BTN Executive Board 2016-2018
President: John Shevin Foster
Vice President: Andre Harrington
Treasurer: K. Zaheerah Sultan
Asst. Treasurer: Reggie Wilson
Secretary: James Brown
Asst. Secretary: Greg Williams
Parliamentarian: Chris Berry
Public Relations: Marcia Pendelton
Membership Chair: Daphnie Sicre
Undergraduate Liaison: Denise Folley
Graduate Liaison: Dexter Ramey
Immediate Past President: kb saine
consultants: Gregory Horton, Kathryn Ervin, Michael Dinwiddie
John Shévin Foster (playwright/director) works in both academic and professional theater. An August Wilson scholar, he holds dual degrees in Theatre and Education from Shaw University, an M.A. and Ph.D. in Theater for Higher Education from New York University, and, certification in classical theatre from the University of Leeds in London. After heading theatre departments and serving on the faculty of three leading universities, he most recently served (for ten years) as the Education Manager and Producer for one of the world's most prestigious theatre organizations, the Brooklyn Academy of Music/BAM. Additionally, he is the Producing Artistic Director for his company, the New York City Repertory Theatre – where he premiered the workshop performance of the Tony Award winning Bridges and Tunnels, starring Sarah Jones. For the past five years he has served as a playwriting mentor and new works director for the Gallatin School at NYU. He considers his opportunity to use his professional skills for the First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama, one of his greatest experiences. Artistically, his work focuses on accurate portrayals of contemporary African-American life and creates works for artists of color that allow them to stretch beyond the typical roles and subjects they/we are normally afforded. His newest play, Flip-in: a hip-hop folk tale, premiered and was selected as one of the winning plays of the 2016 NYC DUAF/Downtown Urban Arts Festival. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Andre Harrington currently is the Assistant Professor of Design at California State University, San Bernardino. Mr. Harrington holds a M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, in addition to earlier costume design training from the University of Maryland at College Park. Mr. Harrington hails from the east coast, with a freelance career based in Philadelphia, PA. He has designed costumes for many professional theatre companies, including The Alliance Theatre, TheatreWorks USA, The Court Theatre, Theatre Virginia, Freedom Theatre, St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, and Crossroads Theatre. Andre participated in the Career Development Program for Designers sponsored by Theatre Communications Group/National Endowment for the Arts (TCG/NEA). He used the TCG/NEA to begin his research of carnival, beginning with Carnival in Trinidad 1999. He had opportunities to work along with Peter Minshell’s carnival band and Brian MacFarlane of MacFarlane Carnival. He returned in 2000 to continue the working relationship with Minshell and MacFarlane, continuing his research of the Caribbean culture and the carnival aesthetic. In January 2010, Andre attend the Surin International Folklore Festival, at the Surindra Rajabat University in Surin,Thailand to present his research on “Anne Lowe, An American Couturier”. Andre currently serves on the 20012/2014 executive board of the Black Theatre Network as Parliamentarian. He also holds membership with United State Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT), Phi Beta Delta Honor Society and a part of CSUSB institutional membership of TCG Mr. Harrington is a member of the United Scenic Artists Union 829.
K. Zaheerah Sultan serves BTN as the national, treasurer and Midwest Region, Membership Chair. She is responsible for recording and managing the financial health of the organization.
Zaheerah is the development director of M.U.R.A.L. (Magnifying Urban Realities and Affecting Lives, formerly the Lupe Fiasco Foundation) a grassroots Foundation that provides resources to Chicago’s disenfranchised youth through grantmaking opportunities and program initiatives. She oversees the organizations grants management and fundraising department.
Sultan is a certified fundraising professional that has received numerous recognition awards for her dedication to women’s empowerment programs and philanthropy. She has been recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Chicago Women in Philanthropy, United Way, the State of Ohio, the City of Toledo, and the University of Toledo.
