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November 2017 Update
Barbara Ann Teer Interview
The visionary Dr. Teer (1937-2008) was a professional actress, director, and producer. Born in the predominantly black city of East St. Louis in Illinois, Teer came from a family of community activists, entrepreneurs, artists, and educators. Her family and community environment shaped her future in the arts. Considered a genius, she graduated from the University of Illinois at the age of 19. After a professional career both in dance and in acting on Broadway, Off-Broadway, film, and television, she became disillusioned with the roles available for black women. Dr. Teer founded the National Black Theatre (NBT) in 1968, making it the first revenue-generating black theatre complex in the U.S. She believed it vital that NBT be situated in Harlem, where it would serve and empower the black community. Dr. Teer began to develop her own acting methods, breaking from traditional western styles. She called her theatre a temple and her actors liberators. She often broke the fourth wall to include the audience. She created NBT as a cultural institution – an institution of education and entertainment simultaneously. She travelled to Africa and brought back many aspects of the culture to incorporate in her productions. Dr. Teer was indeed a pioneer. In 2016 NBT is celebrating 48 years as an institution.
Glenda Dickerson Interview
This is a rare interview conducted with Perkins’ mentor Glenda Dickerson (1945-2012) during a rehearsal of her July 1983 adaptation of The Trojan Women, which had an all-black cast. Glenda Dickerson was a director, folklorist, actress, adapter/conceiver, and educator. With a near forty-year career, Dickerson was known for her unique adaptations of Greek Classics, African American folktales, feminist theater approach, and ensemble work. She was the second black woman to direct on Broadway with the 1980 musical Reggae. Her work had also been presented nationally and internationally. In the commercial arena, she was constantly presented with racial and gendered challenges. After working in mainstream theatre for many years, Dickerson chose to focus her talents on educational, community oriented, and feminist/womanist theater. She taught at Howard University, Spelman, Rutgers and the University of Michigan. It has just been in recent years that her work is finally gaining recognition, but like many other black women, Dickerson’s contributions are largely unknown.
Kathy A. Perkins is Professor of Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the editor of six play anthologies focusing on women from Africa and the African Diaspora. She is also a professional lighting designer. Since 1981, she has been conducting research on black women behind the scenes in the American theater. Her mission is to bring visibility to black women in American theater, and has made an effort to expose black female designers, producers, directors, playwrights, and artistic directors to a larger audience.
Stanislavsky and The Russian Theatre
Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre was shot entirely in Russia. "Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre" explores the main themes which led to the founding of The Moscow Art Theatre (MXAT) and the formation of Stanislavsky's system of acting. The film includes material from The Stanislavski Centre at the Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, interviews with distinguished scholars such as Anatoly Smeliansky of MXAT and Jean Benedetti, and archival film footage from the period. Stanislavsky and the Russian Theatre is part of an overall documentary series about Russian theater, which includes Meyerhold Theatre and the Russian Avant-garde.
Michael Craig is a director and producer of independent films and lives and works in Moscow. He founded Copernicus Films.
Bridge of Winds
This film documents the 2011 work of Iben Nagel Rasmussen (Odin Teatret) with her international group the Bridge of Winds during a two-week closed work session held at the Odin Teatret in Holstebro, Denmark. It includes archival footage and photos of training, performances, and cultural barters. Rasmussen co-edited this film with Francesco Galli in consultation with Virginie Magnat for her Meetings with Remarkable Women documentary film series.
Iben Nagel Rasmussen is an actor, director, teacher and writer born in Denmark. As a member of Eugenio Barba's Odin Teatret since 1966, Rasmussen has been a key contributor to the development of the Odin's cross-cultural approach performance training and creation. Influences can be found in the practical seminars led by Jerzy Grotowski and Ryszard Cieslak at the Odin Teatret. Rasmussen has acted in all but one of the Odin's internationally acclaimed ensemble-created performances. She also regularly participates in Eugenio Barba's International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA), and conducts independent creative research as the leader of The Bridge of Winds, a project she founded in 1989 with a group of international actors who meet yearly to share their artistic experience and create performances.
Virginie Magnat is the author of Grotowski, Women, and Contemporary Performance: Meetings with Remarkable Women published in the Routledge Advances in Theatre and Performance Studies series (2014). Magnat created this documentary film series exclusively for her research project Meetings with Remarkable Women, funded by two major grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
Interview with the Siddis
This interview was done as a part of the Telling Our Stories of Home Festival, made possible by Kathy Perkins and Tanya Shields at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This interview is about life of African Diaspora in India. In detail about life and culture of Siddis in Karnataka, descriptions about their arts and social conditions of the Siddi community. Also of experiences of Girija Siddi and Geeta Siddi, how they get into education and theater. Both of them are first Siddi women who took graduate courses in theater, which has motivated other Siddi youngsters to take theater as profession and to continue their higher studies. They are recognised as strangers in Bengaluru city because most of the people other community are not aware of Siddi people who are living in the same country from more than 600 years.
Girija and Geeta Siddi are the first Siddi women who have travelled outside India. They invited as international artists to participate in Telling Our Stories of Home Festival happened in UNC. Girija practices Hidustani Classical vocal music. Geeta Siddi, after her masters in Performing Arts, pursued her PhD. on Women Artists in Kannada Theatre’. She honoured by a fellowship by HRD, Govt. of India her research on Arts of Siddi Community in Karnataka.