What is your full name?
Would you like to share your pronouns? If so, what are they?
What year did you graduate?
What is your degree?
Where are you originally from?
What brought you to WVU?
Before I went to WVU, I studied performing arts at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). I don't really know who started the trend, but several students who graduated from the performing arts program at HACC later transferred to WVU to complete a BA or BFA in Acting. When I was studying at HACC, WVU's theatre program had quite the reputation around campus, and apparently vice versa. So much so that the two schools decided to make it official with a transfer agreement. I was one of the first students to transfer to WVU once the agreement became official.
Where did you live now?
Raleigh, North Carolina
What are you doing these days for work? Feel free to share anything about your career that you'd love other Mountaineers to know about you. Is there a particular project that you're proud of? Any career successes that you've achieved after leaving WVU?
About two years ago I started a passion project called Black and Unknown Bards, and since then I've been slowly chipping away at turning my passion project into a career. With Black and Unknown Bards, I adapt works of historical Black literature for stage and film. Creating Black and Unknown Bards is in itself an accomplishment that I am immensely proud of. For years I worked as an actor feeling as though I had little to no creative agency over my artwork and my career, but with Black and Unknown Bards I am able to create the work I want to see in the world. It is an honor to center Black creativity in my endeavor.
In November 2021, I created and performed a one-woman show called 'Black and Unknown Bards: A Poetical Experience', which ties together the work of Black poets spanning three centuries. And this Spring, I am producing, directing, and designing, a production of Marita Bonner's award-winning play, 'The Purple Flower'.
Producing 'The Purple Flower' is by far the biggest project I've undertaken with Black and Unknown Bards, and I'm really excited to step into a leadership role unlike any I've had before. 'The Purple Flower' will be the first Black and Unknown Bards project that features a cast of actors other than myself. It will also be the first time I'm taking on both designing and directing duties for a staged play. Marita Bonner writes in a highly surrealistic and experimental style, and I am leaning heavily into that surrealism, with an otherworldly costume design, punctuated choreography, and immersive staging and scenery. Whatever creative agency I lacked in the past, I am making up for it tenfold with 'The Purple Flower'!
What do you enjoy doing when you're not working? How do you like to spend your days?
Building Black and Unknown Bards, it feels like I am working around the clock, so when I'm not working, I am relaxing--cozied up with a warm cup of chai tea, knitting, and watching an old sitcom or cartoon. Trade that chai tea for an ice cold hefeweizen from time to time and I'm a happy girl. I also enjoy playing piano, and I recently started learning how to play guitar. I love cooking, and I'm constantly trying new (vegetarian) recipes! Although I am very much a homebody, I do love a good popup market/art fair/flea market. I also try to make a trip about once month to visit family in Pennsylvania.
Please feel free to share any life updates with our alumni network.
My partner, Stephen and I will be together 9 years in June. Since I graduated I got a doggy named Zero who is wild, but I love him. I also have a new pet beta fish named Tofu. I have a beautiful 3 year old niece named Luna, and a brand new nephew, Moses, born on Christmas day, 2022!
What is one thing that's bringing you joy so far in 2023?
Rewatching old episodes of Scrubs and That 70s Show, cuddling my nephew as much as possible and being silly with my sweet little niece.
What is one of your favorite memories about your time at WVU?
My classmates in the BFA program will always have a piece of my heart. Every single one of them. I have so many special memories with them. But one of my most favorite memories was playing Teach in American Buffalo. Mark Combs directed, and the whole process is, to date, my favorite experience I've had in any show with any director. Once in rehearsal we played hide and seek (which was absolutely necessary, by the way), and I hid in THE BEST spot. No one found me, and I shall not reveal my secrets! That cast and crew also got REAL good at charades. Like real good. We basically developed the ability to read each other's minds via charades. It was great.
Where can people find you?