From Shakespeare to Shange: Reclaiming our racial and cultural identity within the study of performance and arts education
Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Theatre
October 6, 2020, 5:30-6:30 pm
Every artist must question who they are. But for an artist in the performing arts, especially for an artist of color, that question cannot be ignored—not by the student artist, the professional artist or the teachers and professors that teach them, mentor them and ultimately evaluate them. This lecture draws from Tawnya Pettiford-Wates’ personal experiences, and includes an overview of the specific methodology she developed over the years to facilitate the journey towards self-actualization and self-determination for the creative and performing artist. She plans to include a brief demo and question answer with a few students who have had some experience with the methodology and the process.
Please note: this event is free but registration is required.
Tawnya Pettiford-Wates is a playwright, director, actor, poet, writer, and educator whose international career spans all aspects of the art of theatre. As a professor of theatre at VCUarts, where she regularly teaches classes in solo performance, directing and Black theatre, her students fondly know her as “Dr. T.” She’s performed in many Award-winning productions across her professional career, as an original cast member of the Tony Award Winning company of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s production of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, and in television and voice acting roles from Twin Peaks to Halo. Her impressive Richmond directing career includes A Raisin in the Sun (Virginia Rep), Fences (Virginia Rep), An Octoroon (Theatre Lab), Between Riverside and Crazy (Cadence Theatre), Passing Strange (Firehouse Theatre), and A Streetcar Named Desire (Firehouse Theatre) in addition to VCU Mainstage productions. She has been nominated for double awards from the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle Artsie Awards: for Fences as Best Director for a Drama and for Passing Strange as Best Director for a Musical. Both plays are nominated as Best Play in their respective categories. She has collaborated with 10 other scholars and arts educators in the best-selling book Black Acting Methods: critical approaches, published by Routledge, NY, 2017. Her chapter is titled: “Ritual Poetic Drama within the African Continuum: the journey from Shakespeare to Shange.”