Panel Headshots

The Collective
An Advisory Group
on Race and Theatre at LSU

Following the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed we felt a need to closely examine ourselves, LSU Theatre and Swine Palace, in the light of racial justice. With this in mind we reached out to an amazing group of theatre artists with past relationships with LSU Theatre and Swine Palace as directors, actors, students and educators. Their varied experiences with us gives them a unique perspective on our past and present as we look towards our future and the future of theatre.

Our first panel was held on July 15, 2020 and you can find a link to the video below. This is an ongoing discussion and The Collective will cover many aspects of Race and Theatre during the course of 2020-21. Please return to this page for updates on future events. 

The Moderator

Greg Williams, a native of Baton Rouge and the Founding Artistic Director for New Venture Theatre. He is a graduate of Northwestern State University with a BA in Theatre and New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) with an MBA in Marketing. His professional theatre background includes working with Don Holder (Tony Award Winning Lighting Designer for Disney’s The Lion King,) The Negro Ensemble Theatre Company (NYC), The Little Black Box Theatre Company (New Jersey), and American Family Theatre (Philadelphia.) He is also a playwright and has written over ten plays including, Colored, Step Off!, Sweet Georgia Brown, and is currently working on his next piece – Talbert Beacon Presents His Latest’s Greatest Gospel Stage Play. After speaking with one of his mentors, Charles Weldon, at the Negro Ensemble Theatre Company, he returned to Louisiana to cultivate more support for the arts through a refreshing new theatre company that focused on innovation and diversity- hence New Venture Theatre was created. Professionally, Greg has been the Instructor of Theatre Arts for Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School, is a theatre consultant helping to launch diversity based theatre companies all over the country, and has developed and collaborated with over twenty programs to help bring the arts to underserved areas of our community. In June 2011, the Louisiana Senate recognized Greg for his contributions to the arts in the African American Community.   

Greg Williams

The Panelists

Margaret Laurena Kemp, is an actor, a multi-disciplinary theatre and performing artist, writer and teaching artist. Her research explores authorship and spatial politics through performance. Most recently she co-directed with Sinéad Rushe, AntigoneNOW. AntigoneNOW is a ground-breaking performance piece, developed for performance in cyberspace. Her new solo performance This Land Is... was commissioned by and performed at the Elaine Jacobs Gallery in Detroit, Michigan. Her recent films include Blood Bound (2019), and Ten Cent Daisy (2021 release), recent stage work included The Christians at B Street Theatre. As a solo actor she has toured her work in Australia, South Africa and the United States. She was recently awarded the 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theatre award for directing, the 2019 MICHA Michael Chekhov Artist Scholar Award and the 2019 VASTA Featured Artist Award. Other awards and residencies include Montalvo Arts Residency (2019), The Headlands (USA) 2017, Bundanon Trust (Australia) 2017. She is an Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance at University of California, Davis and has been a guest artist at several institutions including The Shanghai Arts Academy, and the University of Cape Town. She holds a MFA from the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC, a certificate of completion from MICHA Michael Chekhov Institute and is a designated Fitzmaurice Voicework Senior Teacher and Fitzmaurice Institute Director of Creative Projects . She is a member of Actors’ Equity and SAG/AFTRA.
Margaret Kemp

G.D. Kimble, is an actor, director, playwright, and dramaturg. BROADWAY/NEW YORK credits include: The Roundabout Theatre, The Public Theatre, The Atlantic Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, The Chain Theatre, 59e59, The Internationalists, Exquisite Corpse Company, and the Glass Eye. REGIONAL credits include: American Conservatory Theater, Shakespeare & Company, The Geffen Theater, The Huntington, Boston Center for the Arts, St. Louis Actors Studio, Mill Mountain Theatre, The Riverside Theatre, Stage Left Spokane, Swine Palace Productions, Subway Samovar Ensemble, Cone Man Running, and the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane. TRAINING/EDUCATION: LSU BA (2002), Shakespeare & Co. Center for Actor Training (2002), American Conservatory Theater MFA (2006)

