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The Balcony Poets Cast Members*


Savannah Blue is an award-winning slam poet and a major Houston poetry organizer. Her company, Savannah Blue Productions, produces the annual Bayou City Poetry Slam that brings top national poets to Houston to compete at the Alley Theatre in an event that always sells out. She herself has competed with Houston Slam Team, a nationally certified competitive poetry slam team that has represented Houston in the National Poetry Slam competitions since 2002.

Gerald Cedillo honed his writing skills at University of St. Thomas and University of Houston. He has worked with Writers in the Schools (WITS) and Meta-Four teaching writing and performance. He is an active performance poet, an organizer for the Word Around Town Poetry Tour and the author of The Metro Sutras.

Winston Derden is a poet, fiction writer, and former journalist. His poetry publications include New Texas, Harbinger Asylum, Texas Poetry Calendar, Blue Collar Review, Big River Poetry Review, Illya’s Honey, Just This, Barbaric Yawp and numerous anthologies including Untameable City (Mutabilis Press). He features at Houston poetry readings and co-produces and hosts the reading/interview series Speak!Poet.

Billie Duncan (Director) has been a professional writer and editor for over 30 years. The author of three full-length books of poetry, she is also published in numerous journals and anthologies. As a poetry activist, she is  a founding member of Houston Poetry Summit, PR & Communications Director for Houston Poetry Fest and member of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Future of Public Poetry. Her new chapbook, Requiem for the Plastic Clown, will be published in spring of 2017.

Kirsten Heller is new to the poetry scene, an observer who puts her musings to paper. Absurdly curious about everything with a hunger for knowledge, she is learning the finer points of the craft. Her first taste of performing her poetry in public was fall of 2016 at First Friday's open mic.

Chris Wise is a poet, novelist and veteran of the US Army. He has been published in various poetry anthologies and literary magazines, such as Nerve Cowboy, Blue Collar Review and Road Not Taken. He has been a featured author in Cowboys and Indians Magazine and was a featured poet in Huffington Post’s Video Reading Series. He serves on committees of several organizations that promote poetry throughout the Houston area, and his poetry collection Thirsty Earth will be published spring 2017 (Weasel Press). He also writes for and hosts the internet TV show The Crawl on kh-tv.com about Texas wineries, distilleries and breweries.


Nigel Deane has written for a diverse set of ensembles, ranging from string quartet to contrabassoon solo to amplified rock-and-roll instruments. He has won numerous awards and was a finalist for the 2013 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. He also won the Arthur Gottschalk Prize at Rice University.

Teresa Mauney  is an accomplished musician, performer, songwriter and composer. She studied at Julliard and has toured Europe, played at the White House and for the Queen of England. Her main instruments are piano, guitar and cello, and she is adept at improvisational and extemporaneous composition.

Tex Allen Tex Allen is a world-renowned composer, arranger, trumpeter and pianist.
Originally from Houston, Tex has spent most of his life in New York City and touring the world. He has returned to Houston for his current project, "American Folklorical," which tells the tale of America and the evolution of diverse cultures merging to create the indigenous American musical fabric that is jazz and rhythm and blues.


Tuba Sozudogru is a painter and muralist. Her work has appeared in numerous shows. Her first art collaboration with poets (several of whom are current members of The Balcony Poets) was in the fall of 2014 when she provided art as a backdrop for the 100 Thousand Poets for Change event at 14 Pews. She has been part of every show since then, creating paintings inspired by the poetry in the shows.


*Not all members perform at every event.