Jacqueline Lawton: Give us a little background on where you’re from originally, where you grew up, and how you ended up where you are now…
Elbert Joseph: My family is from Trinidad and Tobago. I was born in New York City and grew up in Boston. Boston is very strong diversity and arts community.
JL: Why did you decide to get into theater? Was there someone or a particular show that inspired you?
EJ: I decided to be an actor at age 12 after seeing Peter Pan. I wrote the casting director for the Wheelock Theater and told her that I wanted to be an actor. She cast me as a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz. The theatre transformed my life. It taught me that there are many kinds of people in the world and I no longer felt so alone.
JL: What is unique about being an artist where you live?
EJ: You are in place where it has a strong community that support diversity in arts and very dedicated to it. However, it will get there when all for one, one for all, meaning every artist of diversity would able to get a job in arts community.
JL: You are an actor and Sign Language theatrical Interpreter and Coach. What advice can you give to theater companies wanting to work with Deaf Actors, Designers, Directors, etc.?
EJ: My advice for theaters is to have patience, share knowledge and work together as artists. If you do and you respect each other, you’ll achieve success in the working environment and grow as a community.
JL: Who nominated you to be a Young Leaders of Color Award Recipient
EJ: Christopher Robinson, one of my peer and ASL interpreter at BU and Steve Maler, Artistic Director of Commonwealth Shakespeare nominated me for YLC. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to attend. I am grateful to them!
JL: What excited you most about taking part in the conference and the program?
EJ: Meeting people from all over America and the world that work in theatre and are passionate about telling stories.
JL: What was the most valuable lesson you learned from the conference?
EJ: I have learned that I am not alone. I have stars out there and we all as together as one. We share the passion and hunger of theater. We are working hard to transform the world into a more diverse and inclusive place for artists to work together as community.
JL: What are some of the challenges you have faced as an artist of color? What have you learned from these experiences?
EJ: That I have to work twice as hard as a 'Hearing' actor, but believe that I can do it. I believe that nothing is impossible.
JL: What advice do you have for other young artists of color in the theatre?
EJ: Stay strong and never give up your true passion. Don't give up.
JL: What’s up next for you and where can keep up with your amazing work?
EJ: I have few projects coming up, right now, I am interpreting for BILLY ELLIOT - Broadway touring company, after that I have few offers, but not confirmed yet..... I have two acting gig, one of them is : Arabian Nights at Nora Theatre/Underground Railway Theatre
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!