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Described as a living memoir, BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey is a multimedia theatrical production with lyrical language, soulful songs and the music that shaped the life of a resilient little girl growing up in Spanish Harlem. This one-woman theatrical drama chronicles the life of classical actress, Debra Ann Byrd.

The solo show flows from Debra Ann’s recounting of her ancestral lineage to her arrival at a crossroad in life, while taking us through her joy-filled and tumultuous youth; a fateful encounter with a company of Shakespearean actors and her remarkable, gender-flipped journey on the road to becoming Othello. We share in Debra Ann’s struggle with self-esteem and how, against all odds, she manages to make it through foster care, teenage pregnancy and single parenting, to become the person she always dreamed she could be. It is a deeply personal, poignant and powerful story of perseverance, tragedy, triumph and ultimately, unconditional love.

Generously sponsored by Dr. Gerald and Roberta Friedman.

BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl's Journey will be performed outdoors at the ROMAN GARDEN THEATRE.

This show discusses topics and personal stories of rape, abuse, and trauma. A gun / gunshot will occur on stage during this play. These occurrences may not be suited for some audience members. Please contact the Box Office for more information.


Debra Ann Byrd

Debra Ann Byrd


Debra Ann is the Founding Artistic Director of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and an award winning classically trained actress, scholar and producer who was recently named Writer-in-Residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Artist-in-Residence Fellow at the Folger Institute, A’Lelia Bundles Community Scholar Arts Fellow at Columbia University and Artist-in-Residence

Diana Evans (she / her)

Diana Evans [she / her]

(Stage Manager)

Diana Evans is a writer, stage manager, and theatre education artist. She holds a BA in Communication, Journalism, Creative Writing, & English from New England College, Henniker N.H. Recent credits include: Advice To The Players (Sandwich N.H.): Stage Manager (As You Like It, 2020), Director (Noir Hamlet, 2020).

Tina Packer

Tina Packer


Born in England, Tina was trained at RADA, performed in regional theatre, was an Associate Artist at the RSC, played in television series for the BBC and ITV, arrived in the U.S. in 1974. She had a Ford Foundation Travel and Study to research the visceral roots of Shakespeare’s


Shakespeare & Company is a professional live theatre company in the heart of the Berkshires, presenting a vibrant summer performance season featuring the works of Shakespeare in repertory with classic and contemporary plays. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, and is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program.