SUSAN WATSON TURNER

Multi-media theatre artistic director.
Black Theatre Scholar Film Video Theatre

BODY OF WORK - Professor Susan Watson Turner

These documents represent the body of work created by Dr. Susan Watson Turner     

Photo: Antigone directed by Professor Susan Watson Turner 

CV 2017

 

CURRICULUM VITAE

 SUSAN WATSON TURNER COLLEGE LEHMAN COLLEGE

 

TITLE Associate Professor DEPARTMENT Journalism, Communication & Theatre

 TENURED 2007

 

HIGHER EDUCATION

A. DEGREES


City University of New York - Doctoral

Equivalency 11.8.1.a Board of Trustees' Bylaws for

Achievements in Theatre 

 Doctoral Equivalency

December 2001

 

Columbia University 1980-83, 1988 MFA Theatre Directing & Management

October 2001

 

Ohio University 1975-79 BFA Theatre

August 1979


 Additional Higher Education and/or Education in Progress

IRB Certified Researcher - Fall 2006 - 2012

 

Teaching Experience

 

Lehman College - CUNY - Associate Professor

Lehman College - CUNY

Tenured 2007

9/03 - present

 

 

Bronx Community College - CUNY-Assistant Professor

  Comm Arts & Sciences Department

9/01 - 8/03 

 

 

Orange County Community College - SUNY

 Adjunct Comm. Speech & Theatre

9/00-8/01 

 

Negro Ensemble Company, Inc

New York, NY.

 Instructor Playwrighting Unit

8/90-5/92 

 

Richard Allen Ctr for Culture & Art New York, NY

 Instructor Actors Training Program

9/87-6/89 

 

Professional Work Experience

 

 Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.

As General Manager/Producing

Director/Board Member - 1992 - 2006:

The Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. was

once the hallmark company for Black

Theatre in America. The work completed

by the company has produced canons of

literature for the stage that continue to be

produced worldwide. The Company

nutured and produced writers such as

Charles Fuller, Samm-Art Williams, Gus

Edwards, Paul Carter Harrison, Carlyle

Brown and many others. Many writers,

actors, directors and designers were

provided with the opportunity to explore

their creativity through this ensemble and

have gone on to receive national and

international acclaim for their work.

Despite the artistic accomplishments which

were not limited to the writer, the company

fell burden to the shift in funding priorities

of the 1980's and accumulated a deficit of

over $400,000. Under my leadership as

Producing Director and Board Co-Chair,

the Company was able to continue

producing in the NYC Theatre District

while constantly addressing the inherited

debt. June 2006 the NEC retired the final

portion of this accumulated deficit and

continues to produce plays by and about

Black people around the world for all

audiences to enjoy.

1992-2001 Producing Director

 

Village Gate Productions

As General Manager- Village Gate

Productions 1998-1999:

As General Manager working with

Producer Art D'Lugoff, the task of

managing the commercial production

of "A Brief History of White Music" was

accomplished. There was a strict reporting

system required where weekly profit and

loss statements were prepared as a tool to

determine the health and run of the

1998-1999 General Manager Off

Broadway Production General Management

required timely/accurate reporting, as well

as contractual negotiations with the

musicians and technical unions which were

addressed on a regular basis. General

Manager was responsible for and

coordinated efforts with press and

marketing agents which required creative

managerial supervision, input into the

development of new promotional avenues

and management/control of the

corresponding expense.

 

Non-Traditional Employment for Women

1990-1992 Director of Finance

 

* Freelance Project work, completion of

MFA and family/maternity leave.

 

Reach Productions, LLP

As Assistant Director/Production Stage

Manager - Reach Productions 1984-1987

After much experience of working as AD

and PSM in small settings, this position

with the longest running Black Musical

entitled "Mama I Want to Sing" at the

Heckscher Theatre produced unique

challenges. This hybrid production of

community based artists and professional

singers was the frontrunner to the now

popular Urban Theatre Touring Circuit

aka 'The Chitlin Circuit.' The AD was

required to be director, teacher, supervisor

and counselor. The rough production

schedule as many as ten shows per week

produced issues that did not confront

traditional theatrical works. The AD

position included scheduling of two full

casts on a weekly basis and tracking of

design elements impacted by that schedule.

During my three year managerial position

the logistics of "Mama I Want To Sing"

increased from six (6) show week to a ten

(10) show week (four shows Saturday); tristate

community based tour and preproduction

for the national tour.

1987-1990

1984-1987

Consultant Assistant Director/Production Mgr.

 

 

 City College - Aaron Davis Hall

As Theatre Manager - Aaron Davis Hall

(ADH) - City College - 1983-84

The theatre manager worked as liaison

between the student, professional and

community use of the three theatre facility

(ADH). The theatre manager was

responsible for scheduling of the space as

well as hiring and supervision of

corresponding staff/technical support. The

theatre manager supervised student staff

and worked closely with the Executive

Director of Aaron Davis Hall and the Dean

of Humanities to create a stimulating arts

calendar for students, faculty and

community audiences. There were several

professional companies in residence at ADH

from the Harlem Community such as Dance

Theatre of Harlem; Caribbean Cultural

Center; and Opera Ebony.

*Freelance Project work detail:

Workshop Coordinator -Richard Allen

Creative Arts Ctr. -Designed Acting

Wkshps and Staged Reading Series

Producer - Cast Me Down Prod. - Off -

Broadway AEA Production.

Directed and Produced Off-Broadway

Production performed at Hunter College,

Hampton University and Theatre Four,

New York City.

1983-1984 Theatre Manager

 

 

ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL HONORS

Kennedy Center Regional Theatre - Best Ensemble Performance - Anon(ymous) - 2014

Associate Professor - Lehman College - 2014

Provost Fellow - Lehman College - 2009

Assistant Professor - Lehman College - 2007 Tenured

NYC Department of Education - Mentor Recognition Award - City As Schools - 2001

American Theatre Wing - Producer/Organizational Award - 1992, 1993, 2001

Audelco Award - Nomination in Three Categories "Just A Night Out" - 1992

(Director, Playwright, Best Musical)

Columbia University - Hammerstein Graduate Fellowship Award - 1988

 

 PUBLICATIONS (last five years only)

CREATIVE WORKS:

As Writer and Director

"A Colored Girls Quilt" by Susan Watson Turner This grant funded production (Undergraduate Student/Faculty

Research) was developed as a creative documentation of the value of the Gee's Bend Quilting women. This creative

work was produced at the Playroom Theatre NYC and has been submitted for future production and publication.

