KIYOKO McCrae
 
 
 
 
 
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THEATER

A graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Theater Arts, I am a theater maker with over twenty years of experience as as a producer, director, music director, dramaturg, costume designer, performer and production manager. My passion is making devised theater that is based on stories gathered in communities. Here is a selection of some of my favorite projects.

 

CURRENT PROJECTS

 Jean Dominique as a young agronomist in Bayeux, northern Haiti, in 1956 | www.radiohaitilives.com

Jean Dominique as a young agronomist in Bayeux, northern Haiti, in 1956 | www.radiohaitilives.com

BREAKING THE THERMOMETER TO HIDE THE FEVER 

Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever is a multidisciplinary performance inspired by Radio Haiti-Inter, Haiti’s first privately owned Kreyol-speaking radio station. Jean Dominique, agronomist turned journalist and Radio Haiti-Inter station owner was assassinated in 2000 leading to the eventual closing of the station in 2003. The title is derived from one of the myriad proverbs he used to describe the spirit of Haiti’s marginalized poor in the face of violence and oppression. Developed by Haitian-American musician Leyla McCalla and director Kiyoko McCrae, the piece combines storytelling, video and audio recordings from the Radio Haiti archive housed at Duke University and is anchored by Leyla’s original compositions and arrangements of Haitian songs. We see Haiti through Leyla’s eyes as she grapples with the harsh political realities of its people and the journalists who fought to uplift their voices. Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever has been commissioned by Duke Performances | Duke University and will premiere at Duke Performances in Durham, NC in Spring 2020.

 

 

PAST PROJECTS

 

THE STRANGER DISEASE (2018) | Madame John's Legacy

CO-DIRECTOR/CO-WRITER

Produced by The Louisiana State Museum, Friends of the Cabildo, and Goat in the Road Productions, The Stranger Disease is an immersive, original, historically inspired performance about yellow-fever in nineteenth-century New Orleans, co-directed by Chris Kaminstein and Kiyoko McCrae.

Set in 1878, The Stranger Disease follows seven people who live in, or orbit around, Madame John’s Legacy, as rumors of what would be one of the city’s worst yellow fever epidemics begin to spread. Navigating post-Reconstruction New Orleans, as well as a romance that crosses the color line, the characters must decide whether to stay or leave the city.

 Photo: Melisa Cardona

Photo: Melisa Cardona

Gomela/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue (2017) | Ashé powerhouse

Producer/Dramaturg

Supported by a NEFA National Theater Project creation and touring grant, Gomela is a multidisciplinary ensemble performance directed by Stephanie McKee and devised and performed by Sunni Patterson, Kesha McKey, Kai Knight, Jeremy Guyton and Jawara Simon.  Making evident the connection between Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans, Gomela highlights the vibrant and percussive movements and stories that breathe life into ancient African dance and drumming and contemporary artistic expression, such as spoken word, hip-hop and jazz. Gomela is an experience of collective memories passed down from generation to generation, a tapestry woven by a group of multi-disciplinary artists who represent the diversity of African Americans who call New Orleans home.

 Photo: Melisa Cardona

Photo: Melisa Cardona

lockdown (2013) | Ashé Cultural arts Center

director/producer

Set in the context of the privatization of public schools, Lockdown is an original play that explores the impact of education reform in New Orleans post-Katrina. Written and performed by A Scribe Called Quess?, Rebecca Mwase, Troi Bechet, Derek Roguski and Thena Robinson, the play follows five adults who struggle to navigate this changing educational landscape in different ways. Created collaboratively by artists working in the public education system, this piece uses traditional scenes, spoken word and original music to explore the intersections between lives, institutions, and the ways we understand ourselves and our history.

soundtrack '63 (2016) | Contemporary Arts Center

producer/production manager

Soundtrack ‘63, a multi-media, live music performance takes audiences back in time with a cultural and artistic retrospective of the Civil Rights Movement from 1963 to the Black Lives Matter Movement. Originally produced by 651 ARTS and developed by Creative Director Chen Lo, Soundtrack ’63 premiered in 2013 as part of the Movement ’63 series. The New Orleans premiere of Soundtrack '63 was co-presented by Junebug Productions and the Contemporary Arts Center and featured performances by Sunni Patterson, Troy Sawyer, McDonough 35 Senior High School Gospel Choir alongside commentary by Dr. Cornel West and Sonia Sanchez, and performances by Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets. 

 

OMAr's party (2011) | Southern rep

Director

Written and performed by Gamal Abdel Chasten, core member of Universes, the award-winning national ensemble theater, this play follows Omar, a young member of the Black Panther Party in his quest for truth and justice. Presented by Souther Rep Theater's New Play Bacchanal in January 2011.

 

FLIGHT (2008)

SINGER

Presented by ArtSpot Productions and Mondo Bizarro, the brainchild of sculptor and set designer Jeff Becker,  FLIGHT, is an original show that uses performer-activated machines, film projection, song and live theater to explore humankind’s enduring dream of flight and the unpredictable consequences of its pursuit.  

 

Machinal (2000) | Currican Theater 

Actor (Telephone Girl) 

Director Christan Baal's take on Sophie Treadwell play inspired by the real-life case of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder. Written in 1928, Machinal is considered one of the highpoints of Expressionist Theater on the American stage. 

 

Romeo and Juliet: Tribal Rock Musical (1999) | La Mama 

ACtoR (Juliet)

Director William Electric Black, five-time Emmy award winner's take on the Shakespeare's tragic love story set to rock, pop, reggae and rap music.

All photos by Melisa Cardona except when noted