Deep Roots Bold Future Conversations: Ozzie Jones & Cheyenne Barboza

Event Schedule

Aug 6, 2020
6:00 PM—7:00 PM

Get into the conversation! As we navigate this important current moment we bring together artists, audiences and communities for a series of intergenerational conversations via Zoom.  In connection to the Painted Bride’s Deep Roots Bold Future legacy, we invite you to join artists with deep Bride connections to discuss what this time is like from their perspective. Artists are our truth-sayers. Listen in as they share their thoughts and ask live questions. Let’s come together to create further momentum for the movement!

Thursday, August 6 | 6pm
Ozzie Jones & Cheyenne Barboza

Ozzie Jones was born in West Philadelphia on September 6th 1970. He was born into a family of educators, academics, and community leaders. Mr. Jones’ professional journey of a life creating, performing, and teaching theater began in as a student at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine from 1988 to 1992, where he received a High Honors BA in Theater with a secondary concentration in Political Science. At Bates he both studied under, and was mentored by, American theater legends Buddy Butler, Paul Carter Harrison, William Pope.L, and Ntozake Shange. Upon returning to Philadelphia Mr. Jones became the Assistant Artistic Director to Walter Dallas at Freedom Theater in 1993. During his 3 years tenure at Freedom Mr. Jones’ directed a stunning body of experimental, challenging, and successful work. Highlights: he wrote and directed the Travelling Black History shows, which toured throughout schools and prisons in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York. He wrote and directed the critically acclaimed Sanctified Jook Joint (adapted from Zora Neale Hurston’s Sanctified Church) starring Guy Davis. Sanctified Jook Joint was also performed at the Paul Robeson Theater in Buffalo, NY. Mr. Jones directed the critically acclaimed Black Nativity by Langston Huges for which he won the Hal Prince Best Director of a Musical Barrymore Award for direction of a Musical in 1996. During this time Mr. Jones also became an original member of the first Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab, won the 7Arts Magazine Award for 50 of Philadelphia’s Rising Stars, and was a finalist for the Haas Award for an emerging artist.
After leaving Freedom Theater in 1996 Mr. Jones became a frequent director and performer in the Crossroads Theater Genesis Festival. There he worked with Richardo Khan and Sydne Mahone in the development of mounting staged readings of new work by established and emerging artists. Highlights; Mr. Jones did dramaturgy for and directed Lilianne: Resurrection of the Daughter  by Ntozake Shange and staring Ntozake Shange. And he wrote, directed, composed, and performed Doors Open (a spoken word opera).

In 1997 Mr. Jones became the Co Artistic Director of Venture Theater with Mrs. Harriet Power. Mr. Jones and Mrs. Power split the duties of executing the vision for the theatre. Highlights; he directed the Barrymore nominated Michigan Impossible by Robert Christophe and the Barrymore Nominated Fires in the Mirror by Anna Devere Smith. He also directed Dog Days: the Life of Octavious Catto by Kimmika Wiilliams -Witherspoon which starred the soon to become Grammy winning artist Jill Scott. During this period Mr. Jones also directed The Countess Cathleen by William Butler Yeats and composed the score for Third and Indiana by Steve Lopez for the Arden Theater Company.

In 1997 Mr. Jones became a member of the Philadelphia Theater Initiative, representing Philadelphia Theater in the United States and Europe. He also became the First African American in the history of the Republic of Ireland to direct a play in Ireland for an Irish Theater company directing a production of Othello for Second Age Theater. The production was called by David Nolan of the Irish Times, “the most creative and innovative production of Shakespeare seen in Ireland in decades.”

Ozzie “Old Man” Jones along with Larry “Mr. Cisum” Fowler Jr., and Jared “Grand Agent” Taylor started the hip hop group NAME. Name went on to become one of the central figures in the Neo Soul and underground Hip hop scene in Philadelphia which produced stars like DJ Drama, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, and The Roots. The records released by NAME within the years of 1995 and 2000 include, Mohammed Ali, Black Thought, Artist of the Yeah (Featuring Poor Righteous Teachers and Schooly D), Twelve, Logic, and By Design by Grand Agent featuring Ozzie “Old Man” Jones. NAME toured throughout the United States and Canada.

In 2000 Mr. Jones became the Producing Artistic Director of the Walt Whitman Arts Center in Camden NJ until 2007. The work created and curated during this tenure was as diverse and challenging as the city of Camden. Mr. Jones directed James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombone’s in the theater and toured it surrounding churches and community centers. He directed a 24hour non-stop production called 24hours where people in the community could come into the space and make art in the public space. A graffiti exhibit on the walls of the art gallery featuring some of the most important Graf artists in Philadelphia’s history. Brazilian Jazz musicians playing free Jazz with traditional percussionist from India. New dance pieces from Rennie Harris Pure Movement, Sabaela Grimes, and Raph Xavier. I killed my Baby’s Daddy by Desi Shelton. Desi went on to found the Camden Reparatory Theater a company focused on stories about the lives of women of color in Camden. Now in its 14th year, Mr. Jones has directed and developed many of Camden Rep’s productions including, Child Support, Pussy For Sale, and a film of I Killed My Baby’s Daddy (all written by Desi Shelton)

2000 is also when Mr. Jones co wrote and did dramaturgy for, and narrated Rome and Jewels for Rennie Harris Pure Movement. Rome and Jewels went on to tour the United States, Canada, and Europe for a decade. Was nominated for a Oliver award in London and won a Bessie award in New York.
Also during this Walt Whitman period, Mr. Jones wrote, composed, produced, and performed the album Slut Rock for the artist NOU on One Little Indian Records in London. Mr. Jones performed the music with the band in London and Paris from 2000 to 2002. The song, Coochie Time, is featured in the 2014 Spike Lee film Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

All in all, near 40 productions were directed, created, performed, and/ or curated during the Walt Whitman years.

