I Am... A Shepherdess playwright Eljon Wardally

I Am…a Shepherdess

Playwright Eljon Wardally

On God playwright JuCoby Johnson


Playwright JuCoby Johnson


Finding Holy Ground: Performing Visions of Race and Justice in America is a collaboration between NC Black Rep, Wake Forest School of Divinity, and Wake the Arts. Through a $250,000 grant received from the Henry Luce Foundation, playwrights Eljon Wardally and JuCoby Johnson were each awarded a 10,000 commission to write two new plays that examine race, religion, sexism, and justice in America, along with developmental workshops and fully staged productions of their plays, I Am…a Shepherdess (Wardally) and Heritage (Johnson) at IBTF 2024.

The Finding Holy Ground project will also feature ancillary community events of dialogue and engagement, allowing audience members to revisit and interrogate accepted histories of race and American religion as well as critically examine connections between religion, racism, and the logics of white supremacy in varying contexts. Shakespeare wrote, “In time we hate that which we often fear.” The fires of division spreading in communities across our country are rooted in fear: fear of damnation, fear of those who are different, fear of losing power. These emotions are fueled by ignorance of how our perceived enemies define their dreams and aspirations. The Finding Holy Ground project will focus on those often unrecognized, marginalized, and demonized by society. Art is our bridge, connecting audiences with people, places, and stories they may not know, and yes, may even fear. By bringing communities together, we expand their knowledge and deepen their understanding of each other’s wants, needs, and inherent rights.

This collaboration between an ecumenical graduate theological school embedded at a predominantly white institution and a black theatre company with an international reputation will work across disciplinary and institutional boundaries as well as form intentional partnerships across denominations and faith traditions in our community.

All Finding Holy Ground events from July 30-August 3, 2024, will be held in the Scales Fine Arts Center on the campus of Wake Forest University.

Wake Forest University School of Divinity logo
Wake the Arts logo
Henry Luce Foundation logo
North Carolina Black Repertory Company logo