Playwright Profile: Mabel P. Robinson

MABEL ROBINSON (PLAYWRIGHT, CHOREOGRAPHER, DIRECTOR) is the former Artistic Director of The North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC) the producer of The National Black Theatre Festival®. The Festival is a biennial international event produced by the NCBRC held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

This native of Savannah, Georgia graduated from The Julliard School of Music and has danced with numerous renowned professional companies including Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Talley Beatty and Louis Johnson.

Ms. Robinson has appeared on Broadway in box office hits including; Golden Boy, Murderous Angels, Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, Your Arms Too Short To Box With God and performed on various television shows both nationally and internationally. Her movie credits include Cotton Comes to Harlem, Stand Up and Be Counted, Funny Lady and The Wiz.

Over the years, Ms. Robinson has honed the skills of a multi-tasker. Early in her career, she balanced her role in Golden Boy starring the legendary Sammy Davis Jr. with her role as one of the earliest African American females featured on American network television. There she was a featured dancer on the classic, music showcase Hullabaloo. Later in her career, she made American Theatre history as the first African American woman to have concurrently running Broadway shows. She starred as Dancing Mary in the original production of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, while also working as the choreographer and assistant director in the Broadway revival of Porgy & Bess. Ms. Robinson has authored The Glory of Gospel which opened the 1997 National Black Theatre Festival® and was recently featured at the 2015 National Black Theatre Festival®. She also wrote Mahalia Queen of Gospel which was produced at the 2005 and 2007 National Black Theatre Festivals.

Ms. Robinson created the NCBRC Teen Theatre Ensemble and will continue to re-mount the NCBRC Annual Christmas show Black Nativity, by Langston Hughes. Ms. Robinson is an active member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), Actor’s Equity (AEA), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG). She is a recipient of the “Seven Over Seventy 2016 Award.” She recently served as Guest Director Consultant to the Theatre of Performing Arts of Shreveport’s production ,The Lates, The Greats and Moore starring Melba Moore.  She  was the Dramaturg and Production Consultant of Little Girl Blue written and directed by Nathan R Freeman.