Finding Freedom: The Journey of Robert Smalls

Produced by the Charleston Gaillard Center

World Premiere Friday, October 6, 2023

Meet The Creative Team

JaMeeka D. Holloway, Director, Script Development

Teralyn Reiter, Original Story, Script Development

Charlton Singleton, Musical Director

Tristan André Parks, Movement Director

Celeste Jennings, Costume Designer, Script Development

Caroline Randall Williams, Script Development

Dr. Jessica Berry, Gullah Cultural Consultant

MeJah Balams, Set Designer

Kathy Perkins, Lighting Designer

Joseph Amodei, Media Designer

Carla Thomas, Assistant Costume Designer

Preston Dunnavant, Sound Designer

Becca Eddins, Production Supervsior

Damon Fordham, Historian / Dramaturge

Jacqueline E. Lawton, Racial Equity Facilitator

This fall, the Charleston Gaillard Center is proud to present its first ever original theatrical work based on the life of Charlestonian Robert Smalls.

The “Finding Freedom: The Journey of Robert Smalls” production will tell the story of the formerly enslaved man who engineered a daring sea-escape during the Civil War and spent the rest of his life—including five terms serving in the U.S. House of Representatives—working for equality in the postwar South.

Join us on this vital journey of acknowledgment and exploration of the past, the present, and the future!

Program Goals and Impact

Develop and distribute new family theatrical productions highlighting Southern history.

Tell stories often missing from the state curriculum.

Present productions across the Southeast and then nationally.

Provide a home for local and regional stories on the Gaillard Center’s stage.

Reach 6,000 students over four performances.

70% participating students come from Lowcountry Title I schools.

Two public performances reach 3,000 patrons.

Support for this program is made possible by

Mr. Jeffrey M. Weingarten
Mary and Mason Holland
Jonathan Green
Roger & Teresa Jones
Deborah Kennedy Kennard & William E. Kennard
Nella Gray Barkley
Celeste & Charles Patrick
Mrs. Martha R Ingram, Martha Rivers Ingram Advised Fund of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
The Chalmers Fund – Lee Bell and Fotios Pantazis

Brenda Lauderback & Dr. Boyd Wright
Beacon Theatrical Services Inc.
Dee M. Robinson
Dr. Daniel J. Smith & Dr. James F. Mellichamp
Dr. Renée Dobbins Anderson
Joyce Green
Cathy Marino
J. Scott Bauer & Anne Bavier
Jennifer Chestnut Comer
Dr. and Mrs. Robert and Kathy Heller

He has done something for his race and for the world of mankind.

September 10, 1862 – New York Daily Tribune, “Robert Smalls: the Negro Pilot.”

Finding Freedom: The Journey of Robert Smalls
Story by Teralyn Reiter
Script developed by JaMeeka Holloway, Celeste Jennings, Caroline Randall Williams, and Teralyn Reiter

Gullah Cultural Consultant Dr. Jessica Berry

Based on the awe-inspiring life of South Carolina’s own Robert Smalls, FINDING FREEDOM celebrates and chronicles the remarkable story and legacy of a great American hero.

Born enslaved on the McKee Plantation in Beaufort, SC a young Robert Smalls is sent off to Charleston to work on the docks of the Charleston Harbor during the Civil War.  Trusted by his family, crew mates and determined beyond his circumstances, on a foggy night, in the early hours of May 13, 1862, Robert changes the course of his destiny and history when he seizes the Confederate’s USS Planter and steers it into the Union Blockade off the coast of Charleston Harbor. 

When President Abraham Lincoln asked why he risked his life, Robert replied with one word: FREEDOM

Infusing music, media and movement, FINDING FREEDOM paints the early years of a bright-eyed Robert Smalls enslaved in Beaufort; learning the land, waters and Gullah traditions of his mother, his daring and heroic commandeering of the USS Planter through the Charleston Harbor during the Civil War, to his later life of advocacy in the US House of Representatives. 

Featuring original music composed by Charleston native, Charlton Singleton, FINDING FREEDOM: The Journey of Robert Small is Directed by JaMeeka Holloway with a Creative Design team of Artists all hailing from the South.  

Join us for an unforgettable storytelling and cultural experience where a young Robert Small is sent from Beaufort to Charleston on a journey that transforms him from man to Hero. 