(December 2016)

As Producer and Director:

"The Band Room" by Omar Noel The Urban Theatre Initiative at Lehman College continued workshop of this play.

The play was adapted from the novel under the same title that highlights the importance and discipline found in 'the

bandroom' and through music education. Two development readings have been done and workshop production will be

done for a community performance. http://bronxjournal.com/2015/11/the-band-room/ (Summer 2016)

As Writer:

Publication “Why Theatre, Mr. Baldwin?” article in “James Baldwin Challenging Authors” Sense Publications,

December 2014; pp 29-39 https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/critical-literacy-teaching-serieschallenging-

authors-and-genres/james-baldwin/ ISBN Paperback: 9789462096172 ISBN Hardcover: 9789462096189

ISBN E-Book: 9789462096196 (December 2014)

As Director:

Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka - Kennedy Center Regional Award - Best Ensemble Performance. Lehman College

Theatre Program. Separated from his mother, a young refugee called Anon journeys through the United States,

encountering a wide variety of people -- based on the epic poem by Homer "The Odyssey" (December 2014)

As Actor:

Doubt by John Patrick Shanley As Mrs. Muller at SUNY Orange SummerStar Theatre.

http://www.recordonline.com/article/20140626/COMM/406260301 (June 2014)

As Actor:

Follies by Stephen Soundheim was produced by Creative Muddy Waters Players, Monroe , NY

http://ctmwp.org/productions/past-seasons/2013-season/ (August 2013)

As Dramaturg:

Ugly is a Hard Pill by Andrea J. Fulton this Off-Broadway show will perform at the Theatre for a New City, NY. As

dramaturg I have assisted the director and playwright in shaping this original script for performance. This includes

recommendations for edits, rewrites and staging. (December 2013)

As Producer/Director:

Ashton Springer – “A Black Man on the Great White Way” is a documentary film chronicling the life of commercial

theatre producer Ashton Springer. Documentary screening for selected audience held at Sardis Restaurant NYC.

Hosted by Maurice Hines (September 2013)

As Writer, Researcher:

"The Fire Inside-The story and poetry of Nikki Giovanni by Susan Watson Turner Publisher: Xlibris

ISBN13 Softcover: 978-1-4797-0903-8 ISBN13 eBook: 978-1-4797-0904-5 (December 2012)

Creative Works (last five years cont'd)

As Writer and Director:

"The Fire Inside - The Story and Poetry of Nikki Giovanni" This work was composed and adapted for stage in 2005.

The play was first performed at Chicago State University and chronicles the life of Nikki Giovanni through her

biographies, prose and poetry. The work has received a staged reading in Cleveland Ohio under the artistic direction of

Terrence Spivey at Karamu Theatre and will be part of an "Ingenuity Festival" produced by the Idea Center at

PlayHouse Square.

Performance - Black Writers' Conference - Medgar Evers College - March 2012

Research Presentation - Lehman College - October, 2011

Performance - Cleveland State University - August, 2007

Performance - PlayHouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio - July 19-22, 2007

Staged Reading - Cleveland Public Library - February 17, 2007

Performance 45th Street Theatre, New York - Urban Theatre Initiative and Negro Ensemble Company - March 2006

Workshop and Performance - Chicago State University - March, 2005 and March 2006

As Director:

"Livin" by Karimah - Urban Theatre Initiative - Playroom Theatre-NYC - This production was the result of a two year

collaboration with Columbia University - MFA graduates writer Karimah and general manager Lauren Yates. This

AEA Off Bradway production is adapted from the play "Living Fat" by Judi Ann Mason for a comtemporary audience.

The production ran for twenty-three performances including special student matinees for the NYC Department of

Education. This project was supported by a grant from PSC-CUNY ; TDF Off-Off Producers Program and Playroom

Producers. (June 2012)

"Livin" has also been filmd under a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) - New Media Contract to be released for broadcast in

2014. This production was funded by PSC-CUNY; National Black Theatre Action Arts and Sonberg Investment

Company grant.

As Director:

"Barn Razing" by Lou Ramirez - Studio Theatre. This new work for the stage was developed over a two year period and

performed for two weeks at The Studio Theatre/Lehman College. This was an AEA approved showcase and was

performed with professional actors. The set designed by United Scenic Artist (USA) designer, Michael Green and

lighting design by Professor Arthur M Reese from North Carolina Central University. "Barn Razing" confronts the

results of 'hate'crimes where everyone is innocent and everyone is guilty. The play was reviewed by Riverdale

Press(Riverdale Press - Theatre In Focus http://www.riverdalepress.com/stories/Setting-the-stage-for-debate-on

imigration,48027?content_source=&category_id=5&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_

by=&order_sort=&content_class=&sub_type=&town_id= (February 2011)

 

PH.D. THESIS TITLE: MFA Thesis Abstract

MFA Thesis "Affirmative Action vs. Institutions - The Future of Black Theatre in America" - 1988

This research was to complete the MFA requirements at Columbia University. The work was created as a

result of the active debate being conducted by Actor's Equity Association (AEA), Non-Traditional Casting

Project and the League of Resident Theatres. (LORT) A national forum was held at the Shubert Theatre to

address the growing rate of unemployment among minority actors. (Post the Black Broadway Boom of the

1970's)

The work traces the history of AEA in securing equity in salaries and working conditions for Black actors.

As well interviews were conducted with Frederick O'Neal, co-founder of the American Negro Theatre and

then Director of AEA; Douglas Turner Ward, co-founder of the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. and Clinton

Davis co-founder of the Non-Traditional Casting Project. Research was also included from the Shubert

Theatre forum.

The thesis explored the impact of this move to integrate mainstream theatres (seasons and staffs) in lieu of a

concentrated effort to enhance the standing and support of culturally specific organizations. The conclusion

of this research projected that the re-routing of funding from culturally specific theatres to encourage large

regional theatres to diversify would be detrimental. History has proven that to be true.

