Native Guard

Atlanta History Center
Recommended for ages 12+
author
Natasha Trethewey
Directed by
Susan V. Booth

Native Guard, the Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poetry by former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, will be staged this season amidst the Atlanta History Center’s extraordinary Civil War collection. First adapted for the stage by the Alliance in 2014 to sold-out audiences, Native Guard juxtaposes the deeply personal experiences of Trethewey, a child of a then-illegal marriage between her African-American mother and Caucasian father living in 1960s Mississippi, with the experience of a soldier in the Native Guard, the first African-American Union troop in the Civil War who was charged with guarding white Confederate captives. Years after her mother’s tragic death, Trethewey reclaims her memory, just as she reclaims the voices of the black soldiers whose service has been all but forgotten.

For the second act of each performance, you're invited to join a discussion about the play. Each night will be hosted by a different community leader, who will share their thoughts on the show before opening the discussion. Hosts include Sheffield Hale (President & CEO, Atlanta History Center); Dr. Paul Wolpe (Director, Emory Center for Ethics); Pellom McDaniels III (Curator, African American Collections, Rose Library); Doug Hooker (Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission); Doug Shipman (President and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center); and more.  See the full list of hosts here.

Hear Natasha Trethewey read from Native Guard

"An invigorating theatrical experience." —AJC

At the Atlanta History Center

Special Events

  • Act II // at each performance

    More information
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    Stick around after each performance for a discussion about the play—these discussions are an integral part of the experience of Native Guard. Each night will be hosted by a different community leader, who will share their thoughts on the show before opening the discussion. Hosts include Sheffield Hale (President and CEO, Atlanta History Center; Dr. Paul Wolpe (Director, Emory Center for Ethics); Pellom McDaniels III (Curator, African American Collections, Rose Library); Doug Hooker (Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commission); Doug Shipman (President and CEO, Woodruff Arts Center); and more.

    Scheduled speakers are subject to change.

    • Saturday, January 13  8:00 p.m. Addae Moon, Director of Museum Theatre, Atlanta History Center
    • Sunday, January 14 at 2:30 p.m. Anthony Knight, Founder, President & CEO, The Baton Foundation
    • Sunday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. Megan Sexton, Poet, Georgia State University
    • Tuesday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m. Mary Lynn Owen and Rob Cleveland, Atlanta actors and storytellers
    • Wednesday, January 17 at 7:30 p.m. Doug Hooker, Atlanta Regional Commission Executive Director
    • Thursday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m. Doug Shipman, CEO Woodruff with Helen Ho, Founding Partner, HKH Law LLC
    • Friday, January 19 at 8:00 p.m. Jamil Zainaldin, President, Georgia Humanities Council
    • Saturday, January 20 at 2:30 p.m. Amma Y. Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Ph.D., University of Georgia Assistant Professor with a Joint Appointment in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies and the Institute for African American Studies
    • Saturday, January 20 at 8:00 p.m. Jericho Brown, Director of Creative Writing, Emory University
    • Sunday, January 21 at 2:30 p.m. Jiréh Breon Holder, Alliance/Kendeda Competition-winning playwright, Playwriting Fellow of the Department of Theater and Creative Writing, Emory University
    • Sunday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. Sheffield Hale, Atlanta History Center President and Chief Executive Offer
    • Tuesday, January 23 at 7:30 p.m. Velma Cowen Tilley, Retired Juvenile Court Judge
    • Wednesday, January 24 at 7:30 p.m. Paul Root Wolpe, Director, Emory Center for Ethics
    • Thursday, January 25 at 7:30 p.m. Suzanna Jemsby, Head of School, The Galloway School
    • Friday, January 26 at 8:00 p.m. Marium Khalid, Writer, Director, Founder, and Artistic Director of Saiah and Sky Creature
    • Saturday, January 27 at 2:30 p.m. Pearl Amelia McHaney, Kenneth M. England Professor of Southern Literature, Georgia State University 
    • Saturday, January 27 at 8:00 p.m. Derreck Kayongo, Chief Executive Officer National Center for Civil and Human Rights
    • Sunday, January 28 at 2:30 p.m. Pellom McDaniels III, Curator African American Collections, Rose Library
    • Sunday, January 28 at 7:30 p.m. Carlton Mackey, Ethics and the Arts Director, Emory Center for Ethics
    • Thursday, February 1 at 7:30 p.m. Makeba Dixon-Hill, Curator of Education, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
    • Saturday, February 3 at 2:30 p.m. Chandra Stephens-Albright, Managing Director, Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company
    • Saturday, February 3 at 8:00 p.m. Lois Reitzes, WABE
    • Sunday, February 4 at 2:30 p.m. Chris Appleton, cofounder and Executive Director, WonderRoot

