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Reimagining Shakespeare Through The Black Lens

In partnership with:
With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Join Ford Hall Forum for a spirited conversation with Stevie Walker-Webb, acclaimed Tony-nominated director of Ain't No Mo', actor, activist and director of the play Fat Ham, Dawn Simmons, Associate Director of Fat Ham, and co-producing director of Front Porch Arts Collective, and Regine Vital, theatre artist, educator, and Actors' Shakespeare Project Associate Producer.
The evening's moderator is Pascale Florestal, Director of Education, Front Porch Arts Collective, and Visiting Guest Artist Professor in Practice at Suffolk University.

The panel discusses the evolution of Shakespeare's work and how race and other intersections influence these stories and reflect of the world today. They explore fresh new perspectives and distinct voices offered in two upcoming Boston theater productions, Fat Ham and The Taming of the Shrew.

Fat Ham, a Huntington Theatre production in partnership with front Porch Arts Collective and Alliance Theater, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning new play that is a smart and sharp reinvention of Shakespeare's masterpiece which took Broadway by storm this spring.

In The Taming of the Shrew, premiering at the Modern Theatre this fall, Artistic Director Christopher Edwards and the talented cast turn this beloved play inside out, flip it upside down and stretch it to the limits in a way that only Actors' Shakespeare Project can - to find what truly sits at the heart of this hilarious and contentious comedy.

Steve Walker Webb
Stevie Walker-Webb is an Obie award-winning, and Broadway Director, Playwright, and Cultural Worker who believes in the transformational power of art. As a survivor of poverty and the associative violence that comes with growing up black and poor in America, he knows how liberating and necessary it is to create. He is a 2050 Fellow at the New York Theatre Workshop and recipient of the Princess Grace Award for Theatre. The Lily Award in honor of Lorraine Hansberry was awarded by the Dramatists Guild of America. He’s served as the Founding Artistic Director of the Jubilee Theatre and has created art and theatre in Madagascar, South Africa, Mexico, and across America. He’s worked as the Outreach Coordinator for Theatre of the Oppressed-NYC and holds an MFA from The New School and a B.S. in Sociology from the University of North Texas. His work has been produced by: The Public Theatre, American Civil Liberties Union, Cherry Lane, Zara Aina, La Mama, The New Group, and Wooly Mammoth, and Baltimore Center Stage.
Dawn Simmons
Dawn Meredith Simmons is a director, a playwright and an arts administrator. She has worked with: Actors’ Shakespeare Project, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Greater Boston Stage Company, Bad Habit Productions, Anthem Theatre, Boston Public Works, Lyric Stage Company, New Exhibition Room, Suffolk University, Fresh Ink Theatre, Dorchester Fringe Festival, GAN-e-meed Theatre Project, The Theatre Offensive, Our Place Theatre Project, Mill 6, Actors Refuge Repertory Theatre, Fort Point Theatre Channel, Boston Theatre Works, and As Yet To Be Theatre. Ms. Simmons is Co-Artistic Director of New Exhibition Room and a founding member of the Small Theatre Alliance Boston, and Executive Director of StageSource.
Regina Vital
Regine Vital is a storyteller, theatre artist, educator, and current Associate Producer at Actor's Shakespeare Project. Most recently, she was seen onstage in ASP’s productions of As You Like It (Celia) and Seven Guitars (Louise). As an actor, director, dramaturg, teaching artist, and coach, she has worked with several theatre companies, programs, and schools. She teaches performance studies, composition, literature, and public speaking at Boston area universities; text and performance to high school students; and has taught continuing adult education classes in literature. A hometown girl from Somerville, MA, she is the previous Manager of Curriculum and Instruction at The Huntington. Regional credits: The Huntington, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, American Repertory Theatre, Actor’s Shakespeare Project, ArtsEmerson, Company One, SpeakEasy Stage, Central Square Theatre. Fringe/Local: Fresh Ink Theatre, Boston University School of Theatre, Moonbox Productions, Plays In Place, Flat Earth Theatre, HUB Theatre of Boston, Open Theatre Project, Concord Players, Birch Tree Productions, Green Door Labs. NYC/Podcasts/Film: The Huntington, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Broadway Podcast Network, The Penumbra Podcast, Revolutionary Spaces. Education: BA, Boston University; MA, University of Massachusetts, Boston; MA candidate, King’s College London/Shakespeare’s Globe.
P. Florestal
Pascale Florestal is a first-generation Haitian American Queer Woman. As the Education Director Pascale created and manages The Young Critics and Apprenticeship Program. She is the Associate Producer of The Reading Series, Black Out Events and other productions. Pascale is an Elliot Norton Nominated Director, Educator, Dramaturg, Writer and Collaborator based in Boston, MA. Recent directing Credits: Fairview with SpeakEasy Stage, Spring Awakening at Brandeis University, The Colored Museum with The Umbrella Performing Arts Center, Once On This Island with SpeakEasy Stage, This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing with Emerson Stage, Everybody with Boston Conservatory and others. As an Assistant to the Director, she has worked with Timothy Douglas, Liesl Tommy, Billy Porter, Paul Daigneault and M. Bevin O'Gara. Pascale served as the Associate Director to Gil Rose on X:The Life and Times of Malcolm With Odyssey Opera and Kimberly Senior on Our Daughters, Like Pillars at The Huntington Theater. Pascale also serves as the Associate Director for The Broadway National Tour of Jagged Little Pill. In 2021, Pascale was named one of the WBUR ARTery 25 Artists of Color Transforming the Cultural Landscape in Boston. In 2020 she won the Inaugural Greg Ferrell Award for her excellence in teaching and supporting young people. Pascale is an Assistant Professor of Theater at Boston Conservatory at Berklee College of Music and is a full member of the SDC Union.

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