It was here that Mr. Jones’ commitment to diverse voices in marginalized communities was defined and sharped.
Throughout Mr. Jones’ commitment to education was ever present. Teaching developing artists in communities besieged by poverty and limited resources, the prison system, churches, Universities, Public and private schools, etc. This work became so central to the art that in 2008 Mr. Jones started and founded the Acting studio that became Rhythm One. From then to the present Mr. Jones, using the CEC in West Philadelphia, teaches actors of all ages and skill sets acting, writing, and performance techniques. The teaching has always led to the creation of new work. Some of the notable work to come out of the Rhythm One acting studio; Mr. Jones directed and developed Laughter is Therapy by Roni Graham performed at the CEC and Arts Garage in Philadelphia and and Theater Row in New York City to rave reviews 2017 – 2019, Skin Poppin’ by Basil Scrivens performed Philadelphia at the CEC and in Art galleries in Manhattan 2008 – 2010. The film Glass Door written and directed by Michelle Anderson starring Ozzie Jones 2018, and the incubation for what became Theater in The X founded by Carlo Campbell, Walt DeShields, and LaNeshe White.

In universities Mr. Jones has lectured, taught, or directed at Temple University, Rutgers university, Trinity College in Dublin, Bates College, University of The Arts, Fordham University, etc. And most recently he has directed at Temple University for Young Playwrights 2017, 2018, and 2019. And at the University of the Arts for Morriah Aleese Young aka “Peanut’s” one woman show.

In 2012 Mr. Jones became the director of the Middle school Theater department at the Shipley School. The focus of that tenure has been not just directing the musical productions for the kids, but more importantly is has been developing a curriculum in connection with the Upper school that produces highly trained, free thinking, and inventive artists for college and beyond.

Some of Mr. Jones’ most recent credits; Directed Hype Man for Interact Theater Company 2019 which received 3 Barrymore nominations, Directed My Father’s Daughter by Ursula Rucker Freedom Theater and the Painted Bride in Philadelphia and La MAMA in New York. Directed Black Nativity by Langston Hughes at Theater Horizon (secured 8 Barrymore nominations for 2016 Barrymore awards) winning for best ensemble in a musical, best musical direction, and best choreography. Directed and wrote South African Nativity performed in at Enon in Cape Town South Africa 2015, directed Breaking Barriers 2015 for First Person Arts at the Philadelphia Theater Company starring Black Thought from the Roots, directed Othello 2015 for Theater in the X, 2014/15 was a one season guest Artistic director for Freedom Theater And directed all 5 productions including wrote and directed Kind of Blue, 2014 nominee for The Pew award for excellence in the arts. Other directing highlights include Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, The Meeting by Jeff Stetson, 12 Angry Men, the Last Jimmy (with Dice Raw of The Roots) at Prince theater, Los Angeles Convention center, Freedom Theater, the Kimmel Center, and the Democratic national convention. Mr. Jones Directed series of short plays written by inmates for the Philadelphia FIGHT organization for inmates’ rights. And Mr. Jones directed My Block is Crazy, a documentary film about violence and youth. The documentary was produced in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office.
Currently Mr. Jones is developing a large series of plays on Jazz called, The Real Book. He has directed staged readings of two of the plays in the Real Book series; Chasin’ the Bird by Ozzie Jones at Penumbra Theater in Saint Paul Minnesota and Kind of Blue by Ozzie Jones for an African Continuum Theater at Arena Stage in Washington, DC and a full production at the Freedom Theater in Philadelphia. Mr. Jones has just completed writing a road gang and cotton field hollers opera called, Gwine Dig a Hole.

Cheyenne Barboza is a Connecticut based award-winning Director and Playwright. Directing credits include: The Agitators (Theatre Horizon), The Wiz (Theatre in the X), The Last Seven Shakers (InterAct Theatre Co.), Cartons of Ultrasounds (ReFocus Fest), Trade (Inis Nua Theatre Co.), Directors JAM (Pirronne Yousefzadeh & Directors Gathering), Running Numbers (Playwright, Theatre in the X), The Secret Life of Wonder: A Prologue in G (ReFocus Fest). Assistant Director credits include: How I Learned What I Learned (Dir. Malika Oyetimein, Arden Theatre Co.), The Mountaintop (Dir. Patricia McGregor, PTC). Barboza received a BFA in Directing, Playwriting & Production from The University of the Arts.