My current research is built upon analysis of those theatres that continued to produce despite the diversion of

funding. The book entitled "Recognizing A Dream" chronicles the philosophies of four Black American

Theatres that survived and discovered alternate sources of support for their work.

 

PUBLICATIONS (Prior to “last five years”)

As Producer:

"Blinded by Love" - Film 2009 Blinded by Love is a feature length film. This project began as a

commissioned work for the stage. This production explores the inner conflicts of a young college student

faced with the gradual progression of an abusive relationship. This film is set in the Bronx and has received

two screenings - Hugh Bell Studios - NYC (November 2009) and Lehman College - NYC (December 2009)

As Director:

"The Mattress Hustle" - Film 2008 The Mattress Hustle is a short film. Considering that the U.S. is facing

many challenges in its economy, the subject is timely: the film follows a young couple's antics as they

transition from entry-level jobs to the careers of their dreams. In order to achieve this, the couple gives up

their pricey NYC apartment and move back to their parents' home, which is plagued with no privacy and

young siblings. Love ultimately rules in the end, but the couple experiences some hilarious situations in the

process. This film was selected for festival screenings at Cinema City International Film Festival (September

2008); Reel Sisters Film Festival (October 2008); Black Hollywood Education and Resource Festival (October

2008) Sacramento Film Festival (April 2009) Black Harvest Festival Chicago Gene Siskel Center (August

2010) Martha's Vineyard Film Festival (August 2010) National Black Theatre Festival (2013) Hoboken Film

Festival (2013)

As Writer:

"Ashton Springer - Producing Black Theatre on the Great White Way" - Black Masks Magazine - 2006

Vol. 17 No.4 pgs 7-8, 15

Ashton Springer broke all color barriers in the highly competitive arena of Broadway. Over a ten year

period Mr. Springer produced ten Broadway Shows. This article documents his producing credits including

"Bubblin Brown Sugar," "Eubie" and the Pulitzer Prize Winning play " No Place to be Somebody" by

Charles Gordone (first African-American to receive this award in Drama)

As Director:

"From The Mississippi Delta" - Urban Theatre Initiative Production funded by CUNY Diversity Projects

Development Program. The Urban Theatre Initiative is a co-effort between (Lehman College) and Professor

Arthur Reese (Chicago State University) to give prioritiy to the work of young urban writers as well as

veteran Black writers who are underproduced in an academic or professional setting. This was performed

with professional actors under a specal agreement with AEA and the National Black Theatre Festival

This production has been invited to participate in the 2007 - Fringe Festival as part of the National Black

Theatre Festival to be held in Winston-Salem, NC. July/Aug 2007

As Writer:

"The Contents of the Jar," Editorial Times Herald Record August, 2002 - 1 page

This editorial was based around a print by unnamed artist that portrayed an elderly couple seated at a table

meticulously counting various bills and coins. The article addresses some of the inequities of the American

banking system as it impacts our personal ability to save and prepare for the days when we are unable to

earn money. The picture inspired the article and received favorable response through the online server

echoing the sentiments expressed in the editorial.

While serving as an Editorial Board Member at Large for the "Times Herald Record I published two

editorials on crucial issues facing the Hudson Valley Community.

"Of Schools, Real Estate and Cultural Awareness" Times Herald Record, February 25, 1999 - 1 page

"Yes, This Really is America" Times Herald Record, June 18, 1998 - 1 page

Creative Works:

Director, Writer, Researcher

"You Can't Take It" an adaptation of the Kaufman & Hart play "You Can't Take It With You" This work

demonstrates a key philosophy that work for the stage can be adapted for performances by all students no

matter what the racial background. This traditional work by Kaufman & Hart was used to teach students

about the period (1920's) and adapted to reflect the works of the Harlem Reniassance writers. The integrity

of the playwrights' original mission was kept in tact while exciting community college students about the

concept of research toward performance.

Performed at Bronx Community College - April, 2002 - Four performances

As Producer/Director:

"The Journey of Seven Guitars" A video publication on the play "Seven Guitars" by August Wilson

A video publication discussing the development of August Wilson's play from regional theatre to Broadway.

This project was funded by AT&T Educational Services Division May 1995 Screened at National Black

Theatre Festival 2013.

As Director/Writer:

"Just A Night Out" - National Black Theatre 2001; Village Gate - Top of the Gate 1992

"Just A Night Out" is a musical love story that travels with a small troupe of performers during the 1940's.

The book and lyrices authored by Susan W. Turner; music by Richard V. Turner.

 As Director:

"The Absolution of Willie Mae" - Jose Quintero Theatre 1999

"The Absolution of Willie Mae" by Tony Award winning playwright Joseph Walker was the New York

premiere of this work. This production featured award winning actors, Michael Wright and O.L. Duke.

As Director:

"Another Chance" - Samuel Beckett Theatre 1998

"Another Chance" is an original musical written by Melanie Ford. This work reflected the moral challenges

that face young people in the world as they make crucial decisions that will impact their lives forever. This

production was performed in New York and later moved to Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick NJ.

As Director/Producer:

"North 17th  Street" - Harold Clurman Theatre 1996

"North 17th  Street by Clay Goss was a poignant drama written in avante-garde genre that used poetry and

standard text to magically portray the traditions of African American community. This production received

high critical acclaim for the directorial presentation as reviewed by the New York Times.

As Producer:

"Dick Gregory Live!!! - Samuel Beckett Theatre 1996

Mr. Gregory composed a two hour monologue confronting issues buried and hidden in America. His lively

presentation was well received by all audiences. I worked as co-producer of this most important work.

As Director/Producer:

"Ballad for Bimshire" - Players Theatre 1995

"Ballad for Bimishire," written by Loften Mitchell with lyrics and music by Irving Burgie captured the lighthearted

Barbados traditions mixed with the serious issues facing the island inhabitants. Writer Loften

Mitchell wove his love story through the lyrical music provided by Irving Burgie, writer of Harry Belafonte's

famous song "Day-O"

As Director:

"Behind Closed Doors" - Primary Stages & Lambs Theatre 1994

"Behind Closed Doors" was a collection of one-act plays by traditional African American writers. They

included Ray Arahana - "Creedmore"; Clay Goss - "Our Sides"; Ruth Gaines-Sheldon - "The Church

Fight" and Margaret Ford Taylor - "Hotel Happiness" These productions explored serious issues through

the use of the satire to uncover answers and solutions to age old problems.

