Many of you were privileged to see our reading of Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Khalil Sullivan and Joshua Williams’ fascinating new work-in-progress, AT BUFFALO, a few weeks ago. If you missed it, here’s a bit more info on Dr. Amma, the lead creative mind behind the project. Watch out for her in the next couple years! Good things are on the way for her, we can feel it.
Dr. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin (known as “Dr. Amma”) is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University of Colorado, Boulder. An alum of Harvard University’s Afro-American Studies Department and New York University Tisch School of the Arts’ Department of Performance Studies, she practices and studies the intersections of academic history and performance (i.e. theatre, film, and television). Her research/creative work combines academic historical methodologies with performance, including studying performances from the past and creating artistic work based on archival research. Joining the ranks of Ang Lee and Gloria Estefan, Dr. Amma recently was selected and interviewed by The History Channel as one of 37 extraordinary immigrants/children of immigrants whose personal and professional stories will be featured at Ellis Island’s Museum of Immigration (NY).
Dr. Amma has worked in and out of academia, including holding fellowships at National History Day, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities (Public Programs Division); creating mini-theatrical works at Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut; and more recently, working under Resident Historian Dr. Libby O’Connell at HISTORY (formerly known as The History Channel). Her recent publications and production work include: an original oral-history-based play titled UnSpoken: Narratives of Civil Rights (Tisch, 2005); How to Create a Historical Documentary, an instructional video produced and a manual published for The History Channel and National History Day, Inc. (2006); and serving as Senior Producer of Educational Materials for The History Channel’s Peabody award-winning documentary, Save Our History: Voices of Civil Rights. Her work for this program received cable television’s highest honor for public affairs, the 2006 Beacon Award.
Her current projects are a historical musical and book about African and African-American performers in the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. Co-developed with Khalil Sullivan, Joshua Williams, and Jim Augustine, the historical musical AT BUFFALO is a methodological-innovation in “performing the archive,” a concept developed by Dr. Amma through her workshops with theatre and dance students. Dr. Amma and her collaborators received the 2012 CU Innovative Seed Grant ($45,000) for the development of AT BUFFALO, which will serve as the pilot production for the Performing the Archive National Institute (a first of its kind research initiative in the U.S. that will develop performative and innovative methods of working with archival material). The manuscript, entitled, Laughing after Slavery: The Performances and Times of Laughing Ben Ellington, examines the relation between laughter and the American slave experience. These projects have been supported by a number of fellowships including the 2012 CU Innovative Seed Grant (CU-Boulder); 2009-11 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship (University of California, Berkeley); the 2007 Ford Dissertation Fellowship; the 2007 NYU Torch Prize Fellowship; the 2006 Harvey Fellowship (Mustard Seed Foundation); and the 2006 John Hope Franklin Fellowship (American Philosophical Society).