    Facilitators

    • Celise Kalke, Alliance Theatre Director of New Projects
    • Angela Farr Schiller, Kennesaw State University (Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab participant)
    • Suehyla El-Attar, Actor, Director, and Dramaturg
    • Michael Winn, Alliance Theatre Audience Development Manager

Atlanta History Center

Atlanta History Center, exterior photo

130 West Paces Ferry Road NW Atlanta, GA 30305 Directions

Located in Buckhead, the Atlanta History Center was founded in 1926 to preserve and present significant pieces of Atlanta history.  It features 33 acres of destinations, exhibitions, programming, events and interactive activities for all ages. Its approach to storytelling creates a space for dialogue, discovery, and a shared understanding of our city. 

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The Atlanta History Center, Nicholson Gallery

130 West Paces Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30305

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Souper Jenny
130 West Paces Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30305

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128 E Andrews Dr NW
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Atlanta History Center Parking

Atlanta History Center
130 West Paces Ferry Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30305

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3050 Peachtree Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30305

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Swan Coach House

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3130 Slaton Dr NW
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Buckhead MARTA Station

Portofino

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3199 Paces Ferry Pl NW
Atlanta, GA 30305
"We are honored for the opportunity to partner with the Alliance Theatre. We hope the experience of combining Trethewey's work and the talent of the actors in Native Guard with the powerful objects and stories in our Turning Point: The American Civil War exhibition will connect audiences with history in a way that they may not have experienced before."
Sheffield Hale, President & CEO, Atlanta History Center

Cast

Nicole is elated to return to the Alliance for yet another incredible experience. Regional credits: Native Guard (2014) as The Vocalist, Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL as Mary Magdalene (Alliance Theatre); GloATL on-site at the High Museum as Vocalist (Alliance Theatre partnership with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). Music credits: The Servant as lead female vocalist (Rod McGaha’s Album); Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra as Female Vocalist (Lionel Hampton Tour). Nicole spends her days working in corporate America and is blessed with an adoring husband, Stan Sr., and loving son, Stan Jr., both of whom are the center of her universe.

Nicole Banks Long
Nicole Banks Long
Vocalist

Nicole is elated to return to the Alliance for yet another incredible experience. Regional credits: Native Guard (2014) as The Vocalist, Jesus Christ Superstar GOSPEL as Mary Magdalene (Alliance Theatre); GloATL on-site at the High Museum as Vocalist (Alliance Theatre partnership with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra). Music credits: The Servant as lead female vocalist (Rod McGaha’s Album); Lionel Hampton’s Orchestra as Female Vocalist (Lionel Hampton Tour). Nicole spends her days working in corporate America and is blessed with an adoring husband, Stan Sr., and loving son, Stan Jr., both of whom are the center of her universe.

It’s truly humbling to once again be on the Alliance stage in what could only be called a night of thoughtful words, insights, discussion, and hopefully a little education thrown into the mix. What an opportunity! I hope you are given as much freedom as I have been given with Natasha’s book, to explore tough questions about how we interact and perceive one another. How, because of our shared history, our future is truly linked and is whatever we make it. It’s been a pleasure; a pleasure that I hope you and I can share again sometime.

