2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium

2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium

Embracing Inclusion and Diversity in American Theatre and Dance
Saturday, April 14, 2018 . 9 AM
Photos from the 2016 Black Theatre Symposium by Treva Thrush
Principal People: 

Keynote speakers: Shirley Jo Finney and Paige Hernandez 

Event Attributes


The 2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium will be a fresh experience, with new topics, dynamic speakers and exciting workshops. We will champion women’s voices with two dynamic keynote speakers, thereby underscoring our call for more gender and race parity, inclusion and diversity. Speared by these female voices, in this climate of #MeToo and #TimesUp, we will explore the unique power of theatre, dance, and performance studies to highlight issues of equity and social justice in today’s cultural and political environment. Emphasizing the importance of artist-leaders, this symposium aims to foster dialogue and action among professionals, scholars, and students as we convene to discuss, devise, and actualize efforts to influence and expand inclusive practices, civility, and social well-being in the performing arts and beyond. 

We are thrilled to announce that Shirley Jo Finney and Paige Hernandez will be this year's keynote speakers. Both of these phenomenal women are critically acclaimed in their respective fields of theatre, dance and/or performance. You'll want to be a part of this dialogue!

Shirley JoFinney is an award-winning international director and actress. She is known for creating safe environments for her fluid and fast-paced ensembles to produce inspired storytelling. Shirley has directed at some of the most respected regional theater houses across the country including: The McCarter Theatre, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Goodman Theatre, The State Theater, the Cleveland Play House, the Fountain Theatre, L.A. Theatre Works, the Crossroads Theatre Company, Actors Theater of Louisville, the Mark Taper Forum, The Kennedy Center and the State Theater in Pretoria, South Africa. Shirley is an established television and film director that has earned several awards, such as, the International Film Award, LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award, The Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, LA Weekly Award, and the NAACP and Santa Barbara Independent Awards for her directing work. As an accomplished actress with many television and film credits to her name, Ms. Finney is best known for her portrayal in the historic title role of Wilma Rudolph, the first female, 3-time gold medalist in the made-for-TV bio picture “Wilma”. Recent works include, Premiere of Citizen: An American Lyric, Facing Our Truth, The Trayvon Martin Project.

Paige Hernandez will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium. Paige is a multidisciplinary artist who is critically acclaimed as a performer, director, choreographer and playwright. She is also known for her effective fusion of theatre, hip-hop, dance and education. As a master teaching artist, Paige has taught throughout the country, to all ages, in all disciplines. To date, she has reached approximately 10,000 students, from pre-kindergarten through college, in over 100 residencies, workshops and performances. As a playwright, Paige has been commissioned by the National New Play Network, the Smithsonian’s Discovery Theatre, The Kennedy Center and the Glimmerglass Festival. She recently received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council as well as two Helen Hayes nominations for choreography and performance. Paige has also been named a “classroom hero” by The Huffington Post, a “Citizen Artist Fellow” with the Kennedy Center and a “Rising Leader of Color” by TCG. With her company B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT, Paige continues to develop and tour ​original work internationally.


Schedule and more information at: http://tdps.umd.edu/event/2017-2018/2018-black-theatre-dance-symposium

Hashtag: #BTDS_UMD


The 2018 Black Theatre & Dance Symposium is made possible by a grant from Maryland Humanities, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed at this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Maryland Humanities.

The symposium is also funded by a Designated Research Initiative Funds (DRIF) grant from the UMD College of Arts & Humanities.