K. Zaheerah Sultan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Family Life Education, a Master of Arts degree in Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts (specializations in Applied Theatre and Black Theatre), and a Master of Arts Management degree in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management (Business and Entrepreneurship) with a specialization in Arts, Youth and Community Development. Her quest for knowledge led her to study the “Psychological Effects of Slavery” at the University of Ghana at Legon, Accra, Ghana.
Reggie Wilson arrived in NYC in January of 2011 to intern with Woodie King Jr. and The New Federal Theatre and by 2012 had been awarded an AUDELCO Award (Lead Actor) for his performance as Levee in "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," which was presented by New Haarlem Arts Theatre (NHAT) at Aaron Davis Hall. The year before, he made his NY debut in NHAT's production of "Blues for Mister Charlie" by James Baldwin and was commended by Nytheatre.com for his "standout performance." In 2014, he appeared as Jean in Strindberg's "Miss Julie," refashioned by August Strindberg Rep into a tale of the Antebellum South. Last year, he appeared in "Stockholm Savings" by Matthew McNerny in NY Fringe Festival (Award: Outstanding Ensemble) and performed "Home" by Sam Art Williams, directed by Woodie King Jr., for Project One Voice in Detroit. Other New York credits include "Black Angels Over Tuskegee," "Twisted," "Haiti's Children of God," "The Whistle In Mississippi" and "The Meeting." On TV, he has appeared in five episodes of "Celebrity Crime Files" and two episodes of "My Dirty Little Secret." He holds an MFA in Theater from University of Florida and has taught at CCNY.
James A. Brown is a talented performer, technician and designer, and works to uplift the quality of life for the African American community and the livelihood of all people. He is currently the Performing Arts Specialist at Coppin State University, where he began in 1997, coordinating shows and activities in the auditorium, theatre lab and assists during other campus events. He has assisted in creating new initiatives and collaborations for the Visual and Performing Arts department, and managed improvements to the performance spaces. James has been a member of The Arena Players, the oldest African American Theatre Company, since 1986, lead by the late Sam Wilson, one of its founders. He left the stage to become the Technical Director from 1992-2000, served as President of Arena’s Membership, The Players’ Group 1999-2004 and assisted in Arena’s administration and public relations. James work at The Mechanic Theatre in Baltimore for eight years as Assistant Public Relations Director 1981-1988, and has worked at area theatres and arts organizations, including Center Stage, the Lyric Opera House, The Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Peabody Conservatory, ARTSCAPE and others. James has served as Chairman of the Baltimore NAACP ACT-SO Program, President of AFSCME Local 1356, President of the Staff Senate at Coppin and Technical Director of NADSA. He is a member of Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries Drama Ministry, occasional performing, but mostly working on the tech. He joined BTN in 2007, was appointed Assistant Secretary in 2015 and was elected Secretary in 2016.
Greg Williams, Jr. is in his ninth season as Artistic Director at New Venture Theatre. Before beginning his role at New Venture, he served as a co-founder of the King Little Theatre and also the Creative Production Company. As Artistic Director for New Venture, Mr Williams’ directing credits include over 35 productions such as August Wilson’s Fences, the regional premiere of The Color Purple, Aida, Dreamgirls, Fat Pig and Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.
Greg Williams is a graduate of Northwestern State University (Bachelor of Arts), Ellis College of New York (Masters in Business) and the International Association of Assembly Management Performing Arts School (Graduate Certificate.) He has earned many distinctions including a State of Louisiana Commendation for his contributions to the performing arts in the African American community, iHope Award for his dedication to the arts, MLK Leadership Award for leadership in the arts community, and the Baton Rouge Links Louisiana Role Model Award for contributions to the performing arts community. Under his leadership, New Venture has also earned distinction for productions of artistic excellence and highly praised theatrical diversity.
Christopher Berry is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at Florida A&M University. Mr. Berry is also a Co-Producer for We Are Soul Nerds and Project1Voice. Mr. Berry also serves as the Region 4 Deputy Coordinator for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival's Irene Ryan Scholarship Audition. He received his BFA in Professional Theatre from North Carolina A&T State University and his MFA from Brown University/Trinity Rep. He is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.
