The Story Theatre is proud to annouce that we are the new resident theatre company at Raven Theatre!

The Story Theatre is excited to welcome two new members to the ensemble!

Ayanna Bria Bakari is very excited to be joining the ensemble of The Story Theatre! She graduated with a BFA in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. Since graduating, some of her theatre credits include Cat in The Originalist at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Izzie Mae/ Clerk Son in Robert O’Hara’s play Insurrection: Holding History with Stage Left Theatre (Jeff nominated), Sister Felicity in Suddenly Last Summer with Raven Theatre, Dr. Love in Paul Michael Thomson’s Leave Me Alone! with The Story Theatre, and Ekaterina in The New Colony’s world premier production of Fun Harmless Warmachine. She has also participated in workshops for numerous plays with theater companies around the city including Cloudgate Theatre, Victory Gardens, and Timeline Theatre. Ayanna’s television credits include Chicago PD and a recurring role on The CHI.

Gaby Moldovan graduated from Florida State University with a BFA in Acting, then made the move to Chicago for the comedy scene. She's a producer with her production company, Make It Up Media, through which they create original film content. She also performs with the sketch comedy group 3 Day Weekend, who has made appearances in multiple comedy festivals and shows around town. She's usually confused but happy when she finds herself on stage.

Ayanna Bria Bakari

Gaby Moldovan

Playwrighting Residency

The Story Theatre is committed to cultivating the next generation of artists at the forefront of Chicago theatre. Our Emerging Playwright Residency Program fosters the growth of a Chicago playwright at the beginnings of an exciting career. Through workshops, staged readings, and talkbacks throughout the year, we support our resident playwright through every step of their creative process—the culmination of which is a fully produced production of their brand new work.

The Story is committed to the production of language-centric, narrative-driven plays. We are interested in playwrights whose work explores the poetry of language and the potentials of storytelling from specific, exciting, and well-considered perspectives.

If you are a Chicago-based playwright searching for an artistic home, we want to hear from you. We are compelled by stories from a variety of lived experiences and strongly encourage playwrights from underrepresented groups to apply. To ask questions or express interest, email We look forward to growing together!

Current Resident Playwright

Paul Michael Thomson thought winning the Mesa Public Schools district writing contest ten times before the age of eighteen would be his ticket to literary success, but, shockingly, it seems that no one cared. Undeterred, he began his formal training as a playwright under the direction of Susan Merson and The Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City just before his senior year at The University of Arizona. Since graduating summa cum laude with a BFA in Acting and a BA in Africana Studies, he has been blessed enough to receive the following productions: Same Sects! (Other Theatre Company); What's the Name of That Psychologist Who Believed Free Will Was an Illusion? (Arc Theatre); Mainstream (Arizona Repertory Theatre 2015 Showcase of Talent). His play Lucas & Joy was featured in The Neologian early this year. Paul Michael's work seeks to illuminate the poetry in hyperrealist vernacular and often explores themes of emotional intimacy, shifting identity, the ambiguity of morality, and Catholicism. Also, gay people. He is so grateful to the people who support him while demanding continual growth, specifically Brenna Welsh--who has worked on every play Paul Michael has written.