Nikkole Salter – Playwright – “Carnaval” – April 11, 2011



BIOGRAPHY: (a little unconventional, I know… but roll with me…)

My biography?  Huh.
Where to start?
A quote:  “A battle lost or won is easily described, understood and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation…”Frederick Douglass
I could start by telling you why I write: To capture the essence of contemporary African Americana in order that we may be remembered, celebrated, learned from and permitted to reflect on how we relate to ourselves, each other and the world (in a safe, fun and entertaining way!) in hopes to inspire our life-affirming evolution as a culture, as people.  (I know that sentence ran on….)
But that’s not what biographies are about.
Okay.  Take two.
I guess I should start where most people do and tell you where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing, with whom I’ve been doing it and what people have said about it (all of which you can Google on your own if you’re really interested) so that you become so impressed that you come out to the BlackBoard Reading Series on Monday, April 11th to hear this play I wrote and am so excited about!
That’s my only reason for telling you anything about me anyway, right? (well that, and Garlia is making me)
I’d bet most of you probably already know if you’re coming, so I find it difficult to believe that there’s anything I could possibly say/write to change your mind… I mean, are you even reading this?
I guess you are.
So, what’s a girl/woman/person (not necessarily in that order) to do?
If there are a few of you that are still ‘undecided’ (flashback: 2008 presidential elections) – those of you withholding your commitment insisting that something be proven to you under the guise of “informed consumerism” … I will attempt to sway you to come out to let me/my thoughts/my words/my perspective/my concerns/my love/my joy occupy a couple hours of the only thing you really have — TIME.  Fair enough.
Let me dazzle you with a BRIEF outline of “who I am”.
Disclaimer – All events retold are true.
Side bar thought: “Achievement brings it’s own anticlimax.” – Maya Angelou
Okay, here it goes:
Born in L.A. – studied theatre as a child to get lots of attention and to keep from having to play sports.  Did some Hollywood acting… probably nothing you’ve seen.
Went to D.C. – studied theatre as a young woman at Howard University to honor my dream by studying my craft — and also to be like my mentor Wendy Raquel Robinson and satisfy my curiosity surrounding Spike Lee’s ‘School Daze”.  Made lots of friends.  Dove into campus politics. Got a degree. Did some college acting… probably nothing you’ve seen.
Went to NYC – studied acting as a growing woman at NYU’s Grad Acting Program to hone my skills, gain some confidence and get hooked into the professional world of acting.  Made a few friends.  Got another degree.  Did some amazing grad school acting… probably nothing you’ve seen.
Co-wrote a play, IN THE CONTINUUM, which you may have seen, but regardless of whether you did or not a lot of folks important to the NYC theatre community saw it and loved it.
Got great reviews and profiles (and some absolutely horrible photos of me published in perpetuity).
Got some nominations/considerations/validations.
Got some awards – OBIE, NY Outer Critics John Gassner Award for Best New American Play, Theatre Hall of Fame.
Pimped the great reviews and awards into a tour of the country, Scotland, and Southern Africa.
Published the play with Samuel French.
Fell in love.
Got some more great reviews and awards and profiles.
Auditioned for some theatre stuff and commercial stuff and film stuff… most of which I did not get and some of which you may have seen.
Wrote another play.
Started a non-profit – The Continuum Project, Inc.
Joined the conservatory faculty at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Kept auditioning.
Stayed in love.
Wrote another play… that I want you to come and hear at Blackboard Reading Series on Monday, April 11th.
Still auditioning.
Still writing.
Still teaching.
Still in love.
That’s it.
…Come anyway.

Why is telling you the story of me so hard?
Probably because it’s not finished yet.

About blackboardplays

Familiar with the collectives for poets and other Black writers that had been created over the years and slightly envious of that sense of community, I became curious about a similar place for playwrights. I wanted to see Black playwrights, actors and directors excited over each others work and supporting each other. I was longing for a “home” as a Black playwright and wanted to see other Black artists in that home, not to be exclusive, but because there was a void. I was also eager to find other Black playwrights who shared a passion for the craft of storytelling. The stories of the Black community are diverse and are often hidden behind the blockbuster stereotyped versions. The non-artistic Black community, not involved in the writing of these stories, is yearning to see themselves in our stories and it is apart of my life’s work to ensure that happens. the cell is any artists’ dream: a new space that supports you as you grow, committed to new work and the art. This allows the writer to focus on the craft - to focus on their story. Nancy Manocherian and Kira Simring welcomed this idea with open arms and instantly became apart of what we later called “Blackboard Reading Series”. Every reading will conclude a twenty minute talk-back with the audience. Dialogue with the community is essential to what we want to do with the series. As we grow, there may be more readings a month, play festivals and of course productions. We want to nurture and develop new black playwrights for this generation! Thank You! Garlia Cornelia Jones Founder, Blackboard Reading Series
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2 Responses to Nikkole Salter – Playwright – “Carnaval” – April 11, 2011

  1. Pingback: We sure know how to pick ‘em – NIKKOLE SALTER | Playwright Conversations

  2. Pingback: Our Women Playwright Crushes of the week! | Playwright Conversations

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