Neal A. Ghant
Neal A. Ghant
The Native Guard

It’s truly humbling to once again be on the Alliance stage in what could only be called a night of thoughtful words, insights, discussion, and hopefully a little education thrown into the mix. What an opportunity! I hope you are given as much freedom as I have been given with Natasha’s book, to explore tough questions about how we interact and perceive one another. How, because of our shared history, our future is truly linked and is whatever we make it. It’s been a pleasure; a pleasure that I hope you and I can share again sometime.

January is honored to return to the Alliance, where she was previously seen in Pearl Cleage's What I Learned in Paris. Broadway: Enron. Off-Broadway: Wakey, Wakey; Funnyhouse of a Negro; Two Trains Running; Home; Measure for Measure; Wings; Coraline. Regional: Benny & Joon (Old Globe), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Mark Taper Forum), Good People (Pittsburgh Public), A Streetcar Named Desire, Lobby Hero, The Merchant of Venice (Denver Center). TV: “Blue Bloods,” “Law & Order,” Noelle Ortiz on “One Life to Live.” VO: 150+ audiobooks, multiple Audie Awards. Thanks to DBA and Innovative. For KC and GT. 

January LaVoy
January LaVoy
The Poet

January is honored to return to the Alliance, where she was previously seen in Pearl Cleage's What I Learned in Paris. Broadway: Enron. Off-Broadway: Wakey, Wakey; Funnyhouse of a Negro; Two Trains Running; Home; Measure for Measure; Wings; Coraline. Regional: Benny & Joon (Old Globe), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Mark Taper Forum), Good People (Pittsburgh Public), A Streetcar Named Desire, Lobby Hero, The Merchant of Venice (Denver Center). TV: “Blue Bloods,” “Law & Order,” Noelle Ortiz on “One Life to Live.” VO: 150+ audiobooks, multiple Audie Awards. Thanks to DBA and Innovative. For KC and GT. 

Creative

Clay has been the resident sound designer at the Alliance Theatre for 17 years, designing more than 95 productions, including 27 world premieres, 30 musicals and 25 Theater for Young Audiences productions. Recent works include Disgraced; Pancakes, Pancakes!; Cinderella and Fella; and Troubadour. He also designed at Georgia Shakespeare, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Theatrical Outfit, Geva Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre and the Georgia Aquarium. Awards: seven Suzi Bass awards for outstanding sound design with 14 nominations. He is a graduate of Presbyterian College (B.A.), the North Carolina School of the Arts (M.F.A.) and a member of IATSE/USA829 and TSDCA.

Clay Benning
Clay Benning
Sound Designer

Clay has been the resident sound designer at the Alliance Theatre for 17 years, designing more than 95 productions, including 27 world premieres, 30 musicals and 25 Theater for Young Audiences productions. Recent works include Disgraced; Pancakes, Pancakes!; Cinderella and Fella; and Troubadour. He also designed at Georgia Shakespeare, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Theatrical Outfit, Geva Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre and the Georgia Aquarium. Awards: seven Suzi Bass awards for outstanding sound design with 14 nominations. He is a graduate of Presbyterian College (B.A.), the North Carolina School of the Arts (M.F.A.) and a member of IATSE/USA829 and TSDCA.

Born in New Orleans’ cradle of jazz, Jackson embodies the spirit of the Crescent City but has made his home in Atlanta. He has performed with Earl Klugh, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Jennifer Holliday and Marcus Miller. Professor of music at Kennesaw State University where he teaches applied jazz piano, group piano (jazz), jazz improvisation II & III, and the blues. Lecturer and clinician with the Rialto for Youth Jazz Ensemble. Three CDs of original works: Dedicated, Another Voyage and Melody in Nede: Suite for Jazz Quartet. Jackson has written and arranged countless works for a litany of artists and performers.

