Nia Witherspoon

Tallahassee, FL

Nia O. Witherspoon is a multidisciplinary artist-scholar passionate about social and spiritual transformation through the creative practice. With a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies from Stanford University and a background in art and activism, Nia’s skills as a theatre and music practitioner serve her well as an Assistant Professor at Florida State University’s renowned School of Theatre where she teaches courses on race, gender, sexuality, and performance. Nia has performed nationally and internationally, published in anthologies and peer-reviewed journals, and her work has been recognized by the Mellon Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, and the National Queer Arts Festival. Nia’s new play, The Messiah Complex has been excerpted by the Company of Angels in Los Angeles, and will be featured in New York City’s Downtown Urban Theatre Festival.

The Messiah Complex

The Messiah Complex is about the loss of parents in black and queer diasporas. Music is DJ Messiah’s escape into the now with no pasts-- or so she thought. The nightclub where she works is a crossroads of the living and the dead. Or maybe the ghosts are just hallucinations from the toxic waste dumped there. Set to the beats of a live DJ, The Messiah Complex explores the queer secrets buried in the tapestries of black urban life in the post- Panther era. Through confronting her own violent ghosts, DJ Messiah must come into her revolutionary purpose as a black queer body. Amidst the backdrop of a crack-infested industrial wasteland, the characters of West-African mythologies emerge, villains and heroes blur, and being saved is all that matters.



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