NSYPF 2024 Actors

DEAN COUTRIS graduated from The University of Houston’s Professional Actor Training Program with a Master in Fine Arts in Theatre in the Spring of 2019. After that, he moved to Atlanta to pursue more TV and Film work where he has appeared in episodes of Atlanta and Class of ’09. Some of his favorite theatrical roles include Bo Decker in Bus Stop, Christopher Wren in Mousetrap, and Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest. Dean is also an adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University.

KELLY CRISS is thrilled to work with this fantastic ensemble and happy to be back at Horizon, where she previously served on staff as Artistic & Education Manager and former YPF Coordinator. Previous Horizon Theatre credits: Support Group for Men and Designing Women. Atlanta stage credits: Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Aurora Theatre, Essential Theatre, Georgia Shakespeare, Georgia Ensemble, Stage Door, Synchronicity, Theatre in the Square, Theatrical Outfit, Weird Sisters Theatre Project, and 7 Stages. Thank you for supporting live theatre and new works.

PATTY DE LA GARZA is thrilled to join the ensemble to help these amazing young playwrights continue to grow in their craft! Previously seen on the Horizon Stage in Square Blues. Some other regional credits include: Into the Burrows with Alliance Theater, Chicana Legend with SheArtsATL, Lizard y el Sol at The Alliance Theater, Urinetown at Actor’s Express, El Guayabo/The Guava Tree at Creede Repertory Theater, Othello, All’s Well That End Well, and Julius Caesar at the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, and Tuck Everlasting, And then They Came for Me at Georgia Ensemble Theater. All my love to my family and my partner. Un beso más. Instagram: @pattyndelagarza

TYSHAWN GOODEN (they/them) is thrilled to be a part of this Festival at Horizon! Select Previous Credits: Atlanta: Mercury (Actor’s Express); The Little Prince, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters (Synchronicity Theatre); As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Troilus and Cressida, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern); And Then They Came For Me (Georgia Ensemble Theatre); Jerker, RED: A Crayon’s Musical, Snowgirls: the Musical (Out Front Theatre Company) Rathskeller (SheATL Festival); RENT (Act3 Productions). Regional: The Hound of the Baskervilles (The REV Theatre Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Warehouse Theatre); The Winter’s Tale (The Phoenix Theatre); Hamlet (Dramatic Question Theatre). IG: @its_all_gooden

MARIA MAE LOPEZ [she/her] is thrilled about being a part of YPF this year! Favorite credits include Belle/Martha in A Christmas Carol (Alliance Theatre), Lady Of The Lake in Spamalot and Inga in Young Frankenstein  (Georgia Repertory Theatre), Betsy/Lindsey in Clybourne Park  and Lily Craven in The Secret Garden (Columbus State University).. Thank you to all the playwrights for sharing their work. You guys are on fire! Find me anywhere: @mariamaelopez

CARA MANTELLA is thrilled to return to YPF for another year! She most recently appeared on stage as Mary Jane in Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at Actor’s Express (Suzi Bass Award), and has performed on stages in and around Atlanta including Horizon, Alliance Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Actor’s Express, Stage Door Players and more. Favorite film/tv credits include: Lodge 49, Stranger Things, Woke, Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters, Will Trent, Pain Hustlers, and The Summer I Turned Pretty. BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

GARRETT McPHERSON is excited to be a part of the wonderful ensemble. Recent Theatre Credits: George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life at Stagedoor Theatre, The Man in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at Synchronicity Theatre. Film Credits: Doom Patrol (HBOmax). He received his BFA in Theatre Performance from Baylor University, with a double minor in History and Religion. instagram:@garrettraymcpherson

MATT MERCURIO is a proud son of immigrants and a classically trained actor & producer of film and theatre. His theatre company, Tesseract Theatre Lab was a recipient of 2024 South Fulton Arts Individual Artistic Partnership, and he recently produced and starred in Gruesome Playground Injuries. Matt has over 50 appearances of major episodic television across networks that include ABC, CBS, AMC, NBC, FOX, USA, CW, STARZ, & HBO. On screen, Matt has had the honor of working alongside the likes of Will Ferrell, Tom Cruise, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Paul Rudd, Jennifer Garner & Joel Edgerton as well as Oscar Award winners like Reese Witherspoon, Al Pacino, Jamie Foxx, Helen Mirren & Rami Malek. He’s worked with such esteemed filmmakers like Ang Lee, Doug Liman and Paul Schrader. Matt is a national finalist of the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship and recipient of the American College Theatre Festival’s Marvin Sims Diversity Award in Acting. Recent appearances on Magnum PI (NBC), FBI: Most Wanted (CBS), and Paul Schrader’s Master Gardener (Magnolia Pictures). Next up, Matt has a comedy with Will Ferrell and Reese Witherspoon called You’re Cordially Invited coming out soon. Matt teaches Advanced On-Camera Acting at Arvold Warner Studios and is represented by: Alexander White Agency and Industry Entertainment. Instagram: @yomattymerc and actormattmercurio.com

DAJA M. RICE is a performing and teaching artist. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Art in Theatre Education and Performance from North Carolina Central University and her Master’s of Art in Acting from University of Georgia. Some of her favorite roles to date are Effie White in Dreamgirls, Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act, and Claudia MacTeer in The Bluest Eye. In 2021 she co-founded Rice Performing Arts Camp (a mobile theatre experience) with her husband, Jonathan Rice and enjoys enriching and developing young artists through theatre arts.

GOLBANOO SETAYESH (she/her) is an Iranian American Atlanta-based actor. She is honored and thrilled to be a part of the Horizon’s New South Young Playwrights Festival! Atlanta: Next to Normal (Suzi nominee), Secret Garden, The Wild Party (Overture Series); Romeo and Juliet (Atlanta Shakespeare Company); English (Alliance Theatre); Junie B. Jones (Georgia Ensemble Theatre); Beehive, The Addams Family (Atlanta Lyric Theatre). All the love and gratitude to Mommy, Bobby, Parsa, and Charles! Instagram: @golbanoo.setayesh

LIBBY WILLIAMS is so thankful to get to be a part of the New South Young Playwrights 5-Minute Play Festival again this year! She is an Atlanta native and an alumna of the University of Alabama, roll tide! After getting a degree in Theatre and Digital Art, she returned home to be an acting apprentice with Horizon Theatre Company and most recently a Resident Ensemble Member at Stage Door Theatre. This fall she is excited to be heading to Columbia University to pursue an MFA in Acting! Some of her favorite credits include One Man, Two Guvnors (Pauline Clench), Cry It Out (Jessie), and Romeo and Juliet (Juliet).

MaRAH WILLIAMS is happy to be back in Atlanta! She is returning after getting her BA from THE Norfolk State University and her MFA from The University of Florida. Any other day, MaRah is chatting true crime (check out her popular podcast, Sistas Who Kill: A True Crime Podcast) and hanging with her pups.