One of the most daring and heroic adventures since the war commenced was undertaken and successfully accomplished by a party of negroes in Charleston on Monday night last. Nine colored men, comprising the pilot, engineers and crew of the rebel gunboat Planter, took the vessel under their exclusive control, and passed the batteries and forts in Charleston harbor, hoisted a white flag, ran out to the blockading squadron, and thence to Port Royal, via Helena Sound and Broad River, reaching the flagship Wabash shortly after ten o’clock last evening.

May 18, 1862 – New York Herald. “Heroism of Nine Colored Men.”

Though currently still in development, the production will offer free performances for students in the Lowcountry and ticketed public performances, with further details to be announced soon.

Meet the Creative Team

JaMeeka D. Holloway, Director, Script Development

JAMEEKA D. HOLLOWAY: DIRECTOR | SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

JaMeeka D. Holloway is an artist; freelance director and producer based in Durham, North Carolina, recognized as the 2023-’24 Pfaelzer Award Recipient by New York Stage and Film and as Artist In Residence at the Charleston Gaillard Center for ’23-’24. Her creative work has garnered her the 2018 Indy Arts Award and in 2019, she received a special distinction from the African American Heritage Commission and Governor Roy Cooper for her significant impact on North Carolina’s thriving arts and culture landscape. Holloway’s dedication to her craft has also been supported by grants from the Manbites Dog Theater Fund and the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists program.

She’s a self-producing artists, currently the creative force behind BLK GIRLS LUV THE BARD, a virtual theater platform reimagining Shakespeare’s works through the perspectives of Black and POC women and femme-identifying artists for which she received grants from the NC Arts Council and the National BOLD Women’s Theatre Circle in 2021-22.

An alumni of The Lark Play Development Center’s apprenticeship program, she has been Assistant Director at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and an associate director at Playmakers Repertory, and LaMAMA Experimental Theatre Club in New York.

She was the 2021-22 ROE GREEN Director in Residence at Kent State University, her directing credits spanning various stages, including: Northern Stage, Shakespeare in Detroit, Classic Stage, Durham Performing Arts Center, Manbites Dog, The Department of Theatre at Dartmouth, Tantrum Theatre at Ohio University, Duke Performances and Dukes’ University’s Department of Theatre Studies, the Professional Actors Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, the National Black Theatre Festival, and The National Women’s Theatre Fest. JaMeeka is a contributor in the 2018 Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance. Her ability to pursue her passion wouldn’t be possible without the unwavering support and belief of her daughter, Allyson, her mother and family. To explore more about her work, check out www.jdhdirectedit.com.

Teralyn Reiter, Original Story, Script Development

TERALYN REITER: ORIGINAL STORY, SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

Teralyn earned her MFA in Acting from the University of Montana. She is an actor, a Teaching Artist, a director, a playwright, and a mom. Teralyn has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, and Southeast Asia bringing theatre performances and education to students. In 2010 she developed and implemented a theatre program in Daegu, SK teaching students English while writing and performing their own play. In 2011, Teralyn founded Storytree Theatre with the mission to bring professional theatre education and performances into schools throughout Charleston, SC. She has had the privilege to develop content for the Kennedy Center’s Teaching Artist Presents series, she earned a Fellowship from the Wolf Trap Institute, and she developed original online programming for the Educational Theatre Association.

She created Theatreteacher.org, an online resource for teachers who are interested in arts-integrated lessons. When she is not working as a Teaching Artist, Teralyn is performing, hanging with her kiddo, and writing and producing original plays about historical figures she finds intriguing. Her most recent play, The Only Woman in the Room, premiered in July 2022 in Damariscotta, ME. It told the story of the first female Cabinet Member, Frances Perkins, and her work on the Social Security Act of 1935. She currently lives in Damariscotta, ME where she continues to develop original programming for schools throughout the United States, write plays, and perform.

