UAPB Theatre Director selected for NEH fellowship

SONY DSCPINE BLUFF, Ark. – Professor Cheryl Collins, director of theatre at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has been selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Fellow in Grambling State University’s Institute on Greek Drama. The competitive program received more than 45 applications out of which they could only choose fifteen making Collins part of a distinguished group chosen from historically black colleges and universities across the country.

Actress, Director, Theatre Founder, Storyteller, Voice-over artist, Playwright, Professor, Scholar, Puppeteer and professional Clown are just some of the professions within the profession UAPB’s Cheryl Collins has held over the years. As an actress she starred in productions of Hecuba and Waiting To Be Invited (African Continuum Theatre), Flyin’ West, Do Lord Remember Me, The Trial…, Home, Musical Level of Pain, Fences, The Colored Museum (The Metropolitan Ebony Theatre) She was featured as Louise in the Studio Theatre’s production of Seven Guitars (nominated for seven Helen Hayes Awards) and starred in Arena Stage’s production of The Undiscovered Genius of the Concrete Jungle.  She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Metropolitan Ebony Theatre (The MET) which most recently was the professional resident theatre at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. The Metropolitan Ebony Theatre (The MET) focuses on all aspects of Black life in America and beyond, and provides professional opportunities for artists and theatre technicians of color.

Professional storyteller Cheryl Collins has entertained audiences of all ages for over fifteen years. A featured artist with Young Audiences Inc., Cheryl’s program Can You See What I’m Saying is consistently one of the most requested programs in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Trained by the Harambee Storytellers of Mid-America, Cheryl’s mix of folklore, humor and history offers a unique blend that delights her audiences. She has written, directed and performed in the plays Dancing After the Storm and The Talking Eggs (both based on folktales) for the Discovery Children’s Theater of the Smithsonian Institution. She toured for three years in Anansi the Spider, Trickster of Africa for Imagination Stage of Bethesda, Maryland and is the recipient of a Hallmark Fellowship, JC Penney’s Golden Rule Award and a four-time winner of the Maryland Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award for solo theatrical performance. Cheryl possesses a Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees and has directed many shows for The MET including The Colored Museum, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, My Children, My Africa!, Zooman and the Sign, The Trial of One Short Sighted Black Woman vs. Mamie Louise and Safreeta Mae,  Do Lord Remember Me, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, Spunk, Having Our Say, Home, Fences as well as several original works from the Black Women’s Playwrights Group of Washington D.C.  A member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Professor Collins is also a talented voice-over artist and has been featured in many video and film projects. She has run summer theatre camps for several summers, in Pine Bluff at the Arts and Sciences Center.  In the first year of her tenure at UAPB, she led the theatre department’s John McLinn Ross Players at the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts’ (NADSA) play competition. They placed first in this competition alongside the nation’s other HBCUs and have won or placed five of the six years she’s been at the institution.

The Institute on Greek Drama offers free housing in the dormitories, free meals in the campus cafeteria and a stipend for the three-week program that will focus on the works of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Discussions will also be led by distinguished classicists who teach Latin and Greek literature at major universities.

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