2022 Festival Productions

Mend A City: The Movement with its use of “rhythm and prose” boldly catapults its audience into an eclectic world of conscious spoken word and revolutionary thought. A poetic performance art piece with music, poetry, and dance takes us on a journey of the African American experience. It ultimately ends with empowerment and solutions to change the state of Black America. The play was penned with purpose–to actively awaken the masses and eradicate the mendacity that plagues our nation and stagnates our human rights through White Supremacy and its doctrine of Racism.

Written by Vanecia Boone, Tabia Mawusi, and Philip J. Lightfoot

Directed by Vanecia Boone

Bennett College’s Little Theatre

April 8-10, 2022

Periphery: The February 1960 sit-in by four young college freshmen at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, galvanized the civil rights movement in the United States. In the process, ordinary citizens from both the black and white communities in Greensboro—and across America—were forced to grapple with their beliefs about race and justice. Periphery focuses on ordinary citizens—particularly two families, one black and one white —whose lives are touched by the changing world around them. The central stories in Periphery are not those of the courageous “Greensboro Four” but instead include those who stand witness to the historic events in this Southern city—those on the periphery of the sit-in demonstration—who must choose between continuing the injustices of the past or moving forward toward a more just America (excerpt from Dramatic Publishing website).

Written by Ed Simpson

Directed by Doug Brown and Ken Elston

High Point University’s Pauline Theatre

April 11-13, 2022

Nick and the Prizefighter: Selah Thompson is the caregiver for her famous playwright father, Forest Thompson. Nick Beerman, a young writer and dramaturg is tasked with helping Forest complete his life’s work before the clock runs out. Selah must fight for control of her father’s work, his legacy and find her own rhythm as she prepares to face the world without him. Nick & the Prizefighter is a play that questions who owns the stories we tell and how we share experiences across cultures.

Written by Kamilah Bush

Directed by Natalie Sowell

Bennett College’s Little Theatre

April 22-24, 2022

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: It’s 1927 and Ma Rainey, the “Mother of the Blues,” is recording new sides of old favorites in a rundown studio in Chicago. Fiery and determined, Ma Rainey fights to retain control over her music, while her cocky trumpet player Levee dreams of making his own name in the business. More than music goes down in August Wilson’s riveting portrayal of rage, racism, self-hatred and exploitation.

Written by August Wilson

Directed by Miller Lucky, Jr.

NC A&T’s Paul Robeson Theatre

April 28-May 1, 2022

2022 Festival Team

Anne Hayes

Anne Hayes

Tennille Foust

Tennille Foust

Doug Brown

Doug Brown

Gregory Horton

Gregory Horton

David McGraw

David McGraw

Beth Ritson

Beth Ritson

Natalie Sowell

Natalie Sowell

Vanecia Boone

Vanecia Boone

Elizabeth Brady

Elizabeth Brady

Kamilah Bush

Kamilah Bush

Ed Simpson

Ed Simpson

Candice Burrows

Candice Burrows

Lucy Allen

Lucy Allen

Jackson Barnes

Jackson Barnes

Sydney Bell

Sydney Bell

Katie Cox

Katie Cox

Emmie D’Amico

Emmie D’Amico

Tyler “Nic” Francis

Tyler “Nic” Francis

Sydney	Gross

Sydney Gross

Hannah Hubbard

Hannah Hubbard

Kayla Jordan

Kayla Jordan

Callie Rose Marion

Callie Rose Marion

Jaclyn McGhee

Jaclyn McGhee

David Merritt Jr

David Merritt Jr

Brian Mullins

Brian Mullins

Isabella Siegel

Isabella Siegel

Marcus	Staley

Marcus Staley

Hailey Turner

Hailey Turner

Garry Wadell

Garry Wadell

Cecily Weinstein

Cecily Weinstein

Jade Young

Jade Young

Dandrielle Lewis

Dandrielle Lewis

Anne Hayes

Anne C Hayes, Ph.D. is the co-chair of the Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro and serves as the National Endowment for the Arts Grant Project Manager. Dr. Hayes is the Executive Director of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies at Bennett College and is also theater enthusiast. Throughout her career, she’s maintained a passion for interdisciplinary, community-engaged teaching and learning, and social justice projects. Dr. Hayes holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies and Religion from Emory University in Atlanta,Georgia and a M.A. in Religious Studies from University of Colorado at Boulder. She was a doctoral fellow at the University of Virginia, where she earned her Ph.D. in Social Foundations of Education.

