MEET THE LOCAL ARTISTS
In celebration of Black History Month this February, NBC 7 San Diego will air vignettes featuring local African American artists in the San Diego community. NBC 7 will spotlight students at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), actors and leader of the African American Advisory Council (AAAC)- affiliated with the San Diego REPertory Theater, whose organization examples strong dedication to diversity in their productions.
In 2010, the REPertory Theater partnered with SCPA to collaborate their efforts in a program, “Xchange Xperience” to promote a more inclusive community and celebrate the diverse voices of San Diego. The program allows selected students the opportunity to apply their developed skills and perform in the professional theater environment alongside experienced actors, directors and stage crew. SCPA is a renowned college preparatory school in the Paradise Hills area of San Diego, whose student body of about 1,500 grades 6 through 12 demonstrate a talent and aptitude toward the arts.
The NBC 7 produced vignettes feature several of the participating SCPA students and alumni. Students highlighted include Kevin Borroughs, 12th grade at SCPA, who participated in the co-productions of “Zoot Suit” and “Tommy”, as well as students Alize Irby, grade 12 dance major and Deja Fields, 10th grade in the Drama/Musical theater program. SCPA alumni Lisa Payton, now an established local actress and singer, describes how the school serves an important developmental role for young aspiring artists.
REPertory Theater actress Monique Gaffney, seen this February in the SD REP production of the multi-award winning comedy “Clybourne Park” is also featured in the vignette series. Gaffney, a local theater legacy as the daughter of the late Floyd Gaffney, who has been credited as San Diego’s “father of black theater”, comments on the importance of telling the stories based within African-American history and culture. Accompanying Monique in the vignette is the SD REP’s African American Advisory Council’s lead, Dejahn Blevins. The the presence of the AAAC within the REP’s organization serves to establish a viable community resource promoting African-American art, culture, and heritage.
Blevin’s is also the founder of KuumbaFest, the longest-running festival of African American culture in California, of which the REPertory Theater is a co-presenter of the event. The title of this year’s KuumbaFest is “Black to Inspire” and the the three day event will take place February 22-24, at the Lyceum Theater in Westfield's Horton Plaza. The theater’s line-up this season share a common thread in stories of African-American history and culture. Productions include: “Clybourne Park” written by Bruce Norris and directed by Sam Woodhouse, “The Mountaintop” written by Katori Hall and directed by Roger Guenveur Smith and “Frederick Douglass Now” written and directed by Roger Guenveur Smith. For more information on these organizations, performance dates and their partnership, visit the San Diego REPertory Theater www.sdrep.org, and the SCPA, www.sandi.net/scpa.