Charlton Singleton, Musical Director

CHARLTON SINGLETON, MUSICAL DIRECTOR

A native of Awendaw, SC, Charlton Singleton began his musical studies at the age of three on the piano. He would then go on to study the organ, violin, cello, and the trumpet throughout elementary, middle, and high school. In 1994, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance degree from South Carolina State University. Since that time, he has taught music at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as being an adjunct faculty member at the College of Charleston. In 2008 he co-founded and became the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra; an 18-piece jazz ensemble of some of the finest professional musicians in the Southeast and the resident big band in Charleston, SC. Mr. Singleton is also the organist and choir director at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Charleston, SC. In November of 2016 he was named the inaugural Artist in Residence at the recently renovated Gaillard Center in downtown Charleston. He remained in this position until July 2019; at that point he was named Artist in Residence Emeritus. In this position he continues to lead the Summer Youth Jazz Orchestra Camp as well as lead the “Jazz Through the Ages” assembly, which attracts a capacity crowd of students at the Gaillard Center.

As a performer, Charlton leads his own ensembles that vary in size and style. He has performed in France, Great Britain, Scotland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, The Netherlands, as well as many great cities throughout the United States. He is a founding member of an ensemble called Ranky Tanky. The group is a quintet that interprets the sounds of Gullah from the Southeast Coast of the United States. In 2017 Ranky Tanky reached the top of the Billboard, iTunes, and Amazon Contemporary Jazz charts with their self-titled debut recording. In 2019 they accomplished the same feat with the release of their sophomore effort, “Good Time”, which won the 2019 Grammy Award for “Best Regional Roots Album”. In 2022 the band’s live recorded set at the prestigious New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was nominated for and won the Grammy Award in the same category. In 2021 he was the recipient of the SC Governor’s Award, which honors arts organizations, patrons, artists, members of the business community, and government entities who maximize their roles as innovators, supporters, and advocates for the arts. It is the highest honor for the arts in the state of South Carolina.

In addition to performing, he is in demand as a speaker, clinician, composer, and arranger. He has also shared the stage with and/or worked with some of the most talented entertainers in the world, including Lisa Fischer, Bobby McFerrin, Ruby Dee, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Houston Person, Darius Rucker, Fred Wesley, and Cyrus Chestnut to name a few. Outside of music and entertainment, he, and his wife, MaryJo, are the proud parents of Shalamar and D’Marcus and new grandparents to Sophia Rose. They are also parents to their FIVE pets…Jango, MoJo, Dakota, Pumpkin, and Ginger.

Tristan André Parks, Movement Director

TRISTAN ANDRÉ PARKS: MOVEMENT DIRECTOR

Brother. Sun. Black memory cultural worker. Lover of his community. Tristan, an alum of the MFA Professional Actor Training Program at UNC-Chapel Hill, is a Southern multi-hyphenate artist whose credits include PlayMakers Repertory Company’s “Ragtime,” “Life of Galileo,” “Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood,” “Leaving Eden,” “Twelfth Night” and “The Crucible”. Shakespeare Theatre Company’s “The Amen Corner” and most recently Public Works’ “As You Like It”. Tristan is overjoyed to be premiering his solo performance work “They Do Not Know Harlem”. For where two and three are gathered. Peace and love to all.

Celeste Jennings, Costume Designer

CELESTE JENNINGS, COSTUME DESINGER / SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

Celeste Jennings is a costume designer and playwright. She’s currently an MFA candidate at NYU and is expected to graduate in spring 2023. She’s a child of southern drawl, of iced tea with just enough lemon, family reunions that last late into hot summer nights, round tables of relatives reminiscing the good ole days, and the sounds of their comforting laughter. She uses the language of her family to quilt love songs for Black people and invites them to stop and rest awhile as they refamiliarize themselves with the poetic diction of home. She loves to incorporate her unique perspective into her work and is particularly motivated to uplift and protect Black women as a writer and designer. Her dream projects evoke the past, present, and future and remind Black women that they are loved, that they’re soft, powerful, capable of resting, deserving of liberation, and that they are everything- that they always have been. Most recently, her play ‘Bov Water was produced at Northern Stage, and she developed her play, Contentious Woman, with PlayCo. Selected work includes Citrus (produced at Northern Stage), and Processing. Lately she collaborated with JAG in a designer workshop for Urinetown and worked as an assistant designer on The Notebook. She’s grateful to her community of friends, family, and mentors for encouraging and uplifting her work and is excited to graduate soon and continue to learn and grow as a human being and artist. 

