Tackling issues of representation, diversity, and mental health in the theater, television, and film industries, the Black Acting Methods Studio, University of Cincinnati Office of Research, and Weinberger Center for Drama & Playwriting at the University of Cincinnati held a nationwide application process for students who wanted to start a Black Acting Methods Society chapter at their institutions. This groundbreaking program selected seven students to participate in a year-long residency where they learn about black theater, performance, and the philosophy of Black Acting Methods Studio and training. This unique program is the first of its kind and is the brainchild of Atlanta native Sharrell D. Luckett, PhD, founder of Black Acting Methods Studio and performance teacher.
Luckett has enlisted some of the best playmakers in the theater arts, BAM Studio Artistic Associates, to teach classes: dancer/choreographer Juel D. Lane; musician RAHBI, pioneer of Hip-Hop Theater pedagogy Kashi Johnson, specialist in black psychology and LGBT mental health, artist and therapist Jonathan M. Lassiter, PhD, and education and theater expert Tia M. Shaffer, EdD. The culmination of the program is a workshop on the Luckett Paradigm, a performance methodology developed by renowned director and professor, Sharrell D. Luckett, PhD.
Participating institutions include Florida State University, Shenandoah University and Temple University. The inaugural cohort of the Black Acting Methods Society is as follows:
Lenita Atabe, Jade Krystal Dyer, Chelsea Goode, Zachary Thomas Izquierdo, Evan Mayorga, Zeatha Saint Fleur and Amadou Tounkara.
The Black Acting Methods Society is the non-profit arm of the Black Acting Methods Studio. The studio was founded by Sharrell D. Luckett shortly after the 2016 release of her popular book with Shaffer, Black Acting Methods: Critical Approaches. The book presents a compilation of performance training techniques centered on the lived experience of Black Americans and their unique needs in the entertainment industry. Of course, the majority of acting programs in America are centered in white culture and teach techniques created by white practitioners. Therefore, the Studio and the Book are changing the landscape of performing arts programs by providing critical and necessary interventions in the actor training process.
For more information on the Black Acting Methods Studio, the Black Acting Methods Society and Studio Artistic Associates, please visit: www.blackactingmethods.com, www.sdluckett.com, www.jueldlane.com, www.hellorahbi.com, www .jonathanmlassiter.com, www.kashijohnson.com
The mission of Black Acting Methods Studio is to provide performance training that elevates, supports, highlights, and values Black American culture and aesthetics in the artistic process.
The objectives of the Black Acting Methods Studio include:
1) Make accessible, nationally and globally, knowledge and resources concerning the field and practice of Black Acting Methods. 2) Train actors in the Luckett Paradigm, an inclusive performance methodology that pays special attention to the needs of Black actors in audition rooms, rehearsal rooms, and performances. 3) Honor black people as central creators, co-creators and influencers of performance theory.