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BTA Officers for 2016-2017


Monica Ndounou, President/Focus Group Rep. 

Monica White Ndounou is an Associate Professor of drama and dance, film and media, Africana and American Studies at Tufts University. As a scholar-artist, her interdisciplinary research projects span a broad range of topics that have been supported by the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship (2004-2007) and The Ohio State University Presidential Fellowship (2006). Her book, Shaping the Future of African American Film: Color-coded Economics and the Story Behind the Numbers (Rutgers University Press, 2014), identifies the intersection of race, culture and economics as the critical site for determining the future of African American film according to narrative, production, marketing and distribution patterns of nearly 2,000 original films and cinematic adaptations featuring African Americans since 1980. Her work also appears in the The Cambridge Companion to African American Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006), The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (2012), Theatre Topics (2009), and The New England Theatre Journal (2008). Professor Ndounou has also directed various productions including but not limited to Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf and August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone. Returning to her roots as a performer, she is working on a project focusing on black American contributions to developing acting theory and practices. This three-prong project consists of a book titled Acting Your Color: The Power and Paradox of Acting for Black Americans, a documentary film and a digital archive.

Nicole Hodges Persley, Conference Planner

Nicole Hodges Persley is the Acting Chair of the Department of Theatre at the University of Kansas where she is an Associate Professor.  A scholar artist, her teaching interests include Acting, African American theater and performance, hip-hop, popular culture, Feminist Studies and Transnational Performance. Her research explores the impact of racial, ethnic and national identity on performance practices in theatre, television and film. Dr. Hodges Persley has published articles and book chapters on Hip-Hop theater and black performance that appeared in critically acclaimed volumes including The Cambridge Guide to Hip-Hop and American Theatre magazine.

A professional actress and director, Hodges Persley has appeared in regional theater, network television and independent films and is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA. She has directed shows at renown venues including P.S. 122 in New York, Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles and Just Off Broadway Theatre in Kansas City. Her forthcoming book, Sampling and Remixing Blackness in Hip-Hop Theater and Performance (University of Michigan Press, 2017) examines the impact of Hip-hop on the artistic practices of non-African American artists in theater, conceptual art and dance in the United States and England. 

Denise J. Hart, Secretary

Tenured Howard University Associate Professor and coordinator of the Playwriting minor, Denise J. Hart, is an accomplished and award winning actress, dramaturge, director and playwright. In addition to teaching at Howard University, she has taught at American University and Duke Ellington School of the Arts. A graduate of Howard University’s BFA Acting program, she also holds an MFA in Playwriting from Sarah Lawrence College and has studied comedy writing at Second City and acting at Upright Citizens Brigade.

Hart’s dramaturgy credits include: Joe Turners Come and Gone, Day of Absence, Zooman and the Sign, Malcom, Martin & Medgar and Breath Boom. She is the author of the plays, Nothing to Lose (finalist 2012 Black and Latino Playwrights Conference) Sistah Girl, Masquerade Parade, Ring the Bell, My Soul is a Witness, The Last Day, In the Realm of Shadows, Chasing Forever, A Real Black Comedy and This Joy, (a former finalist in both The Lark and the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights competition.) She has also authored 19 children's musicals and her directing credits include: Spunk, Zooman and the Sign, Day of Absence (finalist in the ‘08 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and recipient of the Outstanding Acting Ensemble Award), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Quick Stop at the Florist, Bedlam in the Pulpit, Malcolm, Martin & Medgar, Secrets of the Mist of Blue, Uncanny Resemblance, and Melancholy of Barbarians.

She is the founder of the Playwrights in Process Visiting Playwrights Series at Howard University, and has helped shape the works of: Nikkole Salter (Repairing a Nation), Peter Harris (The Johnson Chronicles), A. Peter Baily (Malcom, Martin & Medgar), and in collaboration with The Lark Play Development Center, Kofi Kwahule’s Melancholy of Barbarians. 

Hart is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, The Dramatist Guild, The Playwrights Forum, Literary Managers and Dramaturges of the Americas, Black Theatre Network, Association of Theatre in Higher Education, Black Theatre Association, Theatre for Young Audiences and serves as the Production Review Editor for Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance. In her spare time, Hart likes her fair share of solitude to feed her voracious reading habit and spending time laughing and chatting about how to make the world a better place. She also finds time to paint and explore the world around her. Her son Julian is her pride and joy.  

Leticia Ridley, Graduate Student Representative

Leticia Ridley is a second year M.A. Student in Theatre and Performance Studies of University of Maryland, College Park. She is a playwright, dramaturg, and scholar with interests include Black theatre and Performance, American Popular Culture, and Black Feminism with an emphasis on the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. She is currently writing a new play based on the lynching drama, Rachel and her M.A. thesis will look at the new Broadway phenomenon, Hamilton.  


Danielle Davis, Graduate Student Representative

Danielle A. Davis is a doctoral student in the Theater and Performance Studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation project receives full fellowship support from the Eugene Cota-Robles Fellowship and works at the intersections of performance, Afrofuturism/Sci-Fi, sound studies and critical race theory. She is also the 2016 First Place Winner of The Black Theatre Network’s S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Theatre from Pomona College in Claremont, CA. During this time, she applied her critical analyses to live performances ranging from Ballet to Hip Hop. He research in the identity formation and performance of Hip Hop music artists was funded by Pomona College’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program and the Mellon Elemental Arts Initiative. Originally from Cleveland, OH, Danielle continues to pursue her artistic and intellectual curiosity through the critical study and practice of theater, music and dance.  

Sharrell Luckett, Member-at-Large

Sharrell D. Luckett, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies Scholarship at Muhlenberg College. She is an award winning director, professor, and producer. Luckett is currently touring her solo show, "YoungGiftedandFAT." www.sdluckett.

Veronda Carey, Member-At –Large

Tabitha Chester, Member-At-Large



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