ABOUT

The NOW AFRICA: Playwrights Festival is a reading series, conceptualized by playwright Mfoniso Udofia and developed/produced with Ngozi Anyanwu, Chinyere Anyanwu and Erin Cherry. Our team works to introduce, and sometimes reintroduce, New York City to the masters of African Dramatic Literature. These master playwrights include: Ama Ata Aidoo, Tawfiq al Hakim, Wole Soyinka and Ngugi wa Thiong'o. We also strive to showcase the incoming classes of contemporary African playwrights. Our singular aim is to build a home base for artists from the African diaspora.

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STAFF

MFONISIO UDOFIA

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

MFONISO UDOFIA, a first-generation Nigerian-American storyteller and educator, attended Wellesley College, obtained her MFA from the American Conservatory Theater [ACT] and, while at ACT, co-pioneered, The Nia Project, which provided artistic outlets for youth residing in Bayview/Huntspoint. Productions of her plays  Sojourners,  runboyrun, her Portmanteau and In Old Age have been seen at New York Theatre Workshop, American Conservatory Theater, Playwrights Realm, Magic Theater, National Black Theatre, Strand Theater Company, and Boston Court. She’s the recipient of the 2017 Helen Merrill Playwright Award, the 2017-18 McKnight National Residency and Commission at The Playwrights’ Center,  and is a member of New Dramatists.

 

Mfoniso’s currently commissioned by Hartford Stage, Denver Center, ACT, and South Coast Repertory. Her plays have been developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, ACT, McCarter Theatre, OSF, New Dramatists, PCS’s JAW Festival, Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, The OCC, Hedgebrook, Sundance Theatre Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, Page 73, New Black Fest, Rising Circle and more.

 

She has worked as a television writer on: 13 Reasons Why, Little America, Pachinko and Away and works as a Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College.

 

Follow her at @mfudofia or visit www.mfonisoudofia.com

ERIN CHERRY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

ERIN CHERRY is an Actor, Producer and Acting Coach (Originally from Las Vegas Nevada, and currently resides in New York City). She received her M.F.A. in acting from Rutgers Mason Gross School of the Arts. She is also an Emmy Award winner for Best Supporting Actress for the role of Brenda on the Emmy Award winning hit show After Forever on Amazon Prime. Cherry has appeared in theaters across the country including Manhattan Theatre Club, The Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage, Denver Center, New York Stage and Film, and more.

 

As a Producer Cherry has created her own show called a Sunday’s With A Cherry on Top, which is a health and lifestyle show on Black Culture (You Tube), of which she serves as the host. She is also one of the founding producers, along with Mfoniso Udofia, ChiChi Anyanwu and Ngozi Anyanwu, of NOW AFRICA: Playwrights Festival, which was organized to illuminate dramatic African literature, and explore and excavate African artists and theater.

 

Cherry is also a private acting coach and acting teacher at Maggie Flanigan Studio in New York City.

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NGOZI ANYANWU

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER

NGOZI ANYANWU was most recently a staff writer on AMERICANAH for HBOMax and Plan B, and recently developed a pilot with Juvee Productions and ABC Signature. In theater, she has commissions with NYU, The Old Globe,Two Rivers Theatre and The Atlantic Theatre. Previously, her play GOOD GRIEF (Kilroys List 2016, semi finalist Princess Grace, Humanitas Award), in which ANYANWU also starred, recently ran Off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre and was produced at Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles in Spring 2017. NIKE… (Kilroys List 2017) was recently workshopped at The New Black Fest in conjunction with The Lark and The Strand Festival in conjunction with A.C.T and Space on Ryder Farm. THE HOMECOMING QUEEN (Kilroys List 2017, Leah Ryan Finalist) recently had its world premiere at the Atlantic Theater which also had a sold out run. ANYANWU has also received residencies from LCT3, Space on Ryder Farm, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, The New Harmony Project, New York Stage and Film and Page 73. She attended Point Park University (BA) and received her MFA in Acting from University of California, San Diego

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CHI CHI ANYANWU

CREATIVE MARKETING PRODUCER

CHICHI ANYANWU       founded

CHI Talent Management after 10 plus years working in talent representation in New York. Anyanwu started off her professional career in the world of casting at Laura Stanczyk Casting and Finnegan/Keller Casting. Working in casting made her discover that her true passion was nurturing and developing aspiring talent. 

 

Past producing projects include workshop productions of the 1st Gen Nigerian Project at the Bank Street Theatre and the Humanitas Award winning play Good Grief written by Ngozi Anyanwu at the INTAR Theatre. When she wasn't representing clients, she served as a diversity audience consultant for Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres. ChiChi Anyanwu is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Communication, Theater Studies minor & Certificate in African Studies.