Genre: Theater arts/Spoken Word
Age Range for Residencies:
Artist’s Statement: Playwright and actor Amanda Kemp is passionate about history. “History isn’t what happened. History is the story we tell about what happened,” she says. A multiple year awardee of grants and awards from both the Pennsylvania Humanities Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Dr. Kemp researches African American history to create dramas that are informative and inspiring. Having earned her doctorate in Performance Studies, Dr. Kemp is adept at creating works that blend history and theater, and music. Her innovative workshop “From the Page to the Stage” encourages budding playwrights to use primary documents such as journals or newspaper articles to create scenes that show multiple points of view. Combining history and theater arts, her plays tackle subjects such as Benjamin Franklin and slavery; first African American poet Phillis Wheatley, the history of Chester, PA, and most recently the Emancipation Proclamation, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013. Always expanding herself as an artist, Dr. Kemp produced her first spoken word CD on Phillis Wheatley which includes dramatic readings of Wheatley’s poetry and letters, as well as African American spirituals. She enjoys working with students of various ages and assisting seniors in telling their stories.