Marcia Pendelton is the founder and CEO of Walk Tall Girl Productions, a boutique marketing, audience development and group sales company for the performing arts. For the past 15 years, she has brought diverse audiences to critically acclaimed productions to NYC stages and beyond. During those 15 years, Pendelton has worked with some of the biggest names in the Broadway and Off-Broadway arenas. A bearer of a bachelors degree in sociology and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management from the University of Maryland College Park, she has been honored by The Black Public Relations Society of New York and AUDELCO Awards. She is a member of the Harlem Arts Alliance, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce as well as sitting on the board of the Black Theatre Network.
Daphnie Sicre is a full-time assistant professor in the Speech, Communications and Theatre Arts Department at Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, where she teaches courses in theatre, social justice, and advanced public speaking. She also teaches Arts and Social Justice at Marymount Manhattan College. Focusing on Afro-Latin@ performance, she will complete her Ph.D. at New York University in Educational Theatre in 2017. Her New York City directing credits include: A Play About Nothing (Marymount Manhattan College), then simultaneously directing Dying is an Art and Olympic Dreams at the Sheen Center for the 365 NYC Women’s Project Festival. Also. Other directing credits include, baba: a black boy’s cry at Luna Stage in NJ, Shower Me at the FringeNYC as well as Stranger for Stage Black, where she won a Best Director award. Additional: the AUDELCO nominated Not About Eve, the workshop production of PLAY/DATE, Wombanhood, NYC Premier of Collateral Bodies, and NuYork Pastorela. For over ten years, she directed over 20+ productions (such as Living On, Death of Black Jesus, The Face of Emmett Till, Milestones of Blackness/ A Woman Called Truth, and God’s Trombone) with high school students. Recent dramaturg credits include the BMCC production of The Future Freaks Me Out as well as, Dying is An Art (365 Women Project), Stanger (StageBlack), Shower Me (Columbia University & FringeNYC), The Strawberry Project (Yang Tze Repertoire Theatre of America), Whombanhood (Rachel Brill/NYC), Alice: The Looking Glass Girl (NYU), Not About Eve (Bratta Productions), Dirty Dealing (New World School of Arts), The Zoo Story, Collateral Bodies (First Foot Productions), The Class Project (NYU). and many more. Raised in Madrid, Spain, but born in Guayaquil, Ecuador to Peruvian and Spanish parents, Sicre shares a deep passion for discovering multiple Latino and African-American perspectives in theatre.
Denise Folley, a native from Charlottesville, Virginia, is now attending Davis and Elkins College where she is working towards her B.A in Theatre Education and minoring in Music. During her time at D&E, she has been able to see all sides of productions. She has been the stage manager for the Boiler House Production of Harveyand the Boiler House Studio Production of Henry’s Law, where she also had the opportunity to work with lighting and sound. Her previous roles with Davis & Elkins College include: Nurse in Stop, Kiss in the Boiler House; Woman in Stories I Aint Told Nobody Yet, and Adjua in Anansi’s Tale in the Boiler House Studio; and Gertrude in The Dinosaur Musical in Harper McNeeley Auditorium. She has also had a helping hand in the costume shop and the scene shop. Denise is currently the assistant stage manager for Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and is working as a recruiter for the Theatre Department at the College.
kb saine has been a director, author, educator and theatre historian for over 15 years. In professional theatre, kb served for six years as the producing artistic director of Sycamore Rouge in Petersburg, Va.; she has worked with Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg, W.Va., and TheatreLAB, The Richmond Triangle Players, Theatre IV/Theatre Gym, The Barksdale Theatre, Firehouse Theatre Project, TheatreVirginia, Dogwood Dell, Yellow House Productions, TheatreMachine and SPARC in Richmond, VA; and the Dallas Theatre Center in Dallas, Texas. Favorite past productions under her direction include The Glass Menagerie, Tartuffe, Topdog/Underdog, The Odyssey, Art, The Crucible, Santaland Diaries and Season’s Greetings, Steal Away, Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol, Fair and Tender Ladies, and Stories I Ain’t Told Nobody Yet, among many others. her full bio and samples of her work can be found at www.kbsaine.com.
