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"Based in the Atlanta-metro area, Oakland, CA, Cambridge, MA, and New York, we are a dynamic and diverse national team of scholartists, artists, and activists divinely put together to bring to life the story of the 1901 Buffalo, NY World’s Fair. At the heart of our collaborative process lies (1) our intention to tell history “honestly” by making actual archival material live, breathe, speak, and interact on stage; (2) our conviction that theatre/performance are the most urgent vehicles to explore and explode anti-blackness; and (3) our radical openness to collaboration where we function in an almost-entirely non-hierarchical approach to art making." 

The Creative Team

Meet the creative minds behind AT BUFFALO.

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L to R: Deadria Harrington, Joshua Williams, Khalil Sullivan, Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin. Photo by Kenneth Kootin.

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AMMA Y. GHARTEY-TAGOE KOOTIN: LEAD ARTIST, CO-WRITER,

CO-LYRICIST; CO-CONCEIVER; MUSICAL BASED ON DR. AMMA’S RESEARCH

 

Born to African immigrants in Tuskegee, Alabama and raised in Kansas, “Dr. Amma” is a scholartist, writer, performer, and producer who transforms historical material about black identity into performances for the stage and screen. Named a 2019 TED Fellow, she bridges the worlds of academia and arts/entertainment—having worked for A&E® Networks/The History Channel, National History Day, Inc., and as a professor. She also is the former Vice President of Creative Affairs for JusticeRx, a production company that had a two-year creative partnership and exclusive overall deal at Warner Bros. Television Group developing original TV programming and consulting with Studio executives and show creators on equity, inclusion, and social justice. Her hyper-collaborative creative research projects have garnered numerous fellowships and awards including a 2019 MAP Fund Grant, a $45,000 Innovative Seed Grant (CU-Boulder), a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Fellowship, etc. She is also a co-recipient of a 2020 Honorable Mention for the National Council on Public History’s Outstanding Public History Project Award for her co-direction of [the Georgia Incarceration Performance Project]. Her educational work for the Peabody-award winning documentary Save Our History: Voices of Civil Rights received a Beacon Award. The History Channel selected Dr. Amma to join the ranks of Ang Lee and Gloria Estefan as one of 37 extraordinary immigrants/children of immigrants whose stories are currently featured at Ellis Island’s Museum of Immigration. Dr. Amma is an alum of Harvard University and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (Performance Studies). www.drammaworks.com

Photo by Bret Hartman/TED.

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JOSHUA WILLIAMS: CO-WRITER, CO-LYRICIST, CO-CONCEIVER

 

Joshua Williams is a writer and multidisciplinary theatre-maker. New York Magazine named him “a star of tomorrow” on the basis of his forthcoming novel Bird in Blue. He collaborates with Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin and Khalil Sullivan on At Buffalo, a musical re-imagining of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition, which has been featured at TED and NYMF, and was developed at the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed, the Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, and CAP21, among many others. Other projects for stage and screen include The Bonapartes (Ars Nova’s ANT Fest), Ornithology (EST/Sloan commission), The Lunatics (Playground San Francisco at the Thick House), Foreign Bodies (Habitat Directors’ Lab), Zoey and the Wind-Up Boy (Juggernaut Film Festival, Roswell Sci Fi / Fantasy Film Festival), and Owl (CAAMFest Film Festival). His articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of BooksAfrica is a CountryTheatre JournalBlunderbuss, HowlRoundBrittle PaperPerformance Research, Modern Drama, and African Theatre. He has translated plays by the preeminent Tanzanian dramatists Penina Muhando and Ebrahim Hussein from Swahili into English, and directed the first production of Hussein’s Kinjeketile ever to take place outside of Africa. He studied at Princeton, SOAS, and UC Berkeley, and has served on the faculty of Harvard, NYU, and Brandeis. He lives in Massachusetts with his family.  www.jdmwilliams.com

Photo by purpleganesh

KHALIL SULLIVAN: LEAD COMPOSER, CO-LYRICIST,

CO-CONCEIVER

 

Khalil Sullivan, Ph.D. is a Los Angeles, CA-based musician, writer, and educator whose art and research centers on radical queer and Black history. Sullivan's creative work includes leading the music ensemble MAD NOISE, whose most recent release, For My Mother EP (2018), documents the band's mastery of a dizzying array of music styles. Previously based in the San Francisco Bay Area, MAD NOISE earned several accolades, including Best Band in the Bay (SF Bay Guardian, 2011, 2012, & 2013), Best Hyperliterate Busking Outfit (SF Weekly, 2011), Best Local Band (Daily Californian, 2011); and have performed at a variety of local music clubs, venues and alternative spaces including Yoshi’s (SF), Great American Music Hall (SF), Hotel Utah (SF) The Uptown (Oakland). MAD NOISE also received the distinction of being selected by the US State Department's American Music Abroad (AMA) program to take part in a diplomatic music tour to Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea in 2015. MAD NOISE has worked extensively with the At Buffalo musical’s development, serving as the ensemble for a Spring 2011 University of California, Berkeley semester-long workshop production and again in a Fall 2013 workshop production at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In the summer of 2014, At Buffalo held a reading at the New York Music Theater Festival and workshop readings in 2016 and 2017 at the University of Buffalo. The writing team has participated in several prestigious residencies, including CAP21 Writer’s Retreat in New York, NY, and the Rhinebeck Writers’ Retreat. Most recently, excerpts from AT BUFFALO were presented at the TED Conference in Vancouver, Canada. Sullivan is an alum of Princeton University and UC Berkeley.  http://madnoisemusic.com/

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DEADRIA HARRINGTON: CREATIVE PRODUCER 

 

Deadria Harrington (she/her/hers) is a New York City based creative producer and Producing Artistic Leader/Managing Director at The Movement Theatre Company. With The Movement, she has developed and produced numerous new works by emerging artists of color, most recently The Cotillion written and directed by Colette Robert, What To Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris, directed by Whitney White and And She Would Stand Like This by Harrison David Rivers, directed by David Mendizábal and choreography by Kia LaBeija. Select producing credits include: The Architecture of Becoming (WP Theater); At Buffalo (NYMF, UB Buffalo Creative Arts Initiative, CAP21, TED 2019 Conference participant); Alligator, Sound House/This Is The Color Described by The Time, and Leap And The Net Will Appear (New Georges); and AFROFEMONONOMY // WORK THE ROOTS with Eisa Davis (Performance Space New York/New Georges). Harrington was a Time Warner Foundation Fellow of the 2012-2014 Producers Lab at Women’s Project Theater, a Next Generation Leader of Color at the 2014 Latinx Theatre Commons National Convening, has participated in artEquity’s National Facilitator Training, and is a member of New York Foundation for the Arts Executive Leaders of Color Incubator. She has consulted with artEquity and SITI Company, I the Director of Artistic Operations at New Georges, Board Co-Chair of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY and a Vassar College graduate.

Photo by Brandon Nicholas

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