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DOUGLAS TURNER WARD (Artistic Director), was born on a plantation at Burnside, Louisiana and grew up in New Orleans. In 1948, he came to New York and worked as a journalist for three years. To learn the actor's craft as an aid in his ambition as a playwright, he enrolled in Paul Mann's Actors Workshop. From this grew a successful acting career. He made his debut at off-Broadway's highly-esteemed Circle in the Square in "The Iceman Cometh." Next he was featured in the New York City Center production of "Lost In the Stars," under the direction of Jose Quintero. He then won the position of understudy to Sidney Poitier in "A Raisin in the Sun" and assumed this leading role opposite Claudia McNeil during the ten-month National tour of the play. It was during the run of this play that Mr. Ward first met and became friends with Robert Hooks. On Broadway he has also been seen in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest with Kirk Douglas, and with Jean Simmons and Raf Vallone in the pre-Broadway tour of "Rich Little Rich Girl." Off-Broadway, he gained critical acclaim in "The Blacks" and "Blood Knot," playing the latter in Chicago and Washington, D.C. as well. His Shakespearean credits include "Coriolanus" for the New York Shakespeare Festival. On Television, Mr. Ward has been seen on many of the leading network shows including "East Side, West Side," "The DuPont Show of the Month," "The Edge of Night" and as co-star of a television special on CBS' "Look Up and Live." Mr. Ward's first produced plays, "Happy Ending" and "Day of Absence," were presented by Robert Hooks at the St. Marks Playhouse with the pair also acting major roles in them. The satiric double-bill won praise from the critics and audience alike, were the winners of the Vernon Rice-Drama Desk and "Obie" Awards, and had a run of well over a year. In August of 1966, Mr. Ward wrote an article for The New York Times in which he called for the establishment of a Negro-oriented theatre in New York. He envisioned it as combining professional performances by a resident company and an extensive training program for promising actors, playwrights, directors, managerial and technical personnel. It is that vision which has been realized in the establishment of the Negro Ensemble Company. ROBERT HOOKS (Executive Director), was born in Washington, D.C. and lived there and in Philadelphia. He saw a performance of "A Raisin in the Sun" in Philadelphia and thought it was just about the "most marvelous thing he'd ever seen." He never dreamed that he would make his New York debut in that very same show - joining it some time after it has opened and touring with it on the road. Since then, Mr. Hooks has gone on to achieve fame as one of the stars of the ABC-TV series "N.Y.P.D." and is host for the new Cultural Variety Show "Like It Is" on that same network. Also Otto Preminger's "Hurry Sundown." Most recently he made his musical debut, starring with Leslie Uggams and Allen Case in "Hallelujah, Baby." He was nominated for the Tony Award for that perfomance. Before that he appeared in a number of other Broadway Shows, "A Raisin in the Sun." "Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright," "Arturo Ui," "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" and "Where's Daddy?" (for which he won the Theatre World Award) and "Ballad for Bimshire" under the direction of Edmund Cambridge. His versatility brought him to the attention of Leonard Bernstein who chose him to narrate Marc Blitzstein's "Airborne Symphony" at Philharmonic Hall. The play which first brought him to prominence as an important young actor was the off-Broadway production of LeRoi Jones" "Dutchman." It was during the run of that show that he organized free drama classes for teenagers. He taught them himself and turned the front room of his railroad flat into a theatre complete with lights and stage and chairs for a small audience.Thus began the Group Theatre Workshop, which was the genesis of the Negro Ensemble Company's training program. Mr. Hooks successfully produce Mr. Ward's "Happy Ending" and "Day of Absence." "They got together on the idea for a Negro theatre and joined with producer Gerald Krone to formulate plans which resulted in a Ford Foundation grant to establish the Negro Ensemble Company. GERALD S. KRONE (Administrative Director), has served the theatre in the capacities of producer, general manager, director, lecturer, and administrative consultant. As producers, he and his partner, Dorothy Olim, were responsible for Michael MacLiammoir's "I Must be Talking to My Friends," the recent revival of "The Golden Apple," Shelagh Delancy's "The Lion in Love," Esther Kaufman's "A Worm in Horseradish," "Pimpernel!" and "No Trifling With Love." He is presently preparing Fol-de-Rol" for Broadway presentation. He is associate producer of St. John Terrell's Music Circus at Lambertville, New Jersey. His firm, Krone-Olim Productions and Management, has more than thirty off-Broadway shows to its credit. Among recent managerial projects have been "America Hurrah," "Your Own Thing," "MacBird," and "Fortune and Men's Eyes." Mr. Krone first met Douglas Turner Ward and Robert Hooks when his firm managed "Happy Ending" and "Day of Absence" here at the St. Marks, and out of that association grew the