Tennille Foust

Tennille Foust serves as co-chair of the Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro as well as the Festival Coordinator. Foust holds a BFA in Acting and Directing from NC A&T and an MFA from University of Las Vegas, Nevada. She serves as Chair and Associate Professor of Theater at Bennett College. In addition to teaching Theater, Directing, Stage Management, and Public Speaking at Bennett College for 16 years, Foust also serves as Bennett College’s Director and Producer of Events and Ceremonies and the Little Theatre Manager. In 2018, she received Actress of the Year from the Greensboro Women’s Alliance. Foust recently directed Mahalia (Barn Dinner Theatre, NC), Sins of a Good Wife, Ms. Mary & the Boys: The Life, and A Woman Like Me (all at Bennett College). During her tenure at Bennett, Foust has also directed The Colored Museum, Lady T’s Shuga Shack, Steel Magnolias, A Tribute to Alma Adams, Steal Away, Crowns, Long Time Since Yesterday and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf just to name a few.

Doug Brown

Doug Brown serves on the Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro Committee and was selected to direct Periphery. Brown is Department Chair and Associate Professor for the Department of Theater & Dance at High Point University. Doug received his received his BFA from Rockford College and his MFA from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. He is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and has received certification in teaching the Meisner Method of Actor Training from Larry Silverberg’s True Acting Institute. A professor ofperformance at High Point University since 2004, Brown has directed over 20 productions in the Triad area including: These Shining Lives, Little Women-The Musical, The Amish Project, Mary Stuart, The Great God Pan, The Diary of Anne Frank, Medea, Peter Pan, The Diviners, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Robber Bridegroom, Steel Magnolias, The Dining Room, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Crimes of the Heart, and The Drowsy Chaperone.

Gregory Horton

Gregory J. Horton serves on the Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro Committee. Horton is an Associate Professor and Interim Director of Theatre at North Carolina State A&T University and Executive Director of the Paul Robeson Theatre. His areas of concentration include Directing and Costume Design. In 2017, Horton received the Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design Award from the National Black Theatre Festival. Mr. Horton has directed such plays as The Soul of Christmas, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Crowns, Pretty Fire, Dreamgirls, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Nunsense, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Tambourines to Glory, Jesus Christ Super Star, Black Nativity, and Godspell. Greg has worked professionally around the country as Director and Costume Designer in theatres including Utah Shakespeare Festival, the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Hampton University, The Ensemble, Houston TX, The Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Swine Palace, Louisiana, Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the St. Louis Black Repertory Company.

David McGraw

David McGraw serves as the Coordinator for Elon University’s Arts Administration program. He worked with the South African State Theatre on a Fulbright Specialist Grant to coordinate an international theatrical tour (pandemic postponed). Field research: Stage Manager Survey (2006-2021, www.smsurvey.info), Research Fellow for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (2021, www.snaaparts.org), South African Creative Industries Technical Staff Survey (2019, www.sacits.com), SM2030 Project (2020-2022, www.smsurvey.info), and Return to the Stage (2020-2021, www.returntothestage.com). A proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, Mr. McGraw has stage managed for over a dozen theatres in his 27-year career. He serves as a Director-at-Large for the Stage Managers’ Association.

