Hamilton Dramaturgy's TheatreNow!


TheatreNow! Podcast of Kamilah Forbes Now Playing

Kamilah Forbes is an award-winning theatre artist and the Artistic Director of the Hip Hop Theatre Festival.

Listen to her speak about her early influences, experience, and artistic process.

Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! Interview with Kamilah Forbes

Please also visit her websites at www.kffproductions.com and  www.hhtf.org



About Anne

Anne Hamilton has twenty-four years of experience in New York City, across the nation, and internationally. The Founder of Hamilton Dramaturgy, she has consulted with Lynn Nottage, Andrei Serban, the Joseph Papp Public Theater, the Harold Prince Musical Theatre Institute, Michael Mayer, Classic Stage Company, Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater, Leslie Lee, Deborah Gregory, Andrew Barrett, the New York City Public Library’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Musical Theatre Festival, and the University of Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop.

Her clients have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur “Genius” Award, the Tony Award, a Royal Court International Residency, and several national playwrighting awards.

She worked for James Lipton (host and producer, INSIDE THE ACTORS STUDIO) for three years as the academic advisor to the graduate students and faculty at The Actors Studio Drama School in NYC. The Bogliasco Foundation of New York City and Bogliasco, Italy awarded her a fellowship in recognition of her personal contribution to the American theatre. She studied the philosophy of aesthetics at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University and was a NYSCA auditor.

Hamilton is a graduate of Columbia University School of the Arts and holds dual citizenship in the United States and Italy. She is available for consultations in script development, production dramaturgy, and career development, through her website at www.hamiltonlit.com. Anne is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.(DGA, www.dramatistsguild.com), Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA, www.lmda.org) and is the Co-Secretary of the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW, www.theatrewomen.org).

She is the Producer and Host of TheatreNow!, a podcast series featuring some of the most important women artists working in the theatre today. It is available at https://theatrenow.wordpress.com, http://hamiltondramaturgy. wordpress.com and www.hamiltonlit.com .

Anne also produces Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward!, a quarterly e-newsletter for professional and aspiring scriptwriters. She writes columns for The Bucks County Women’s Journal, and Open to Hope, a website for those who are coping with the loss of a  loved one. Anne also conducts workshops on Healing Through the Arts.

You may reach her at hamiltonlit@hotmail.com or 215-536-1074.

Anne Hamilton, Dramturg and Playwright



Interview with Kamilah Forbes, Artistic Director/Actor/Curator

Kamilah Forbes Interview 2010

Kamilah Forbes
On December 9th the League of Professional Theatre Women will honor Kamilah Forbes with the Josephine Abady Award, given to an emerging director or producer of works of cultural diversity. Miss Forbes is an actor, director, curator and producer who develops creative works by, for and about the hip-hop generation. She is currently the Artistic Director of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Anne Hamilton recently interviewed the NYC-based artist.

Please also listen to the Season Two’s first podcast: Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! Interview with Kamilah Forbes.

ANNE HAMILTON: First of all, I would like to say congratulations. How do you feel about winning the Abady Award?

KAMILAH FORBES:  I’m a little speechless because I’m in such awe of the other honorees as well as the organization, so I’m very, very honored. The recognition means a great deal.

AH: I think that it’s important to learn about a woman’s early growth as an artist. Can you tell us what kinds of artistic activities you took part in as you were growing up?

KF: I took piano lessons and I went to a lot of theater growing up in Chicago. Based on my musical influences, I would write hip-hop lyrics at that time. I was very much involved in my drama program in high school, which led to me wanting to study theater in college. I was involved in the acting and directing program at Howard University and did a little bit of producing.

AH: AND YOU ALSO STUDIED AT OXFORD.

KF: Yes, at the British-American Drama Academy (BADA). I’m in love with the classics. I’ve always been in love with language, whether it’s hip-hop or Shakespeare. You know, it made my decade, just to be in the same room with Ben Kingsley and to study with him. I studied with Fiona Shaw as well.

