Mr Talvin W Wilks

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Theater Arts and Dance .
580 Rarig Center

330 21st Avenue South


TALVIN WILKS is a playwright, director and dramaturg based in New York City. His play Tod, the boy, Tod, received its world premiere production at Crossroads Theatre Company and its West Coast premiere at The Group, Seattle’s Multicultural Theatre. The play received a grant from NBC’s New Voices of the Nineties program and was later published by TCG Plays-in-Process Series, The Rain City Press, and anthologized in Colored Contradictions and The National Black Drama Anthology. Other plays include The Trial of Uncle S/M, Bread of Heaven, The Life In Between, Sarajevo: Behind God’s Back, (with Amir Beso and Srdjan Jevdevic), The Last Oppression Drama, Jimmy and Lorraine, An American Triptych, and As I Remember It with Carmen de Lavallade. Directorial projects include the world and regional premiere productions of UDU by Sekou Sundiata (651Arts/BAM), The Love Space Demands by Ntozake Shange (Crossroads), No Black Male Show/Pagan Operetta by Carl Hancock Rux (Joe’s Pub/The Kitchen), the Obie Award/AUDELCO Award winning The Shaneequa Chronicles by Stephanie Berry (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Relativity by Cassandra Medley (Ensemble Studio Theatre – AUDELCO nomination for Best Director 2006), On the Way to Timbuktu by Petronia Paley (Ensemble Studio Theatre – AUDELCO nomination for Best Director 2008, AUDELCO Award for Best Solo Performance), Banana Beer Bath by Lynn Nottage (Going to the River - Ensemble Studio Theatre), Anne and Emmett by Janet Langhart-Cohen (Atlas Theater, Washington, DC), The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza (Penumbra Theatre), This Bitter Earth by Harrison David Rivers (Penumbra Theatre), and The Peculiar Patriot by Liza Jessie Peterson (The National Black Theater, winner of the Agnes Gund Art for Justice Award). He has served as co-writer/co-director/dramaturg for ten productions in Ping Chong’s ongoing series of Undesirable Elements/Secret Histories - Seattle Group Theater; Atlanta -7 Stages; Charleston - Spoleto Festival, USA; UE: 92/02 - La Mama; Pioneer Valley, MA - New WORLD Theater; Lille, France (Capitale Europeenne de la Culture); Delta Rising! - 651 Arts (Delta Heritage Festival), Rome, Italy (RomaEuropa Festival), Women of the Hill, Pittsburgh, PA (August Wilson Center), and Brooklyn ’63 (651 Arts), and three productions of Collidescope: Adventures in Pre and Post-Racial America; and six dramaturgical collaborations with the Bebe Miller Company - Going to the Wall (The Joyce); the Bessie Award winning, Verge (651 Arts/BAM), Landing/Place (Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center/Dance Theater Workshop – Bessie Award for Dramaturgy), Necessary Beauty, A History (Wexner Center/Dance Theatre Workshop), and In a Rhythm (Wexner Center/New York Live Arts). Recent dramaturgical and writing collaborations also include works with Camille A. Brown and Dancers (Mr. TOL E. RANcE – Bessie Award for Performance, Black Girl: Linguistic Play, and ink), Darrell Jones (Hoo-Ha – Bessie Award – Jury Prize), Urban Bush Women (Hep Hep Sweet Sweet, Walking with ‘Trane, Scat!), baba israel (The Spinning Wheel), Hartbeat Ensemble (Jimmy and Lorraine), Ain Gordon (Radicals in Miniature), and Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the World and Me (The Apollo Theater). He has also worked at The Foundry Theatre, Blackberry Productions, Oakland Ensemble Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, En Garde Arts, Miami Light Project, Hartford Stage, Rites and Reasons, New WORLD Theater, Kuntu Repertory Theatre, and Penumbra Theatre. He has been a guest director/lecturer at a number of colleges and universities including - SUNY/Stony Brook, Antioch College, Princeton University, Cornish College of the Arts, University of Washington, Howard University and Florida A&M University. He served as the Interim Artistic Director for New WORLD Theater, in residence at the Fine Arts Center on the University of Massachusetts/Amherst campus and was an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater from 2002-2004. He is currently writing a book on black theatre, Testament: 40 Years of Black Theatre History in the Making, 1964-2004 and was the curator for the first theatre performance series, The Aunt Ester Cycle, for the August Wilson Center for African American Culture’s inaugural season in November 2009 and a researcher/co-curator/dramaturg for the 2013 Sekou Sundiata Retrospective, Blink Your Eyes.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • AB: Princeton University, 1985, Cum Laude.

Curriculum Vitae

Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Artistic Associate/Senior Artistic Collaborator, Ping Chong + Company, New York: (current)
  • Member, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New York, NY: 2005 - present
  • Member, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers: (current)
  • Member, Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas: (current)
  • Member, Usual Suspects, New York Theatre Workshop, New York, NY: 1999 - present
  • Member, Board of Directors, Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater, New York, NY: 1997 - 2005
  • Chairperson/Member, Board of Directors, The Foundry Theatre, New York, NY: 1997 - 2002


  • This Bitter Earth by Harrison David Rivers: Director, Penumbra Theatre Company (World Premiere), April 2018
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: Dramaturg, The Apollo Theater (World Premiere) Stage Adaptation, April 2018
  • ink by Camille A. Brown and Dancers: Dramaturg, Kennedy Center (World Premiere), December 2017
  • In a Rhythm by Bebe Miller Company: Dramaturg, Wexner Center (World Premiere), November 2017
  • The Peculiar Patriot by Liza Jessie Peterson: Director, National Black Theatre (World Premiere) , September 2017
  • Radicals in Miniature by Ain Gordon: Dramaturg, Barysnikov Arts Center (World Premiere), May 2017
  • Walking with 'Trane by Urban Bush Women: Dramaturg, Brooklyn Academy of Music (New York Premiere), December 2015
  • Jimmy & Lorraine: Playwright, Hartbeat Ensemble (World Premiere), October 2015
  • Black Girl: Linquistic Play by Camille A. Brown and Dancers: Dramaturg, Joyce Theatre (World Premiere), September 2015
  • Collidescope: Adventures in Pre and Post Racial America (with Ping Chong): Playwright/Director, University of Maryland/College Park (World Premiere), November 2014
  • As I Remember It: Carmen de Lavallade: Playwright, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (World Premiere), October 2014
  • The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza: Director, Penumbra Theatre Company (World Premiere), February 2014
  • A History by Bebe Miller Company: Dramaturg, Wexner Center (World Premiere), September 2012
  • Nominee, USArtist Fellowship 2018, 2017, 2016
  • Nominee, Herb Alpert Award in Theatre 2017, 2012, 1999
  • Nominee, Doris Duke Impact Award 2015
  • Nominee, AUDELCO Award for Best Director of a Play, On the Way to Timbuktu, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2008
  • Bessie Award, Dramaturgy, Landing/Place, Bebe Miller Company, 2006
  • Nominee, AUDELCO Award for Best Director of a Play, Relativity, Ensemble Studio Theatre, 2006
  • Nominee, Drama Desk Award, Most Unique Theatrical Experience, Hot Mouth, 1997