About


BEC OTH_MKTG_artTEXT_v3_800px

about the play

BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey is a 90 minute, 5-Act, living memoir which explores a young woman’s acting journey on the road to becoming Othello, her trials and triumphs with race and the classics, some memorable experiences on her gender flipped journey and her fun-loving and tumultuous youth; complete with moving multimedia images, lyrical language from Black women playwrights, William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and the King James Bible, along with soulful songs and the music that shaped her life in her beloved Harlem.

BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey, written and performed by Debra Ann Byrd is Produced by Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group, Paul Prescott, Paul Edmonson and Katie Brokaw, with Costumes by Gail Cooper-Hecht, Sound Design by David D. Wright, Story Coaching by Tanya Taylor Rubinstein and Workshopped by Tina Packer, founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT and Actress

Emerging Playwright Debra Ann Byrd has written two plays, her first THE SABLE SERIES: The History of Black Shakespearean Actors, which she co-wrote with Dathan B. Williams and the second, a solo show BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl's Journey.

DEBRA ANN BYRD is an award winning classically trained actress and producer who recently won an Outstanding Achievement Award from AUDELCO for her portrayal of the title character in the all-female multiracial mainstage production of Shakespeare’s OTHELLO: The Moor of Venice. She recently reprised the role for the Southwest Shakespeare Company in Arizona. In the span of one year she was named Writer-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Artist-in-Residence Fellow at the Folger Institute, Artist-in-Residence at Southwest Shakespeare Company and Community Scholar in Cohort VI at Columbia University. As the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of Take Wing And Soar Productions and the Harlem Shakespeare Festival, she guided the company's growth from its birth as the passionate dream of one determined woman, into a viable support organization serving classical artists of color and theater arts groups throughout New York. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College and completed advanced studies at The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab, Shakespeare & Company and The Broadway League’s Commercial Theatre Institute. Her classical roles for the stage include Queen Elizabeth in Richard III, The Choragos in Antigone, Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals, Volumnia in Coriolanus, Winter in Love’s Labors Lost, Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra, Othello in The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice, Marc Antony in the all-female production of Julius Caesar and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest; the latter, for which she received Best Lead Actress and Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role nominations from AUDELCO and the NY Innovative Theatre Awards. Debra Ann Byrd is the 2019 BroadwayWorld Phoenix Award winner for Best Lead Actressin a Play for her portrayal of Othello in the Harlem Shakespeare Fetival's All-female OTHELLO at Southwest Shakespeare Company.

MORE about classical actress debra Ann

Celebrated classical actress Debra Ann Byrd has played a variety of roles, on many stages, from Sis Jones in Clyde MacMillian's gospel musical Sweet Daddy and Amazing Grace to Asaka in Once On This Island and from Oscar Wilde's Lady Brackel to Shakespeare's Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth. Click the links to below to discover more about each project. Thank you, enjoy!

C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_12219444_10153762029816667_2300996691741870912_n - Copy_copy

ANTONY & CLEOPATRA 2011

othello 2013-1_copy

ALL-FEMALE OTHELLO 2013

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST

OTH15_002_copy

ALL-FEMALE OTHELLO 2015

26992748_2030381707233436_6485516971781836683_n - Copy

ANTONY & CLEOPATRA 2013

IMG_2671_copy_3

ALL-FEMALE OTHELLO 2019