Dr. Haile Eshe Cole Awarded First-Ever Anthropologist-In-Residence Theatre Fellowship

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NEW YORK CITY – Dr. Haile Eshe Cole, an authority on Africana Studies, has been selected for the inaugural Anthropologist-In-Residence Theatre Fellowship by The Anthropologists, one of NYC’s leading devised theatre companies and currently celebrating its 15th anniversary season, and by the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

“The creation of this position truly validates our approach to research-based theatre-making,” says Artistic Director Melissa Moschitto. “I am grateful to AAA’s Executive Director Ed Liebow for envisioning and creating this opportunity. Bringing an anthropologist into our creative process at the genesis of a new play will not only advance our own research methodology, but will expand what new play dramaturgy can look like.”

The twin goals of this fellowship are for an anthropologist to share their expertise with the public in a unique way, and for the theatre company to evolve their research-based plays tackling important social issues. The centerpiece of this collaboration is the development of The Anthropologists’ next investigative play, inspired by the history and embodied wisdom of doulas and midwives, and celebrating the traditional knowledge held in the Black birth worker community.

“Dr. Coles’ extensive field experience in Black birth work and maternal health and mortality will be a tremendous asset for The Anthropologists, providing valuable insight on a range of issues” said Ed Liebow, AAA’s executive director. “Looking ahead, the fellowship offers us a wonderful opportunity to see anthropological research make its way to the public square.”

Dr. Cole, who specializes in African Diaspora Studies with a focus on Black feminisms, and maternal/infant health disparities, will work with Moschitto and The Anthropologists to explore how anthropological methodologies can be adapted for devised theatre. Her considerable experience as a community organizer will enhance the company’s Community Action Workshops, which use theatrical tools for creative problem-solving on local issues. These will be offered with partner organizations this spring, with the play receiving a work-in-process showing in June 2023. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The Anthropologists is dedicated to the creation of investigative theatre that physicalizes research to interrogate a cultural issue while nurturing intimate community and audience relationships. Formed in 2008, The Anthropologists create original, ensemble-devised theatre inspired by found text, source material and cultural artifacts, guided by rigorous dramaturgy.

Founded in 1902, The American Anthropological Association, with 8,000 members, is the world’s largest scholarly and professional organization of anthropologists. The Association is dedicated to advancing human understanding and applying this understanding to the world’s most pressing problems.

For further information and interview scheduling please contact press rep Avery Rudd of AR|PR at moc.liamg@ddurayreva or (214) 418-3926.