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Meja Pannell-Tyehimba

Salon Series

2021 Brady Fellow

Ms. Tyehimba is originally from New York City and began her theatrical career at the famed "New Lafayette Theatre" in Harlem. She has worked and studied with Ed Bullins, Robert MacBeth, Dick Anthony Williams, Bill Duke, and Sonia Sanchez to name a few. Her theatrical experiences/work includes the full spectrum of theatre from hanging lights, building sets to directing and performance. She has taught theatre arts to youth in New York, Washington D.C., New Mexico, and California.
She has written and produced several plays: "Sketches from a Black Girls' Diary", "I'm Ev'ry Woman" and the stage adaptation of the African American Folk Tale "The People Could Fly" which received four out of five stars from the Syracuse Herald Journal.

She is a published author, "Real"-Scenes and Monologues for Urban Youth Limelight Editions 2003.
Her arts administration skills were developed at the Metropolitan School for the Arts in Syracuse, NY, under the tutorage of the Executive Director, Mrs. Annetta Kaplan. At MSA, Ms. Tyehimba was the Head of the Theatre department and with her efforts saw an increase in student enrollment from 10 to 80% in her first year. She then took on the additional position of the School’s Program Coordinator where she initiated the first Plug into the Arts program. Her tenure at MSA was from 1985 to the school’s closing in 1995.

From 2004 to 2006, Ms. Tyehimba was the Artist-In-Residence at the Pan-American/Pan-African Association in Alexandria, Virginia; under the direction of Dr. Robert Starling Pritchard II, where she completed two works; "How Deep The Cut", a stage play that explores the hidden pitfalls of Gay self-denial and a feature screenplay "Gemini", an Ancestral journey to freedom.
She has made four short films; “Life”, "In the Key of D", "Cantaloupe", and “When Least Expected” all of which premiered at the Queer Women of Color Film Festival consecutive years from 2009 - 2012. Her first attempt at filmmaking was commissioned by the Onondaga Historical Society, entitled "The Jerry Rescue" in 2000. From 2009 to the present, Ms. Tyehimba has been one of the Mentors with the Film & Freedom Academy.

Ms. Tyehimba’s creative thrust has always been to tell the stories that are seldom told. She believes that Theatre is a tool for change, a sounding board for the underrepresented and an experience where discussion is provoked.