Beth Ritson

Beth Ritson is Co-Chair of the Theatre Studies program at Guilford College. She is honored to represent Guilford College in the newly-formed Greater Greensboro Theatre Consortium, and to collaborate on the creation of the first ever Amplify Black Voices Festival. This unique Festival exemplifies the core founding principles of Guilford College: community, diversity, equality, excellence, integrity, justice, and stewardship. Beth is thrilled to be a part of this committed and unique community of people and looks forward to many more projects with the consortium.

Natalie Sowell

Natalie Sowell serves on the Amplify Black Voices Festival of Greater Greensboro Committee and was selected to direct Nick & the Prizefighter at UNC-Greensboro's Triad Stage. Sowell is the Director of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro School of Theatre, and she specializes in applied theatre for social change, creative drama, critical literacy, and oral storytelling. She is a trained Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner who brings the techniques of Augusto Boal into the rehearsal studio to critically examine power structures and social identities. Sowell has conducted applied theatre workshops, classes, and artist residencies in schools, prisons, community centers, and churches throughout the U.S. and in Nigeria. Sowell has directed dozens of socially conscious plays for young audiences including Amazing Grace by Shay Youngblood and Lily Plants a Garden by Jose Cruz Gonzalez and for adult audiences including George C. Wolfe's The Colored Museum, Minstrel Show:The Lynching of William Brown by Max Sparber, Blue Orange by Joe Penhall, and Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage.

Vanecia Boone

Vanecia Boone was selected to direct Mend A City: The Movement at Bennett College. Originally from Greensboro, NC, Boone is an MFA graduate of NC A&T SU Theatre Department, Playwright, Herbalist, and Activist. She teaches Theater at NC A&T, UNC-G, and Bennett College. Her directing credits include Taming of the Shrew, For Colored Girls by Ntozake Shange, The Colored Museum and Konvergence with the African American Student Association of Theatre and Film. She has written two plays. As an actress, Boone played multiple roles in Fannie Lou Hamer with the touring Theatre of NC, Jory in Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, and Miles Newman in Yellow Face at Las Vegas Little Theatre. Among her favorite credits include Shug Avery in The Color Purple (Barn Dinner Theatre, NC), Helen in Love in Hope and Promises (Las Vegas Black Gospel Theatre), Juliet in Romeo & Juliet (Nevada Conservatory Theatre), Vera in Seven Guitars (Nevada Conservatory Theatre) and Madame X in The Stronger (Richard B. Harrison Players).

Elizabeth Brady

Elizabeth Brady is a senior at Elon University pursuing a B.A. in Arts Administration and Theatrical Design and Technology. She is excited to work with her classmates on such a special project her final semester. Throughout her Elon experience she has assisted on many projects in the theatre as well as branched out to the administrative aspects of art. Through this she has furthered her design skills and found a new interest in marketing and planning. She looks forward to what this festival will bring to the community, and she is delighted to have a part in it. She would like to thank her family, friends, and teachers for their endless support and encouragement. 

Kamilah Bush

Kamilah Bush is the playwright of Nick and the Prizefighter. She is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she earned a BFA in Theatre Education. She grew up in Gastonia, NC and there she fostered her love for theatre. She currently serves as the Literary Manager at Portland Center Stage in Portland, OR, before which she was the Artistic Assistant at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, after spending several seasons at Triad Stage in Greensboro, NC and Asolo Rep in Sarasota, FL.Artistic Statement for Nick and the Prizefighter:When I started writing Nick & The Prizefighter, I had no idea where it would go. It began as simply a scene between an old Black man writing a play, and the young White dude who adored his work. Then, as with most of my work, a Black woman showed upand suddenly the center shifted. My whole world has been centered around Black women. I came from one. I am one. I have loved and been loved by many. So it was only right that Selah Thompson completely changed what I knew this play to be.Like Selah, I am a Black woman from the South and like her, I have spent a lifetime fighting for the voices of those around me to not only be heard, but honored. There is something particularly special about being a Black woman from North Carolina and having spent almost a decade of my life in Greensboro, living and learning in that vibrant artist community, I know that my voice and perspective have been shaped by the piedmont region. In my role as playwright - I see myself as a witness, echoing the experiences of my People to all that will listen. In my role as dramaturg - I see myself as a conduit, connecting the red threads which run through all of us, bridging art and community. In my role as educator - I see myself as a host, inviting students of all ages to show up as their deepest, truest and most whole selves. All of those roles were molded by Greensboro and I carry all that I learned and experienced there with me, wherever I am.Nick & The Prizefighter, I hope, is the beginning of an important conversation about who owns the stories we tell each other in the theater. Can there be - must there be - boundaries in sharing culture and identity with each other? How do we navigate history, context and the contemporary in ways that allow for us to share our universal humanity and hold our own cultures sacred? Simply- An older Black man, a young White man and a young Black woman with vastly different experiences come together to share space and time with one another and simply from where they are standing, see and experience the world differently. This play is a conversation about the power of perspective and how listening can truly change us.

