Courtesy of Anthony Cork Photography
Back in February, I had the privilege of meeting and working with Kimberly Wilson for the ProduceHERS' staged reading of Quarter Year Dilemmas. Originally from Minneapolis, MN, Kimberly first pursued theater while in high school, after studying Theater at Howard University, she returned home and continued her acting career performing in plays and television commercials. Wilson has written a one-woman show, "A Journey..." which she tours in and around Fairfield county Connecticut.
Q: Where did you receive your acting training?
A: My acting 'training' continues to come from unique and diverse forms and experiences. When I was nine years old, I took drama at Cultural Arts Center in Minneapolis. I later attended the Minneapolis Children’s Theater School Summer Institute. In 1976, I was a founding acting company member of Mixed Blood Theater in Minneapolis. More 'training' was hands-on experience performing in the Minnneapolis Community Theaters: At the Foot of the Mountain, Brass Tacks Theater, Illusion Theater, Minnesota Festival Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Park Square Theater, Theatre in the Round, Penumbra Theatre, and Shoestring Playhouse. And these Connecticut theaters: Collective Consciouness Theater, New Haven Theater Company, and Theatre Artists Workshops. I believe acting training and education is lifelong; not only through my personal life, but also learned through the many opportunities and experiences of working with a myriad of actors, directors, producers, designers, technical crews, costumers, musicians, theater administers, and the viewing audiences as well.
Q: How have the fundamentals you learned served your career as an artist?
A: The 'fundamentals' are a relative term. I feel the best lessons I've learned are to truly listen, observe and receive people and environments and experiences to there fullest. These lessons not only serve me as an actress, singer, writer and director but also in everyday life.
|Kimberly performing in "A Journey...".|
Courtesy of G. Anthony Cork Photograph
Q: Where did you get the inspiration to write, produce, and direct your one-woman show?
A: The past four years I found the urgency to build a performance piece that would incorporate more of my acting and singing talents so I added historical narratives of an African Queen, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and my own personal story and thus began "A JOURNEY..." by Kimberly Wilson. I decided to write a play with music that would provide educational and entertainment value. I included historical narratives of an African Queen, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Sojourner Truth and her work fighting for the rights of slaves and women’s rights, Rosa Parks and her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott; Maya Angelou and her struggles and legacies as an artist, teacher, poet and historian; and I include facets of my own story, my journey of how I got here. “A JOURNEY…” is now a full-stage production that normally runs about an hour and a half. My show mixes movement, recitation, singing, dancing and audience participation as well.This full-stage production is an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half integrating movement, recitation, performance, singing, dancing, and audience participation. I premiered it last year at the Theatre Artists Workshop (TAW) in Norwalk, Connecticut and performed it again this year during Black History Month at TAW. This year my effort is to continue touring my one-woman show and not limit this wonderful story to just one month of performances. My additional effort is to continue researching historical African American women and weave them in and out of "A JOURNEY..." Prayerfully I will be able to write, sing, dance, and perform throughout my 'retirement' years.
Q: How do you sustain your creative motivation?
A: This is a good question. I truly feel what sustains me and motivates me is not limited to one simple explanation. I truly feel and believe that I have a gift to give and a song to sing and a story to tell. I also feel that my unique style and voice and welcoming way with my audiences, all help explain what motivates me. I have a passion that is in my heart. I love to sing... I love to act... I love the 'stage'... I love the theater... Deep down I am at peace because I know that this is what I'm supposed to do. I love my life...God has blessed me and I'm grateful.
Q: Can you share a creative challenge that was a worthwhile learning experience?
A: Life itself is a creative challenge - don't you agree? Living IS learning. And all of it is worthwhile.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Success is such a personal term. What may be deemed successful to one person may not be considered a success for another. Personally and professionally I find the more I mature, the more I live, the more life obstacles I overcome, the more joys I share, the more blessings I receive, the less I try to define my life. I'm happy. I'm working to really uplift what I believe is good and great in my life – family, faith, community, hope, service, and love.
Q: What key piece of advice would you give to aspiring artists?
A: I think the best advice is: Make the choices and receive those opportunities that reflect what is true and real in your heart, in your spirit, in your soul. This will reflect in your everyday commitments and passions and will shine upon everyone whose lives you come in contact.
Q: Tell us about any upcoming project(s) we should be on the look out for.
A: My one-woman show "A JOURNEY..." by Kimberly Wilson. I recently performed “A JOURNEY…” at the Walter’s Memorial AME Zion Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT. It was an awe inspiring experience, truly a journey that I will never forget. The next scheduled date is Friday, August 3, 2012 at The Capri Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The tour continues and I welcome booking dates. Feel free to contact me via email email@example.com; or 203.571.7709. My new website is www.thewilsonproductions.com. Aaliyah, again thank you for this interview opportunity.