AH: TELL US ABOUT SOME OF THE SHAKESPEAREAN ROLES YOU’VE PLAYED.

KF: I’ve played Rosalind in AS YOU LIKE IT. That was with the WSC Company in Washington DC. I was part of the Folger Shakespeare Theater Educational Troupe. I did ROMEO AND JULIET, and MUCH ADO. In The Scottish Play, on the main stage of Folger Shakespeare, I played Hecate, which is a role that’s generally omitted. She’s the queen of the witches.

AH: HOW DID YOU GO FROM HECATE TO HIP-HOP?

KF: Well, I think my interests always co-existed, and it was just a matter of my two worlds bumping into one another. When I studied at Oxford, I would attend classes about scansion and diction during the day and then I would be running to London to see DE LA SOUL at night.

My college professor Sybil Roberts really encouraged us as theater makers to challenge the boundaries of performance and take experimental risks.  I decided to pull together a collective of poets and DJs, and began to workshop a concept for a play I was writing called RHYME DEFERRED. The DJ definitely laid the score of the play. I worked with dancers and choreographers whose background was in hip-hop dancing and popping and locking and break dancing. I was interested in using the dance as storytelling tools.

I asked myself, “How can this kind of movement truly tell a story just as any posse or other Broadway choreography would?” And the poetry and the language wove together. In this 1997 workshop I was experimenting with what Hip-Hop Theater as an aesthetic could potentially look like.

AH: TELL US ABOUT WORKING WITH DEF POETRY JAM.

KF: I served as the producer for the HBO show, which basically meant I just did what I did for the festival. I curated. When the show started to move towards Broadway, I worked with the director Stan Lathan as an associate director for the Broadway tour. I got to work with a lot of these poets in a lot of different ways. Several of them had written long-form work that I had presented in the festival. And then in this iteration, they were performing their three-minute, shorter work as well.

AH: YOU WEAR A NUMBER OF HATS EXTREMELY WELL. WHAT DO YOU THINK CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?

KF: I’ve always been interested in a lot of different sides of things. I want to know how the show is run as well as how it’s produced, because they’re interrelated. You know, being a good actor makes me even better director. Being a producer makes me a better director. Being a director makes me a better producer, just because of my knowledge of the full 360-degree circle of the theatre world. At times it’s difficult, because sometimes I can feel very schizophrenic. But when I’m truly able to focus on one thing at a time, I think each one of my interests enhances the other.

AH: IS YOUR JOB WITH THE FESTIVAL YEAR-ROUND?

KF: It seems like it. [Laughs.]  But we’ve backed away from being a year-round organization only because it gives me a lot more freedom to work on other individual artistic projects, whether as a director or an actor. Or to work on the series that I produce. It gives me a little bit of freedom for that.

AH: WHAT KIND OF ARTISTIC GROWTH ARE YOU EXPERIENCING AT THE MOMENT?

KF: I’m finding a lot of inspiration from a lot of different forms and in very unlikely places. I will go to a visual art exhibit and be so inspired in by the way in which it was presented. I’m always figuring out ways to build upon inspiration, and to incorporate this piece of inspiration into the work that I do. I’m constantly looking for ways for that to happen in very unlikely places.

AH: IT SEEMS LIKE YOUR ARTISTS ARE WELL-DISCIPLINED, WELL-INFORMED, SUPERBLY INTELLIGENT AND ALSO, THAT THEY WORK THROUGH THE HEART AS WELL AS THE MIND.

KF: Absolutely.

AH: KAMILAH, I WISH YOU GREAT, GREAT SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE IN EVERYTHING THAT YOU’RE DOING. HOW CAN PEOPLE KEEP UP WITH YOUR SHOWS AND ACTIVITIES?

KF: Thank you, Anne. They can go to the websites www.kffproductions.com and www.hhtf.org.