Meet the team who selected the plays for the Black Voices Reading Series and hear from REP Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager Danielle Ward about how they did it.
Delicia Turner Sonnenberg
Delicia Turner Sonnenberg is a founder and the former Artistic Director of MOXIE Theatre, which she helmed for 12 acclaimed seasons. She is pleased to return to San Diego REP where she served as Artistic Associate before MOXIE as a part of Theatre Communications Group's New Generations Program. Plays directed for the REP include Roz and Ray, Sex with Strangers, My Mañana Comes, In the Wake, The Seafarer, The Good Body, Miss Witherspoon, Intimate Apparel, and Proof
(w/Sam Woodhouse). Delicia has also directed plays for Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, The Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Cygnet Theatre, New Village Arts, Diversionary Theatre, and the Playwright’s Project as well as staged readings for theatres around the country.
Danielle Ward (she/her)
Since 2011, Danielle has lead the selection process for programming San Diego REP seasons. Starting in 2020, she also became the midwife for diverse new work developed through San Diego REP’s Hear U.S. Now commission program. Other REP work includes dramaturgy on world premieres such as Steal Heaven by Herbert Siguenza and Into the Beautiful North by Karen Zacarías and producing shows like Beachtown by Herbert Siguenza with Rachel Grossman and Grounded by George Brandt. She is also the editor for San Diego REP’s Curious REPort, an e-magazine offering in-depth information about season plays. She has served as a judge/curator for San Diego REP’s Latinx New Play Festival and the Black Voices Reading and Discussion Series, Playwrights Center Fellowships, Bay Area Playwright’s Festival, and the National New Play Network. Danielle studied Theater at UC Irvine, with an emphasis on playwriting, and followed up with an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University. As a queer woman, a military spouse, and a mother she is dedicated to uplifting all voices and, therefore, is thrilled to take a leading role in San Diego REP’s Vision Council, working towards equity, diversity, and inclusion in this theater and beyond.
Ms. King is a San Diego native, and 24 year veteran elementary school teacher with the South Bay Union School District’s Visual and Performing Arts Program. Ms. King is proud to serve in the San Diego theatre community on the San Diego Junior Theatre Board of Trustees as Education Chair, at the Old Globe Theatre as a Teaching Artist, and a 4 time dramaturge for the San Diego Rep so far.
Ms. King performed musically in the mid-1980’s, but more recently has been seen in Our Lady of Kibeho
, at the Moxie, and in the Coronado Playhouse production of James and the Giant Peach
in the role of “Ladahlord”.
Kimberly holds degrees in Music, Sociology, and Contemporary Black Arts from UCSD, and a Master’s in Theatre Arts from SDSU- go Aztecs!
She is the proud parent of 3 wonderful artists, Zack, Lily and Imahni. She runs Teenage Youth Performing Arts Theatre Company with Imahni. Currently, Kimberly, her children, and her brother have just embarked upon a new project: The Herman and Bleachie King Center for Black Arts and Culture, in honor of the grandparents who left them a building in Southcrest San Diego.
Ms. King has deep roots in San Diego and values the opportunity to be a part of the improvement of her hometown in any and all ways possible.
-Become someone who can help someone.
Ahmed Dents (he/him)
Ahmed Dents is currently Developement and Artistic Associate at San Diego Repertory Theatre and co-host of The REP's bi-weekly online interview series "We Are Listening" and host of the "Ahmed's Voice Podcast. Working in the San Diego performing arts and media scenes for 20 years in the roles of Patron Services Manager, Systems Administrator, IT Manager, and Application Support Specialist, Ahmed has also been an in-studio producer, radio host, live event host, and voiceover artist.
I am excited that in the spring of 2021, we will hold our first ever Black Voices Reading and Discussion Series online. Our goal has been to showcase a diverse range of Black voices and offer an opportunity to converse about topics of race, class, gender, intersectionality and police brutality afterwards.
A Note from Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager Danielle Ward...
In reaction to the We See You White America call for more equity and diversity on the American stages, coupled with previous analysis of what communities needed more representation on our own stages, we decided to create a Black-centered reading and discussion series to uplight art by Black playwrights and directors as well as uplift information contemporary conversations.
For this first year, given timing, resources, and overall needs of the theatre, instead of holding an open call for script submissions, we chose to focus on a large number of new plays already on our consideration list with a curation team centered around local Black theatre makers who work or have worked at SD REP and knew our overall aesthetic. This process was also designed to help us discover new plays that could ultimately end up in the San Diego REP season in the future. One of the four has already been selected for inclusion in our 2021-2022 season.
The 2021 reading series will feature a wonderful collection that includes two new works and two plays that have only had one production thus far and offer a diversity of themes and perspectives.
These were thoughtfully selected from a larger list of new plays by a curation team that included: Delicia Turner Sonnenberg, a long-time REP director, Danielle Ward, SD REP Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager, Ahmed Dents, SD REP Development and Artistic Associate and co-host of We Are Listening, and Kimberly King, a dramaturg and volunteer reader at SD REP.
I invite you to join in the conversation around these plays in March and April. Plus, look forward to hearing more Black-centered plays--some new, some established, as well as some from local writers--in future reading series and/or in the Black, Indigenous, people of color-centered festival that is on the horizon.
Also of note: local writers are welcome to submit plays you think would be a good match for San Diego REP directly to our Associate Artistic Director and Literary Manager Danielle Ward at email@example.com