This fall I will start work on my MFA in Directing at Brown University/Trinity Rep. I knew two years ago after I directed my production of Fences in Des Moines that I was done actively pursuing acting. The rush and exhilaration I received when that play opened in Des Moines for the first time was unparalleled. The opening night of A Soldier's Play further confirmed that my career was making a shift. I knew that Des Moines was where I wanted to continue creating art for the foreseeable future but I also knew I needed more training. My side-trip to the Goodman and now this next HUGE step of receiving more training at Brown University/Trinity Rep will allow me to grow as an arts administrator and artist so we can continue elevating art in Des Moines. I also hope to do more freelance work after I'm done with school. I am excited to start class in the fall so I can be challenged in new ways, but I'm equally excited to get back to Des Moines and Pyramid during the summers with a larger directing tool box.
The first person I called when I found out I was admitted was my mother. There's nothing like a mother's prayers. In fact the only thing that may beat out a praying mama is a praying grandmama or two. Thankfully I had all three as I went through this admission process and I'm glad to see that prayer still works. The second person I reached out to was my little brother, Seth and my Dad. Those two were praying with me and counseling me along the way as well. You can always depend on family.
The next step was sharing the news with my brothers in creativity, Jiréh Holder and Freddie Fulton. They are also two southern black boys who found their way to Ivy League institutions for graduate work in theatre. The support, words of encouragement, and prayers from those two are what gave me the confidence to apply for MFA programs in the first place. Then there's the rest of my Pyramid Theatre Company family, Nana Coleman, Tiffany Johnson, Claudine Cheatem, and Alexis Davis. I can't even begin to describe the prayer circles, the laughs, the tears, the arguments, and the love that we share. This is just as much theirs as it is mine. We are truly a family at Pyramid and this summer when you see Tiffany Johnson's production of A Raisin in the Sun that sense of family will shine through.
Thank you to my Arkansas Rep family, and in particular Nicole Capri and Bob Hupp for their counsel and votes of confidence. Nicole keeps telling me to run for president one day and I don't plan on doing that but I know that she has ALWAYS believed in me. So thank you Nicole for telling me that I could do whatever I wanted. Thanks to my newly found Goodman family for letting me fall on the floor in the business office and cry the day I got the phone call. Thanks to my church family at Union Baptist Church back in Des Moines for being my family away from home for the last 8 years. God is just getting started and I'm humbled and excited for whats next. These people and communities are who/what contributed to this next step in my life.
I'm sharing all of this because the general theme here is (you guessed it), Family. The reason I chose Brown/Trinity Rep over another option that I had was that you enter the program as an ensemble. I get to spend the next three years of my life with the same 15 people. I am excited and terrified by that, but I've learned over the years that whether you choose them or they come included at birth, family is family. I'm excited to join the Brown/Trinity Rep family this Fall!