New Conservatory Theatre Center v ---

A Buckskin Dress: Making History Personal

A Writing Workshop with Jewelle Gomez

The immense success of the Broadway musical Hamilton shows us how history can be made more immediate by shifting the focus or context.  A 200 year old story suddenly comes alive when told in the hip-hop vernacular; it becomes more personal when seen with a cast of people of color.


Each of us can have a direct relationship to the historical events that surround us: the Viet Nam War; Dr. King’s speech at the March on Washington; the first person in your family to go to college; the murders in Orlando; the election of the first African American president of the United States; Oscar Wilde’s trial. How we communicate our past is a key to how we shape our future. 


This writing workshop, with acclaimed author and playwright, Jewelle Gomez, is designed to find personal meaning in historical events and write a piece conveying their value. Jewelle recently completed Leaving the Blues, a new play about the life of Black lesbian blues singer Alberta Hunter (1895-1984), that will make its world premiere at NCTC in March 2017. Workshop participants will receive discounted tickets to this production, in addition to discounted admission to Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD).


Jewelle says, “When I first taught this workshop I wrote with the participants and the story of Native American losses emerged as a story about the loss of my great grandmother’s buckskin dress.  We all have these stories to tell; our future depends on it."




There are two workshop options and both will cover the same topcs.  Both cost $35 and allow for a maximum amount of 12 people.

Oct 22 at NCTC: 1-4pm

Oct 29 at MoAD: 1-4pm


about jewelle gomez


Jewelle Gomez is a writer and activist and the author of the double Lambda Award-winning novel, The Gilda Stories from Firebrand Books. Her play Waiting for Giovanni, written in collaboration with Harry Waters Jr., was a dream play exploring the inner life of author James Baldwin. It premiered at NCTC in the 2011-2012 Season, also part of NCTC’s New Play Development Lab. Her adaptation of the book for the stage "Bones & Ash: A Gilda Story," was performed by the Urban Bush Women company in 13 U.S. cities.  The script was published as a Triangle Classic by the Paperback Book Club.


She is the recipient of a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts; two California Arts Council fellowships and an Individual Artist Commission from the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her latest play, Leaving the Blues explores the life of Black lesbian blues singer/songwriter and actress Alberta Hunter (1895-1984). Leaving the Blues makes its world premiere at NCTC March 3 – April 2, 2017.



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