Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassandra Powell.
Cassandra, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My education background is in journalism, but I have always had a deep passion for the arts. I began writing poetry at the age of four. Thus, my artistic journey actually began with poetry. A few years ago, I started performing poetry at different spoken word venues and events throughout the Virginia area where I resided at the time. In 2011, I decided to write my first full-length play, “Storyville Blues”, which was a period piece based on a few poems I had performed. I presented the production in 2012 at the Ella Fitzgerald Theater in VA and then at the 14th St. Playhouse in Atlanta. With the success of my first play, I started my own theatre company, Yellow Dream Productions in 2013 and have since then written, acted and produced two other plays including “Blood Water” and my Off-Off Broadway play, “Indigo.”
Thus far, my theatre productions have garnered recognition from the Midtown International Theatre Festival, National Black Theatre Festival, and Atlanta Black Theatre Festival. Currently, I am taking a brief hiatus from theatre and going back to my roots in poetry. Recently, I have begun performing poetry again and am currently working on my first poetry book. Next year, I will be returning to theatre with plans to bring my latest play, “Indigo” back on stage.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Wearing a lot of hats (writer, actress, producer, director) has been an extremely difficult process. But I am slowly learning to take off some of those hats and work with other talented artists in those areas. This has helped me to focus on niche areas such as writing, producing and/or acting, which allows me to grow as an artist. Also, funding is an uphill battle. Thus, I usually invest in my own plays but I am always looking to get more sponsors on board to really take the theatre productions to the next level.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Yellow Dream Productions – what should we know?
Yellow Dream Productions’ underlying mission is to create social change through the arts. Through revolutionary theatre productions, our aim is to empower our culture with art that reflects social and political themes as it relates to the plight of the Black community. Most of my theatre works are period pieces. My latest production, “Indigo” which premiered Off-Off Broadway is based on the Black Panther Party. Set in the early 1970s in South Side, Chicago, “Indigo” explores the 1970s era of police brutality and injustices during the period. We partnered with SCLC Stop The Violence and Incarceration Campaign to bring further awareness to police brutality, crime, and poverty in the community. As a writer, actress, poet, and activist, I always try to convey a very honest, yet raw political message through my creative works, which will help to open thought and dialogue in an effort to encourage systematic change.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My actors and artistic crew have played a huge role in helping to bring my theatre productions to life. Working with humble, talented and hard-working artists has really helped to elevate my theatre to greater heights.
- Website: www.yellowdreamproductions.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: cassandrapowell_
Chris Montgomery (first picture of me performing poetry)