DU to host 81st annual NASDA Conference

NEW ORLEANS (March 17, 2017) – New Orleans actor Lance Nichols will be the featured guest for the 81st annual conference of the National Association of Dramatic and Speech Arts, or NADSA, here during spring break – the first time in more than 20 years that Dillard has hosted the conference, according to Cortheal Clark, humanities chair.

Nichols, more recently known for his role in the Emmy-nominated HBU drama series “Treme,” in which he played dentist Larry Williams, will lead a workshop in acting for film at 4:15 p.m. Thursday in 136 PSB. He also will be the keynote speaker at the awards banquet that will end the conference from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, March 25, in the PSB Atrium.

Four other HBCUs will join Dillard for NASDA Conference, set for Wednesday through Saturday, March 22-25, in Cook Hall and the Professional Schools & Sciences Building. These include Grambling State University, Jackson State, Coppin State and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Events also will include workshops in musical theater, production design, acting for film and the art of movement as well as competitive events in persuasive speaking, dramatic monologues, duo-acting, oral poetry interpretation and a readers’ theatre. Interviews with the Southern Rep Theatre also are scheduled.

Clark said the following events are open and free to the public: the opening ceremony, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Cook Theatre; the student mixer for (students only) from 9-11:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Student Union; and the Allen Williams Play Festival, one-act play competitions, from 7-9 p.m. Thursday and 7-8 p.m. Friday in Cook Theatre.

He said all other events are open through payment of the NASDA membership fee of $85 per person ($75 for students) or by paying a daily events rate. The banquet cost is $35 per person.

A walking “Black Creole Tour,” led by librarian Malik Bartholomew, will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. opening day. Tickets are $20 each, including bus transportation to and from Dillard.

Nichols has some 177 acting credits, including the role of the preacher in Brad Pitt’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “The Campaign” and television series such as “Cheers,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Desperate Housewives.”

NASDA, which was last hosted here in 1997, was founded upon the principle that blacks needed to be educated in both speech and theater. Hosting duties for the conference are being shared by DU’s Theatre department, alumni and faculty, Clark said, who added the conference is the sole activity for Theatre this spring; no plays are planned.

(Jourdan Clark contributed to this report.)