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Elmo Terry-Morgan

Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Theatre Arts and Performance Studies and Artistic Director of Rites & Reason Theatre

Elmo Terry-Morgan (MFA, University of California-San Diego, 1978) is Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Theatre and Performance Studies and Artistic Director of Rites and Reason Theatre. He is also on the faculty of the Brown/Trinity Repertory Graduate Program in Theater Arts. Terry-Morgan's areas of specialization are African-American Theatre, African-American Folk Traditions and Cultural Expressions, and Playwriting. He has served as managing editor for the Black Theatre Network News. Before coming to Brown Professor Terry-Morgan was a longtime associate director and playwright at the National Black Theatre of Harlem, NY. He also served as writer and director of the AUDELCO Awards show, the Recognition Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre, NYC, for 10 years.

His major works include: Miss Morning, the adaptation of The Legacy: Memories of the Gospel Song, The Washingtons: A Freedom Unknown, Song of Sheba, Ophelia's Cotillion, Profiles and Shadows, and Heart-to-Heart: Ain't Your Life Worth Saving? Most recently he edited a re-imagining of Ama Ata Aidoo’s play, Anowa, and co-adapted the Civil Rights Era novel, Freshwater Road, with author Denise Nicholas into a Book-on-Legs performance, which were both developed and produced at Rites and Reason Theatre. He is currently under commission by the National Black Theatre of Harlem to adapt the essays of its founder, Barbara Ann Teer, into a performance work. His plays have been produced in theatre and television venues across the United States and in Japan. His works have been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, National Alliance for Musical Theatre, LifeSpan Hospitals, National Institutes of Health and Brown University.

His other on-going research focuses on the development of a Black Gay and Lesbian Theatre. His course, Black Lavender, was jointly designed by Brown students in an Odyssey Seminar, and continues to receive significant student research input and support from colleagues in the nation.

Selected Honors and Awards

  • Teer Spirit Award, 2009, for being a visionary and catalyst for artistic development
  • Mellon Mays Advising and Mentoring Award, 2006
  • Selection Committee: Karen T. Romer Award
  • Inman Page Black Alumni Council Award
  • Karen T. Romer Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Advising and Mentoring, 2005
  • Recipient: Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Outstanding Mentor Book Research Award, 2004
  • S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholars Competition: Since 1993, 23 students from Professor Terry-Morgan's course, AF 111: Voices Beneath the Veil, have won first place, second place and honorable mention honors in this national competition for scholarly papers on Black Theatre
  • Recipient: Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship Outstanding Mentor Book Research Award, 2002
  • Rites and Reason is recipient of the Special Service Award from the American Heart Association/Rhode Island Affiliate, November, 2000
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching by ONYX Society of Black Graduating Seniors, 1999
  • 5 AUDELCO Awards for The Fruits of Miss Morning, including Outstanding Dramatic Production of the Year. Personal Awards: Outstanding Director of a Drama, Outstanding Playwright
  • 8 AUDELCO Awards for Song of Sheba including Outstanding Musical Production of the Year. Personal awards: Outstanding Director of a Musical, Outstanding Musical Creator, 1989.
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching for Recognition of Innovation in Teaching presented by ONYX Society of Black Graduating Seniors, 1998
  • Academic Advising Award presented by The Undergraduate Council of Students, Brown University, 1998: 1997/98
  • Rites and Reason Theatre is recipient of the Jabez Gorham Award for Arts Excellence by the Business Volunteers for the Arts Rhode Island.
  • National Achievement Audelco Award given to Rites and Reason for Artistic Excellence and Institutional Longevity. Only two other theatres were singled out for this honor: Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia and The Ensemble Theatre in Houston, 1994
  • American Legion Award (Colonel Charles Young Post, Harlem, NY) for Community Service, 1992
  • Best of Fest Award: First Annual San Diego Actors Festival for The Washingtons: A Freedom Unknown, 1991

Selected Publications

  • Perishable Theatre, Providence, RE Critical essay, "Behind the Frangipani Door". an analysis of The Frangipani Door by Nehassaiu deGannes was published in Perishable Theatre's anthology, Women PlayWrights Festival 2001.
  • "Call and Response: The Making of the African Grove Institute for the Arts", centerpiece article, in Black Theatre's Unprecedented Times (with special introduction by August Wilson), Black Theatre Network News 1999
  • "NOISE/FUNK: Fo' Real Black Theatre on Broadway", an analysis of George C. Wolfe's Broadway musical, Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funk. In Afro American Review special edition on African American Theatre, publication January, 1998.
  • "Backstage at the AUDELCO Awards: Vivian Robinson's Eternal Spirit", and "It's Tithing Time" Black Theatre News, vol. 8, no. 2, Winter, 1998.

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Playwriting
  • Voices Beneath the Veil: African-American Plays from 1858 to the Present
  • African-American Folk Traditions and Cultural Expressions
  • Black Lavender: Plays with Black LGBTQ Themes
  • Introduction to Africana Studies
  • Research-to-Performance Method Playwriting