Ed Simpson

Ed Simpson is the playwright of Periphery which is being staged at High Point University. Now retired, Simpson served as the chair and professor of theatre performance at High Point University. He came to HPU in 2008 after a distinguished career at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. As an actor, director and playwright, he provided impactful mentorship to students inside and outside of the classroom. Under Simpson’s direction, the theatre program at HPU garnered attention as one of the best undergraduate programs in the country.Artist statement, Ed Simpson, Playwright of PeripheryIn 2007, I was commissioned by the Community Theatre of Greensboro to write a play to be produced as part of Greensboro’s Bicentennial Celebration in 2008. I was given carte blanche to write about whatever I wished so long as the play dealt with the history and people of Greensboro.So, I had a lot to choose from. However, the first thing that came to mind were the actions of the Greensboro Four on February 4, 1960. I was 10 years old at the time of the sit-ins and I had my own memories of the event. I grew up just outside of Winston-Salem in Lewisville and, later, lived in Greensboro during the 1970’s while attending Guilford College and, later, UNCG for my MFA in Acting and Directing. So, I was certainly aware of Greensboro’s history.At the time I accepted the commission, I was teaching theatre at High Point University, surrounded by intelligent, eager, but sheltered and privileged young freshmen students who, when asked, had never heard of the actions of the four young men that galvanized the civil rights movement. I felt this was unforgiveable. The contrast between my students of 2007 and the powerful statement undertaken by college freshmen in 1960 was particularly intriguing – and, for me, was the reason for writing this play. I felt that, for my students – and for, hopefully, others – it was important to document the courage of the four young men and that of the young college students of A&T, Bennett, Guilford, and “Woman’s College” who followed their example and joined the movement. This was the genesis of Periphery.As I began my research, I very quickly decided that I didn’t want to dramatically recreate the four young men themselves and their historic action. There were already some powerful documentary films and other dramatic reconstructions of the sit-ins - and I didn’t want to duplicate what had already been done better. I continued my research until I found a now famous photo that appeared in the Greensboro newspaper, showing the four young A&T freshmen sitting unserved at the counter. Standing behind the counter were two white waitresses and, at the edge of the photo, a black “busboy” doing his job, carrying a tray of dirty dishes.As compelling as the dignity of the four young men was, I found myself wondering what the busboy thought about what was transpiring. Did he agree with their stand but was unable to say? Was he concerned about what comes next? That, I felt, was as compelling as the action of “The Four.” As I searched through subsequent photos of the sit-in, I found myself looking not at the focus of the picture but at the edge of the frame, the “periphery”, trying to interpret the emotions of both the participants and those witnessing the event. In most of the photos the quiet dignity and determination of “The Four” contrasted with the derisive, hatefilled crowd of onlookers. However, sprinkled in the crowds were some who were clearly supportive while still more seemed to be trying to decide just what they felt.As I continued reading news reports, editorials, and personal narratives, I discovered that, in fact, the citizens of Greensboro - and, indeed, the entire nation – were, like those microcosms found in the news photos, trying to decide where they stood while witnessing the changes that were beginning to slowly but finally awaken in our country. And it was this struggle by those in the Greensboro community and our country who were “on the periphery” of history – who had to choose between hatred or change - that I decided to explore with my play Periphery.

