UCF Faculty Member Holly McDonald Inspires Change Through Theatre

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, Media Archive, United States on 2021-09-28 19:56Z by Steven

UCF Faculty Member Holly McDonald Inspires Change Through Theatre

University of Central Florida News
Orlando, Florida

Ashley Garrett

Holly McDonald can pinpoint the exact moment her love for the theatre began.

When she was 16, she rode a bus from her small hometown of Keyser, WV, to The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to watch a production of the musical 42nd Street.

“I’d never seen a stage show of that magnitude,” McDonald says. “It was an enormous adventure for me. I saw the performance on stage and waited outside for the actors to come out, and I just fell in love.”

While studying theatre performance as an undergraduate then graduate student, her love grew when she discovered and explored how theatre can be used for social good. She found herself drawn to performance art that could convey a deeper message and teach a lesson…

A Journey to Self-Discovery

McDonald credits her parents for instilling a sense of social justice within her from early childhood by “taking an active role in their community and stressing the importance of engagement with others.” It was her mother, in particular, who pushed her to help others whenever given the chance.

“My mother is a huge inspiration. She is someone who would frequently call and give me encouragement,” McDonald says. “She always said to me, ‘Follow your heart and do the right thing.’”

Her mother’s guidance led McDonald to take professional leave about five years ago to write her play, Proclamation of a Multiracial Woman. The semi-autobiographical play, which tells the story of an adopted biracial woman who searches for self-identity, relies heavily on themes from McDonald’s own life. She credits the play for providing her with an opportunity for self-reflection. Like her fictional counterpart, she searched for answers as a mixed-race woman, ultimately finding peace from within…

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Bernardine Evaristo on a childhood shaped by racism: ‘I was never going to give up’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Biography, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2021-09-28 01:40Z by Steven

Bernardine Evaristo on a childhood shaped by racism: ‘I was never going to give up’

The Guardian

Bernardine Evaristo

Bernardine Evaristo: ‘I liked the same music as my little white pals, ate the same food, had the same feelings – human ones.’ Photograph: Suki Dhanda/The Observer

My creativity can be traced back to my heritage, to the skin colour that defined how I was perceived. But, like my ancestors, I wouldn’t accept defeat

When I won the Booker prize in 2019 for my novel Girl, Woman, Other, I became an “overnight success”, after 40 years working professionally in the arts. My career hadn’t been without its achievements and recognition, but I wasn’t widely known. The novel received the kind of attention I had long desired for my work. In countless interviews, I found myself discussing my route to reaching this high point after so long. I reflected that my creativity could be traced back to my early years, cultural background and the influences that have shaped my life. Not least, my heritage and childhood

Through my father, a Nigerian immigrant who had sailed into the Motherland on the “Good Ship Empire” in 1949, I inherited a skin colour that defined how I was perceived in the country into which I was born, that is, as a foreigner, outsider, alien. I was born in 1959 in Eltham and raised in Woolwich, both in south London. Back then, it was still legal to discriminate against people based on the colour of their skin, and it would be many years before the Race Relations Acts (1965 and 1968) enshrined the full scope of anti-racist doctrine into British law.

My English mother met my father at a Commonwealth dance in central London in 1954. She was studying to be a teacher at a Catholic teacher-training college run by nuns in Kensington; he was training to be a welder. They married and had eight children in 10 years. Growing up, I was labelled “half-caste”, the term for biracial people at that time…

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