Tyrone Jackson
Tyrone Jackson
Composer, Music Director, Keyboard

Born in New Orleans’ cradle of jazz, Jackson embodies the spirit of the Crescent City but has made his home in Atlanta. He has performed with Earl Klugh, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Jennifer Holliday and Marcus Miller. Professor of music at Kennesaw State University where he teaches applied jazz piano, group piano (jazz), jazz improvisation II & III, and the blues. Lecturer and clinician with the Rialto for Youth Jazz Ensemble. Three CDs of original works: Dedicated, Another Voyage and Melody in Nede: Suite for Jazz Quartet. Jackson has written and arranged countless works for a litany of artists and performers.

Adam is a documentary filmmaker and designer for live performance. Designs include Hal Prince’s LoveMusik (Broadway), The Gospel at Colonus (Athens, Edinburgh and Spoleto Festivals), The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (Singapore and Edinburgh Festival), The Women of Brewster Place (Alliance/Arena Stage), Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, 23 Miles, Native Guard (Alliance Theatre), Breaking the Waves (Opera Philadelphia and Prototype Festival), From the House of the Dead (Canadian Opera), Brief Encounters, My Fair Lady (Shaw Festival), Agrippina, A Flowering Tree (Opera Omaha), Flight (Juilliard), Semele (Pacific Musicworks), Maa (Atlanta Symphony), The Pelleas Trilogy (Cincinnati Symphony), Siren Song, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tales of Hoffmann (Hawaii Opera eatre), Phorion (New World Symphony), Peer Gynt, Peter Grimes, On the Town, SoundBox (San Francisco Symphony). Adam’s documentary about autism, Neurotypical, aired on the PBS series “POV”. 

Adam Larsen
Adam Larsen
Media Designer

Adam is a documentary filmmaker and designer for live performance. Designs include Hal Prince’s LoveMusik (Broadway), The Gospel at Colonus (Athens, Edinburgh and Spoleto Festivals), The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (Singapore and Edinburgh Festival), The Women of Brewster Place (Alliance/Arena Stage), Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, 23 Miles, Native Guard (Alliance Theatre), Breaking the Waves (Opera Philadelphia and Prototype Festival), From the House of the Dead (Canadian Opera), Brief Encounters, My Fair Lady (Shaw Festival), Agrippina, A Flowering Tree (Opera Omaha), Flight (Juilliard), Semele (Pacific Musicworks), Maa (Atlanta Symphony), The Pelleas Trilogy (Cincinnati Symphony), Siren Song, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tales of Hoffmann (Hawaii Opera eatre), Phorion (New World Symphony), Peer Gynt, Peter Grimes, On the Town, SoundBox (San Francisco Symphony). Adam’s documentary about autism, Neurotypical, aired on the PBS series “POV”. 

Anne has created incredibly varied works from technologically advanced performances such as Mercury Soul at New World Symphony, to designs for musicals and operas, to large-scale art installations. Her theatrical and symphonic partnerships have included major venues across the United States: Avery Fisher Hall, Arena Stage, The Wilma Theater, The Kennedy Center, Alliance Theater and prestigious symphonies throughout the country (San Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago). Her large-scale installations can be seen at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, and 125 High Street in Boston. 

Anne Patterson
Anne Patterson
Set Designer

Anne has created incredibly varied works from technologically advanced performances such as Mercury Soul at New World Symphony, to designs for musicals and operas, to large-scale art installations. Her theatrical and symphonic partnerships have included major venues across the United States: Avery Fisher Hall, Arena Stage, The Wilma Theater, The Kennedy Center, Alliance Theater and prestigious symphonies throughout the country (San Francisco, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago). Her large-scale installations can be seen at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati, The Ringling Museum in Sarasota, The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, and 125 High Street in Boston. 