Caroline Randall Williams, Script Development

CAROLINE RANDALL WILLIAMS, SCRIPT DEVELOPMENT

Caroline Randall Williams is a multi-genre writer, educator, performance artist in Nashville Tennessee, where she is a Writer-in-Residence at Vanderbilt University. Host of the Viola Davis produced series Hungry For Answers, she is also co-author of the NAACP Image Award-winning cookbook Soul Food Love. Her debut poetry collection, Lucy Negro, Redux was published by Third Man Books, and turned into a ballet by Nashville Ballet, with an original score by Grammy award winner Rhiannon Giddens. She performs her poetry as a member of the cast. The production made its television debut last year as part of PBS’s Great Performances series. Named by Southern Living as “One of the 50 People changing the South,” and ranked by The Root as one of the 100 most influential African Americans of 2020,the Cave Canem fellow has been published and featured in multiple journals, essay collections and news outlets, including The Atlantic, The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, CherryBombe, Garden and Gun, Essence, and the New York Times.

Dr. Jessica Berry, Gullah Cultural Consultant

DR. JESSICA BERRY, GULLAH CULTURAL CONSULTANT

Dr. Jessica Berry is an educator, advocate, and researcher who is passionate about sharing the living Gullah Geechee history, culture, and language with the world. She is a native of Huger, South Carolina. She completed her B.A. and M.A. in speech language pathology & audiology from Winthrop University and South Carolina State University, respectively. She completed her doctoral studies at Louisiana State University in communication disorders with a minor in linguistics.

She has worked as an assistant professor of speech language pathology at Columbia College and South Carolina State University. She also served two years as acting department chair, graduate coordinator at South Carolina State University. She currently serves as academic program manager at the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education.

Dr. Berry is a fluent Gullah/Geechee speaker who has worked as a translator/transcriber with the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture project (2014). She is the creator of the first series of Gullah/Geechee, cultural competency focused professional development sessions for teachers in Charleston County School District (2017-present). She was recently awarded the American Speech Language Hearing Associations Editor’s award for her work which examined the use of strategic scoring and probes as alternative assessment methods for children who speak African American English.

She is the author of, The Little Gullah Geechee Book: A Guide for the Come Ya. She wrote this book with hopes to reach tourists, transplants to the low-country region, and anyone who is interested in learning more about the Gullah Geechee language and culture.

Dr. Berry is an advocate for creating spaces where children who do not speak Mainstream English are provided the same opportunities and additional assistance that they need to be successful. As a part of this goal, her research focuses language impairment in the context of regional dialect variation, non-biased assessment of children who speak nonmainstream varieties of English, and Gullah Geechee linguistic structure and sociolinguistic complexities.

She enjoys learning and growing and plans to use all that she has learned through her years as an educator/clinician to mentor the next generation of scholars and educate the public about the Gullah Geechee language. She is a wife, mother of two girls and enjoys singing and reading in her spare time.

MeJah Balams, Set Designer

MEJAH BALAMS, SET DESIGNER

MeJah Balams is a multi-disciplined visual artist residing in Atlanta, Ga. She received a BFA in Theatre Design and Technology from Auburn University and extended her studies at the reputable Cobalt Studios, for scenic art. Her work has been credited as scenic, lighting, and props designer. She has also had the privilege of touring as art department lead for theatre production. Her most notable collaboration was a lighting designer for Prague Quadrennial 2019’s main creative centerpiece “Blue Hour”, a large scale multifaceted and immersive installation. She most recently designed for the Summit Performance Indianapolis production of Skeleton Crew.

Kathy Perkins, Lighting Designer

KATHY PERKINS, LIGHTING DESIGNER

Kathy A. Perkins is Professor Emerita (1989–2011) in lighting design and Africa/African Diaspora theatre. She joined the department to reinstate the MFA lighting design program, which she headed for twenty years. She developed new courses in African/African Diaspora theatre in addition to non-Western theatre courses.

In addition to productions at UIUC, Perkins has designed on Broadway and at such regional theatres as American Conservatory Theatre, Arena Stage, Berkeley Repertory, Seattle Repertory, St. Louis Black Repertory, The Alliance, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Congo Square, Manhattan Theatre Club, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, New Federal Theatre, Definition Theatre, Mark Taper, Indiana Repertory, Writers Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Two Rivers Theatre, and Playmakers Repertory Company. She is the recipient of such design awards as NAACP Image Award, National Black Theatre Festival Award, and was a nominee for the L.A. Ovation Award. Internationally, she has designed in Switzerland, Austria, and South Africa.