Candice Burrows

After an active career as a professional mezzo-soprano (opera and concert artist), Burrows has been co-chair of the Vocal Area in the Music Department at HPU since 2011. Her singing career includes touring Russia, and Europe with Leonard Bernstein, as well as solo performances with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Pops and Boston Symphony Orchestra, Schleswig-Holstein Orchestra, and many others. She has sung under the batons of Leonard Bernstein, John Williams, Seiji Ozawa. She conducted the HPU musical, Working (S.Schwartz) this past November and will be doing the same for HPU’s musical, Fall 2022. She is a proud native Oregonian.

Lucy Allen

I am a junior at Elon University in North Carolina, pursuing majors in marketing and arts administration and a minor in dance.I am a highly motivated student who has successfully balanced a full course load as a NCAA Division 1 Student-Athlete. My passion for dance and knowledge of business drives my desire to combine both in my work.

Jackson Barnes

Jackson Barnes is a creative artist based in the Piedmont Triad. He is a Senior at High Point University where he is studying to obtain his BA in Theatre Performance with a Minor a Musical Theatre. Previous Credits include: Jesus in Godspell, Jimmy Ray in Bright Star, and Delivery+Millwork Soloist in Working. In addition to attending college, Jackson is a student at The Broadway Collective, a musical theatre academy where he trains with award-winning Broadway performers. Jackson was the proud recipient of HPU’s Extraordinary Leader award, as well as the Excellence in Performance award. He currently serves as the President of Alpha Psi Omega, HPU’s Theatre Honors Society. Much love to family and friends! @jacksonvbarnes

Sydney Bell

Sydney Bell is a senior at Elon University studying Theatrical Design and Technology and Arts Administration major. She is honored to work with so many talented individuals to bring this festival to audiences. Although her work is predominantly in stage management, she has loved aiding in the administrative side of the festival. Sydney has enjoyed working with all involved and is excited to share these amazing works with everyone! Sydney would like to thank her parents and friends for their love and support.

Katie Cox

My name is Katie Cox, a Texas born art enthusiast with degrees in Art Administration and Communication Design. I am a passionate, visually story teller and aspiring art director/ graphic-design professional that excels in high-tempo, high pressure environments. Whether it’s photography, drawing, cinematography, or theater, art has always been a muse in my life. No matter what I am asked to achieve, I use all I have learned and what drives me most to complete the task beyond what is expected.

Emmie D’Amico

Emmie, a senior collaborative theatre and English double major at High Point University, is proud to be serving as assistant director on HPU’s contribution to the festival: Ed Simpson’s Periphery.

Tyler “Nic” Francis

Tyler “Nic” Francis is a High Point University student majoring in Strategic Communications and minoring in Spanish. Periphery is her first college production.

Sydney Gross

Sydney is a senior psychology major at High Point University. Through her time at HPU she has had the opportunity to be involved in a wide variety of shows including, Photograph 51 (Gosling), Copenhagen (Niels Bohr), Oedipus (Terriesias), and On the Exhale. She is thrilled to be apart of such an amazing opportunity and with such a wonderful cast.

Hannah Hubbard

Hannah has always had a passion for performing, teaching, and advocating for arts education in public schools.Over the past four years she has been able to perform on Elon’s stage as well as serve in producing and executive roles within various on-campus organizations. This includes Elon’s annual Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraiser and the first all black cabaret on campus, “The Moment”.Outside of the arts, she enjoys going to basketball games with my dad (Go Clippers!), cooking with my mom, and playing with my maltipoo puppy Kobe.