"Artistic Associate - Writer's Unit" - Negro Ensemble Company 1988-1991

As Artistic Associate I produced over 50 staged readings and conducted the writer's workshop for new and

established writers. This work culminated with two weeks of staged readings of new work from Black

Writers around the country. As coordinator I was responsible for securing directors and worked as liaison

between the writer and director as they prepared for their public presentation.

As Director:

"Cast Me Down - The Tragedy of Booker T. Washington" - Theatre Four 1987

This independent production placed on stage the controversial figure, Booker T. Washington as seen through

the eyes of his adversary, T. Thomas Fortune. This was an AEA showcase with professional actors. This

production was reviewed by New York Times and NY Daily News. I produced and directed this production

which was performed in New York - Off Broadway (Theatre Four) and at Hampton University, Mr.

Washington's educational home.

 As Director:

"Blue Heron Don't Do That" and "Funnyhouse of a Negro" - Cynthia Belgrave Studio 1985-86

As director in residence, under the tutelage of actress/producer Cynthia Belgrave (orginal cast member of

Genet's "The Blacks") I directed one full production and several staged readings each season. Ms. Belgrave

made this opportunity available to help provide equity in the opportunties available for Black Women

Directors to be nutured and grow as artists.

As Director:

"What If It Comes Up Heads" - Karamu Theatre 1979

"What If It Comes Up Heads" by J.E. Gaines is a small cast production that began my directing career. This

was a competitive effort at the Karamu Theatre to develop upcoming directors and require a proposal which

was evaluated by the Artistic Staff at the Karamu Theatre.

 

 UNPUBLISHED WORK (Supported by Evidence)

As Producer - Stage Left of Broadway Series

First media project in the series was adapted from "Livin" by Karimah. The production was shot at

National Black Theatre in Harlem. Now in post-production to be submitted to National Black Programming

Consortium. (Fall 2016)

Writer

"Recognizing A Dream" - Fall 2004 - present

“Recognizing a Dream” is a book that documents the efforts of four institutions that historically and

currently produce Black Theatre in America. This project is designed to address the concerns regarding the

lack of published material documenting the work of Black American Theatres. Theatre Communications

Group (TCG), a service organization for the American Theatre held an important conference to address

several issues facing theatres of color. This book will analyze data from that conference, (published in

American Theatre Magazine Nov. 2003), public records and institutional resources to chronicle the

production seasons, artistic development and social impact of these urban based organizations. The study

will include production photos, interviews and critical articles documenting and reflecting upon the

institutional work of the following four companies. St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre – St. Louis, Missouri

eta Creative Arts Center – Chicago Illinois; Karamu Theatre – Cleveland, Ohio; Negro Ensemble Company,

Inc. – New York, NY

"Black Tinsel (wt)" - Spring 2016 final edit in progress.

A coming of age novel about the theatre in New York.

This work developed out of the staged reading/workshop production of "Behind the Mask." The fictional

look at two young women as they travel through their career development in New York uncovers much rich

history and relationships between the southern Black Americans and the Caribbean Black Americans.

"Black Tinsel" also looks into the ungreat migration of the late 1980's when many African-American artists

traveled to Los Angeles in search of the 'big break' and the break it created in the Black Theatre world.

"The Thomas Tales" - A collection of short stories that trace Black History through the 'Thomas' lineage.

This historic collection of stories was gathered from tales told about southern Black life in America. The

charcter Thomas was an educated Black American renegade that craved equality without compromise.

Producer, Director

"The Absolution of Willie Mae" by Joseph Walker - A video recording of Mr. Walker's last play before his

death. This play was captured on video tape featuring Michael Wright (FiveHeartbeats; The Interpreter) in

the leading role. Mr. Walker was a Tony Award-Winning Playwright and held the Chairmanship of the

Theatre Department at Rutgers University. This work depicts the portion of his life when he used his artistic

sensibilities to change the life of a women he loves, Willie Mae.

Producer

"Blinded by Love" - An urban drama about college aged students struggling with the influence of the 'streets'

as they pursue higher education. This film is in its final editing stage. This work was developed from a

workshop production at Bronx Community College. The student was asked to develop a work that captured

the challenges urban youth face when they decide to pursue a degree while still confronting their daily

environment. "Blinded by Love" features several CUNY students and industry professionals.

Writer

"The Justice Center" - A play the confronts the injustices of the legal system in America. A young lawyer

leaves is high level corporate job to open a practice defending what most people would consider criminals.

His commitment to the under-class places him in harms way when he vindicates a client and finds

subsequently that the client was guilty.

 Writer, Director, Co-Producer

"A Soldier's Play and Beyond" A video documentary on the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. January, 2002

This video documentary is the culmination of several years work. The video contains staged performances of

"The River Niger" performed by Charles Weldon; and key interviews of actors, managers, designers and

playwrights who worked at the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. over a period of twenty years.

 

  Works accepted for publication

PEER REVIEW:

The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance (CAATP) edited by Kathy A. Perkins,

Sandra L. Richards, Renée Alexander Craft, and Thomas F. DeFrantz. "A Soldier's Play and Beyond - Black

Theatre Autonomy - The Price" A philosophical look at the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. 1980-1992 Final due

May 2017. Anticipated Publication Date: September 2018.

Oxford Bibliography - African American Studies "Theatre" This is a collection of research sources and authored

abstracts on a collection of articles about and around Contemporary Black Theatre institutions. The subtitles

include areas as follows: A Brief History of Black American Theatre; Black Arts Movement and Black Theatre

Institutions (1960-1980); and The Greate Debate…Continues. (July 2016)

Contributing Essay "Before During and After the Pulitzer - Charles Fuller's 'A Soldier's Play' and the NEC"

Essay - Collection of Critical Essays "Crowned with Laurel: Critical Essays on African American Pulitzer Prize

Winning Literature" - Volume to be published by Palgrave-MacMillian. Final article submitted June 2007. This

project was in final form turned down by publisher.

