THE ARTISTIC STAFF

PRODUCING/ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - RALPH E. GREENE a native of Jacksonville, Florida is an accomplished director of theater, playwright, lyricist and arts administrator. He holds degrees and certifications from Edward Water College, Jacksonville, Stetson University, Florida, Sangamon State University, Illinois, University of Virginia, Charlottesville and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. After teaching English in the Florida school system for seven years, he embarked on a new career challenge in the performing arts. In 1974, at the request and invitation of Miss Katherine Dunham, he joined the staff of Performing Arts Training Center to develop a theater education component and to continue the development of the theater company (Kutana Players later renamed Unity Theatre Ensemble) that he organized and brought with him from the SIU Carbondale Campus. In 1984 Greene became the director/coordinator of the Katherine Dunham Center for the Performing Arts at the East St. Louis Center of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and remained in that position until his departure from the university in February 1996. Mr. Greene received the Gateway East Metropolitan Ministry's Drum Major Award in the Arts, two outstanding Arts Service Awards from the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Gateway Inroads Role Model Award, listed in the St. Louis Role Model Directory and honored with the arts service award at the Alpha Kappa Alpha's Salute to Black Men November, 1996. In 2004, Greene received the Pathfinder's Award at the Black Theater Network's annual conference. Greene has been commissioned to write and compile several plays and musicals that have been successfully produced by Unity Theatre Ensemble. When time permits he also has been guest director and lecturer for other colleges and universities.

MANAGING DIRECTOR/COSTUME DESIGNER -BONNIE M. HARMON a native of Michigan City, Indiana is an accomplished actress, vocalist, costume/fashion designer and photographer. Bonnie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater from Indiana University, Bloomington and a Master of Arts degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She has been with Unity Theatre Ensemble (aka Kutana Players) since it began as a graduate student project at SIU Carbondale. Harmon came to Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, East St. Louis Center at the request of Miss Katherine Dunham in the fall of 1974 and joined the staff of the Performing Arts Training Center along with Ralph E. Greene to develop a theater component and continue the development of the theater company. During her twenty one years as Artist-In-Residence and Theater Instructor with the university her responsibilities were many: administrative assistant to Greene, actress and vocalist with Unity Theatre Ensemble, costume designer for the performing companies of Katherine Dunham Center for the Performing Arts, stage makeup and costume construction instructor, graphic artist, photographer, videographer and production assistant. During her tenure at SIUE, Harmon received the Outstanding Young Women in America award for 1977, the Professional Service Award in the Arts from the City of East St. Louis in 1990 and the Salute to Women Outstanding Service Award in the Arts from the YWCA of St. Clair County and the Belleville News-Democrat Newspaper.

MUSIC DIRECTOR - DAVID ALEXANDER FOOTE, a native St. Louisan, was born in 1963 and began singing at the age of eight. At age eleven, he began studying piano under the tutelage of the late Grace Taylor. By age 14, he was accompanying choirs in church was influenced greatly by his former mentor and teacher, Ronald Metcalf, who had a profound musical impact on his life. This influence led to a decision to make music a career choice for David and he went on to receive a Bachelor of Music Education degree with an emphasis in vocal/choral music from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1985. David has also composed many songs, one of which appeared on a Grammy nominated album produced by Edwin Hawkins and the Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir in 1986. This song is entitled, "Trust Him" and the album this song appeared on is entitled, "That Name." This song has since been performed in Switzerland, Japan, and England in addition to many cities in the U. S. David has also been privileged to compose a song for the In Unison Choir of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Robert Ray.. David performs the role of Specials Lead Teacher for Confluence Academy Walnut Park in the Edison School District where he provides instruction in the field of music education and also serves bi-vocationally as Minister of Music and an Assistant Pastor for Pleasant Grove Church (Church of Koinonia) where Bishop C. Allan Jones is the Lead Servant.

CHOREOGRAPHER - ANDREA SMYTHE is a professional dancer and instructor at the East St. Louis Performing Arts Center (formerly known as the Katherine Dunham Center for the Performing Arts), Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, East St. Louis Center. She studied dance under Lucille Ellis, Katherine Dunham, Archie Savage, Alcine Wiltz, Norman Davis and Tommie Gomez. Andrea has performed with the Katherine Dunham Dance Company at Carnegie Hall (New York) and Keil Opera House (St. Louis) and was featured with the Cossane Dance Company in the opening of Disney World's Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Andrea has a family of performers: her son Ashi Smythe is a featured dancer with the current New York Broadway production of The Lion King and her daughter, Samoria performs with the youth company at the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville - East St. Louis Performing Arts Center.

SET DESIGNER - BILL MURPHY has had numerous visual arts exhibitions in and around the St. Louis area for more than twenty years. His talents include oil painting, water color illustration, design drawing, drafting, carpentry, sculpture and creative design. He has worked with a number of local theater groups including the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater, Gifted Productions, Pamoja Theater Workshop, Liberty Playhouse and has been set designer for Unity Theatre Ensemble for nearly twenty years.

© Unity Theatre Ensemble 2017