“Society must accept some things as real; but s/he must always know that the visible reality hides a deeper one, and that all our action and all our achievement rests on things unseen.”
James Baldwin, “The Creative Process”
Omiyemi (Artisia) Green is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Africana Studies, Director of the Program in Africana Studies, and a W. Taylor Reveley, III Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellow at William & Mary. She is a director and dramaturg who searches for the cultural metalanguage of performance and literature—the life-giving, spirited, dynamic, and vital forces—and in production and publication, seeks to illuminate it in ways that helps us understand our realities. The larger aims of her creative scholarship are to affirm the premise of Black Theatre as a performance strategy rooted in social and spiritual practices of the African Diaspora.
The Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance hired Omiyemi as the African American Theatre Historian in 2010. When she arrived at William & Mary, there was one course in African American Theatre. Omiyemi has since created a robust offering of courses including New Black Math: Theatre in a Post-Racial Age, The Black American Story/Investigating August Wilson, Reimagining Communities, and Black Approaches to Acting. In order to offer students comparable breadth and depth given in the World Theatre History survey courses, Omiyemi revised and expanded the existing African American Theatre course into two sections, African-American Theatre History I & II. During the 2018-2019 academic year, she taught one course for the Sharpe Community Studies program: Reimagining Communities. In the coming academic year, she will teach The Black American Story for the Sharpe program, and a new course, Black Approaches to Acting. This past spring Omiyemi co-taught a new course on educational inequities with Professor Amy Quark as part of her Reveley Fellowship.
In 2014, she was selected to attend the National Endowment for the Humanities Institute, “Black Aesthetics and African Centered Cultural Expressions: Sacred Systems in the Nexus Between Cultural Studies, Religion and Philosophy,” where she further developed her research on Yorùbá based aesthetics in the work of August Wilson. She has published several book chapters, journal articles, and reviews. Omiyemi directed the play “Hoodoo Love” for the ETA Creative Arts Foundation in Chicago, which earned her a 2013 Best Direction nomination from the Black Theatre Alliance Awards.
From 2007 to 2014, she was an executive board member of the Black Theatre Network, also serving as president from 2010 to 2012. She was a member of the executive board of the August Wilson Society from 2016-2018 and currently serves as a consultant to the board. She is a member-at-large of the Black Theatre Association Executive Board (ATHE), an associate editor of Continuum: the Journal of African/Diaspora Drama, Theatre and Performance as well as the August Wilson Journal, and a member of the Board of Directors for Cadence Theatre Company in Richmond, VA, where she also serves as a resident dramaturg and project director for its newest initiative, Sitelines BLM.
Omiyemi frequently presents her work at conferences domestically and around the world. As part of her Sharpe professorship, she traveled to Salvador and Cachoeira in Brazil where she studied Afro-Brazilian religious culture and to the Atunfato Temple in Nigeria to study cultural sustainability practices and community organization. She continued this line of study in her recent trip to Teotihuacan and Tepoztlan, Mexico. Her research travels informed her ethnographic choreoritual, Dance of the Orcas, which was a feature performance of the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora conference held at William & Mary in November 2019. The performance, conceived, written, and directed by Omiyemi, featured the Afro-Cuban choreography of Ann Mazzocca Belleci of Christopher Newport University, live music by Alagbara and included students from both William & Mary and CNU.
Omiyemi is also incredibly active on campus. She recently served on the A&S Dean's Search Committee and the 1619/2019 Committee. She was the Chair of the Competition for a Memorial to African Americans Enslaved by William & Mary. She served as a committee member of 50 Years of African Americans in Residence at William & Mary, the Task Force for Race and Relations, and also served as Faculty Director for the Africana House Living & Learning Community from 2012-2014. As one of the resident directors for William & Mary Theatre, she has directed Gem of the Ocean, The Children’s Hour, Crowns, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, and Ruined.
The William & Mary Chapter of the NAACP awarded her William & Mary Image Awards in recognition of her valuable contributions to the William & Mary community in 2020 and 2013. In 2015, the Nu Chi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. recognized her for her contributions in Theatre and in 2016 she earned an Arts & Sciences Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. Her most recent honor was earning a 2019 Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence.
Omiyemi is a native of Michigan, but claims Virginia as home. She is a product of Hampton City Public Schools, earned her B.A. in Psychology from William & Mary in 2000, and her M.F.A. in Theatre Education (Directing) from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003. Before returning to William & Mary, she was an associate professor of Communications, Media Arts, and Theatre at Chicago State University and an Artist in Residence with the Black Cultural Center at Purdue University.
Please click here for her CV.