Alliance Theatre: Native Guard (costumes); August Osage County; Jacque Brel…; Glen Gary, Glen Ross; Other People’s Money (sets). Theatrical Outfit: Blood Knot, Ah Wilderness (sets); Cotton Patch Gospel (costumes). Actor’s Express: Legend of Georgia McBride, Stupid F**king Bird, End of the Rainbow, Dark Play,I Am My Own Wife, Tom Pain (sets). Regional: Georgia Shakespeare, Center for Puppetry Arts, Georgia Ensemble Theater, Theater Emory. National: Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Geva Theatre, Merrimack Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Indiana Repertory Theater, and Off-Broadway. Broadway: Tony Award-winning K-2 (Associate Designer with Ming Cho Lee; Maharam Award). Suzi Bass award for August, Osage County, nomination for The Legend of Georgia McBride. Leslie served for ten years as Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at Emory University and currently serves as Executive Director for the Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts. 

Leslie Taylor
Leslie Taylor
Costume Designer

Alliance Theatre: Native Guard (costumes); August Osage County; Jacque Brel…; Glen Gary, Glen Ross; Other People’s Money (sets). Theatrical Outfit: Blood Knot, Ah Wilderness (sets); Cotton Patch Gospel (costumes). Actor’s Express: Legend of Georgia McBride, Stupid F**king Bird, End of the Rainbow, Dark Play,I Am My Own Wife, Tom Pain (sets). Regional: Georgia Shakespeare, Center for Puppetry Arts, Georgia Ensemble Theater, Theater Emory. National: Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Geva Theatre, Merrimack Theatre, Portland Stage Company, Indiana Repertory Theater, and Off-Broadway. Broadway: Tony Award-winning K-2 (Associate Designer with Ming Cho Lee; Maharam Award). Suzi Bass award for August, Osage County, nomination for The Legend of Georgia McBride. Leslie served for ten years as Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at Emory University and currently serves as Executive Director for the Emory College Center for Creativity & Arts. 

Bret is honored to be working with the cast and creative team of Native Guard at the Atlanta History Center. Previous Alliance credits include Hand to God, Shakespeare in Love, The Magic Negro, Troubadour, Courtenay’s Cabaret, Born for This, Disgraced, A Steady Rain, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Blues for An Alabama Sky. As a regional theater stage manager for more than 25 years, he has worked all over the country, but is now enjoying exploring Atlanta. While based in Seattle, he was a guest faculty member at the University of Washington for five years.

Bret Torbeck
Bret Torbeck
Stage Manager (through January 14)

Bret is honored to be working with the cast and creative team of Native Guard at the Atlanta History Center. Previous Alliance credits include Hand to God, Shakespeare in Love, The Magic Negro, Troubadour, Courtenay’s Cabaret, Born for This, Disgraced, A Steady Rain, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Blues for An Alabama Sky. As a regional theater stage manager for more than 25 years, he has worked all over the country, but is now enjoying exploring Atlanta. While based in Seattle, he was a guest faculty member at the University of Washington for five years.

Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey
Author

Jayson is proud to return to the Alliance Theatre for his eighth season. At the Alliance, he’s worked on such productions as Crossing Delancey, Troubadour, Moby Dick, Born for This, Tuck Everlasting, The Geller Girls, A Christmas Carol, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, Broke, Sex and the Second City, Next to Normal, Holidays With the Chalks and Bike America. At Atlanta Lyric Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Full Monty and Young Frankenstein. At the Illinois Shakespeare Festival: I <3 Juliet, Hamlet, Q Gents, Antony & Cleopatra, Macbeth, As You Like It, Twelfth Night and A Winter’s Tale. Jayson graduated from the Gainesville Theatre Alliance and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Jayson T. Waddell
Jayson T. Waddell
Stage Manager (January 18–February 4

