About Us

Toni Salisbury

Co-Founding Artistic Director

Actor, writer, director


  • Toni spent nearly ten years playing timeless roles such as Fiona in Brigadoon, Laurie in Oklahoma!, Gooch in MAME, Kim in Bye Bye Birdie, to name only a few, at Jesters Dinner Theatre in Colorado, until moving  to Seattle in 2004 to study Audio & Video production at the Art Institute of Seattle. She later transferred to The New England Institute of Art to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Audio & Media Technology, her curriculum including music, film, television and radio production. She's a songwriter with some 60 songs written (some self-produced), and became a published poet in 2008 with her poem Willingly Shaded. Feeling too far away from acting and theatre, she moved to New York City in 2009 to attend The William Esper Studio, where she completed the two-year professional acting program under Terry Knickerbocker in 2011; she's studied playwriting at The Barrow Group, and has spent the past five years professionally honing nonprofit theatrical administration and production skills, at the Award-Winning Off-Broadway Vineyard Theatre and Culture Project's Lynn Redgrave Theatre. Recent New York credits include featured roles in The What-If Cliff (Secret Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre), Life Passing By (Manhattan Repertory Theatre) both by Jonathon Ward, and her own ten-minute play Transference (directed by Ellen Fraher), making it to the finals at Manhattan Repertory Theatre's December 2016 ten-minute playwriting contest, spurring Fish In Water's upcoming production of it's conception as a short film (2018).   

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Fish In Water Productions is the creative venture of two highly passionate actresses, Toni Salisbury and Ellen Fraher. They met in the summer of 2009 while enrolled in The William Esper Studio Summer Intensive. They were profoundly moved by the integrity the Meisner technique commands of the actor and by the singular teaching of Terry Knickerbocker. Each of them went on to respectively complete the two year Meisner training under Terry. Serendipitously in 2015, Toni and Ellen reconnected in a playwriting class at The Barrow Group Theater. They have been involved in and supportive of each other’s work ever since, and Fish In Water Productions was born. 

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Ellen Fraher

Co-Founding Artistic Director

Actor, writer, director


  •  Ellen has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Arts - Theatre from St. Michael’s College. For her senior thesis, she wrote a full length play inspired by the short stories of Flannery O’Connor.  She moved to Florence, Italy her junior year to study art at SACI, a school founded by Jules Maidoff, and to study Italian cinema history with Tina Fallani.  Seeking to deepen her acting, she completed the two-year Meisner training under the teaching of Terry Knickerbocker at The William Esper Studio. In 2011, she joined a troupe of actors in Spoleto, Italy for the first Master Acting Workshop at LaMama Umbria International. There she studied movement and voice with André De Shields and Viewpoints with Tina Landau that were then applied to the works of Chekhov and Shakespeare. She has also done master workshops dedicated to the writing of Sam Shepard with John Wills Martin, and Samuel Beckett with Company SJ. Most recently, she appeared in the site-specific theater production of Kidnap: A Tale of Southern Hospitality by Alison Fishburn at St. Paul’s Church in Brooklyn. Next projects for Ellen include development of Chimera, a one-act play she wrote that examines the boundaries of intimacy in a very dark, strange, and surreal way.  She is also finishing rewrites for a short film (Untitled), a black comedy with undertones of Macbeth, in which she will also act.