RespectAbility Entertainment Professionals Lab, Summer 2023
Stephan Collins-Stepney (He/They) is a screenwriter and playwright who holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing for the Stage and Screen from Queens University of Charlotte. His original play “FREEDOM” & one-person Black history play, “B.A.D. (Black And Defiant)” were in the ‘Best Bets’ category at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC. Stephan’s play Williams & Walker: The Legacy of Two Real Men was featured at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. Their play “Omar’s Best Friend” was performed for Arkansas Tobacco Control. Stephan participated in The 48 Hour Film Project Chicago as a screenwriter for the film short, “The Winning Number” and wrote the screenplay for the film short, “The Groundskeeper” for independent production company JayisBack productions. Stephan also wrote and produced a one-woman Black history play, “If I’m Lyin’, I’m Flyin’: The Story of Bessie Coleman.” His pilot, “SHORTY DOO-WOP, ESQUIRE” is a finalist for The Script Lab’s Screenwriting Competition. Stephan’s goal is to expand the representation of Black, disabled, and neurodivergent people on the big and small screen with relatable three-dimensional portrayals.
After an extensive search and interview process, 20 individuals were invited to participate in the Los Angeles Cohort of RespectAbility’s 2023 Entertainment Lab taking place May 1 – June 9, 2023. This 6-week Lab aims to develop and elevate the talent pipeline of disabled entertainment professional working behind-the-scenes in television, film, and streaming, while connecting them with industry professionals and creatives. Participants include people with physical, cognitive, sensory, mental health, and other disabilities ranging in age the 20’s through the 50’s. The Lab is a recipient of The Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award.