Directors Inclusion Initiative

MEET THE DIRECTORS INCLUSION INITIATIVE TEAM!
TOP: Sejal Mehta, Cynthia Harris, Alicia Haymer
MIDDLE: Patriq James, Candace Lafayette, Diego Gomez
BOTTOM: Tasneem Grace Tewogbola, Consultant Jon Royal, ABE Artistic Director Vali Forrister

In FY 2018-19, Actors Bridge was awarded a Catalyst Grant from Metro Arts to create a Directors Inclusion Initiative to train emerging directors of color.

Our process began in the fall with conversations with leaders of several African American theater companies to determine the most effective way to structure the program to deliver meaningful content.

In January, we began meeting with our initial cohort of 7 emerging directors. Our process will culminate in a performance showcase of short plays in Fall 2019.

Each cohort member selected a local mentor. In addition, the cohort has monthly check-in meetings with project consultant Jon Royal and ABE producing artistic director Vali Forrister. Every-other-month, we convene a panel of local theater professionals to discuss their aspect of the playmaking process (designers, producers, actors, stage managers, etc.). There are also guest faculty from the Southeast who will lead weekend intensives.

Visiting Faculty and Workshop Titles:

Kristi Papailler, MFA, University of Louisville: “Directing African American Theatre: Tools for Engaging Afrocentricity, Blood Memory and Archetype in Concept, Blocking and Direction”

Millicent Jonnie, Florida State University, “Conventional and Unconventional Approaches to Directing”

Advisors to the Program:

Leah Lowe, PhD – Chair, Department of Theatre, Vanderbilt University
Paul Gatrell, MFA – Chair, Department of Theatre and Dance, Belmont University
Shawn Whitsell, Artistic Director, Destiny Theater Experience
Jon Royal, freelance career director
Pierre Johnson, board member, Actors Bridge Ensemble
Cynthia Harris, board member, Actors Bridge Ensemble

Funded in part by a Catalyst Grant from: