“When stories die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.”
- Sue Monk Kidd
- Sue Monk Kidd
“Art lives beyond the bounds of categorization. It rolls around freely in reverberate valleys, painting hillsides with passion and the chaos of humanity. To try to define it is to attempt to bottle lightning. It limits something that can otherwise be boundless, something that I can explore from so many different ways. I approach theatre as a director as if every story being told could have an effect on lives, because they often do. As an artist, I can only establish the boundaries in which I believe a project will live, and must understand that nobody can predict the lasting impact my work may have. Theatrical performances are explorations of human nature that can represent the complex web of intersections that humans exist in; theatre can reflect the nuances of human behavior; theatre can be the connective tissue of the human experience. I must understand the plights of the less fortunate, those living through drastically different oppressions than my own, before I can truly experience “freedom.” I prioritize the wellbeing of others, acknowledging the potential change that theatre can inspire in the din of a small crowd as well as the masses, so that I can help to create an honest picture of what our country really is: to me, that is the embodiment of intersectionality.”
CODY RENARD RICHARD SCHOLAR
I am proud to have been inducted into the inaugural Cody Renard Richard Scholarship Program cohort in the spring of 2021. With the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 that have forced artists to pivot or feel completely tripped up, I feel a distinct ecstasy to be part of a program that will “honor, uplift, & support the next generation of Black, Asian, Latinx, Indigenous and People of Color theatre makers.” We’ve only just begun our monthly meetings, and so much lies ahead for all of us! Additional gratitude to the Broadway Advocacy Coalition for sponsoring and facilitating the creation of this program.
“I’m blown away by the talent, drive, and power that each of our applicants possesses. Our selection process was quite arduous and competitive, but we have selected an astounding cohort for the inaugural year,” said Cody Renard Richard. “As we begin to gather for work sessions, providing tools and resources that they can carry with them on their journey, I’m incredibly proud to welcome them to our community!”
For more information on the scholarship, check out:
BLACKSIGHTERS is an art house comedy series written and directed by David H. Parker, starring Devin Ty Franklin and Bri Scott. The short form show is set in Birmingham, Alabama and explores the creation and nature of Black art through social and political lenses, raising the question, among many others, “what cannot be asked of Black folk?” BLACKSIGHTERS demonstrates that Blackness exists and evolves within its own sphere of influence without the interruption of whiteness.
BLACKSIGHTERS is slated to film in winter 2020. A brief excerpt from the pilot can be downloaded above. Find my contact and/or social media at the bottom of this webpage and reach out if you’re interested in or somehow inspired by this brand of content!
The Queer Code is the amalgam experience of Two Black Queerfolk on an island of blue in the Deep South's sea of red. The team of David H. Parker and Devin Franklin has created a space that fosters self-empowerment, individuality, and freedom of expression. We meet at the intersection of college-age individuals, the LGBTQiA+ community, and the Black community in order to give people like us an opportunity to see and hear the thoughts, stories, and testimonials that they might not have ever heard represented in media before. We speak openly so that those that identify with us may also be moved to do so.
DISCONNECT was a thrilling original story performed through both live streaming video in which a dozen college students worked through a tangled web of mistaken identities, accidental revelations, and conflicting values... mostly on their cell phones. This project was a collaborative work, created by a dozen students and two faculty, all from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Theatre. The directors then set to work on bringing this complex and challenging work to life, aided by several student directors, choreographers, and editors. Meanwhile, students created original music and expanded the world of the play through social media. Directed by David H. Parker and Roy Lightner.
IS ANYBODY OUT THERE? was a premiere virtual project that explored a new medium combining traditional theatre and experimental film. Three characters spanning the spectrums of gender and sexual orientation explore a post-apocalyptic world in which they believe they are the last humans on Earth, leading them to grapple head on with isolation, sexual expression, and their own morality. Written by Carlton V Bell II. Starring Devin Ty Franklin, Rachel Simonne, and Michael Charles.
Music video to “Arms Unfolding” by Dodie. Starring and original choreography by Rachel-Marie Strazza. Filmed by David H. Parker.
”[Lee] Shackleford serves on the KCACTF Region IV selection committee and reported to the department that ‘Disconnect’ was one of three productions in the region that received unanimous support from the committee.” — Shannon Thomas, via UAB News
“BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Starting Thursday night the students at UAB will be presenting a new original play which will also follow COVID-19 protocols, making them one of the first to do it in the area. It’s also free to stream.” — Jonathan Skinner on DISCONNECT, via WBRC News, Newsbreak, and MSN.com
“The ‘brand-new story with classic roots‘ will be performed over five evenings. ‘Five intimate explorations of themes that do not fixate on oppression, segregation and the struggle of the black experience as most black-centric stories do,‘ wrote Parker, who plays Tom Wingfield in the play and who wrote about the production as the show’s dramaturg.” — Shannon Thomason on THE GLASS MENAGERIE, via UAB News
“With each episode, I always find myself laughing until I cry and smiling because everything that’s discussed I can relate to... I look forward to every new drop.” - Ceint on THE QUEER CODE, via iTunes Podcasts
“You are all beacons of light, grateful for your existence.” - justsomequeer on THE QUEER CODE, via iTunes Podcasts
“Full Disclosure: I know these people — I teach in their Theatre Department — so I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying and admiring their talent and their dedication to their craft. But as a straight white cis dude, I am aware of the barrier, a line I mustn’t cross... I can’t just sit down with them and say, “Hey, guys, I want to be the best ally possible, so tell me what it’s like to be young, black, and gay in this time and place.” Y’know? They’re inviting us all to the table, folks, with warmth and honesty and a delightful ease of conversation. We hear them in their silliness, their frustration, their hopes, and their fears. We hear their obvious love for each other, and their dedication to being the best humans they can be. David says it best in episode one: “We are young... we have a lot to experience, but we’ve also experienced so much that nobody else has.” It’s so true, and kudos to him for knowing this and saying it. They want to learn, and they also want to share what they’ve learned. And that, if you ask me, is how it oughta be. Pull up a chair, friend. You’re welcome here.” — leeshack on THE QUEER CODE, via iTunes Podcasts
“David H. Parker (Kendall) provides an alluring energy to a child longing for normalcy, and acceptance to what his heart needs, and wants.“ — David Edward Perry on YELLOW, via BroadwayWorld.com