Jayson is proud to return to the Alliance Theatre for his eighth season. At the Alliance, he’s worked on such productions as Crossing Delancey, Troubadour, Moby Dick, Born for This, Tuck Everlasting, The Geller Girls, A Christmas Carol, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, Broke, Sex and the Second City, Next to Normal, Holidays With the Chalks and Bike America. At Atlanta Lyric Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar, The Full Monty and Young Frankenstein. At the Illinois Shakespeare Festival: I <3 Juliet, Hamlet, Q Gents, Antony & Cleopatra, Macbeth, As You Like It, Twelfth Night and A Winter’s Tale. Jayson graduated from the Gainesville Theatre Alliance and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

Ken is the resident lighting designer at Sarasota Opera. Alliance credits: Troubadour; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Tiger Style!; Native Guard; The Geller Girls; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Good People; What I Learned in Paris; Into the Woods; August: Osage County; The Underpants; Mrs. Warren’s Profession. National credits: Florida Grand Opera, Utah Shakespeare, Atlanta Opera, Bermuda Arts Festival, McCarter Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Utah Opera. Atlanta awards: Suzis for Pancakes, Pancakes!, The Geller Girls and Avenue X, with four other nominations; Abbey artist of the year nomination; featured in Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta.

Ken Yunker
Ken Yunker
Lighting Designer

Ken is the resident lighting designer at Sarasota Opera. Alliance credits: Troubadour; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Tiger Style!; Native Guard; The Geller Girls; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; Good People; What I Learned in Paris; Into the Woods; August: Osage County; The Underpants; Mrs. Warren’s Profession. National credits: Florida Grand Opera, Utah Shakespeare, Atlanta Opera, Bermuda Arts Festival, McCarter Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Utah Opera. Atlanta awards: Suzis for Pancakes, Pancakes!, The Geller Girls and Avenue X, with four other nominations; Abbey artist of the year nomination; featured in Creative Loafing’s Best of Atlanta.

Director

Susan V. Booth
Susan V. Booth
Director

Understudy

Jarryn is excited to make his Alliance Theatre debut. Fairly new to the acting world, he has trained throughout Atlanta and has performed in several community theatres throughout the metro area. Recent credits: King Hedley II (New African Grove Theatre), Indigo (Yellow Dream Productions), Suzette’s Saga (Atlanta Black Theatre Festival), Love’s Last Episode (Porter Sanford). My love is forever extended to my family.

Jarryn M. Bingham
Jarryn M. Bingham
Understudy for The Native Guard

Jarryn is excited to make his Alliance Theatre debut. Fairly new to the acting world, he has trained throughout Atlanta and has performed in several community theatres throughout the metro area. Recent credits: King Hedley II (New African Grove Theatre), Indigo (Yellow Dream Productions), Suzette’s Saga (Atlanta Black Theatre Festival), Love’s Last Episode (Porter Sanford). My love is forever extended to my family.

Jasmyne is delighted make her Alliance Theatre debut. Recent theater credits: The First Noel (True Colors) and The Life (FSU Theater Association). TV: "Greenleaf" (OWN). She has toured with numerous artists as professional background vocalist for the past 11 years. She holds her Bachelor of Science in theater performance from Florida A&M University and a Master of entertainment business from Full Sail University. Jasmyne dedicates this performance to her grandmother Catherine Hawkins, the first person who enrolled her into performing arts school at the age of four.

Jasmyne Hinson
Jasmyne Hinson
Understudy for Vocalist

Jasmyne is delighted make her Alliance Theatre debut. Recent theater credits: The First Noel (True Colors) and The Life (FSU Theater Association). TV: "Greenleaf" (OWN). She has toured with numerous artists as professional background vocalist for the past 11 years. She holds her Bachelor of Science in theater performance from Florida A&M University and a Master of entertainment business from Full Sail University. Jasmyne dedicates this performance to her grandmother Catherine Hawkins, the first person who enrolled her into performing arts school at the age of four.

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