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DANAI J GURIRA
President: Almasi Arts Alliance, Co-founder of Almasi Collaborative Arts
Danai Gurira is an award-winning playwright and actress. As a playwright, her works include: In the Continuum (OBIE Award, Outer Critics Award, Helen Hayes Award), Eclipsed (Tony Award Nomination: Best Play, NAACP Award; Helen Hayes Award: Best New Play; Connecticut Critics Circle Award: Outstanding Production of a Play), and The Convert (six Ovation Awards, Los Angeles Outer Critics Award). Danai’s newest play Familiar received its world premiere at Yale Rep in 2015 and premiered in New York at Playwrights Horizons in February of 2016. She is a recipient of the Whiting Award, as well as Drama Desk’s Sam Norkin Award. Danai is also a Hodder Fellow, and has been commissioned by Yale Rep, Center Theatre Group, Playwrights Horizons, and the Royal Court. She is currently developing a pilot for HBO. As an actor, she has appeared in the films The Visitor, Mother of George, she also played Isabella in NYSF’s Measure for Measure (Equity Callaway Award). She currently plays Michonne on AMC’s The Walking Dead (NAACP Image Award nomination) and recently wrapped production on the Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me.” Danai next goes into production on Marvel’s “Black Panther” where she will star as Okoye. She holds an MFA from Tisch, NYU. She was born in the US to Zimbabwean parents and raised in Zimbabwe. She serves as an ambassador for Bono’s ONE campaign, founder of Love Our Girls, an awareness campaign which sheds light on the injustices girls and women face all over the world, and is the co-founder of Almasi Arts, which works to give access and opportunity to the African Dramatic Artist | danai@almasiarts.org

 

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NIKKOLE SALTER
Associate Artist

Los Angeles-born actress and dramatist Nikkole Salter launched her career with her co-authorship and co-performance of the wildly successful play, IN THE CONTINUUM (ITC). For its Off-Broadway run and international tour, Miss Salter earned an OBIE Award (2006), and the NY Outer Critics Circle’s Award (2006), the Seldes-Kanin Fellowship from the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Global Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations.​ As a dramatist, Ms. Salter’s most recent work, CARNAVAL, and received its world premiere production in Luna Stage’s 2012-13 season and was commended by critics as a playwright whose “strong voice resonates.” Her play REPAIRING A NATION was completed as a part of NYU’s 2012-13 Writer’s Roundtable and received a reading in Crossroads Theatre Company’s new play festival summer 2013. Ms. Salter is currently commissioned by Luna Stage, the University of North Carolina, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and was selected to write the screen adaptation of Claude Brown’s famous novel, Manchild in the Promised Land by the indie film company Frigate Films. As a social entrepreneur, Ms. Salter co-founded THE CONTINUUM PROJECT, INC., a non-profit organization that creates innovative artistic programming for community empowerment. The Continuum Project, Inc. received a 2010 and 2011 grant funded by the New York Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Program, in support of their youth development initiative, the Legacy Program and which was featured nationally on the PBS series, “Finding Your Roots,” hosted by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Ms. Salter is a member of the Actors Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Dramatists Guild. She received her BFA in theatre from Howard University and her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program | nikkole@almasiarts.org

 

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SUSAN KELECHI WATSON
Social Media Coordinator

Susan Kelechi Watson is an actor, producer, and director. She trained as an artist at Howard University in Washington, DC where she received a fellowship to study classical theater, with a concentration in Shakespeare, at Oxford University as a part of the British American Academy of the Arts. After graduating from Howard, Susan continued her classical training at the Shakespeare Lab at The Pubic Theater in NYC. She received a full scholarship to New York University and graduated with her Masters of Fine Arts from the Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Acting Program. As an actor, Susan has been on Broadway as “Juliet” in “A Naked Girl on the Appian Way” written by Pulitzer Prize nominated and Tony Award winner Richard Greenberg. She has enjoyed roles Off Broadway at The Public Theater and Ars Nova as well as regionally at Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, CT. Her television credits include guest star roles on “Law and Order”(s), “Medium”, “Private Practice”, “Numbers”, “ The Good Wife”, “Golden Boy” and “The Blacklist”, amongst others. She has recurred on “Third Watch”, “Kidnapped” and “NCIS”. Susan is currently recurring on the Emmy Award Winning FX comedy series “Louie” as “Janet”, Louie’s ex-wife. Her film credits include “Blackout” (Tribeca Film Fest 2007) and Small Beautifully Moving Parts (SXSW Film Fest 2011) amongst others. Her film production credits include the MBIB documentary “Imagine A Future” (Tribeca Film Festival 2013) and “Time After” (March 2014), from Silvadollar Productions. She is set to produce a short film scheduled for release in 2014. Susan was born in Brooklyn, NY to Jamaican parents and raised in both Brooklyn and Long Island. She is first generation American | susan@almasiarts.org

 

web-portrait-uzoUZO ABUDA
Almasi Ambassador

Aduba first garnered recognition for her acting in 2003, when her performance in Translations of Xhosa at the Olney Theatre Center for the Arts earned her a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play. In 2007, she made her Broadway debut, portraying Toby in Coram Boy. From 2011 through 2012, she sang “By My Side” as part of the original revival cast of Godspell at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Her first television appearance was as a nurse on Blue Bloods in 2012. She also played the mother of the title character of Venice at The Public Theater in New York. In 2013, Aduba began portraying Suzanne Warren, also known as “Crazy Eyes”, in the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. On being cast, Aduba said,I auditioned for the show back in late July or early August of 2012. I had been auditioning that summer for more television and film [after doing much theater]. I’d read a lot of scripts and I remember reading “Orange Is the New Black,” and it was at the head of the pack. I remember thinking, “Wow, that is really good, I would love to be a part of that.” I went in and auditioned for another part, and my representatives called me about a month later and they were like, “Hi, we have some really good news. You remember that audition you went on for ‘Orange Is the New Black’? You didn’t get it.” I go, “So… okay, what’s the good news?” They said they wanted to offer me another part, Crazy Eyes. I was like, “What in my audition would make someone think I’d be right for a part called Crazy Eyes?” But to be honest, when I got the script for it, it felt like the right fit. In this regard, what got Aduba to play “Crazy Eyes” was because, according to the casting director: “Uzo Aduba…had her hair in those knots for the audition…They saw something amazing in her and were able to connect it to what they were looking for in Crazy Eyes.” In March 2014, Aduba performed at Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS benefit concert Broadway Backwards | uzo@almasiarts.org

 

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