working relationship which enabled them to organize the Negro Ensemble Company. As a lecturer, he takes great pride in the fact that several students from his "How to Produce Off-Broadway" series have gone on to present major productions in New York. A graduate and former drama faculty member of Washington University, he was one of St. Louis' most prominent young directors of both operatic and dramatic productions. He also attended Oxford University and, while there, participated in a special project with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. [[end page]] [[start page]] [[image logo the Negro Ensemble Company]] THE RESIDENT COMPANY * NORMAN BUSH, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, embarked on a professional theater career after extensive training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the American Mime Theater. Among his most recent appearances off-Broadway, he has been featured at the St. Marks Playhouse here in Leroi Jones' "The Toilet," [[handwritten checkmark]] "The Weary Blues" at the Lincoln Center Library Theater, "The Servant of Two Masters" for Theater in the Streets and Adrienne Kennedy's "Funnyhouse of a Negro" [[handwritten checkmark]] a role he also recorded for BBC radio. Mr. Bush's early off-Broadway performances included roles in the Living Theater's memorable production of "The Connection" and "The Goose" at The Sullivan Street Playhouse. In movies he has been seen in "The Pawnbroker" and "Sidewalks of New York." In addition to his acting career, Mr. Bush is an avid photographer and also co-owner along with his wife of the Super Store, a gift shop and greeting card store on Second Avenue and Ninth Street within a stone's throw of where he now performs. * ROSALIND CASH joined the Negro Ensemble Company after having recently completed a season with Washington D.C.'s well-known Arena Stage reperatory company where she played a variety of starring and featured roles. In New York, she is remembered last season for her off-Broadway performances in "To Bury a Cousin" at the Bowerie Theater and "Junebug Graduates" at the Chelsea Theater Center which garnered her ecstatic critical and audience approval. On Broadway, she was last seen in "The Wayward Stork." An accomplished singer as well as an actress, Miss Cash understudied the lead role in the national company of "No Strings" - a part she subsequently interpreted as guest star at Brooklyn College - and has been heard in several musicals at New York's City Center. Her numerous singing club dates include bookings at New York's famed bistro, The Village Vanguard. On television, Miss Cash has been seen on many major programs such as "The Mike Douglas Show" and "The Guiding Light." Most recently, she starred alongside Douglas Turner Ward in a two-character CBS special, "The Requiem Door" on "Look Up and Live." In addition to acting, Miss Cash is also a skilled artist, specializing in charcoal sketches. "Art, however," she claims wistfully, has been reduced to a mere hobby now." * DAVID DOWNING, a native Harlemite who attended the High School of Performing Arts, made his professional acting debut on Broadway as a cherub in "Green Pastures" starring William Marshall. By the age of eight, he had already logged an impressive list of performing credits, including a television special, "Sure as Fate," with Frederick O'Neal, Dane Clark and Marsha Hunt. Before entering upon a tour of duty for the U.S. Armed Forces (assigned to Okinawa where he proceeded to found a theater grou) Mr. Downing, contrasted to his early angelic assignment, played the role of Coolie in "The Cool World" o Broadway. Since returning from the service, he has been seen in the Chicago production of "Happy Ending" and "Day of Absence," and was recently applauded for his performance in "One Last Look" at the Old Reliable Theater Tavern. In movies, he can be seen in the Sandy Dennis starred film, "Up the Down Staircase," Mr. Downing says that the most influential force in his career has been the guidance of Maxwell Glanville, the director of the American Community Theatre. * FRANCES FOSTER's veteran acting career has embraced the total range or stage, television, radio and movies. Born in Yonkers, N.Y., Miss Foster began professional appearances following extensive work as a member of the Harlem YMCA community theater and three years as a scholarship student at the American Theatre Wing. On Broadway, she was understudy to Ruby Dee in the original company of "A Raisin in the Sun." She succeeded Miss Dee in the role of Ruth and during a ten-month National road tour of the prize-winning Hansberry drama reaped critical plaudits in some twenty major cities of the U.S. and Canada. On Broadway, Miss Foster has also been seen in "The Wisteria Trees" and "Nobody Loves an Albatross." Off-Broadway she has been featured in "The Crucible" and "Take a Giant Step," a role which she recreated in the film version of the Louis Peterson drama. Miss Foster also created the roles Vi in "Happy Ending" and Mrs. Aide in "Day of Absence." Additional film appearances include "Tammy and the Doctor," "Edge of The City," and a documentary, "African and cambodian Dance Drama." Miss Foster has appeared on every major television network and she can be seen often on "The Guiding Light."
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