HOUSE LIGHTS UP
House Lights Up! is a series of high-profile panel discussions, lectures, debates, film-screenings, concerts, readings, and other special events, curated by Woolly’s Connectivity Department.
The Encyclopedia Show
Thursday, February 7 at 8pm
Woolly Rehearsal Hall
Tickets are $12 online, $15 at the door
The Encyclopedia Show DC is a themed variety show that will make your mortarboard spin! A whimsical mix of comedy, music, poetry, and performance art that will make you laugh yourself smart. Canonize your mind as we explore “Saints”. The Encyclopedia Show endeavors to build an age-integrated community cultivating accidental knowledge and irreverent loving kindness. Though the show is accredited by the Institute of Human Knowledge and Hygiene, it is their ongoing mission to chafe against logic and proof, ﬁnd meaning in obfuscation, and wrest truth from fact once and for all. Visit facebook.com/EpediaDC for more information.
Changing the Face of the Empowered
Saturday, February 16 at 6pm
Woolly Rehearsal Hall
Tickets for show and reception: $65-$77.50
Purchase your tickets here.
Join the Zimbabwe Education Fund (ZEF) for a pre-show reception, which includes a silent auction and complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres. This special event will raise funds to afford children in Zimbabwe a quality education they would not have access to otherwise. Help raise awareness about the power of education, the crippling effects of poverty, and the ground breaking work currently being done in Zimbabwe. Special guest speakers will include the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Zimbabwe. For more information, visit www.zimbabweeducationfund.org.
The Legacy Program: Residency Student Performance
Friday, February 22 at 8pm
Woolly Rehearsal Hall
This performance is free and open to the public. Reserve your tickets here.
Enjoy a performance, written and performed by Duke Ellington School of the Arts students, dramatizing their explorations of personal genealogy, cultural identity, and African ancestry. After the performance, the students will receive the results of their DNA ancestry tests, revealing the lost specificity of their African ancestry. Don’t miss this powerful, thought-provoking, and entertaining experience. This program is derived through a partnership between The Continuum Project, Inc., African Ancestry, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and Woolly Mammoth, and has been generously supported by the DC Commission on Arts and the Humanities. For more information, visit www.thecontinuumproject.org.
Lobby Experience: Self- Directed Q&A with Playwright Danai Gurira
Woolly Upper Lobby
Make your way to any of the ten listening stations in the Upper Lobby and hear directly from playwright Danai Gurira about her inspiration and the process of writing The Convert.
Following Saturday Matinees
Saturday, February 23
In collaboration with the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs
Mammoth Forum on Women and Christianity in Africa, partnered with the DC Mayor’s Office on African Affairs: town-hall style discussion on the role of women in traditional African cultures and in African Christianity.
Emmy award-winning reporter Jummy Olabanji joined ABC7/WJLA-TV and News Channel 8 in 2011. Jummy spent several years of working as a reporter and anchor at WTKR-TV in Norfolk, Virginia and WCAV-TV in Charlottesville, Virginia. She started her career as a news assistant at CNN’s Washington DC bureau. Jummy holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication from Virginia Tech and a master’s degree in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University. She is an active member of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the National Association of Black Journalists. Jummy is an avid supporter of many community organizations including Donate Life America and the National Kidney Foundation. She is the proud recipient of an NKF Volunteer Service Award.
Emira Woods is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies, and an expert on U.S. foreign policy with a special emphasis on Africa and the developing world. She has written on a range of issues from debt, trade and development to U.S. military policy. Emira serves on the Board of Directors of Africa Action, Just Associates, Global Justice and the Financial Policy Forum. She is also on the Network Council of Jubilee USA. Emira completed her undergraduate studies at Columbia University and her graduate studies at Harvard. Prior to joining IPS, she was program manager for the Committee on Development Policy and Practice at InterAction, serving as a principal staff contact for advocacy at the UN, the international financial institutions, USAID and Treasury. Previous to that, she served as a program officer of Oxfam America's Africa program.
Elmina Bell is a senior at School Without Walls High School. She is the president of the African Culture Club at her school and the Vice President of the NAACP Youth Council for D.C. Elmina has been a key organizer in participation with the D. C Mayor’s Office on African Affairs and the Cameroonian American Council for events such as the African Youth Town Hall with Mayor Gray and an African Youth Lobby Day to protest the cuts from the fiscal cliff crises in December. She is doing her research project and senior thesis on the negative impact of Christianity on various African identities and has conducted a round table discussion with various Africans in the community to learn their feelings on the issue.
