North Carolina Theatre Will Present HAVING OUR SAY

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North Carolina Theatre Will Present HAVING OUR SAY

North Carolina Theatre, the region's premiere nonprofit professional theatre, announced casting for its November production of Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years, playing November 8-17 at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. Raised in Raleigh, trailblazing African-American activists, sisters and best friends Sadie and Bessie Delany - both over 100 years old - take audiences on an inspiring and entertaining journey as they recount the stories of their lives, from growing up on what is now the campus of Saint Augustine's University in Raleigh as the daughters of a former slave, to integrating a New York suburb during the Harlem Renaissance, and beyond.

The play, written by Emily Mann, was adapted from the New York Times bestselling book Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years. Directing the Tony Award-nominated play at NC Theatre is Tia James, an actor, teacher, and director, and currently a faculty member of UNC Professional Actor Training Program. A vocal coach and company member of PlayMakers Repertory Company, James has been seen on Broadway in The Merchant of Venice and served as the associate artistic director for The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford. She has directed over a dozen plays including Hamlet, Othello, and The Mystery Plays at NYU Graduate Acting Program. James received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her MFA from NYU Graduate Acting, and she is the Irene Ryan recipient of the 2003 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

The leading roles of Sadie and Bessie Delany will be portrayed by Gayle Turner and Lakeisha Coffey, respectively. Turner previously starred on Broadway in The Wiz as Dorothy, and has performed in numerous regional productions including The Wiz, Smokey Joe's Café, Once On This Island, New York Harlem Singers, in addition to her recurring role on Law & Order: SVU. She has an extensive performance background including theatre, television, concerts, and commercials, is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and is also a member of the Broadway Inspirational Voices.

Coffey, a Saint Augustine's University graduate and Triangle-area based actress, has performed locally with various theatre companies since 2006. She was part of the creative development team for the inaugural Bull City Black Theatre Festival in March 2018 in Durham, and she is also a founding member of Bulldog Ensemble Theater. Coffey has starred in numerous local theatre productions, but NC Theatre and Theatre Raleigh patrons may remember her from the new works reading of Peace of Clay earlier this year.

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