Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order.
In years past, the Dallas-Fort Worth theater scene was in desperate need of diversity. In response to largely wealthy-and-white theaters, smaller niche companies began filling in the gaps with a varied and diverse slate of works from writers of all races, genders, and sexual identities.
In Fort Worth, Jubilee Theatre has been a hub for African-American theater in the metroplex since 1983. Over the decades, Jubilee Theatre's company has evolved from a small-scale "gypsy theater," performing in lobbies and bars to hosting professional actors in a beautifully renovated theater in Sundance Square.
Since 2011 Tre Garrett has been at the helm of Jubilee and has proven to be a dynamic and multi-talented artistic director. In his tenure at Jubilee, Garrett has been responsible for a broad program of works highlighting under-represented facets of African and African-American culture to nearly-unanimous rave reviews from the critics.
What elements do you bring from your varied background in theater to Jubilee Theatre? Jubilee Theatre has a proud history of producing works, which reflect the African-American experience. I have had the privilege of working and learning from legendary giants in the theatre world who have illuminated the African- American experience for stages throughout the world. My relationships with such luminaries include Lloyd Richards, August Wilson and Ed Bullins, which have not only given me a strong perspective, but also a passionate drive to tell our stories. I have worked, interned and fellowshipped in theatres around the country, developing my craft as a director and artist. I also studied at one of the best schools in the world for theatre and directing, but it was my experience as a Show Director for Walt Disney Entertainment that taught me the business behind the art. So I feel the strongest elements that I bring to Jubilee Theatre are my passion for the art form, an understanding of business and a national perspective.
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You're involved in most aspects of the theater- specifically writing and directing. Do you have a favorite, or do they each scratch a different itch? I am a director and I absolutely love it. If I won the lottery tomorrow, I would still be a director. It's my dream and I feel so lucky to be living it. I've written several plays, some of which have even won a few awards, but when I see or read the works of Katori Hall, Tarrell McCraney or Lydia Diamond, they make me want to burn my scripts. Writers inspire me and I get excited about bringing their work to life for an audience. Great actors give me chills. Most recently, I saw Annalee Jeffries in Dallas Theater Center's production of Driving Miss Daisy. She was so stunning that I thought, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is acting, if you are not doing this, then you're not doing it." I know great acting talent when I see it, but I am not an actor, so I know I am right where I belong as a director.
You have a very specific interest in subcultures. What shows at Jubilee reflect that interest? Yes, I take a great interest in presenting works that focus on subcultures of the African-American experience and the African diaspora. It's important for me to work against the idea that black people are a monolithic group, we have so many stories to tell and that's why I feel the African-American theatre will always be relevant. In the three years that I have been the Artistic Director of Jubilee Theatre, we have presented plays that deal with Caribbean island culture, Gullah island culture, Yoruba culture, the African-American upper-class and even a play about black cowboys. The theatre educates wonderfully and it's a beautiful thing that a person can walk through the doors, take a seat and be transported across time or space to intimately connect with experiences and cultures outside of our everyday lives.
What does your future look like at Jubilee Theatre? What do you hope to continue to bring to the community? I want Jubilee Theatre to be known as a space where writers of color can have their new works developed, produced and premiered. I want to move forward, cultivating theatre artists and audiences in our community. I am hopeful that we will continue to engage, entertain and inspire the people of our community towards tolerance and understanding of all cultures. I hope my future with Jubilee Theatre is filled with sustainable, creative, financial and cultural progress. Art is about moving forward. As Walt Disney said so eloquently "We keep moving forward, opening up new doors & doing new things because we're curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths".
100 Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo 97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet 96. Funny Man Paul Varghese 95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña 94. Magic Man Trigg Watson 93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz 92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King 91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno 90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger 89. Literary Lion Thea Temple 88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele 87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart 86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards 85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler 84. Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez 83. Movie Nerd James Wallace 82. Artistic Tastemakers Elissa & Erin Stafford 81. Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner 80. Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel 79. Behind-the-Scenes Teacher Rachel Hull 78. Kaleidoscopic Artist Taylor "Effin" Cleveland 77. Filmmaker & Environmentalist Michael Cain 76. Music Activist Salim Nourallah 75. Underground Entrepreneur Daniel Yanez 74. Original Talent Celia Eberle 73. Comic Artist Aaron Aryanpur 72. Classical Thespian Raphael Parry 71. Dance Captain Valerie Shelton Tabor 70. Underground Culture Mainstay Karen X. Minzer 69. Effervescent Gallerist Brandy Michele Adams 68. Birthday Party Enthusiast Paige Chenault 67. Community Architect Monica Diodati 66. Intrepid Publisher Will Evans 65. Writerly Wit Noa Gavin 64. Maverick Artist Roberto Munguia 63. Fresh Perspective Kelsey Leigh Ervi 62. Virtuosic Violinist Nathan Olson 61. Open Classical's Dynamic Duo Mark Landson & Patricia Yakesch 60. Rising Talent Michelle Rawlings 59. Adventurous Filmmaker Toby Halbrooks 58. Man of Mystery Edward Ruiz 57. Inquisitive Sculptor Val Curry 56. Offbeat Intellect Thomas Riccio 55. Doers and Makers Shannon Driscoll & Kayli House Cusick 54. Performance Pioneer Katherine Owens 53. Experimental Filmmaker and Video Artist Mike Morris 52. Flowering Fashioner Lucy Dang 51. Insightful Artist Stephen Lapthisophon 50. Dallas Arts District 49. Farmer's Market Localvore Sarah Perry 48. Technological Painter John Pomara 47. Progressive Playmakers Christopher Carlos & Tina Parker 46. Purposive Chef Chad Houser 45. Absorbing Artist Jeff Gibbons 44. Artistic Integrator Erica Felicella