The Shades of Black Theatre Festival was founded in 2006 and has been been running for 16 years. Mary McCallum and Shawn Whitsell, both co-founders of this Festival will discuss the creation and execution of this yearly festival and lessons learned from this experience. Q&A session will follow. Suggested audiences: College/University Departments (Theatre, Creative Writing/English, Film Studies, Black Studies, Women Studies, Business, Arts Administration, Non-Profit Administration and more); Corporate Events, General Theatre Audience
Mary McCallum (Founder/Artistic Director/Executive Producer - SistaStyle Productions) received her B.S. and M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University. Her theatre acting credits include The Mountaintop, Fly, Girl!, The Face of Emmett Till, Never Been Home, Waitin’ 2 End Hell, A Raisin in the Sun, The Story, Lysistrata, The Desire, Pretty Fire, Long Time Since Yesterday, Louie and Ophelia, Hunger in Paradise and The Dance on Widow’s Row. She has also appeared in several films & T.V. One’s Fatal Attraction. Writing highlights: Her play SingleVille was a winner of the D.C. Black Theatre Festival One Act Battle and was a mainstage selection for the National Black Theatre Festival. Her play Six Triple Eight took top prize at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival and Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. The movie version of SingleVille (writer, co-director, actress) won several awards in 2018 including Best Feature at the Twin Cities Black Film festival and the International Black Film Festival. Chasing Jeremy was a screenplay winner at the British Urban Film Festival and a finalist at the Urban World Film Festival. In 2019, she was a winner of the “Women Who Rock Nashville” award for the arts. In 2020, she was selected as librettist for Nashville Opera’s first mainstage commission One Vote Won.
Shawn Whitsell is a father, activist, poet and teaching artist. He is also an actor, playwright, director, producer and founder of the Destiny Theatre Experience. His one-man show 23/1 was named "Best Blend of Theater and Activism" by the Nashville Scene, for its message about solitary confinement and mass incarceration. When he isn't onstage, he visits schools and community spaces, teaching spoken word for Southern Word and drama for a number of arts institutions. He also serves as a volunteer for the School for Alternative Learning & Transformation (SALT) at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution. Shawn was a 2020 Nashville New Leaders Council fellow and is currently a member of the NLC board. He also serves on the boards of Street Theatre Company and Rooftop Nashville. He is a member of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight Board and the Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Task Force for Nashville Organized For Action and Hope (NOAH).
Email us with your date preferences and budget, and we will contact you to discuss/confirm. Suggested fee is $250. We can work with budgets for HCBUs or programs with limited resources/special circumstances.
Email us with your date preferences and budget, and we will contact you to discuss/confirm. Suggested fee is $400/day plus travel expenses.