Gregory J. Horton is an Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Visual and Performing Arts Department/Interim Director of Theatre, whose concentration is Costume Design and Directing. Horton is on faculty a North Carolina A&T State University in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts/Theatre. Before his position at NCAT he was tenured and taught at Saint Louis University for seven years. At NCAT he has been the Co-Chair of the Lyceum Series 2006-Present, University Committee for tenure and promotions. College of Arts and Sciences Tenure and Promotions Committee two terms, (Chair) 2013-2014, served on numerous search committees, Chair of recruitment for the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and is Associate Chair for VPA.(2012-13/2014-15) Greg has taught Costume Construction, Costume Design, Advanced Costume Design, Costume History and Decor, Make Up, Approaching the Arts, Introduction to Drama, Children’s Theatre, Contemporary Black Theatre, Theatre History I, and Acting for Non-Majors. When Greg is not working in the department you can find him, designing all over the country. Greg has worked professionally around the country as Guest Director and Costume Designer in such theatres as, Utah Shakespeare Festival, The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Columbia Basin College/Pasco WA, Western Washington University/Bellingham, Hampton University, Hampton VA, The Ensemble, Houston TX, The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Colorado, Penumbra Theatre, Min. Minnesota, Swine Palace, Louisiana, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and Play House on the Square, Memphis Black Repertory, Memphis TN, Kuntu Repertory, Pittsburgh PA, and the St. Louis Black Repertory Company, St. Louis MO. He is a member and holds national offices in two national theatre organizations Black Theatre Network (BTN) and United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT). Currently Greg is a Past Director at Large for USITT(1996-99) and (2003-2006) and a Past President of Black Theatre Network. (2003-2006) Treasurer of Black Theatre Network (2012-2015)/ Presently a BTN Consultant.
Kathryn Ervin is a Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts at California State University San Bernardino. Agraduate of Wayne State University and Illinois State University, she teaches courses in Directing, Acting, Creative Drama and African American Theatre and Film and Culture.
She is a director and has directed dramas, comedies and musicals. Recent work includes; ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, and INVISIBLE a play based on The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and HG Wells. Her original production of the hip hop opera KEEP HEDZ RINGIN’ by Rickerby Hinds was a finalist at the KCACTF in Utah and presented as part of the NYC Hip Hop Theatre Festival in 2002. She is the author with Ethel Pitts Walker of An African American Scenebook.
She is active in numerous professional organizations including the California Educational Theatre Association, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and The California Arts Project. She is currently serving as Board Chair for the Arts Connection, Arts Council for San Bernardino County.
She is a consultant, past president and Lifetime Member for the Black Theatre Network, the national organization for artists, scholars and individuals with an interest in celebrating the beauty and complexity of black life onstage.
Michael Dinwiddie is a former Past President of the Black Theatre Network. As a dramatist, his works have been seen in New York, regional and educational theatres. His produced plays include The Beautiful LaSalles, Original Rags, The First Day, Hannibal of the Alps, Cotton Club Rhapsody, A Guest of Honor, Why the Chimes Rang, Mood Ellington, Masque, Dacha and Northern Lights ’66. An associate professor of dramatic writing at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University, Michael teaches courses in playwriting, cultural studies and African American theatre history. Michael was an inaugural fellow at Touchstone Pictures in the Disney Writers’ Fellowship Program, and he was a staff writer on the first season of the hit ABC-TV series Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper. Currently, Michael serves on the national governance task force of TCG (Theatre Communications Group) and as chair of the Board of the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts (DECFA). He has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Playwriting, served as a TONY nominator from 2007-2010, and was honored to receive the Spirit Award for Institution Building from Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre and the Torch Bearer Award from AUDELCO. Michael is currently working on Sportin’ Life, a musical based on the life of John Bubbles, from the vaudeville team of Buck’n’Bubbles, and the original Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess. Michael earned his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.