Muladu and the Bible" - One Act Play selected by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE

Religion & Theatre One-Act Play Festival) - Selected Finalists for July 2007 Conference received dramturgical

development under the supervision of Jay Malarcher West Virginia University and Marvin Carlson - CUNY during

Pre-Conference session. The play received a public reading during the main conference under the Religion and

Theatre Focus Group Presentation entitled "Sore Spots."

 b. Works submitted for publication

"A Colored Girls Quilt" - Submitted to the Alabama Shakespere Festival - Southern Writers Project that looks at

work by and about Alabama subjects. (January 2017) - pending

"A Soldier's Play and Beyond - A Contemporary look at Negro Ensemble Company" being considered for

Companion to African American Theatre and Performance, Routledge Press. (October, 2016) Accepted

Black Tinsel - Harper/Collins Publications uk (April 2016)- declined

Documentary Film - Black Producers on Broadway - American Theatre Wing - On Broadway Series 2013 -

Accepted

"Recognizing A Dream" - The Biography of Four Black Theatres

University of Missouri Press - Book Proposal - Request for Chapter & Table of Contents - January 2007 -declined

"Blinded by Love" - Feature Film submitted to Sundance Film Festival - November 2009 - declined

"Black Tinsel" Coming of Age Novel that takes a look backstage behind a Black Theatre Company - Creighton &

Associates - November 2006 - declined

 

Work in progress

Panel Member - ATHE Conference -Panel entitled - Dreaming Lorraine - My topic is Artist Collaborations: A

Requsite for the Future.(Summer 2014)

Recognizing A Dream - Chapters Completed and being submitted for publication August 2013.

"Livin" Screen Actors Guild (SAG) New Media production - In post production to be submitted for broadcast in

2014.

Stage Right of Broadway - Documentary Series - Woodie King Jr. and the New Federal Theatre

National Black Programming Consortium Producing Grant - To fund Negro Ensemble Company documentary and

'Livin' distribution and post production. Pending

Leon Levy Biography Grant and Guggenheim Fellowship- This grant was applied for to support the biographical

research and film based on the life of Nikki Giovanni. Applied for in 2012 and will re-apply for Levy for 2013.

 

GRANTS RECEIVED

a. Multiple

Urban Theatre Initiative - Chicago State University Spring, 2006, 07 Performance Grant - $5,000 per year.

This grant was for the presentation of two plays at the 45th Street Theatre and Lehman College that gives voice

to the underproduced and new playwright. The plays focus on urban or traditional culturally specific themes.

Special Award - Hon. Keith Wright for Theatre Ensemble work via NEC - 2005,06 - $50,000.

This grant was to support the NEC General Operating Expenses with a focus on production activity. I was

actively involved in lobbying the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus on behalf of the NEC to secure this grant.

Ten-thousand dollars ($10,000) of the grant was earmarked to sponsor and cultivate a relationship with new

writers for the theatre.

NYC Department of Cultural Affairs - In support of video documentary work done. - $33,500

This grant was dedicated to the General Production Expenses for the documentary "A Soldier's Play and

Beyond" - A documentary discussing the events that impacted the NEC post-pulitzer years.

NYS Council on the Arts - Special Arts Services - In support of the Instruction and Training Program at the

Negro Ensemble Company. 2005, 07 - $40,000

This grant was used to develop the instruction and training program that focused on artists training and

apprenticeships.

AT&T Educational Services Department - In support of the "Journey of Seven Guitars" documentary. 1995 -

$10,500

This grant was used to produce and distribute the documentary to community groups and educational based

organizations.

 b. Individual

Faculty/Student Research Award - A Colored Girls Quilt. Award Amount $5000.00. To fund the development

of a new work centered around the quilts and history of Gee's Bend. July 2016.

University Faculty Affairs Award - Moving from Associate to Full Professor. Award Amount $1,000. Fund

provided by Office of Academic Affairs to advance scholarship/creative work. July 2016.

PSC - CUNY - Research Foundation 2012-13 Urban Theatre Initiative - Award Amount $5,975. Black Theatre

Documentation. For the video production of "Livin' for electronic preservation of Black Theatrical work.

Filming to take place under SAG - New Media contract at National Black Theatre, NY October 2013

PSC - CUNY - Research Foundation 2011-12 Urban Theatre Initiative - Award Amount $5,900. This grant is

to produce the adaptation of "Living Fat" by Judi Ann Mason entitled "Living" adaptation by Karimah . Off

Broadway Playroom Theatre June 2012.

Faculty Leave - One Semester full salary - Spring 2010

This leave was granted to complete writing and editing of "Recognizing A Dream - The biography of four

Black American theatre institutions.

 

PSC - CUNY Award Amount $2,000 Spring 2009- Audio Production - "The Fire Inside - The story and poetry

of Nikki Giovanni" This grant is to produce the audio version of this stage play.

Diversity Projects Fund - University Affirmative Action Committee - Award Amount $5000. Spring 2008 For

the production of an Arts and Education project entitled "Anansi and the Dwarf Brigade" at the National Black

Theatre.

Shuster Fellowship - Award Amount $1,950 - Summer 2007

This grant is designed to support a research assistanceship focused on the final phase of the book "Recognizing

A Dream - A Biography of Four Black Theatre Institutions in America." The assistant will categorize and

secure re-printing rights of photos and designer drawings for the book.

Diversity Projects Fund - University Affirmative Action Committee For the production of two plays by

Women for Women's History Month. Award Amount $4,850 - Spring 2007

This grant supported the work of the Urban Theatre Initiative at Lehman College. The two plays produced

were "From The Mississippi Delta" and "so goes a nation." In addition the grant supported the promotion and

production expenses for "From The Mississippi Delta" to participate in the National Black Theatre Festival held

in Winston-Salem, NC.

Faculty Fellowship Publication Program - Award Amount - 3 credit release time granted Spring 2006

This fellowship program nurtured the initial stages of "Recognizing A Dream - A Biography of Four Black

Theatre Institutions in America." The collegiate exchange assisted in the honing and organization of the book,

as well as assisted in the development of a plan for completion.

PSC-CUNY - "The Business of Black Theatre"* - Award Amount $3,326.00 Year 2005-2006

This grant facilitated the purchase of camera equipment and funded a research assistant in the initial stages of

my research. * Title changed to "Recognizing A Dream - A Biography of Four Black Theatre Institutions in

America."

