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Season 2: Episode 21: Debra Ann Byrd: Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey, Actress, Writer, Mother

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Debra Ann Byrd is Baring It All with Call Me Adam about how she defied race, gender, and a tough upbringing to achieve her dreams of performing Shakespeare Classics and becoming one of the most sought out actors to play Othello.

Debra’s memoir play, Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey will stream via Livermore Shakespeare Festival from May 27-May 30. Join Debra Ann Byrd on Saturday, May 29 at 5pm for a special virtual live Q&A. Click here for tickets!

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Debra Ann is the Founding Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and the founder of Take Wing and Soar Productions where she currently serves as Chief Executive and Producing Artistic Director. Debra Ann has guided the company’s growth from its birth in 1999 into a viable support organization serving women, youth, classical artists of color and theater arts groups throughout New York. She is an award winning classically trained actress, scholar and producer who was recently named Writer-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Artist-in-Residence Fellow at the Folger Institute, A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholar Arts Fellow at Columbia University and Artist-in-Residence at Southwest Shakespeare Company, where she recently reprised the role of Othello, winning her the 2019 Broadway World Phoenix Award for Best Lead Actress.

Her classical roles for the stage include “Queen Elizabeth” in Richard III, “The Choragos” in Antigone, “Mrs. Malaprop” in The Rivals, “Volumnia” in Coriolanus, “Winter” in Love’s Labors Lost, “Hippolyta” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Cleopatra” in Antony & Cleopatra, “Othello” in The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice, “Marc Antony” in the all-female production of Julius Caesar and “Lady Bracknell” in The Importance of Being Earnest; the latter, for which she received Best Lead Actress and Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role nominations from AUDELCO and the NY Innovative Theatre Awards.

As an actor, producer, arts manager, and business leader Debra Ann has received more than 20 awards and citations, was recently selected for inclusion in the 2012 Editions of Who’s Who In The World and Who’s Who of American Women; and is the recipient of the 2009 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and the 2006 Josephine Abady Award for Excellence in “Producing works that foster diversity”. This award winning theater arts professional received a BFA Degree in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College.

Debra Ann received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College and completed advanced studies at Shakespeare & Company, The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab and The Broadway League’s Commercial Theatre Institute.

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