The AATAT Alumni Advisory Board (AAAB) provides expertise and mentorship on strategic plans, programs, fundraising, and resources for future theater productions.
AATAT Alumni Testimonies
“AATAT was an experience that grounded a lot of the main reasons I enjoy performance art. It’s helped me find my closest friends and a career I honor every day.
The importance of telling our stories and sharing union makes our Black community strong. There is so much power in the works that come from Wilson, Shange, Morisseau, Nottage that carry reflections of us, the histories and the words of empowerment that heal us. Black women’s voices should always be amplified. Every platform of black performance art should highlight the black women’s voice because the roots of Blackness and its complexity stem from the Black woman’s experience, and every day we should always look to honor Black women.” - Maimouna Camara Associate Producer, Towne Street Theatre, UCSC Class of 2018 AATAT productions: Black Eagles, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Detroit 67, A Raisin in the Sun
"'Uplift someone higher than yourself' is a mantra I was introduced to by Don Williams the director of AATAT. I have carried that with me from freshman year to present time two degrees, some awards, a husband and baby later. Not only did the troupe teach me team work, taking initiative, recruiting, leadership, mentoring and community outreach but it worked my craft/talent muscle on stage with the colorful gripping topics we were able to dive into surrounding the black diaspora. I was a part of the troupe from 99-02 and was able to play leading roles in productions by playwrights of color that I would have never been introduced to if I wasn't a part of the troupe.” - Niketa Calame-Harris Actress, Professor, Producer. Voice of Young Nala in Disney's original, animated The Lion King, UCSC Class of 2002 AATAT productions: Before It Hits Home, A Long Time Since Yesterday, God’s Trombone
“Black history is often rewritten. AATAT taught me the importance of preserving black stories in the author’s original voice and bringing these stories to life through performance. Self-reflection within the AATAT community is especially profound because you feel safe to be vulnerable, to explore your character more boldly, and to lose yourself completely in the experience. When black theater is uncompromised participants grow, communities are positively impacted, and the integrity of black history is maintained.” - Nwadiuto “DT” Amajoyi Attorney, UCSC Class of 2013 AATAT production: The Amen Corner
“AATAT was one of my greatest accomplishments outside of graduating from UCSC. We created a family and built each other up into leaders. AATAT gave us hope that our culture's stories would be received, understood, and appreciated in a space where we could decompress, be authentic, and learn the importance of showing up for ourselves. AATAT is an essential experience as it continues to produce narratives that center black identity, breaks barriers, and helps bridge the gap between where we have been as a people, and where we are going.” - Kathryn Douglas UCSC Class of 2018 AATAT productions: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, A Raisin in the Sun
“Our mentor and director of AATAT, Don Williams, meant a lot to me during my time at UCSC as he showed me how to believe in your dreams and turn them into reality. There is no “can’t” with Don, rather a persistence that has transformed lives of students and the community. His vision has built a theater program that preaches diversity on every level and importantly has taken students who are not in the theater program at UCSC and made them actors! I owe my success in science to the skills and persistence that Don taught me as part of the African American Theater Arts Troupe.” - Blake Riggs Associate Professor of Biology, San Francisco State University, UCSC Class of 1996 AATAT productions: Amen Corner, Once in a Wifetime, Streamers, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Tambourines to Glory