The Art of Change

Building Community for 30 Years: UCSC's African American Theater Arts Troupe

Episode Summary

African American Theater Arts Troupe director Don Williams is joined in conversation by two alumni from UCSC's African American Theater Arts Troupe, Ms. Niketa Calame-Harris (Oakes, ’02 and voice of ‘Young Nala' in Disney's 1994 animated feature The Lion King) and Dr. Eric Jackson-Scott (Rachel Carson, '95). Moderated by KZSC's Luisa Cardoza.

Episode Notes

In this episode, the UC Santa Cruz Arts Division is thrilled to kick off our new Arts Lecture Series by celebrating the upcoming 30th anniversary of UCSC’s African American Theater Arts Troupe.

Founded in 1991, by UC Santa Cruz drama lecturer, producer, director, and mentor Don Williams, the African American Theater Arts Troupe, or “AATAT” as it’s often called, has had a profound and lasting effect on countless numbers of African American students throughout the years. 

As you’ll find out in this lively and candid talk with Don and two of his alumni, Niketa Calame-Harris and Dr. Eric Jackson-Scott, Don’s tireless work and dedication have inspired so many. 

His students have a deep appreciation, and love, for his willingness to address head on, not only what it means to be Black on our campus, but also the importance of exposing African American students, and all students, to the Black experience through presenting plays written by Black playwrights.

After starting the African American Theater Arts Troupe, Don also founded, in 1993, the Rainbow Theater in order to give students from various diverse backgrounds the opportunity to experience and create multicultural productions. 

We hope you’ll enjoy this thought-provoking and dynamic conversation which was originally presented live, via Zoom, on December 1, 2020 and hosted by KZSC radio’s Luisa Cardoza.