Becoming Othello - Phoenix Art Museum

ABOUT THE PROJECT Classical actress and producer Debra Ann Byrd undertook a re- markable journey to take on the role of Othello — which she first performed in her native Harlem. The actress recently recorded her experiences on becoming ‘The Moor of Venice’ as writer-in- residence at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. 

Inspired in 2000, by actor Charles Dutton when he performed at the Playing Shakespeare workshop with John Barton, Debra Ann dreamed that she too would one day play the role of Othello. --- Roll on 15 years and she finally got her wish.

Now Southwest Shakespeare Company, the Birthplace Trust and the University of Warwick together with Misfit, Inc., the Folger Institute, Columbia University and the Harlem Shakespeare Festival are working together to sponsor Debra Ann’s planned three- year writing project. The international project comprises a documentary feature film, a solo show and a small volume memoir which includes research from the Birthplace Trust, the Folger Shakespeare Library and Columbia University Archives. 

BECOMING OTHELLO: A Black Girl’s Journey is a 90 minute, 5-Act, living memoir about a young wom- an’s trials and triumphs with race and the classics, her memorable experiences growing up in East Harlem and her gender flipped journey on the road to becoming Shakespeare's noble, flawed general. The solo show is complete with moving songs and lyrical language from Black women playwrights, William Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and the King James Bible.


Phoenix Art Museum

1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ

(602) 257-1880


Saturday, Feb 22 @2pm

Thursday, Feb 27 @7pm

Friday, March 27 @7pm

Sunday, March 29 @2pm

Tickets available here:'s%20journey/events/2


Flachmann Seminar - A Midsummer Night's Dream - Feb 29, 2020 - An uplifting, behind-the-scenes dimension to the play

The Flachmann Seminar

Seminars this season will be taught by Dr. Susan Willis, dramaturg of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Dr. Willis was an observer at the BBC while it produced “The BBC Shakespeare Plays: Making the Televised Canon”. Since 1985, she has been the resident dramaturg and a director at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and hosts the adult education series “Theatre in the Mind”. She has also worked with its play program, The Southern Writers Project and is a member of the faculty of Auburn University.

"Southwest Shakespeare’s Flachmann Seminars with Dr. Susan Willis are as interesting and informative as the lectures and workshops on Shakespeare I’ve attended at London's Globe Theater, the British National Archives, and the 2016 World Shakespeare Congress in Stratford and London. Susan’s knowledge and humor make Shakespeare’s plays more interesting and accessible for novices as well as devotees. After teaching Arizona students for many years, I am thrilled that students, teachers, and Shakespeare lovers of all descriptions have the opportunity to attend a Seminar of this quality in our home state. We are indeed fortunate to have the Southwest Shakespeare Company in the Valley of the Sun." - Kathy Phares Farris

A Midsummer Night's Dream – Saturday Feb 29, 2020 @ 9:00 AM

To purchase your ticket click here:

"I've found the Flachmann Seminars to be revelatory! Each one I've attended has added an uplifting, behind-the-scenes dimension to the play; my entire theater experience is enhanced. I benefit from the erudition of the dramaturge, Susan Willis, whose encyclopedic knowledge of Shakespeare takes my breath away, and from fellow participants who often pose questions that can become key points of interest for me." - Felicity Wilson

Attending a Seminar

Delving deeper into the Bard’s works gives one a greater understanding of the play. The seminars also give you a sneak peek behind the scenes as you will meet the designers, mingle with the actors, possible tour of the set and stage and have a special talk back with the actors.

Seminars are from 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM (With breaks throughout)

The location for the 2019/2020 Season Seminars: The Mildred Finch Family Life Center located within The First United Methodist Church 15 E 1st Ave, Mesa, AZ 85210 (NE Corner of Center and 2nd Avenue, 2 block south of the Mesa Arts Center) enter through the red doors on the Southeast side of the building.

Reservations are required. The fee for the seminar is $60 for non-subscribers/Bard Card members and includes lunch and a ticket to the show.

You can pay for the seminar online by clicking the link above or call 480-435-6868 to reserve your spot.

Bard Club Members

Admission to the seminars is included in Bard Card memberships.  While the cost of lunch is not included with Bard Cards, all attendees are welcome to purchase their lunch for the day through Southwest Shakespeare Company website for $15.  Please click the button above to purchase your lunch.

Season Subscribers

Admission is not included in your season subscription, however you can purchase a seat to the seminar for a discounted rate by clicking the button above. You may also purchase your lunch at that time.

Educators and Students

Because SSC understands the value of bringing Shakespeare alive to students and has the desire to assist teachers with simplifying this task, we encourage all  teachers to attend SSC Flachmann Seminars. The seminars offer learning techniques teachers can take  directly back to their classrooms.  Attendees will receive expert knowledge of the production and most districts accept this as 10 re-certification credits. Educators will receive a certificate upon completion of the day. Please check with your district to receive professional development credit.

Please call for a discounted code for the seminar. Lunch may be purchased separately.

MegJoBethAmy&Louisa - Jan 24 - Feb 2, 2020

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, & Louisa 

Jan 24 - Feb 2 @ Taliesin West 

Assigned with the super boring task of writing a novel for young girls, Louisa May Alcott turns to figures and stories from her own life for inspiration. The lines between fact and fiction begin to blur, as her novel comes to life before her and things get a little weird. Part adaptation, part biography, but definitely NOT your Marmee’s Little Women.