Dr. Suleyman Nyang is a professor in the African Studies program at Howard University, specializing in African political thought, public policy, Islam, and African systems of government. He received his MA in Public Administration and Ph.D. in Government, both from the University of Virginia. He served as the Chairman of the African Studies department at Howard from 1986 to 1993 and as the Lead Developer for African Voices Project at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. from 1993 to 1999. He has been a consultant for the United Nations Development Program and the World Bank. Dr. Nyang has written several books, including Islam, Christianity, and African Identity, published 1984, and Islam in the United States of America, published in 1999.
Saturday, March 2
Mammoth Forum on Development Work in Africa together with the Peace Corps and the Society for International Development: town-hall style discussion on the difficulties of grass-roots development work in under-developed and developing countries like Zimbabwe.
Lahra Smith is a Political Scientist with a particular interest in African politics. Her recent research focused on the questions of equality and citizenship in contemporary African polities. Her book, entitled Making Citizens in Africa: Ethnicity, Gender and National Identity in Ethiopia, will be published by Cambridge University Press in April 2013. She has conducted fieldwork on the role of political institutions in addressing conflict based largely on ethnic and language identities in Ethiopia. In addition to study in Ethiopia, Prof. Smith has worked and studied in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Djibouti and Zimbabwe. She has worked for USAID and Oxfam America, and taught at Addis Ababa University and with high school teachers in Ethiopia,and she served as an election observer in Ethiopia (The Carter Center) and Kenya (USAID/US Embassy).
Alison McReynolds, Peace Corps DC Office recruiter, returned volunteer in Mauritania (2008-2009), and Liberia (2009-2010)
Alison McReynolds grew up in Lexington, KY where she attended a public performing arts school and as a result spent most of her childhood on stage dancing, singing, and acting. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at Ball State University and joined the Peace Corps. She served in Mauritania from 2008 to 2009 as an environmental educator and also served as a Peace Corps Response volunteer in Liberia from 2009 to 2010 where she worked as a Learning Resource Center Support Specialist. She remains connected to friends in Mauritania and Liberia through the wonders of Facebook and has become an advocate for improving intercultural communication. She began her job as a Peace Corps Regional Recruiter in September 2010 and has been sharing her story ever since. When she’s not working, you’ll find her traveling to far off places, enjoying a dance class, or singing showtunes.
Tanneasha Gordon, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Education Fund
Tanneasha Gordon is the lead public relations strategist and business manager for Soblu Inc. and a senior consultant for Deloitte & Touche. She attended Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY where she earned her bachelors in Urban and Regional Studies and her masters in public administration. After completing her graduate studies at Cornell, Tanneasha moved to Washington DC to work for Booz Allen Hamilton, a business management consulting firm. Not long after moving to DC, Tanneasha and a colleague founded the Zimbabwe Education Fund – an organization dedicated to providing Zimbabwean orphans and underprivileged children the means to attain a quality education and acquire practical skills. Zimbabwe is undergoing a devastating education crisis due to lack of resources, and the country’s orphan crisis solidified Tanneasha’s decision to found ZEF. She is also a board member of Next-Up Music Foundation, a member of the Cornell Social Entrepreneurship Advisory Council, and volunteers with the DC based organization name FLY (Facilitating Leadership in Youth).
Emeka Chukwudebe grew up in Nigeria, a country divided by Christian and Muslim populations. Through this inherent cultural divide, Emeka has had the fortune of experiencing diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious differences. From 1998 to 2000 he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zimbabwe, Southern Africa, providing expertise with limited resources in areas of community development, project management budgeting, and grants writing for initiatives designed for long term results and community livelihood improvements. Duties included teaching English to 150 students in the first year as well as librarian for 500 students for both years. School projects included raising funds for sewing machines, science laboratory equipment, library supplies and school club equipment. Community projects included procuring grants for library and classroom construction and consulting with local women’s cooperative by teaching grant proposal writing skills. From coming to America to joining the Peace Corps, going to graduate school, and ultimately, working for the federal government, Emeka has had the fortunate opportunity to gain extensive international business experience.
Saturday, March 9
Join the cast and creative team of The Convert in a conversation about the making of the production.
