From the Desk of Pharah Jean-Philippe
Modern-Day Griot Theatre Company (MDGTC) was established in May 2010 because I wanted a theatre company that told the stories of the African Diaspora sans the revisionist perspective. I wanted a place where the story and the art of storytelling can be respected, appreciated and honored; a place where the artist could share with the audience his/her true self and sense of artistry; a place where I can create a close theatrical family unit with strong ties to the Brooklyn community; an arts collective where artists can collaborate and share with local arts organizations and businesses; a place to call home.
The goal was quite lofty and I didn't know what to expect. Will we make it past year one intact? Is there an audience for the programs we were offering? Will people get and appreciate our vision? Will they get it?
In the past few years, we've broadened the scope of our vision to not only tell stories of the African Diaspora, but that of the human experience. In doing so, we've invited women, other minorities, and the LGBT community to share their stories with us as well as with our audience. We broadened our theatrical horizons by engaging and developing the talents up-and-coming actors, playwrights, directors, choreographers, musicians, filmmakers, visual artists and we were fortunate enough to be able to collaborate with other arts organizations and businesses.
We've seen many blessings as we grew from a fledgling theatre company to one that overcame many difficult challenges. What we received is an audience that not only appreciates our stories and our artistry, but understands our vision and trusts us to deliver the best that we have to offer. We also have a cadre of gifted artists (talent that we have grown to count on) as well as local Arts Institutions, Arts Organizations and businesses that are co-conspirators in bringing forth the intimacy and truth which allows for the nuanced storytelling that is often unexpected as it is wonderful.
Importantly, I, personally, have benefited the most from this company which allowed my zany creativity to flourish and thrive. I have received the support of the most amazing Board of Directors who are not only supportive of MDGTC, but who are not afraid to "pull my coattail" when I go off the deep-end artistically and financially (I admit, there have been some moments when I thought we had Rockefeller money flowing out of our coffers to fund a few of my more "elaborate" creative projects). For that, I am extremely grateful. Additionally, we have been blessed with wonderful volunteer staff, albeit few, which are a constant source of support and often provide the fresh perspective we need. But most important of all, I have partnered with three amazing women who mean the world to me. Ladies, you are more than my artistic core team, you are my sisters.
Modern-Day Griot Theatre Company, nor I, would not be what we are without any of you. Thank you all so very much for this awesome experience and here's to the next five years!
So, please join the Modern-Day Griot Theatre Company as we spread love leading up to our 5th anniversary. It's the Brooklyn Way!