National Black Theatre Festival - In support of the research and panel presented July 2003 entitled

"The Heartbeat of Black Theatre: Time for an EKG" - $500

This panel uncovered the present funding inequities between the culturally specific companies and major

regional theatres in America. The panel hosted Ben Cameron - Theatre Development Group, Linda Dixon -

Arts Educator Denver Center, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer - National Black Theatre and I functioned as moderator.

This panel preceded the Theatre Development Group's call to Theatres of Color at the White Oak Plantation

later that year.

 

 SERVICE TO THE COLLEGE

Sponsor - Visual Elements in Storytelling - Guest Lecturer - Wynn Thomas - Production Designer for OSCAR

Nominated Film - HIDDEN FIGURES - (March 2017)

Producer, Urban Theatre Initiative Summer Dream Theatre - Produced four (4) staged readings of new work and one

workshop production from Theatre and Dance Department Reading Series THE BAND ROOM. Performances of the

Band Room was supported by the Theatre Development Fund's Off-Off Broadway Producers fund. (July/August 2016)

Organizer – Auditioning for Musical Theatre – Guest Artists Leslie Dockery SDC Director and Choreographer; Professor

Penny Prince – Lehman College Music Department; and Vincent Scott – Abingdon Theatre Company. (April 2016)

Moderator - Self-directed Artist Series - Guests Janet Rodriguez - SoHarlem; Rosalba Rolon Pregones/PRTT; Lydia

Clark - Bronx Council on the Arts and Karen Brown - Coalition of Theatres of Color (April 2016)

Transistion Committee - Performing Arts and Media Department 2016

Search Committee - Director of Theatre and Dance Program 2016

Sophmore Year Initiative - Early Warning Referral Program - Faculty Mentor (2012-present)

Student Faculty Marshall - Graduation - Spring 2013. 2014

Member Faculty-JCT Department P&B (2009-present)

Lehman College Council on Diversity - Co-Chairs Provost and Director of Compliance & Diversity - Member of

Recruitment Subcommittee - (2012- present)

Search Committee - Dance Lecturer - Theatre and Dance (November 2012)

Lehman Theatre Program Production Selection Committee - Charged with reviewing and recommendting plays for the

production season (2011-12)

Lehman Theatre Program Curriculum Committee - Revise program mission statement and develop corresponding course

program requirements. (2011-12)

Search Committee - Program Director - Theatre and Dance (February 2011)

Arts Committee Member - Special committee under the direction of the Dean of Arts and Humanities to expand the arts

impact and inclusion across the curriculum. (2010-12)

College Now Program - Faculty member conducting summer intensive exposing NYC highschool student to the college

experience through the arts. The students will develop a performance art piece using their neighborhoods and the subway

as their backdrop. July 2009

Freshman Year Initiative Program - development and performance of a new stage work "Follow the Rainbow" -

composed by Acting One students-directed by Prof. Turner May 2009

Faculty Participant - In Service Learning Project - Lehman College - January 2009

Mentor - Urban Male Leadership-Lehman College - January 2009

Curriculum Committee Member - charged with the development of MFA Theatre Arts Proposal - September 2008

 

Curriculum Committee Chair - charged with review and development of BA Theatre Arts Curriculum -April 2008

University Senate - Department Representative - Fall 2007, Spring 2008 and Fall 2008

Albert Shanker School for the Visual and Performing Arts - Career Development Seminar - April 2007

The students were investigating careers in the Theatre and sources of furthering their educations after High School.

Lehman College and the Theatre Program Admissions information was distributed.

What The World Need Now" a production of monologues that investigated the impact of love applied to any world

situation. The students composed monologues from inside war torn Iraq to the homophobic India to the penitentiaries of

upstate New York. This production was performed for the Freshman Year Initiative Program at Lehman College. - Fall

2006

"I Wish It Was Yesterday" a program of monologues was presented for the Freshman Year Initiative Program about the

individual heartbreaks experienced by the New Orleans Katrina victims. The students researched and discovered Katrina

stories that personally touched them and in their own words developed monologues and scenes that produced a poignant

performance. - May 2006

Sarah Lawrence Graduate Student Mentor - This program allowed the Theatre Department to host a graduate student from

Sarah Lawrence for as teaching assistants. These students worked with faculty mentor and students on various projects

such as dramatruge for "Antigone." Lehman students were able to attend Sarah Lawrence theatre production as part of

the institutional exchange. Since Fall 2003 - present

Action Research Institute - Summer 2005 Participant

This project investigated the use of intensive Stanislavsky methods as a foundation for an introductory Acting course and

the application of creative writing as an extension of this technique.

Writing Across Curriculum Faculty Specialist - Fall 2004 & Spring 2005

The WAC program introduced the use of writing on many levels. I discovered and explored the use of creative writing in

an Acting course. This work was the catalyst for the projects developed and performed for the Freshman Year Initiative

Program listed above.

Freshman Year Initiative Program - Provided study guides, performances scenes from "12-1-A" and post-show

discussions on Japanese Internment Camps - Fall 2003

The traditional presentation of scenes provided an inter-departmental use of theatre to enhance the study of WWII. The

acting students were required to research the causes, conditions and results of these interment camps; as well the

Freshman American History and Civics students were able to see and experience the impact through this stage

performance.

Freshman Year Initiative Program - Provided performance scenes from "Strong Breed" which invesitgated the rituals

from the Nigerian culture. - Fall 2003

This traditional presentation of scenes provided an inter-departmental use of theatre toenhance the African Studies. The

acting students were required to research the Yoruba culture and traditions; as well the Freshman African American and

African Studies students were able to see and experience these traditions through this stage performance.

Freshman Year Initiative Program - Provided performance "By A Black Hand" and post show discussions on the

contributions of Black Inventors - Spring 2003

This was the first Urban Theatre Initiative production at Lehman College. The contributions of Black Inventors to

American Culture was inspiring and informative for Lehman Students.

"A Raisin In the Sun" Broadway Production Directed by Kenny Leon Featuring Sean Combs - Spring 2003

This experience gave Lehman students the opportunity to experience a Broadway production featuring a popular music

industry artist. The experience was used in the classroom as a basis for discussion of career goals, required training and

marketing of American Theatre. I secured 25 free tickets for the Broadway revival of this production for theatre students.

