This webinar features a collaborative effort between the Wilmette Institute and NCCU (North Carolina Central University), a historically Black university in Durham, North Carolina. These two institutions utilized the power of combining theater and education to put on a thought-provoking play, The Bus Stop, that features how the mass incarceration of Black men affects Black women, their families, and the community. The panel will include two professors from NCCU – one who started the collaboration between the institutions and the other who mobilized her graduate students to facilitate the post-performance discussions and continued to challenge her students with transformative pedagogy to build capacity for social action. An NCCU graduate student, and formerly justice-involved activist will share their experiences in raising awareness about the need for reform. The Baha’i perspective on questioning the underlying assumptions of society and how we can approach the root causes of issues such as mass incarceration of people of color will be explored.
The Moderator for this panel discussion will be Dr. Chitra Golestani, WI Associate Director. See list of panelists from NCCU below, who will be joined by Bus Stop’s playwright, Najee Brown.
Najee Brown (pictured below) is the Founder of Theater for the People, a new theater company for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color based in Eliot, Maine. Speaking to Seacoastonline, Brown said “Our number 1 mission is diversity, not just in talent, but in the production staff.”
Theater for the People plans to produce throughout New England and New York, and to build community “through the pursuit of oneness and diversity,” to connect people of all races, ages, cultural backgrounds and socio-economic groups, and to provide artists of color the opportunity to produce and present work to diverse audiences, “uplifting voices of true nobility in the midst of adversity.”
Source: Seacoastonline.com “BIPOC touring theater is born: Najee Brown makes impact on Seacoast with Theater For The People“
Kalimah Williams (Director): Kalimah is a Junior Performance Theatre major at North Carolina Central University. She has portrayed Alisa in “Long Time Since Yesterday”, Ms. Caldwell in “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show”, Pamela in “Kites” and Ms. Deborah in “The Bus Stop” on the University Stage. She has previously worked in the role of Stage Manager for “House of George” during the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, NC in August 2022. Ms. Williams is also a writer, having published her debut novel Bound in April 2021.
Kyla Brown: “I’m from Greensboro NC. I am currently a sophomore at North Carolina Central University studying theatre with a concentration in preforming track. While I have worked on previous productions backstage,Bus Stop was my debut to the front of the stage. Playing mahogany has lead to many opportunities on the stage for me.”