New Directional Players
The New Directional Players (NDP) has become a highly respected and reputable student theatrical company since its inception in 1971. The drama group is devoted to presenting thought-provoking subject matter related to the Black experience. Their performances range from outstanding works by the masters of Black theatre to fresh original productions by young Black playwrights. Each production is designed to generate self-approval and social awareness in the Black community.
The specific goals of the NDP are as follows:
- To help students become more confident when expressing themselves
- To improve the acting skills of the participants
- To help students become more able to effectively communicate and idea to an audience
- To learn about the history of Black theatre and its place in American theatre
- To give a better understanding of the technical aspects of the theatre
The NDP perform between eight and ten engagements during the school year both on and off campus. NDP, along with the Haraka Writers, are also the host performers for the BCC Black Coffee House series.
The new artist-in-residence McKenya Dilworth views the arts as tools of empowerment. Each presentation, workshop and production is another opportunity to use the artform as a way to facilitate a meaningful discussion about social issues. Holding degrees in both Theatre and German from Simpson College has proven to be assets in her artistic career because she uses both her theatre and language skills while conducting and producing workshops and shows in the States and internationally.
Dilworth has performed and produced shows she has written throughout the Midwest and internationally: Belgium, Poland,Braizil, Japan, Mexico, England and Austria. She founded the Theatre of Purpose, a theatre that uses the arts as a platform for social issues. She has worked extentively with incarcerated women and female juveniles and is currently working on a transitional house for former female inmates re-entering society. That house will open in 60 t! o 90 days and that is nothing BUT GOD. Dilworth's mother, Morning Bishop founded the The Morning Bishop Theatre Playhouse, Inc. in Gary, Indiana (24) years ago and Dilworth serves as executive director of the community theatre.
Under Dilworth's direction,the theatre has traveled to West Yorkshire England twice and has (2) permanent theatre homes in the city of Gary. We now have two different theatre black box theatres and one is a children's theatre and academic arts enrichment center located within a strip mall.
Dilworth believes that the arts have more than healing power, but the arts can also be used to enhance the academic experience. Currently, she is working with the Indianapolis Urban League and Indianapolis Public Schools/GEARUP in developing an arts infused curriculum. The project is in its second year.
The arts and education have intrigued Dilworth all of her life and she! is delighted to now serve as the Artist-in-Residence at Purdue University for the New Directional Players. Working at the university in an arts capacity is a dream fulfilled for Dilworth.
The Purdue NDP is sponsored by the Black Cultural Center. They are available for concert appearances for schools, churches and civic organizations. A performance fee is required to cover expenses. Persons interested in engaging the NDP are encouraged to confirm arrangements at least three months in advance. As a reminder, the NDP is available in October, November, February and March.