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Okwui Okpokwasili
Jul. 19 — Jul. 26, 2015

PPTVR Creative Residency /
Wesleyan College
Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Chicago 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Word Becomes Flesh 2011. Photo by Jati Lindsay/Hip Hop Theater Festival^1 Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1 Life is Living Oakland 2009. Photo by Bethanie Hines.^1

Marc Bamuthi Joseph and /peh-LO-tah/

Marc Bamuthi Joseph is one of America’s vital voices in performance, arts education, and artistic curation. After appearing on Broadway as a young actor, Joseph has written and performed in a series of poetically-based works for the stage that have toured across the U.S., Europe, and Africa. These include Word Becomes Flesh, Scourge, and the break/s: a mixtape for stage, which co-premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays and the Walker Arts Center in 2008, and toured to 14 U.S. cities throughout 2010. His full-evening theater work, red, black & GREEN: a blues premiered at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2011 and will complete touring in spring 2014 after performances in 13 U.S. cities.  red, black & GREEN: a blues was nominated for a 2013 Bessie Award for “Outstanding Production of a work stretching the boundaries of a traditional form.” Word Becomes Flesh, originally performed as a solo, was re-mounted as an ensemble work in December 2010 as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ “American Masterpieces” initiative, and will have toured to 21 U.S. cities by April 2014.

Among Joseph’s commissions are the libretto for Home in 7 for the Atlanta Ballet in 2011; the libretto and lyrics (with composer Daniel Bernard Romain) on a new work for Opera Philadelphia’s “Hip H’Opera Project; and the new theater work for South Coast Repertory Theater’s “Crossroads Commissioning Project.” At Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco, he directed Dennis Kim’s Tree City Legends in 2012, and Chinaka Hodge’s Mirrors in Every Corner in 2010.

Joseph was one of 21 artists to be named to the inaugural class of Doris Duke Artists in 2012, as well as a recipient of the inaugural United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship in 2007. He was the 2011 Alpert Award winner in Theater and recipient of the 2006 Gerbode Emerging Playwright Award.  In fall 2007, he appeared on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine after being named one of “America’s Top Young Innovators in the Arts and Sciences.” His works have been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, The MAP Fund, The New England Foundation for the Arts, and The Zellerbach Family Fund, among others.

Publication of Joseph’s plays includes red, black & GREEN: a blues published in “Theater, Volume 42, Number 3,” Duke University Press on behalf of the Yale School of Drama/Yale Repertory Theatre (2012); the break/s: a mixtape for stage published in “Humana Festival 2008: The Complete Plays,”Playscripts, Inc, 2009; and Word Becomes Flesh published in “Playz from the Boom Box Galaxy: An Anthology for the Hip Hop Generation,” Theatre Communications Group (2009). His essays have been published in “Cultural Transformations: Youth and Pedagogies of Possibility,” Harvard Education Press (2013); and “Total Chaos: Next Elements,” Basic Civitas (2007).

A gifted and nationally acclaimed educator and essayist, Joseph has lectured at more than 200 colleges and universities, been a popular commentator on National Public Radio, and has carried adjunct professorships at Stanford University, Lehigh University, Mills College, and the University of Wisconsin. He is Artistic Director Emeritus of Youth Speaks, where for a decade he mentored young writers and curated the Living Word Festival and Left Coast Leaning. He co-founded “Life is Living,” a national series of one-day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life through hip hop arts and focused environmental action. Joseph currently serves as Director of Performing Arts at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.