Vanessa Bell Calloway ready to portray Zora Neale Hurston at NBTF

Vanessa Bell Calloway ready to portray Zora Neale Hurston at NBTF
July 30
00:00 2015

In above photo: Vanessa Bell Calloway on stage as Zora Neale Hurston (Photo courtesy of OPAS)


By Nikki Baldwin

For the Chronicle

The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) begins Monday, Aug. 3.

It will feature over 100 performances.

“Letters from Zora: In Her Own Words,” is one of the plays. It stars stage, screen, television actress and dancer Vanessa Bell Calloway.

She will be performing at NBTF on Aug. 4 and Aug. 5 at the SECCA-McChesney Scott Dunn Auditorium in two shows on both days at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

In an interview last week, Calloway said that when channeling Zora Neale Hurston, it was like singing a beautiful song or doing a dance, for she just loves being Hurston.

She said the play, which has received great feedback, is a story she tries to tell the best way she can.

The play “Letters from Zora,” written by Gabriella Pina, is about the life of Zora Neale Hurston, who was a renown African-American writer who wrote thousands of letters to her closest friends.

The play reveals through the letters written by Hurston a side of her that was not widely known about her.

Hurston’s letters, which were not widely known about, follows Calloway navigating Hurston’s life from her childhood to her death with the use of Hurston’s letters.

Calloway, who has been a part of the National Black Theatre Festival before, said, “I have been coming to the National Black Theatre Festival for years. Winston-Salem is such a great place that makes you feel special and wonderful.”

Calloway also talked about the NBTF and her joy of seeing everybody along with the people who really appreciate the plays, and the energizing feeling she gets while at the NBTF.

When asked how long it took her to become Hurston, Calloway said before the first time she performed the play, it took her a month to learn the dialogue and then two months to become her.

Calloway who has been doing this play for four years, said every time she does the play she always finds something new in it, along with the playwright Gabrielle Pina.

Calloway said she looks forward to seeing her friend Debbi Morgan’s one-woman show “The Monkey on My Back!” along with Rain Pryor’s play “Fried Chicken and Latkes” that will both be performed on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Calloway said she would love to see more plays, but since she is working as well it leaves her with limited time to see many plays.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors