062: Stories that deserve to be told. Executive Director of MOJOAA Robin Carmon Marshall holds space and makes space to be heard.

MOJOAA Performing Arts Company believes that the African American  community has rich stories that deserve to be told. I’m so grateful for this conversation with Robin Carmon Marshall the Executive Director of MOJOAA as the company moves into its fifth season! We talk about the formation of MOJOAA as a family business and how Robin continues to cultivate the feeling of community within the company. Robin talks about her dreams for MOJOAA and what’s next, her process as a playwright, and the importance of sharing the stories of our elders (especially women and people of color)..

Photo by Jade Wilson

Robin Carmon Marshall is a Playwright/ Director/Performer/Activist, North Carolina native and the Executive Director of MOJOAA Performing Arts Company. She has a M.F.A. in Playwriting from Adelphi University. Robin’s works have been produced by Mordecai Historic Park, New Providence Missionary Baptist Church, Burning Coal Theatre Company, Cary Playwrights, Long Island University Honors Conference, Nassau County Correctional Facility, Memorial Presbyterian Church, and the National Black Theatre Festival 2011 Reading Series. Her play, From the Boot of Timberland, is performed in Domestic Violence Workshops. It received a staged reading at the National Black Theatre Festival 2011 and it received the 2011 Graduate Award in Playwriting.  Marshall served as the Founder & Artistic Director of The Sanaa Movement dance company based in Long Island, NY where they toured the tri-state region and abroad. Her website: robincarmonmarshall.com.

Mentions: 018: Artist & Leader Monèt Noelle Marshall speaks thru BUY MY SOUL AND CALL IT ART

Indy Article, In the Inaugural Bull City Black Theatre Festival, Underserved African-American Theater Artists Go Straight to the Audience They Richly Deserve by Byron Woods.

Next up for MOJOAA:

Can I Get A Witness written by Robin Carmon Marshall

April 12,14,18 & 19
First Baptist Church Family Life Center 109 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC. Tickets will go on sale Friday, January 25th

Robin will be performing in: The Dance On Widow’s Row by Agape Theatre Project May 2-12 at Burning Coal Theatre Raleigh, NC

Visit Robin’s website for more information: robincarmonmarshall.com

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Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Robin’s bio.

[2:05] What is MOJOAA?

[3:48] Robin tells us about the impact MOJOAA has had on the community

[7:14] How MOJOAA got its start

[9:24] Robin talks about working with her family in the theatre

[11:22] What does Robin’s job as Executive Director entail?

[12:36] Networking as an Executive Director

[13:39] How is MOJOAA made to feel like a “safe space”?

[15:40] Looking ahead to MOJOAA’s 5th season

[17:31] Robin’s dreams for MOJOAA’s future

[21:40] Why is Robin (and MOJOAA) so focused on community building?

[26:50] Robin’s thoughts (and actions) on creating opportunities for hearing the voices of people over 50

[37:30] The themes Robin encountered when reading elders’ plays.

[42:00] Why is writing a necessity for Robin and what does the process look like?

[47:28] Robin tells us about the musical she is currently writing

[49:37] Closing thoughts: We’re here.

[50:21] Thanks and sign-off

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Quotes:

We have things that we need to say. That they need to hear, and that only we know.

We’re free to make mistakes. We’re free to be who we are that’s what’s most important to us….What’s more important than anything else is that we create a space and a place that they want to be in and come back to, kind of like home.

I’m able to sit in front of a computer and say fluently what it is i need to say, making sure whoever reads it can read my heart.

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