History repeated itself, and the possibilities for the future were revealed.

Our Vision

Create A Future.


Create A Future.

The International Black Theatre Summit

With a goal to maintain and establish more intentional strategies and professional networks, programs, and coalitions that capitalize on the links between theatre, film, television and related media platforms with domestic and international connections. The network will better support and sustain black artists, cultural producers and audiences thereby providing models for cross-cultural collaborations.

Our Founder:

Dr. Monica White Ndounou is an Associate Professor of Theater at Dartmouth College and the founding Executive Director of The CRAFT Institute.  She is also the past President of the Black Theatre Association (BTA) (2016-2018), Vice President of Advocacy for the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) (2019-2021) and serves on the board of The August Wilson Society.  She is a founding member of the National Advisory Committee of The Black Seed, a national strategic plan to create impact and thrivability for Black theater institutions and initiatives.

Dr. Ndounou’s interdisciplinary research projects span a broad range of topics.  She frequently writes for popular audiences and presents the findings of her work at national and international conferences. Her award-winning book, Shaping the Future of African American Film: Color-coded Economics and the Story Behind the Numbers (Rutgers University Press), received the 2016 Distinction Honor from the Southern Conference on African American Studies, Inc. (SCAASI).  Professor Ndounou is currently working on several projects including but not limited to a book, Acting Your Color: The CRAFT, Power and Paradox of Acting for Black Americans which includes a multi-media project exploring black American contributions to developing acting theories and practices.  She is also an actor and director who has worked on a range of projects.  


Special Initiatives Directors

Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley

Associate Dean, Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley is an associate professor of theatre at the University of Kansas and served as acting chair and chair of the department from spring 2016 to fall 2017. She also served as a co-director of the School of the Arts during the fall 2017 semester. As associate dean, she will work to build proactive efforts to ensure attention to DEI concerns at the institutional and individual level. Professor Hodges Persley is a sought-after campus facilitator and speaker on issues of diversity and inclusion in higher education and the arts. She is an award-winning teacher, mentor and community leader whose scholarship and creative work offer important strategies to address racial and social injustice.


Dr. Nsenga Burton


Dr. Nsenga Burton is founder and editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire, an award-winning digital platform dedicated to covering news of the African Diaspora. Through her content partnership with National Newspaper Publishers of America, she reaches over 2 million users online daily. A cultural critic, Nsenga also contributes pop cultural content and analysis to The Root, The Grio, Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. Nsenga has nearly 20 years of film and new media production, having worked most recently as a behind the scenes producer (BTS) on the major motion pictures Little (2019) and Shaft (2019).

In addition to her work in the film and new media industries, Nsenga is a film and media scholar focusing on diversity related issues and dominant media 

industries (legacy and new media). She is a professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Emory University and Co-Director of the Film and Media Management concentration there. The film and media management program is a joint program with the Goizueta Business School at Emory. Dr. Burton has contributed numerous articles and chapters to academic publications. Most recently, she is co-editor of the edited volume Black Women's Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability which was released on SUNY Press in 2017 and “Mad Men: Draper, Double Consciousness and The Invisibility of Blackness,”in The Universe is Indifferent: Theology, Philosophy and Mad Men, eds. Ann Duncan and Jacob Goodson, Cascade Press in 2016.


A digital entrepreneur, Nsenga is the former Executive Director of the National Association of Multicultural Digital Entrepreneurs, a trade organization dedicated to developing public policy that helps digital entrepreneurs of color and communities of color. Nsenga currently serves as Board Chair of the Atlanta Youth Commission and Programming Director of the University of Southern California Alumni Association Atlanta Chapter. She is a member of Women in Film and Television Atlanta, the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee, BronzeLens Film Festival Student Judging Committee, Dartmouth International Black Theater Summit Committee and the Northwestern University Council of 100.  


Dr. Burton serves as an expert commentator on radio, television and news media platforms. She holds film and media degrees from Northwestern University (B.S.), New York University (M.A.), University of Pennsylvania (M.A.), and the University of Southern California (Ph.D.).


Nsenga lives in Atlanta, GA with her daughter Kai and fur-son Mr. Miyagi.

Dr. Indira Etwaroo 



Dr. Indira Etwaroo—producer, educator, artist and scholar--has been described as “a seeker of meaning, of relevance, of values; and a meaning-maker; searching for relationships, striving towards depths of understanding and seeking transformation.” Indira has produced, lectured, written and presented scholarly and artistic work throughout New York City, the United States and internationally. In 2009, Dr. Etwaroo received the prestigious Forty Under 40 Dynamic Achievers Award from The Network Journal which recognizes 40 national leaders in their field under the age of 40. From working and living abroad, she has expanded her views on global issues and appreciates the complex intersections between culture, politics, music, dance and art.

In 2003, Dr. Etwaroo worked for a year in Ethiopia as a Fulbright Scholar with a group of refugee Somali women and children to explore the performance aesthetics that surround the controversial practice of female genital cutting. She received the Emerging Doctoral Scholar Award, as well as the Graduate Research Award from the National Congress on Research in Dance for her work. She has served as an adjunct professor at Temple University, teaching Dance, Movement and Pluralism; and Research Methods. Indira Etwaroo is the Founding Executive Producer of The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space.  During Dr. Etwaroo's six-year tenure with The Greene Space, Indira has produced a sundry of multiplatform events, broadcasts and live video webcasts to reach local and global audiences.

Dr. Etwaroo launched a musical talent quest that excavates and celebrates undiscovered musical talent across genres from all five New York City Boroughs. In 2012, she produced the American Broadcast Premiere of Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Radio Drama to honor the 75th Anniversary of this seminal work, which included Tony Award-winning actors Phylicia Rashad and Ruben Santiago-Hudson.

Prior to joining NYPR in 2006, she worked at the preeminent arts organization the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where she developed and oversaw some of the most notable education and humanities’ programming in the fields of music, dance, drama and visual arts. She received BAM’s Dance Africa Award for Outstanding Service; the Education and Community Heritage Award from Bed-ford Stuyvesant Restoration Corp.; and various other awards, grants and fellowships.

Etwaroo has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Dance, a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies, and a Master’s Degree in Dance Education from Temple University. Dr. Etwaroo also received a Bachelor's Degree in Classical Flute Performance from Longwood University. Her pride and joy is her ten-year old aspiring performer, Zenzele. 

Dr. Véronique Helenon


Véronique Hélénon is a historian whose area of expertise is the African Diaspora with a special emphasis on its French-speaking dimensions and the Caribbean.

A Fulbright alumna, she taught at various institutions including NYU, Columbia University, Florida International University and UMass-Boston.

She has published articles and book chapters on the African Diaspora, Colonialism, and French Hip-Hop.  She is the author of French Caribbeans in Africa: Diasporic Connections and Colonial Administration, 1880-1939 (Palgrave, 2011).

Dr. Eve Graves



Dr. Eve Graves is a graduate of Spelman College.  She began her professional academic career at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA., where she received several awards, published several articles, and was elected to head a national professional organization. Dr. Graves was awarded a Teaching Fellowship from the Carnegie Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University. At the end of her final residency at the Carnegie Foundation, Dr. Graves decided to pursue work as an intercultural pedagogue by accepting a teaching position at the prestigious Xiamen University in China. She lived and successfully taught Western Theatre History and Literature in China for four and a half years. 



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