Theatre Faculty, Students Take Part in National Association of Dramatic Speech and Arts Conference

Prairie View A&M University faculty and students took part in the 2019 National Association of Dramatic Speech and Arts Conference, which was held on April 3-6, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland. Theatre faculty Hardy Bates and YharNahKeeShah Smith traveled with students Diamond Caldwell, Alexis Perry, Nicholas Sloan, and Isaiah Robinson. Bates currently serves on the executive board for the organization.

The students and faculty participated in workshops that discussed a variety of information about the arts, such as managing a successful theatre company, understanding subtext in play scripts, and dancing for musicals. In addition to workshops, there were student competitions. The PVAMU Theatre Program competed in the Allen Williams One-Act Play Festival, receiving third place accolades for the performance of “Contribution”, written by former faculty member and program director, Dr. Theodis “Ted” Shine. Caldwell and Roberts received All-Star Cast recognitions for their performances in the show.

“The conference inspired me to keep pushing, and made me change my minor to Drama,” said Caldwell. She enjoyed watching the variety of competitions, and her favorite workshop was the Improvisation Workshop with TV film actor Nicoye Banks (Queen Sugar).

Perry enjoyed a seminar given by Actress Rain Pryor, who is the daughter of Richard Pryor. “She was very transparent with us about her life, and I enjoyed listening to her story,” she said.

Robinson said that he learned how to interpret scripts more thoroughly with the workshop, “Did you get the text?” by Professor Allen Williams of Coppin State University.

Bates said, “On behalf of the faculty and students in the program, I would like to Dr. Mark Phillips, Dr. James Wilson, and Dean Danny Kelley for assisting and helping make this trip possible.”

A university grant sponsored the faculty, and the Brailsford College of Arts & Sciences sponsored the students’ trip expenses.

NADSA is an association of over 300 students, faculty, staff and other arts/entertainment professionals from historically black colleges and universities across the country. Founded in 1936, NADSA is today the nation’s oldest surviving educational theatre association. The 4-day annual conference features a series of workshops, competitions, performances, and panels. Theatre and speech communication enthusiasts use the NADSA conference as an opportunity to network, build skill-sets, and share best practices in the field of theatre.

By Hardy Bates, Jr., Lecturer & Technical Director