Perkins edited Black Female Playwrights: An Anthology of Plays before 1950, Black South African Women: An Anthology of Plays, African Women Playwrights, Alice Childress: Selected Plays and Telling Our Stories of Home: International Performance Pieces by and about Women. She coedited Contemporary Plays by Women of Color (ATHE 1996 Outstanding Theatre Book Award) and Strange Fruit: Plays on Lynching by American Women. She is a senior editor for Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance.

In 1995, Perkins co-curated ONSTAGE: A Century of African American Stage Design at New York’s Lincoln Center. In 2016, she served as theatre consultant for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) inaugural exhibition Taking the Stage. She is the recipient of numerous research awards, including the Ford Foundation, Fulbright, United States Information Agency (USIA), New York Times Company, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) and various University of Illinois awards, including University Scholar. She is the recipient of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Career Achievement Award in Academic Theatre and the USITT Distinguished Achievement Award in both Education and Lighting.

Perkins has traveled to over forty countries as both designer and lecturer. She has served as board member/advisory for USITT, URTA, Definition Theatre, and The History Makers. In 2007 she was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. She received her BFA in Drama from Howard University and her MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Michigan. In 2021 she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan. Perkins is Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2011-2018). She continues to free-lance as a designer.

Joseph Amodei, Media Designer

JOSEPH AMODEI, MEDIA DESIGNER

Joseph Amodei (they/them) is a new media artist, theater designer, activist, and educator. Their work seeks to make material differences with and for people at the intersection of art, technology, and community. Joseph grew up in North Carolina, where they received a BFA in Studio Art from UNC-Chapel Hill. Joseph completed their MFA in Video and Media Design at Carnegie Mellon. Currently, they are a Professor of Immersive Media at Chatham University, and will be joining Lehigh University’s Department of Theater in the fall of 2023. Recent work has explored gameplay + gerrymandering, immersive archive creation + queer care, the HIV/AIDS crisis + performance, and Human Centered Design + issues of health equity.

This summer, their media design for the dance floor, the hospital room, and the kitchen table, (New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, Theater Communications Group’s National Conference, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, National Performance Network) – a show about archiving queer care across pandemics – has been selected to represent the USA in the emerging category at the Prague Quadrennial, what USITT calls, “the Olympics of performance design.”

Selected Media Design highlights: They Do Not Know Harlem (Playmakers Repertory),To Buy the Sun: The Challenge of Pauli Murray (Hidden Voices); Amm(i)gone (APAP, The Theater Offensive); Packing and Cracking: Gerrymandering through Gameplay (The PA Center for Women and Politics, UNC’s Process Series, SFX); This Emancipation Thing (RedCat); The Young Playwrights Festival (City Theater Company of Pittsburgh), My Mouth is a Queer Time Machine (Ars Nova); The Pattern at Pendarvis (HERE Arts Center); and The Clothesline Muse (National Black Theater Festival).

Carla Thomas, Assistant Costume Designer

CARLA THOMAS, ASSISTANT COSTUME DESIGNER

“Some said Carla, how you get so fly. I said from not being afraid to fall out the sky.”

Fly Girl. Costume Designer. Wardrobe Stylist.

Carla “Fly Carla” Thomas is a costume designer, wardrobe stylist and style contributor. She is a creative and motivated Local USA 829-IATSE union wardrobe professional who loves all things fashion. She can do it all! She’s the one designing and styling your favorite commercials, tv shows and movies! Hailing from Baltimore, cultivated at Howard University and now thriving in Brooklyn, Carla is always on a plane or in a showroom. Find her talking fashion and inspiring as Fly Carla on Instagram. 

Preston Dunnavant, Sound Designer

PRESTON DUNNAVANT, SOUND DESIGNER

Preston Dunnavant is a live sound audio engineer and music producer from Lexington, South Carolina. He has held the role of festival audio engineer at Spoleto Festival USA for the past three years, and spends the “off season” collaborating with an array of musicians, artists, and local Charleston venues. An alumni of Clemson University, Preston is excited to make his debut in sound design with Finding Freedom: The Journey of Robert Smalls, and the Charleston Gaillard Center.