Kayla Jordan

Durham, NC native, Kayla Jordan Jacobs is currently a Senior at Elon University and is working toward a B.F.A in Music Theatre and B.A. in Arts Administration. Post graduation, she is planning to pursue a career in various aspects of the entertainment industry with a focus on theatre, television, and film! She is excited for the Amplify Festival, and hopes that audiences will enjoy their experience!

Callie Rose Marion

Callie Rose is a freshman at HPU. Periphery is her first collegiate show she has acted in. In fall of 2021, she was the assistant stage manager for Working! The Musical. 

Jaclyn McGhee

Jaclyn is a junior theatre performance major at High Point University. Previous HPU credits include Oedipus, Godspell, Time, This Random World, On the Exhale, and Something Wicked this Way Comes.

David Merritt Jr

David Merritt Jr first started acting in 2017 during a Guilford Technical Community College production of Romeo and Juliet. Playing the role of Romeo was where he found his love for acting. He has worked in a few Shakespearian plays with Shared Radiance Performing Arts Company including As You like It, Twelfth Night, and the Merry Wives of Windsor. He has also worked in a few shows with GTCC including Unnecessary Farce, and The Flick.

Brian Mullins

Dracula-Triad Stage,The Grapes of Wrath-High Point University, Gruesome Playground Injuries-Paper Lantern Theatre, Lipstick Traces-Burning Coal Theatre, Leading Ladies-Broach Theatre, Uh-Oh Here Comes Christmas-Barn Dinner Theatre, Merry Wives of Windsor-North Carolina Shakespeare Festival. Film-Laura Gets A CarBrian has an MFA in Acting from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Isabella Siegel

Freshman Theater Performance Major, Isabella Siegel, is honored to be the Assistant Stage Manager in Periphery. Her past/current performances at High Point University include Something Wicked this Way Comes, Time Like Water, and Enigma. She Congratulates the cast and crew for creating this empowering performance that deserves to be seen.

Marcus Staley

Marcus Staley is a first time actor, and is so excited about being in the production as he graduated with an engineering degree from A & T.

Hailey Turner

Hailey Turner is a senior Technical Theatre and English double major at High Point University and is the Stage Manager for Periphery. After graduation, Hailey plans to work as a freelance stage/production manager in the Southeast, starting in Brevard Music Center this May. Over the past four years, Hailey has had the wonderful opportunity to work on over fifteen productions, including Driving Miss Daisy, Bright Star, Working!, Time, and Men on Boats. Hailey would like to thank her wonderful cast and crew for making her last collegiate production so special!

Garry Wadell

Garry has been working for approximately four years. Garry has worked as a performer in many theaters in and outside of the Piedmont Triad area. Garry has participate and performed in community and regional productions. Garry is a recipient of the Andy Griffith Playhouse Opie Award for best actor in play for his performance as Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy. Garry recently performed in an off broadway production of One Suit in New York, New York. 

Cecily Weinstein

I am a third-year student at Elon University, originally from New Jersey, double majoring in Arts Administration and Music in the Liberal Arts. Although I have been singing and performing for years, I hope to work on the business side of music. I am the Promotions Director for WSOE 89.3, Elon's on campus radio station. In the future, I hope to work as an event planner at a music venue and have my own radio show.

Jade Young

Jade Young (Deirdre) is a Drama student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a minor in American Sign Language. She will be graduating in May and will be heading to the University of Florida this fall to begin her studies as an MFA Acting student. As a High Point native, she has feels blessed to have had the opportunity to work on Periphery and create art with such a talented production team and cast at High Point University.

Dandrielle Lewis

Dandrielle Lewis is Chair of the Mathematical Sciences Department at High Point University. She was previously an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of the Liberal Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where she served for 8 years. She received her BS from Winston Salem State University in 2001, her MS from the University of Iowa in 2006, and her Ph.D. From SUNY Binghamton in 2011. Dandrielle is an advocate for broadening the participation of women and minorities in STEM. She has research interests in Finite Group Theory, Diversity and Inclusion for Women in STEM, and Interdisciplinary research.