Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin served as Executive Producer of the National Black Theatre Festival (NBTF) from 2007-2019. She took on this monumental task after the death of her husband, NBTF founder Larry Leon Hamlin, only months prior to her inaugural NBTF in 2007. Under Ms. Sprinkle-Hamlin’s leadership, NBTF reputation and reach grew to unprecedented heights, with her final festival in 2019 becoming the most successful in the events’ thirty-year history. In February 2020, Theatre Communications Group, the largest theatre service organization in the country, honored NBTF for their contributions to the American Theatre at their Gala in New York City, and weeks later, NBTF was once again honored for its artistic achievements by the Southeastern Theatre Conference at their yearly conference in Kentucky. Forever a champion of the young, Ms. Sprinkle-Hamlin introduced Teentastic and Celebrity Youth Project programming to NBTF, which has provided a performance platform on the international stage for thousands of young people. One of her final NBTF projects was serving as Executive Producer on Holy Ground: The Legacy of the National Black Theatre Festival, a documentary film currently in post-production, which celebrates NBTF and its founder Larry Leon Hamlin.
Ms. Sprinkle-Hamlin received a B.S. Degree in Education from Winston-Salem State University, a M.S. Degree in Library Science from Clark Atlanta University, and a Certificate of Advance Study in Educational Administration from Chaney State University in Pennsylvania. After working in the library system in Pennsylvania for a few years, Ms. Sprinkle-Hamlin returned to her alma mater, Winston-Salem State University, where she was employed in the C. G. O’Kelly Library. In 1979, she was hired as head of Children’s Outreach at the Forsyth County Central Public Library. Ms.Sprinkle-Hamlin’s career blossomed within the library system, with her ultimately serving as Director of the entire Forsyth County Public Library System, the first female and the first African American to serve in that position.
Ms. Sprinkle-Hamlin worked extensively in the Winston-Salem community, serving on the board of directors for Family Services, Inc., Forsyth County Smart Start, the Shepherd Center of Greater Winston-Salem, and the Diggs Gallery of Winston-Salem University. She also served as a council member of the American Library Association (ALA), president of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, a Public Library Association Board member, and chair of the African American Issues Roundtable of the Southeastern Library Association. Sprinkle-Hamlin received the Roundtable for Ethnic Minority Roadbuilder’s Award, the DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship, and The Chronicle Women of the Year Award. In 2010, she became President of the NC Black Rep Board of Directors.
A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Ms. Sprinkle-Hamlin was born April 25, 1945, and died January 3, 2022.