The life and legacy of Glenda Dickerson, professor of theatre & drama who was known for her dedication to promoting the success of women of color in the arts, will be celebrated at a memorial on Thursday, April 19 at 4 p.m. at the Arthur Miller Theatre in the Walgreen Drama Center. The memorial will be presented by the Department of Theatre & Drama at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and the U-M Women of Color in the Academy Project. Dickerson died on January 12, 2012 after a brief illness.
Glenda Dickerson held a B.F.A. degree from Howard University, and was a recipient of its Fine Arts Alumni Award in 1988. She received a M.A. degree from Adelphi University in 1969. A director, writer, folklorist, educator and actor, Dickerson was the second African American woman to direct on Broadway, directing productions at the Biltmore Theatre (Broadway), Circle in the Square (New York City), Lorraine Hansberry Theatre (San Francisco), Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, and the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), among others. Dickerson conceived and/or adapted numerous vehicles for the stage from various dramatic and non-dramatic sources. Before coming to Michigan in 1997, she was head of the Department of Drama and Dance at Atlanta’s Spelman College, and taught at Rutgers University. In addition to teaching at SMTD at U-M, she was also head of the African American minor in theatre studies, associate dean of the Rackham School of Graduates Studies from 1997 through 1999, and director of the Center for World Performance Studies from 2001 through 2009.
In November 2011, Dickerson received the inaugural Shirley Verrett Award, named in honor of the internationally acclaimed opera singer, which celebrated Dickerson for her dedication to promoting the success of women of color, and students and faculty in the creative arts, and for her commitment to diversity as part of the University’s mission.