ABOUT

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

Our Vision

Create A Future.

OUR VISION

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

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Dr. Nsenga Burton

DIRECTOR OF FILM, TV, AND NEW MEDIA

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an award-winning journalist, professor and content creator. Dr. Burton currently serves as Co-Director of the Film and Media Management Concentration at Emory. Nsenga's area of expertise is intersectionality (race, class, gender and sexuality) and the Hollywood film industry. In addition to working as a professor, Nsenga has worked as a journalist and cultural critic for the last two decades. She is a former editor-at-large for The Root, columnist for the Huffington Post, cultural critic for Creative Loafing and has contributed to The New York Times, USA Today, BET News, The Crisis Magazine and The Grio.

 

In 2012, Nsenga founded The Burton Wire, an award-winning news blog covering news of the African Diaspora. Nsenga currently hosts a twice-monthly livestream on issues impacting the Black community for Black Press USA and is a contributor to Courier Newsroom.

 

Never moving too far away from film, Dr. Burton worked as a behind the scenes producer on 2019's Shaft and Little and is a contributor to the short film, "Flash Here and There Like Falling Stars: Remembering the Life of Dr. Pellom McDainiels" (2020). Nsenga has written extensively on race and media, most recently serving as co-editor of the book Black Women's Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. In addition to co-editing duties, Dr. Burton contributed the chapter, "Representations of Black Women's Mental Health on Being Mary Jane and How to Get Away with Murder."   She has also written about W.E.B. DuBois' theory of double consciousness and the question of race in AMC's Mad Men, South African Soap Operas as a tool for racial reconciliation and is working on a book proposal on race, gender and the reality television industry. Nsenga recently curated Emory's Spring 2020 Cinematheque African Americans in American Film and served as director of the 2020 AfroComicCon International Short Film Festival (virtual) which took place in October. 

 

Dr. Burton is co-chair of the Black Caucus for the Society of Cinema and Media Studies, a member of the African-American Film Critics Association, National Communication Association and Women in Film and Television Atlanta. Nsenga is the former chair of the Atlanta Youth Commission and serves as Bylaws Chair for the League of Women Voters Atlanta. She is a member of The Links, Incorporated and a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. 

 

A frequent commentator of television, radio and new media, Dr. Burton holds degrees in film and communication from Northwestern University (B.S.), New York University (M.A.), University of Pennsylvania (M.A.) and the University of Southern California (Ph.D.). 

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Dr. Indira Etwaroo

DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC REIMAGINING

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. 

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Dr. Eve Graves

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

AND FORMAL TRAINING PROJECTS

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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Dr. Véronique Helenon

DIRECTOR OF CROSS-CULTURAL

COLLABORATION INITIATIVES

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).

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Dr. Nicole Hodges Persley

DIRECTOR OF THE BLACK VITALITY COMMISSION 

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.

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Mauricio Tafur Salgado

CO-PRODUCER OF CRAFT COURSE PROGRAMMING

BFA, Acting, Juilliard School
MFA, Directing, Brown University

Mauricio Tafur Salgado is an Assistant Arts Professor of Theatre Studies in the Department of Drama at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Salgado is mestizo + first gen + born to proudly subversive Colombians + brown skinned + amateur bio-regionalist + aspiring theologian + cis-hetero + married + artist, pursuing justice and healing through a decolonial framework. He collaborates to organize space where folx rehearse revolution, compromise, rage, tolerance, strength, trust, and vulnerability. 

Prior to joining Tisch Drama, Salgado co-founded Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP). At ASTEP, he recruited, trained, and supported more than 325 teaching artists and created and implemented 23 programs for artistic youth. He is currently a founding creative producer with the Remember2019 Collective, which supports local black cultural workers in Phillips County, Ark., as they facilitate spaces for self-determination, memory, and reflection that are directly related to the Elaine Massacre. He has worked as a facilitator, actor, deviser, and director with communities in Peru, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, India, Belgium, Germany, Scotland, and across Turtle Island (the United States). He has taught at the Boston Conservatory, Brown University, Santa Clara University, La Guardia Community College, and Kingsborough Community College.

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