Research Your Heritage
Woolly offers their patrons the opportunity to receive a 10% discount on professional ancestry research by Keith Josef Adkins. Keith Josef Adkins is a genealogist and African-American history enthusiast with a special interest in the social and economic patterns of free people of color and so-called “favored” slaves. He has been providing family history research for the last ten years. Some of his clients include award-winning journalist Farai Chideya (CNN, ABC News, NPR’s News and Notes), Broadway and Tony Award-nominated actor Colman Domingo (Scottsboro Boys, Passing Strange), and award-winning TV writer and novelist Nichelle Tramble (Justified, Mercy, Women’s Murder Club, Harper’s Island). Keith is currently working as a genealogical consultant for a forthcoming project on an American president. For more information, visit www.kjafamilyresearch.com.
Trace Your DNA with AfricanAncestry.com
Woolly offers their patrons the opportunity to receive a free African Ancestry tote bag when placing an order for an African Ancestry Test Kit. Founded in 2003 by Dr. Rick Kittles and Gina Paige, this Washington, DC based company has helped more than 100,000 people connect with their original roots in Africa. African Ancestry is the world leader in tracing maternal and paternal lineages of African descent. With the industry’s largest and most comprehensive database of more than 32,000 indigenous African DNA samples, African Ancestry determines specific countries of origin—and in most cases—ethnic groups with the highest level of accuracy. African Ancestry is committed to providing a unique service to the black community, working daily to improve the cultural, emotional, physical, spiritual, and economic well-being of peoples across the African Diaspora. For more information, visit www.africanancestry.com.
Tuesday, February 26 at 6:30pm
Alfio’s Trattoria, 4515 Willard Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD
Meet members of the cast and artistic team of The Convert over dinner for an in-depth discussion about the play. RSVP to Phyllis Bodin at 301-986-1768 or email@example.com. For more information, visit www.footlightsdc.org.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
February 7 8pm The Encyclopedia Show
February 13 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 14 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 15 8pm PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 16 6pm Changing the Face of the Empowered Pre-show Reception
February 16 8pmPERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 17 7pm OPENING/PRESS NIGHT of The Convert
February 20 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 21 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 22 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 22 8pm The Legacy Program Performance
February 23 3pm, 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 23 Post-show Discussion (matinee only)
February 24 2pm, 7pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 26 6:30pm Footlights Dinner
February 27 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
February 28 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 1 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 2 3pm, 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 2 Post-show Discussion (matinee only)
March 3 2pm, 7pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 6 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 7 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 8 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 9 3pm, 8pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
March 9 Post-show Discussion (matinee only)
March 10 2pm, 7pm PERFORMANCE of The Convert
ABOUT THE CREATIVE TEAM
By Danai Gurira
Directed by Michael John Garcés
DANAI GURIRA (Playwright) co-created and performed in the award-winning two-woman play, In The Continuum, which premiered off-Broadway and toured the US and Southern Africa. For her work on that production, Danai won a 2006 Obie Award, the 2006 Outer Critics John Gassner Award, the 2004 Global Tolerance Award (Friends of the United Nations), and was honored by the Theatre Hall of Fame. She has also won the Whiting Award, Best Playwright with NAACP, and her play Eclipsed, which appeared at Woolly in 2009, won Best New Play at the Helen Hayes Awards. She is the recipient of the 2008 TCG New Generations Program travel grant for Eclipsed and has taught playwriting and acting in Uberia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. She received her MFA in acting from New York University and was a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. Danai was born in the US to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe. Currently, Danai can be seen as Michonne in the award-winning AMC series, The Walking Dead.
MICHAEL JOHN GARCÉS (Director) is the Artistic Director of Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles where he recently directed Café Vida by Lisa Loomer. He is also a Company Member at Woolly, where he directed Oedipus el Rey by Luis Alfaro and two plays by Craig Wright: Grace and Recent Tragic Events. Other recent credits include Placas by Paul Flores at the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in San Francisco and Steven Adley Guirgis' The Motherfucker with the Hat at South Coast Repertory Theatre. His production of red, black and GREEN: a blues by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, which premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, was recently presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and will be seen at Washington, DC’s Atlas Performing Arts Center this May.
The Convert cast will include Woolly Company Member Dawn Ursula* (Clybourne Park, Eclipsed), Starla Benford*, Nancy Moricette*, Irungu Mutu*, JaBen Early, Alvin Keith*, and Erik Kilpatrick*. The creative team will include set design by Woolly Company Member Misha Kachman, costume design by Helen Huang, lighting design by Woolly Company Member Colin K. Bills, and sound design by Ryan Rumery. Additional credits include Kim James-Bey (dialect coach), John M. Baker (dramaturgy), and Kristy Matero* (production stage manager).
*Member, Actors’ Equity Association