Nikkole Salter — Women in NJ Theatre
All month long, New Jersey Theatre Alliance has celebrated Women's History month by publishing a series of blog post that featured the phenomenal women who have participated as playwrights in NJPAC Stage Exchange. We believed that it is important to highlight and celebrate the impact women have made on society. Additionally, we want to show our appreciation to these five playwrights as they have helped create Jersey Made Theatre. We are finishing the month strong with the fabulous playwright, Ms. Nikkole Salter. Ms. Salter's Stage Exhange play, Indian Head, recently finished a run at Luna Stage Company.
Q: Why did you become a playwright?
Nikkole: I became a playwright because the universe insisted that I do so. I had always made attempts at scripts, even as I moved through college, never completing them, but always compelled to start. When the opportunity presented itself in grad school to do whatever I wanted, I wasn't inclined to pick up an existing script. Something in me knew it was my opportunity to create something; that is, to move beyond the craft of acting as an interpretive artist, to the craft of acting as the access point to my full power as a dramatic storyteller. The success of that play affirmed the path for me, and I have been dramatizing ever since.
Q: Why do you believe women must continue to tell their stories?
Nikkole: In my view, stories ultimately exist to bring consciousness to the evolution of humanity. They serve to open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the ways in which we are living, so that we can examine ourselves and the systems we have created in order to determine if they are, indeed, what we want to manifest. Therefore, I believe it is both a right and an honor for every human being to participate (actively or passively) in story-making, for it is the right of every human being to be a part of humanity's evolution. When a population of people are denied that right and refused that honor, our understanding of humanity becomes lopsided by our storytelling, and it becomes impossible for us to bring complete consciousness to our evolution. Women make up more than half of the population of humanity on this planet. To think that we can fully consider humanity without their input is absurd. Women's stories - in all their complexity and variety - deserve to be told. We do humanity a grave disservice to prohibit it.
About Ms. Salter:
Hailed by Variety as “thoroughly convincing," Los Angeles-born, OBIE Award-winning actress and writer Nikkole Salter arrived onto the professional scene with her co-authorship and co-performance of the Pulitzer Prize nominated play, In the Continuum (ITC). For ITC's Off-Broadway run at Primary Stages and the Perry Street Theatre, and for its US State Department and Bloomberg sponsored international tour, Ms. Salter received an OBIE Award, and the NY Outer Critics Circle's John Gassner Award for Best New American Play, the Seldes-Kanin fellowship from the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Global Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations, to name a few. Ms. Salter also received Helen Hayes and Black Theatre Alliance nominations for Best Actress for her performance. ITC, published by Samuel French, was pronounced - by The New York Times, Newsday and New York Magazine - as one of the best plays of 2005 and was featured in numerous esteemed media outlets including Essence Magazine, American Theatre Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and NPR’s Leonard Lopate Show.
As an actress, Ms. Salter has played a wide variety of roles and garnished many accolades. As a dramatist, she has written six full-length plays, has been commissioned for full-length work by six institutions, has been produced on three continents in five countries, and has been published in 12 international publications. Her work has appeared in over 20 Off-Broadway, regional and international theatres, and the Crossroads Theatre production of her play Repairing a Nation (directed by Marshall Jones, III) has been taped for the second season of the WNET program "Theatre Close-Up," which aired on NYC's Channel Thirteen, WLIC, and NJTV. The National Black Theatre production of her play Carnaval was nominated for seven Audelco awards including Best Playwright and Best Production and won for Best Ensemble Performance. Ms. Salter is a 2014 MAP Fund Grant recipient, a Eugene O'Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist, and a two-time Playwright's of New York (PoNY) Fellowship nominee. She is currently working on commissions from Woolly Mammoth and the National New Play Network/Cleveland Public Theatre, and was selected to write the screen adaptation of Claude Brown's New York Times bestselling novel, Manchild in the Promised Land.
Amid an emerging acting/writing career, Ms. Salter’s deep sense of social responsibility led her to co-found and serve as Executive Director of The Continuum Project, INC., a non-profit organization that creates innovative artistic programming for community empowerment and enrichment. Ms. Salter is an active member of the Actors Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Dramatists Guild, and she sits on the Boards of Directors of the Theatre Communications Group and the Council of the Dramatists Guild. She received her BFA in theatre from Howard University and her MFA from New York University's Graduate Acting Program.
Nikkole can be seen in Liesl Tommy's upcoming production of Macbeth at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C. April 25 - May 28, 2017. To learn more about Nikkole and her upcoming projects, you can visit www.nikkolesalter.com. We would like to thank Ms. Salter and each of the other playwrights who have partipated in our Women's History Month celebration. Learn more about each these great playwrights here. Be sure to follow New Jersey Theatre Alliance on Twitter and Facebook to stay updated on what's happening in New Jersey Theatre.