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Arts & Culture

Theater Talk: Annette Daniels Taylor, new AD at Paul Robeson


Annette Daniels Taylor, born in NYC (Staten Island), is an Artie award-winning playwright, published poet, filmmaker, artist and costumer (and for awhile the personal stylist for actress Ruby Dee) whose first experience as an audience member in Buffalo was at the Paul Robeson and she was sold! Jumping in as a volunteer for the African American Cultural Center's "Jumpin' Jumbalaya" youth summer program, she went on to costume for the Robeson, where she is now the new Artistic Director.

Taylor was the Artie Award winner for the best new play of the 2008-2009, A LITTLE BIT OF PARADISE.  

Taylor will be working with the new  African American Cultural Center Executive Director, Tina Washington-Abubeker, replacing the incredible Agnes Bain, who passed away last year, after serving as E.D. for 41 years! 

Speaking of legacy, Anthony Chase reminded everyone that the Paul Robeson Theatre is the LONGEST CONTINUING RUNNING THEATER IN BUFFALO! Not just the longest running African American theater, the longest.... period.

And speaking of long-running, Ms. Daniels Taylor promised to continue the very popular August Wilson Monologue Competition, as well as serving fresh popcorn to theater patrons (yesssss!), and the wonderful tradition of actors exiting the stage immediately to the "lobby" for a receiving line, where everyone can speak with them without feeling shy. 

When Annette told Ruby Dee that she wanted to create costumes until a theater invited her to act, Ms. Dee told her: "Annette, you can't wait for theataers to call you... if Ossie (Davis) and I had waited we'd still be waiting... you cannot wait... you have to create your own (opportunities)... audiences want stories about them... tell the stories."

And that's what the Paul Robeson Theatre has done for decades and will continue to do, tell stories that reflect the lives of black and brown people.

On a related note, black and brown writers and performers are well represented in CURRENTS: 716 (review here) a virtual theater experience, presenting a variety of short plays, all filmed throughout Buffalo, and presented tonight and twice tomorrow by the Alleyway Theatre. So you have only three more opportunities to enjoy the talents of many Buffalo actors including Rachel Henderson, Gary Earl Ross, Mary Craig, Ember Tate, Ed. Taylor, Johnny Rowe, Alexandria Watts, Mark Humphrey, Greg Howze, Naila Ansari and Marquis "Ten Thousand" Burton.

Listen for Theater Talk, Friday morning at 6:45 and 8:45 during Morning Edition.
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