Becca Eddins, Production Supervisor

BECCA EDDINS, PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR

Becca’s theatrical roots sprang from the world of dance but changed direction forever with her audition for The Music Man as Amaryllis at age 10. After graduation from the Theatre Arts program at Virginia Tech, Becca began her journeys around the world at The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Then followed several years of travel as the Stage Manager for numerous successful children’s tours, including Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse, Blue’s Clues, and Dora the Explorer, Live! as well as A Chorus Line and tour manager of Vocalosity. Becca is a 18 season veteran of Charleston’s renowned Spoleto Festival, USA, working with acclaimed international artists. Highlights include Lakmé, Ariadne auf NaxosPorgy & Bess, and Veremonda. Up next is a return to the headset with Holy City Arts and Lyric Opera’s Rigoletto this fall, after stage managing their beloved Into The Woods last year. Special thanks to Greg, Basher, and our two pups for their unending support and snuggles.

Damon Fordham, Historian/Dramaturge

DAMON FORDHAM: HISTORIAN/DRAMATURGE

Born in Spartanburg, SC on December 23, 1964 to Anne Montgomery and was adopted by Pearl and Abraham Fordham of Mt. Pleasant, SC the following year. He received his Master’s Degree in history from the College of Charleston and the Citadel, and his undergraduate degrees at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. He is currently an adjunct professor of World Civilizations, United States, and African-American History at Charleston Southern University and The Citadel in Charleston, SC and has taught US History and African-American Studies at the College of Charleston. He was a weekly columnist for the Charleston Coastal Times from 1994 to 1998, as well as the author of The 1895 Segregation Fight in South Carolina (Charleston: History Press, 2022), Mr. Potts and Me (Charleston: Evening Post Books, 2012) Voices of Black South Carolina-Legend and Legacy (Charleston: History Press, 2009), True Stories of Black South Carolina (Charleston: History Press, 2008) and coauthor of Born to Serve-The Story of the WBEMC in South Carolina in 2006.

Research and articles by Mr. Fordham appear in the books Sweetgrass Baskets and the Gullah Tradition by Joyce Coakley, South of Main by Beatrice Hill and Brenda Lee, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African- American Folklore for the University of Missouri Press, Cecil Williams and Sonny DuBose’s Orangeburg 1968, and The Malcolm X Encyclopedia for the University of Southern Mississippi Press in 2001. He has also commented on history and storytelling for numerous radio and television programs in the United States, Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom. He was on a ten-day tour of Senegal and Gambia, West Africa, with fellow educators where he spoke to students at the University of The Gambia in May 2022. He has also appeared on the NBC LX News and CBS Sunday Morning in 2022.

He conducts a walking tour called “The Lost Stories of Black Charleston”, and has received a citation from the South Carolina House of Representatives for his work in education, historical research, and social justice. He was also on an educational fact-finding visit to Senegal and Gambia, West Africa, where he toured the Slave Port at Gorre Island and spoke to a class of students at the University of Gambia in Banjul.

His motto is Educate yourself to lead yourself, for if you wait on others to show you the way, you will wait for a long time.

Jacqueline E. Lawton, Racial Equity Facilitator

JACQUELINE E. LAWTON, RACIAL EQUITY FACILITATOR

Jacqueline E. Lawton is a playwright, dramaturg, producer, racial equity facilitator, and advocate for Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the American Theatre. Her approach to facilitation is anti-racist, anti-bigoted, and intersectional. Her work examines the ways that racism, bigotry, misogyny, and ableism impact policy, practices, and pedagogy. She is centered on the individual, whether you work at a theatre, university, or nonprofi t organization. Because each of us has an individual and collective responsibility to ourselves and each other, we must be accountable for our actions and inactions. Recent clients have included Actors Theatre of Louisville, Boston Playwrights Theatre, City of Raleigh, the Dramatists Guild, Education Theatre Association, eHarmony, the English National Opera, Flat Rock Playhouse, HERE Arts Center, James Madison University’s School of Theatre and Dance, Local 802 – American Federation of Musicians, Maestra Music, Montclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance, New Jersey Institute of Technology/Rutgers University, PACE School of Performing Arts, PACE Actor Studio Drama Program, PCPA Pacifi c Conservatory Theatre, PlayMakers Theatre Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, ScriptWorks, Shea’s Performing Arts Center, Shenandoah Conservatory, Theatre Communication Group, the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, University of Kentucky’s College of Design, University of Memphis’s Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Virginia’s Department of Drama, and Vagabond Theatre. Currently, she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America.