 

Lehman Lecture Series - The presentation scenes from "Antigone" with post-show discussion. - Spring 2003

In conjunction with the City and Humanities Program under the supervision of Professor Earl Fendleman, scenes from the

production of "Antigone" were presented. I provided background from research and directorial concept prior to the

performance and conducted a post performance questions and answer session.

Search Committee - Costume Designer - Spring 2003

Served as faculty member in reviewing six candidates for the Assistant Professor position in costuming.

 

SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITY

Lecturer- Graduate Center - Conducted a lecture for the African-American Theatre course at the Graduate Center for

Professor James Hatch. The lecture was centered around the work of the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. and its impact

on the American Theatre. - Spring 2007

CUNY - TV - Faculty review of African American Legends Hosted by Dr. Roscoe Brown guest - Woodie King Jr. -

Fall 2005

CUNY African American Network (CAAN) - Member Since 2001

 

 COMMUNITY SERVICE

Board Member - New Federal Theatre - Woodie King, Jr. Founder (2016 - present)

Review Panel - Bronx Council on the Arts - BRIO Awards. (2016)

Production Manager - National Black Theatre Festival - Winston-Salem, NC (August 2013)

Talent Consultant True Colors Theatre - August Wilson Monologue Competition (May 2012 & May 2013)

Theatre and Oratorical Judge - NAACP - ACT SO Rockland County (2011)

Reader/Judge - Young Voices with New Visions www.yvnvplays.org (2009, 2010, 2011)

Producer / Director - Dance Music Theatre Productions - "Happy Birthday Jesus" by Lawrence Wray United Presbyterian

Church Middletown NY December 2011

Member and Reader - St. Pauls Episcopal Church - Chester, New York 2007 - present

Community Artist Board Member - Newburgh PEACE Project

This new group was formed as a multi-cultural, non-dominational effort to use the Arts as a vehicle to reach the urban

youth of Newburgh, NY. This group is focused on summer arts based activities that will reach the Newburgh youth.

Winter 2007 - present

Costume Designer - Summerstar Theatre SUNY - Orange "A Little Night Music"

This period musical requires intense research and reproduction of authentic costumes for this community based theatre

group. Summer 2007

Mentor - Technical Theatre Internship - Juan Diaz from Alfred E. Smith High School performed as a production assistant

on the production of "From The Mississippi Delta" Mr. Diaz was recommended by Professor Amanda Gulla - Lehman

College Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Mr. Diaz worked under my mentorship during the rehearsal

and performance process. January - March 2007

Set Designer - Theodore Schoenfeld School - PS 110 - Winter Concert

In conjunction with the music and dance department the students were introduced to basic set design skills while assisting

in the construction of the setting for their winter concert. November/December 2006

Costume Designer - Theodore Schoenfeld School - PS 110 Bronx Elementary

The Spring program centered around the fashion of the 1960's. Students were encouraged to contribute to the research

and development of their costumes, capturing the fashions of the period. March/June 2006

"50 Years of Black Television" - inteview and airing on BlackStarz and TVLand (cable)

This documentary chronicles the last 50 years of Black Television it's successes and failures. Aired Spring 2006

Actor - "Intimate Apparel" - SummerTheatre Orange County Community College - Mrs. Hickson -

Performed as actor for this SUNY based Community Theatre. June 2005

Panel Member - New Jersey State Arts Council - Arts and Education Panel - March 2005-present

Reviews potential applicants for funding through the NJ State Arts Council. Each panel member is responsible for a

detailed presentation of one organization and summary input on up to twelve applications per session. March 2005 -

present

Panel Member - The Youth Connection - National Black Theatre - Harlem, NY Summer 2003

This panel convened in Harlem was hosted by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, CEO and Director of the National Black Theatre

Complex. I was joined on the panel with Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, (Black Theatre Activists, Actors and Writers), Voza

Rivers (Executive Director of Roger Furman Theatre and Producer of Harlem Week); Gertrude Jeanette (Executive

Director of Haddley Players) and Dr. Teer as moderator.

Board of Directors - Negro Ensemble Company, Inc. 1999 - 2011

Editorial Board - Times Herald Record - Middletown, NY 1998-1999*

Choir Director, Assistant Director of Missions and Trustee - St. James Church - Middletown, NY

Community Service (cont'd)

As choir director, I was responsible for weekly presentations during services and special events. The production of an

original musical entitled "Faith's Miracle" was developed and produced at the Paramount Theatre in Middletown and at

St. James Church. 1998-2005

* See Description Above

 

MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES 

Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSD&C) - Associate Member

National Association of Schools of Theatre - Member

Association for Theatre in Higher Education - Member

Black Theatre Association - Member (ATHE)

National Communications Association - Member

League of Professional Theatre Women - Member

Black Theatre Network - Member

CUNY African American Network - Member

 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Noted Educational Theatre at Lehman College

As Director: "Flying West" by Pearl Cleage - Lehman Theatre Program - This production represents the first

drama written by an African American woman to be presented through the theatre program in over 10 years. The

local press Riverdale Press noted the significance of this production with photo entitled "Strong Black Women"

(February-March 2012)

New Course Creation: The Artist and Society

This is a 400 level course designed to explore the societal positions of various artists throughout history. The

objective is to expose our students to a number a professional artists that work in impactful positions onstage and

behind the scenes; in the professional arena, educational level and for community based institutions.

 

REFERENCES 

Nikki Giovanni - Distinguished Professor - Virginia Tech University - Writer and Scholar

Woodie King Jr. - Producer/Director - New Federal Theatre

Dr. Vanita Vactor Associate Professor and Fulbright Scholar NC A&T State University

 

 

 Susan WatsonTurner 

PERSONAL DATA

Address PO Box 2437, Middletown, NY 10940

Email susan.watson-turner@lehman.cuny.edu

Telephone Number 914.850-7463

 

 

Date Submitted to BHE March 2017

Why Theatre, Mr. Baldwin? by Susan Watson Turner A poignant look at James Baldwin's theatrical work.

