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Welcoming new faculty member Nikki Yeboah

Submitted by Holly Arsenault on April 1, 2021 - 9:01am
Nikki Yeboah
Nikki Yeboah

The University of Washington School of Drama is thrilled to share that Dr. Nikki Yeboah will join us as our new Assistant Professor of Playwriting in the fall of 2021.

Nikki Yeboah (PhD, Northwestern University) is a storyteller, educator, and oral historian. As an artist-scholar, her research brings together oral history methods and performance to create alternative records of Black life. Her research and creative work explore documentary theatre methods, African drama, Black storytelling practices, theatre for social change, Black feminist performance aesthetics, and the ethics and politics of conducting creative research in marginalized communities. 

Yeboah’s recent work as a storyteller includes The (M)others, a documentary performance piece that intertwines verbatim interviews with four women brought together by the unimaginable experience of losing a loved one at the hands of the police; Of Small and Black Things, a contemporary folktale that weaves together oral history and Ashanti folklore to tell the mythical tale of Rose, a small black bird who leaves everything she knows behind in pursuit of color; and The Blood Sun, the story of a young girl who inspires a movement, loosely based on the historic Xhosa cattle-killings in British Kaffraria between 1856-1857.

Recent publications include “I Know How it is When Nobody Sees You: Oral History Performance Methods for Staging Trauma” (Text and Performance Quarterly, July 2020); “Everything but the Stage: Toward a Feminist Theatrical Praxis” (Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Spring 2021); “Mindfulness & The Other: Cultivating Critical Mindfulness in Ethnographic Research” (Western Journal of Communication, forthcoming Spring/Summer 2021); “All the Nation’s a Stage: The Ghana National Theatre as Sankofa Praxis.” (Theatre Journal, forthcoming June 2021). She is currently at work on a book, Home is Where the Police Are: Oral Histories of Families Impacted by Police Violence (UNC Chapel Hill Press).

Yeboah, who is currently Assistant Professor of Performance Studies in the Department of Communication Studies at San José State University, is frequently invited to give presentations about her research and creative work, and to give workshops on such topics as oral history, decolonial/Black feminist practice as pedagogy, and theatre for the revolution.

“Nikki Yeboah is a wonderful artist/scholar/teacher who will undoubtedly make us a better school,” says Valerie Curtis-Newton, Head of Directing and Playwriting and head of the search committee for this position. “Her focus on opening radically ethical, inclusive lines of artistic inquiry is just what the School of Drama needs at this moment. I’m thrilled to explore collaborations with her. “

Dr. Yeboah will teach both undergraduate and graduate courses in the School of Drama. As the first full-time faculty member hired in the playwriting area since the retirement of Executive Director and playwriting professor Betty Comtois in 1993, Yeboah will be instrumental in designing and implementing the school’s playwriting pedagogy. Please join us in welcoming her to the UW Drama family!




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