Local people honored at star-studded gala

Photos by Alphonso Abbott Jr.– Mabel Robinson

Local people honored at star-studded gala
August 03
03:00 2017

The National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) is in town once again.  Thousands of people from across the country are pouring into the city to enjoy the weeklong celebration.  To begin the week, the awards gala was held and four local residents took home awards.

*Mabel Robinson, who received a Living Legend Award, retired as artistic director of the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC) at the tail end of 2015.  While there she helped create magic on stage serving as both director and choreographer for a number of successful productions.  The Savannah, GA native is a graduate of the Julliard School of Music.

“I want to say thank you so much for bestowing this honor upon me because I am truly grateful for it,” Robinson said after receiving her award.  “I feel truly blessed and I am humbled by it as well.”

*The Theatre Arts and Humanitarian Award was awarded to Wilbert T. Jenkins.  He has long supported the N.C. Black Repertory Company and the NBTF for as long as both have been in existence.  He has served as chair of the NCBRC Board of Directors where he has helped the company thrive for decades.  Jenkins was honored with the award for his tireless efforts over the years.

“After receiving notification of this award I spent some time reminiscing,” said Jenkins.  “I am grateful and pleased.”

*Winston-Salem’s own Cleopatra Solomon was presented with a Special Recognition Award for her longstanding support of the NBTF.  She and fellow Urban League employee Cynthia Mack created the Youth Celebrity Project in 1993 to expose disadvantaged kids to the wonders of the arts.  She is an alumna of WSSU and is now a human resources development specialist at Forsyth Technical Community College.

“I want to thank the North Carolina Black Repertory Company and the National Black Theatre Festival for this prestigious award and for giving me my 15 minutes of fame,” she said during her acceptance speech. 

*The late Walter Marshall, Special Recognition Award (In Memoriam) recipient, who passed away this past February, was a crusader for justice and a champion of the African-American community for all of his life. 

He was elected to the WSFC Board of Education in the 1980s.  He left after his appointment to the Forsyth Board of Commissioners, where he served until his death.  Marshall was a long time NBTF volunteer and led the transportation division during festival week.  He was honored posthumously.  Marshall’s award was accepted by his wife Paulette.  She thanked the NCBRC and the NBTF for honoring her husband.  She also thanked everyone for the kind words and condolences in the wake of her husband’s death.  She says she knows he is “in this room with us tonight.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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