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Renowned Playwright and Performer Named Distinguished Professor of the Arts Share a Spelman College Press Release

For Immediate Release 

Mashaun D. Simon 
Spelman College 

Will Power Distinguished Spelman Professor of ArtsATLANTA (Nov. 5, 2018) – Award-winning playwright and performer Will Power has joined the Spelman College faculty as a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Theatre & Performance.

Known as an innovator and dramatic explorer of new theatrical forms, Power is considered one of the pioneers and co-creators of hip hop theater. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence with the Dallas Theater Center and joins Spelman from Southern Methodist University where he was a member of the faculty at The Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.

Power said he could not resist the opportunity to come to Spelman and wants to help students find their voices in dealing with the issues of the times.

“I felt this was the right moment,” he said. “I’m excited to help support how we inspire and provoke, in a good way, in these crazy times. My goal is for students to add to the great works…to be able to know the classics, but also be able to write their own stories. I am passionate about creating new stories and reinterpreting old standards.”

Aku Kadogo, chair of Theatre & Performance, considers Power a good fit for Spelman.

“He brings a unique perspective,” said Kadogo. “We believe in storytelling and want to use that storytelling focus in a way that is relevant to the generation our students represent.”

Power’s body of work includes “Fetch Clay, Make Man,” which has been produced in various LORT theaters and regional companies, including the McCarter Theater, New York Theater Workshop, the Round House Theater, True Colors Theater Company, The Ensemble Theater and the Marin Theater Company. Other plays include “Stagger Lee” (Dallas Theater Company), “Five Fingers of Funk” (Children’s Theater Company), and “The Seven” (La Jolla Playhouse, New York Theater Workshop, Ten Thousand Things Theater Company and others).

Power has received numerous recognitions for his writing and performing, including The Doris Duke Artist Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, a United States Artist Prudential Fellowship, an NEA/TCG Residency Grant, the TCG Peter Zeisler Memorial Award, a NYFA Award and a Joyce Foundation Award.

He has held fellowships, residencies, and faculty positions at the City College of New York, Princeton University, Occidental College, Wayne State University, The University of Michigan at Flint and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst).

As the College continues to enhance ARTS@Spelman, Power’s appointment exemplifies Spelman’s strategic priorities around academic innovation and elevating the Spelman difference through teaching and learning expertise. “I really want us to have a frank, candid conversation and exploration about who we are as a nation, who we want to be, as families and cultures and individuals, and finally, to have a conversation about humanity,” said Power. “As a writer, it’s not always about having answers, but about having deep, nuanced, authentic conversations with the audience.”

ARTS@Spelman, which includes the departments of Art and Visual Culture, Theater & Performance, Dance Performance & Choreography, Music, the Digital Moving Image Salon, the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art and the Spelman College Innovation Lab, is currently in the process of re-conceptualizing the academic curriculum to best meet the needs of a 21st century liberal arts institution. Likewise, the College is planning a new innovation and arts building, which will be an interdisciplinary environment that supports and advances experimentation, collaboration, active play, research and the imaginative use of digital technologies.

Upcoming Department of Theatre and Performance Productions:

Alexis Woodard, C’2020, to Direct “R + J (Romeo & Juliet),” Feb. 14-17, 2019
Alexis Woodard, C’2020, will direct a modern-day version of “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare, as they fall in love, are ripped apart by class divides, and meet their untimely ends. Using hip-hop in music, dance, and movement, this Shakespearean tragedy is transplanted to the here and now. Performances will take place in the Baldwin Burroughs Theatre.

Erin Washington to Direct “BLK GIRL/ BLK BOY,” Feb. 28 – Mar. 3, 2019
Erin Washington, lecturer in Theatre and Performance, will direct “BLK GIRL/ BLK BOY” in the Fine Arts Black Box. Written by Atlanta University Center students, “BLK GIRL/ BLK BOY” explores the culture of Black youth in America today through poetry, music, movement and lots of soul.

Keith Arthur Bolden to Direct August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson,” Apr. 11-14, 2019
Keith Arthur Bolden, assistant professor in Theatre and Performance, will direct “The Piano Lesson” by August Wilson in the Baldwin Burroughs Theatre. Set in the 1930’s Pittsburgh, Boy Willie comes to claim his inheritance, his half of a sacred family heirloom, a piano, which holds the history of their family who toiled and struggled for survival. The piano also holds a secret and a lesson that has the potential to free the family from the effects of slavery.

About Spelman College 
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges and No. 1 among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit


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