G.D. Kimble
Lori Elizabeth Parquet is an actor, director, and playwright from New Orleans, Louisiana with a BA in Theatre Arts from Cornell University. Her New York City stage credits include Macbeth, Dispatches From (A)mended America (Off-Broadway, Epic Theatre Ensemble), The Providence of Neighboring Bodies (Dutch Kills Theater/Ars Nova), The Honeycomb Trilogy: Sovereign (Gideon Productions), Medea (Phoenix Theatre Ensemble), Dog Act, Ajax in Iraq, Honey Fist, Operating Systems (Flux Theatre Ensemble), and Republic, Baal, Murder In the Cathedral (JACK/Hoi Polloi). She made her international debut performing in Pillars of Society at Teater Ibsen in Skien, Norway. She also performed in The Providence of Neighboring Bodies at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018. In 2019, she was nominated and won the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Lead Role for her performance in Operating Systems. As a director, Lori has directed Topdog/Underdog at Princeton Summer Theater and assistant directed The Public Theater’s most recent Shakespeare in the Park productions of As You Like It, and Twelfth Night. She was also an acting coach on Disney’s Hercules, a Public Works production. Lori just served as Associate Director of New York City Center’s Encores: Off-center production of Maria Irene Fornes’ Promenade and has directed many readings and workshops with Public Works, Flux Theatre Ensemble, The Brooklyn Generator, and other theatre companies across New York City. As a playwright, Lori was selected as one of six featured playwrights for Season Five of The Fire This Time Festival, which produced a reading of her full-length play In Communion. Her short plays Sir and Blood Money have been produced through Flux Theatre Ensemble and New York Madness respectively.
Lori Elizabeth Parquet

Arlando Smith - A graduate of LSU, Arlando performed in many productions during his time there a student. Some favorites being A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Threepenny Opera, Little Shop of Horrors and Fences directed by Joy Vandervort-Cobb. He would later go on to the Graduate Acting Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Last year, he was fortunate enough to return to LSU/Swine Palace playing Terry in Airline Highway also directed by Joy Vandervort-Cobb. Working in such diverse fields including: Television, Web Based media, Commercials, Film, Dance and Opera; Arlando has performed at The Public Theatre, Playmakers, Book-It Rep, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Town Hall/NYC, Theatreworks/USA, ACT Theatre, The Los Angeles Theatre Company, Seattle Opera, Seattle Shakespeare Company, commercials for Nike/Jordan Brand, Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Intel and has been seen in featured content on Comedy Central and Nerdist Channel. He is honored to return to Louisiana State University in this capacity and share what he has learned there and beyond.

Arlando Smith

Joy Vandervort-Cobb, formerly Associate Professor of African American Theatre and Performance at the College of Charleston, began her career in theatre more than 40 years ago as an actress with the Freedom Theatre in upstate New York. Her directing credits include Airline Highway, national tours of Jackie, Vi, & Lena; My Soul is a Witness; Black Broadway; MAHALIA; From the Mississippi Delta (first national); Dreamgirls; Purlie and for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. Regionally her work has included productions of the world premiere of Boston based playwright Patrick Gabridge's Chore Monkeys; Buzzer; By the Way Meet Vera Stark; Stick Fly; Flyin' West; Long Time Since Yesterday; The Story; Some Girls; King Hedley II; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Fences; Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Having Our Say; Oil. Joy presently makes her home on James Island, SC. She has two adult children, one grandchild, and the same husband she met on a national touring bus in 1984.

Joy Vandervort-Cobb


Previous Panel Discussions

Race and Theatre, an Introduction to a
Needed Conversation (7/15/20)

Loiri Parquet on Race and Theatre

Length: 1:00:40

For more information contact Vastine Stabler, LSU School of Theatre, Email Vastine