Douglas Turner Ward co-founder and Artistic Director of the famed Negro Ensemble Company (or: NEC) is one of the most important artists/contributors to the American Theatrical scene in the past half century. His list of accomplishments as actor, playwright, director, producer and dramaturge are so numerous that they have become legendary. For many years he has been called “The Godfather of Black Theatre” and rightfully so. Because through the plays he produced, the actors he introduced through those productions and through the people trained under the auspices of the NEC he revitalized American Theatre and made the African American theatre artists and craftspeople a permanent part of that landscape.
It is to his work, his achievements and his vision that this quarterly is devoted. With each issue we will be bringing you interviews, narratives and historical information along with other assorted data concerning this man and the state of African American Theatre then and now.
Over the years I have known Douglas Turner Ward which goes back to 1977 when he produced my first play, I have been taping our conversations on a regular basis in order to preserve his opinions on various aspects of both the history of the Negro Ensemble Company and his perspectives on African American Theatre.
The Douglas Turner Ward Quarterly is an attempt to call attention to this important figure who deserves recognition for both his body of work and his achievements in situating Black Theatre into the corpus of contemporary American Theatre. As editors, we feel it our responsibility to record and publish this material so that others may share and engage with the ideas of Douglas Turner Ward.
Gus Edwards, Chief Editor
Travis Mills, Assistant Editor