ROXBURY, MA. – Dillon Bustin, artistic director for Madison Park Development Corporation at Hibernian Hall, has announced that Jacqui Parker will be Visiting Playwright during 2015-2016. “I’m very pleased that Parker has agreed to grace our stage with her acting and directing as well as her scripts during the next two seasons,” said Bustin in making the announcement.
Parker says she is thrilled with the invitation from Hibernian Hall, and she plans to write and direct two plays in 2015 during the first half of the residency. The first is “Roads to Wisdom,” celebrating life stories of elders in Roxbury. This play, written in affiliation with Project Right in Grove Hall, will be presented at Hibernian Hall on May 14-17.
Her original play “A Crack in the Blue Wall,” about a young black male shot by a white police officer, will have a try-out production July 9-12, and a fully staged extended run in November. In this drama Parker will address the breakdown of the family of the victim as well as a breakdown in the justice system.
Jacqui Parker is a playwright, director and actor based in Boston, where she is the artistic director of Our Place Theatre Project. She is the founder of the African American Theatre Festival at Boston Center for the Arts, which has sought out and promoted works by people of color including youth. For her work as an activist in theater diversity Parker won the 2004 Boston Theatre Hero Award from StageSource and the 2009 Drylongso Award from Community Change, Inc.
In 2000 Parker won the Elliot Norton Award from the Boston Theater Critics Association for Outstanding Actress in John Henry Redwood’s “The Old Settler” at Lyric Stage Company. She has won seven awards from Independent Reviewers in New England, and is presently nominated for the 2015 IRNE Award for Best Actress in a Drama in August Wilson’s “Fences” at Gloucester Stage Company.
As a playwright Parker has written ten plays in the past ten years, receiving a 2006 IRNE Award for Best New Play for “Dark as a Thousand Midnights.” In 2007-2009 Parker was a playwriting fellow at Huntington Theatre Company, where her play “My Jeanie Don’t Sing No Mo’” was given a staged reading.
In 2012 Parker was commissioned by the Race Amity Program at Wheelock College to write a play about positive change in race relations, and created “Xernona and the Grand Dragon X” about community activist Xernona Clayton. She has received praise from educators for her one-act plays on Phyllis Wheatley, Bessie Smith, Zora Neal Hurston and Louis Latimer.
Built in 1913, Hibernian Hall was one of Dudley Square’s lively social clubs and dance halls serving Boston’s Irish population during the first half of the twentieth century. It served as a lodge for the Ancient Order of Hibernians, which was founded in 1836 in New York as a response to anti-Irish sentiment before shifting to charitable work and the promotion of Irish cultural heritage. The building was purchased by Madison Park Development Corporation in 2000, fully restored to its original grandeur, and reopened to the public in 2005. Today Hibernian Hall is continuing its legacy of service to the Roxbury community as a home for arts in the heart of Boston.