FOUNDER/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SHEILA KAY DAVIS
New Professional Theatre has supported, encouraged and celebrated many writers through its annual Writer's Festival. We selected the very best and brightest talent in the United States, contributing to a diverse American cultural landscape. Featured below are samples of the many outstanding writers NPT has promoted with cash grants, staged readings, dramaturgy, and literary support. Many have gone on to achieve careers in theatre, film, and television.
Notable writers include:, Colman Domingo, Kathleen McGhee-Anderson, Marva Hicks, Kia Corthron, Zakiyyah Alexander, Patricia Ione Lloyd, Karen Chilton, Ken Roberson, Keith Josef Atkins, Katori Hall, Kara Corthron, Ramona Keller
Single Black Female, by Dr. Lisa Thompson, The Duke Theatre.
The In-Gathering, by John Henry Redwood and Daryl Waters, The Duke Theatre.
Coming Apart Together, by Paula Materre.
Two Divas & the Dog, by Kira Arne.
Skindiver, by Charles Randolph Wright and Nona Hendryx.
Slam, by Thom Jones III.
Barnstormer, by Cheryl Davis and Doug Cohen
New Professional Theatre (NPT), founded by Sheila Kay Davis, throws a spotlight on multicultural vitality and diversity; while also promoting the work of predominantly minority artists to both mainstream and minority audiences. NPT aims to empower, advance and sustain new work written by emerging and established writers. We promote the work of new and established writers through showcases, full productions, international collaborations, symposia and seminars. NPT develops new, diverse audiences and cultivates hard-to-reach communities.
ABOUT THE FOUNDER/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Sheila Kay Davis is a lifelong theatre professional. After graduating from Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. with a degree in theatre, Sheila headed to New York City. She was immediately cast in the hit show "Little Shop of Horrors", now a classic, in which Sheila originated the role of Ronette. She is featured on the cast album and played the role for five years. She hit the ground running racking up success in television commercials, regional theatres, and daytime dramas.
However, she noticed very few minorities having real sustainable success in the theatre world. Her thorough experience as an actress gave her insight into both the joys and frustrations of minority artists. She used this insight as her drive to found the New Professional Theatre (NPT). Armed with passion and desire, Ms. Davis set out to form a theatre company that would develop African American playwrights, a sorely underrepresented group.
Since its inception, NPT has served over 1000 playwrights with productions, cash grants, dramaturgy, business seminars and providing access to agents and producers. New Professional Theatre is the only African American theatre company located in the Broadway theatre district. NPT writers have been featured in regional theatre, television, and film. Sheila is the daughter of Carrie Meek, the first African American elected to the US Congress in the state of Florida since Reconstruction. Sheila understands developing constituencies and community mobilization. She serves her community through the NPT Education Program a program that provides mentoring, homework assistance, college prep, volunteerism and Broadway outings to New York City Public School Students. She also chairs the Arts Ministry at Antioch Baptist Church. She has received the Spelman College Alumnae Achievement Award for Arts & Media and the Arts Leadership Award from the Coalition of 100 Black/Asian/Latino women at the World of Women Leaders.
Mark Dundas Wood has worked as literary manager for New Professional Theatre since 2000. In addition, he has served as a dramaturg for the New York Musical Theatre Festival since 2009. His articles and reviews have appeared in Backstage, American Theatre, Theater Week Magazine, bistroawards.com and elsewhere. He is a co-editor for and contributor to the entertainment website SimplyShowbiz.com. Mark holds MFA degrees in creative writing from The University of Oregon and in dramaturgy from Columbia University.