Forty Under Forty: Jonathan McCrory

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Jonathan McCrory

Director of Theatre Arts

National Black Theatre

 

FOR A YOUNG JONATHAN

Fast fact: McCrory grew up in Washington, D.C.


Jonathan McCrory has served as the director of Theatre Arts Program at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer's National Black Theatre since 2012. He is an Obie-Award winning Harlem-based artist who attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts, then New York University TISCH School of the Arts. In 2013 he was awarded the Emerging Producer Award by the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and the Torch Bearer Award by Woodie King Jr. He is a founding member of Harlem9 and The Movement Theatre Company and sits on the national advisory committee for Howlround.com.

 

NYN: DESCRIBE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?

JM: It’s very simple, it’s just waking up and saying I’m going to do this every day. It’s so easy to run away from this. It’s so easy to be distracted by something else, something more flashy. And every morning I wake up and I say how am I going to help make this institution, this community, this family that I love, expand, gain, grow in capacity, how am I going to do that? And I think that’s one of my proudest achievements.

 

NYN: WHAT CHANGE WOULD MOST HELP THE INDIVIDUALS YOUR ORGANIZATION SERVES?

JM: If we were able to showcase and highlight our narratives more holistically and complete and be able to really have that bullhorn, I think that everything else would fall into place because what we are able to do on 125th Street and 5th Avenue at the National Black Theater is really revolutionary, very transformative, it’s healing, it’s sacred, it’s commercial, it’s viable and it also hits at the heartbeat of what people are actually wanting and needing in order to be able to reckon with this very chaotic society.

 

NYN: WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU’D LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOU RETIRE?

JM: I want to make sure that the National Black Theater is a formative voice that has nothing but a trajectory that is viable, that is competitive, that is artistically driven by its core and founding mission, that is a legacy for a young Jonathan to step into. That’s what I was missing when I graduated, I didn’t have a space that was called home. The doors to that space weren’t accessible to me, or I wasn’t made aware of it. And if I can reckon with that notion and challenge myself to help build a space and to grow a space … to be a welcoming space for a young Jonathan – who is just graduating out of college, who wanted a space to pour all of his energy into – I’ve done my job.

 

NYN: WHAT DO YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB?

JM: It is deeply connected to a village, it is deeply connected to a community, it is deeply connected to me and to everyone answering the mission and vision of what they want their world to be.

 

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