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival (LAWTF) marks 23 years of producing over 500 extraordinary multicultural and multidisciplinary solo performers from around the globe.
The longest-running Annual Solo Festival for women in Los Angeles, LAWTF will return March 24-27, 2016 to the Electric Lodge, located at 1416 Electric Ave., Venice, California 90219.
The theme for Friday, March 25, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. is
“FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS“.
Entertainment for the evening will include:
Actor, Ciera Payton
One woman’s paper trail relationship with her incarcerated father.
Ciera Payton is a New Orleans native with an authentic “Southern Belle” charm. She was raised in various neighborhoods in New Orleans but she most identifies with the city’s Third Ward. There she lived with her drug addict father and her “Nanaw” (grandmother). It was under these tough circumstances that lead Payton on a path to discover her voice as a performer and a woman.
When in the eighth grade, her Nanaw lost her fight with cancer and her father was incarcerated for several years. These tragedies sent Payton to live with her mother in New Orleans East. A new world was opened with endless possibilities. She joined her school’s drama troupe and auditioned for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). As a freshman she auditioned for the introductory course at NOCCA, but her excellence moved her directly to the sophomore class.
The NOCCA theatre program embodied the spirit and a family atmosphere that Payton desired. She graduated from NOCCA as a junior and was enrolled in North Carolina School of the Arts, High School Drama program, where she continued to study for college and graduated with a BFA in Acting.
In the summer of 2005, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina divided Payton’s family after her home in New Orleans East was flooded. She evacuated to Baton Rouge, where she lost contact with her mother and brothers for two weeks and it was the stress and horrible conditions that claimed the life of her second grandmother, Sarah Payton. It was soon after these series of unfortunate events that Ciera and her family regrouped and made the decision to make North Carolina their residence.
With all the unpleasant events taking place in Payton’s life, she began doubting her herself, and her dream of becoming an actor would never be realized. But during Mardi Gras 2006, she traveled back to New Orleans to celebrate with her friends and family, and in the midst of eating a roast beef po-boy with her older brother, Payton received the call that would change her fortunes and the direction of her life. She got the call for an audition in Steven Seagal’s film, “Flight of Fury“. Her pitch perfect audition resulted in her securing the role of Jessica, and within a month she was off to Romania portraying the lead character in her first feature film.
Payton returned to NCSA to complete her sophomore year of college, and she soon found herself giving back to the city that shaped her youth. Back in New Orleans, she worked as the Associate Director of What Girls Know, a theatre program that is geared toward inner-city teenage girls. Payton found this endeavor very rewarding, as she was able to provide basic theatre and acting techniques to young girls, who also were seeking to find their voice and that inner strength she had discovered in the very same type of program. Payton works with What Girls Knowbecause she relates to these girls as they too have come from the same challenging backgrounds as she has.
Inspired by her students’ bravery and resilience, Payton challenged herself yet again by writing and performing her very own one-woman show titled “Michael’s Daughter”. The story details her rough childhood growing up in New Orleans and her present day to day life as an aspiring actor, through a series of correspondence letters with her incarcerated father, Michael. Payton continues to amass opportunities to work in both TV and film, most recently she portrays the recurring characters, Cassandra on USA Network‘s “Graceland,” and Meg on the CBS sitcom “Bad Teacher”. She appeared in Spike Lee‘s” Oldboy,” and will be the female lead in the feature film “Respect the Jux,” to be released this fall. She also has a co-starring role on “First,” a new webseries acquired by the Issa Rae Network.
Payton splits her residences between Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans.
To see Ciera Payton‘s brave performance of “Michael’s Daughter” and other dynamic solo shows, please join us for the 23rd Annual Festival “ Telling Our Truths” to be held at the Electric Lodge in Venice.