Oxford Bibliographies - Contemporary Black Theatre in America - Susan Watson Turner (under review)

The temperament and face of Black Theatre has changed throughout the years.  Initially designed to imitate the European based form; to the eventual emergence of the autonomous institutions of the sixties, Black theatre in American and around the world has changed faces as often as it has changed its denotation.  The definition is embroiled in the gravatisic, politically correct, amorphous connotation influenced by the diversity movement.  The call for Diversity has leveled the playing field among non-European based formats.  The Black American Theatre movement was and is in the forefront of that initiative opening the doors culturally, politically, socially and economically.  Diverse, culturally specific definitions have forced the field to constantly struggle with the re-definition of a genre that created a tome of plays by and about black people from around the world.  The DuBois edict of the 1920’s by us, near us, about us…was repeated and refined in 1967 by Douglas Turner Ward in his call for artistic autonomy and echoed again in 1996 by August Wilson when he delivered The Ground on Which I Standbefore the Theatre Communication Group. This article navigates briefly through Black American Theatre history including the benchmark companies and major movement achievements; the 1960’s Black Arts Movement as a catalyst for the development of Black Theatre institutions founded during and post-Civil Rights and finally through the great debate on Tyler Perry Effect and the future of Black Theatre by Henry Louis Gates, Spike Lee, Robert Brustein and August Wilson.  This final section provides a birds-eye look at four contrasting and controversial positions regarding the definition and direction of contemporary Black American Theatre.  This article provides a guide through the history of Black American Theatre; captures the biographies of the institutions founded during the Civil Rights movement and subsequently affords us the opportunity to analyze the contemporary debate on what Black American Theatre may look like in this century and beyond.

"A Colored Girl's Quilt" by Susan Watson Turner

A creative dramatization of the work of the Gee's Bend Alabama women through quilting families together.  A warm look at the women of my own backyard. 

https://vimeo.com/192407384

 Undergraduate Research Grant - Sara Rosado - Dramaturge

 

Sara Rosado (Dramaturge) is a Macaulay Honors

student on the Lehman College

campus, pursuing a degree in the

arts. She works as a writing tutor at

the Academic Center for

Excellence at Lehman College, and

functions as a volunteer coordinator

and editor for the campus literary

and arts magazine, Obscura. Shehopes to pursue a career in creative expression and

social justice.

hopes to pursue a career in creative expression an 
 
Funded by Faculty and Undergraduate Research Grant
RF-CUNY

STATEMENT FROM SARA ROSADO - RESEARCH ASSISTANT 
 A Colored Girls Quilt by Professor Susan Watson Turner

I didn’t really know what to expect upon first joining the production team for

A Colored Girl’s Quilt. I remember learning everyone’s name for the first time. I remember reading the first portion of the script for the first time. I remember the air of excitement. But, I don’t think I could have imagined how much I would look forward

to seeing those familiar faces at every rehearsal, how much I would come to love the thrill of theatre. I don’t think I could have imagined how very dear to me this production is.

From the very beginning, I’ve watched the magic of creation from both behind and in front of the stage. I’ve been the editor and the silent, awe-stricken audience member. I’ve watched

these women struggle through frustrating read-throughs and stumble through difficult choreography, only to come out that much more stronger, tenacious, unified, and that much more beautiful in their portrayal of the Gee’s Bend women.

I remember coming home some nights after rehearsals, unable to get the musical numbers out of my head. I remember dancing to the song, “Lord Help Me Make this Quilt” in my room, and

acting out some of the lines from the play– not only to help with the editing process, but to see what the words taste like, to see what the scenes feel like. And it brought into perspective the bigger picture– bringing exposure to an extraordinary, time-encapsulating

tradition– quilting. The Gee’s Bend women were able to preserve a part of their culture, and by bringing this play to life, by telling their story, we’re able to do that too. Being a part of this process, this evolution, has been a transformative experience

for me. And it’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Teaching Statement

Teaching Statement and Goals

Susan Watson Turner – Associate Professor

Spring 2017

 

Overview

 

The teaching philosophy that governs my classroom encompasses the confluence of professional

practices, scholarship and the development of the student’s ability to think. This is accomplished by

maintaining a positive atmosphere conducive to constructive learning, the successful completion of

curriculum and the productive establishment of solid working relationships required for the theatre—a

collaborative profession.

  

Scholarly/Teaching Goals

 

As a senior faculty member, the focus and priorities of my teaching and scholarly/creative works are as follows:

·      Integration of advanced technology in my classroom by the creation of virtual environments  

·      Expand technology use in my creative works.

·      Completion and distribution of creative works in progress.

·      Community and Cross-curricula application of creative training.

 

Integration of advanced technology in my classroom by the creation of virtual environments, increased hybrid applications.

 

The process of integrating advanced technology requires continuing education in those areas.  To that end I am/will be participating in the following continuing education workshops:

 

·       Voice Thread Bootcamp (Feb 28 – March 7, 2017

·       Virtual Reality Academy and Development Lab. (May 15, 2017)

 

The Voice Thread training will refine my skills especially as applied to THE241 and LEH 353 – Art of the Theatre – Studies in the Arts.  This blended hybrid course applies traditional classroom meetings/virtual classroom with the backdrop of NYC Theatre performances.  The Voice Thread Bootcamp will allow an increased use of virtual communication to my structure. 

 

Expand technology use in my creative works

 

The Virtual Reality Academy will impact my creative works beginning in the Fall 2017.  Planning is in process for the production of When January Feels Like Summer by Cori Thomas where the use of virtual scenic elements will be performed with traditional live actor performances.  Production dates are October 18-21, 2017.

 

Completion and distribution of creative works in progress

 

Oxford Bibliographies – Contemporary Black Theatre in America

This work was accepted for publication July 2016 and submitted for final review January 2017.

 

The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance

Edited by Kathy A. Perkins, Sandra L. Richards, Renée Alexander Craft, and Thomas F. DeFrantz.  My work entitled “A Soldier’s Play and Beyond” has been accepted for publication (December 2016)

 

Publication date September 2018.

 

National Black Programming Consortium

The completion of electronically recorded stage version of “Livin” by Karimah will be completed and submitted to National Black Programming Consortium

  

Community and Cross-curricula application of creative training

 

A pilot program in conjunction with the Nursing program began in Spring 2015.  Planning is underway to incorporate acting applications into the training of student nurses.  The pilot was very successful and through acting improvisation Urban and Culturally Specific elements were integrated into standard nursing case studies; the improvisations provided some interesting ‘human’ experiences.  Industrial work is a significant area of employment for the creative artists.  This was a win--win application for the artists and nursing students.