Pop-Up Books

By REACH, Inc. Student Authors
Directed by Thembi Duncan
Morgan State University
April 19-22, 2018

Eighteen young actors brought to life four fabulous tales by the young authors of Reach, Incorporated and Shout Mouse Press.




By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Thembi Duncan
Morgan State University
February 22-24, 2018
Featuring Joslyn Cobbins, Ryan Dawson, Abbeni Crysta-Salome Dixon, Alexandria Hill, Donovan Fowler, Rashad Jamal Kitchen Jr., Jada Lewis, Mi'chal Moore, and Kendra Speight.

An outrageous modern riff on the 15th Century morality play Everyman.

On My Mind/In My Heart 

The Voices of Women in Public Housing
Written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings
Directed by Thembi Duncan
Produced by Empower DC
Featuring DJ RBI
November 30-December 18, 2017
Featuring Linda Brown, Abena Disroe, Robin Fields, India Fuller, Rhonda Hamilton, and Paulette Matthews

Many DC Public housing residents are fighting against the city’s plans to displace them from their communities. Experience the powerful personal stories of six women who live in DC public housing. Based on the true stories of the performers, On My Mind/In My Heart is a dynamic staged reading with music by DJ RBI.

All proceeds from ticket sales will go to Empower DC, to support their work with impacted tenants.

WTF Happened to Baby Sister?!

Written and Directed by Thembi Duncan
Conceived by James Foster, Jr.
Inspired by Michael Sainte-Andress
Produced by Brave Soul Collective
Presented at the Anacostia Playhouse
November 16-17, 2017
Featuring Monte J. Wolfe, Jared Shamberger, Jivon Lee Jackson, and Aleta Dunn

Former drag ball icons Jane and Blanche Jenkins have fallen on lean times. When Blanche decides to re-enter the culture at the Golden Diamonds Grandeur Ball, her sister vows to finally gain the title she was cheated of back in her heyday!

Photos: Omar Miguel

Dior Ashley Brown Presents
My Vessel

Written and Performed by Dior Ashley Brown
Friday, October 20, 2017
Joe's Movement Emporium/The Clarice

Through song, poetry, spoken word, hip-hop, theater and live instrumentation, Dior Ashley Brown and The dAb Band create a tribute to women past and present.

Photo: Dominic Green


by Ayad Akhtar

September 9-October 1, 2017

NextStop Theatre

Featuring Jesse Bhamrah, Jenna Rossman, Jordan Friend, Chaela Phillips, and Nahm Darr

"...[Thembi Duncan] also makes the ordinary conversational lead-up to these moments of intensity extraordinary by finding small signals from the playwright (like mentioning the name of an antagonistic boss or the location of an indiscretion) and ensuring they affect the characters and conversations. These moments aren’t pointed to in Akhtar’s script, but Duncan has sussed them out with excellent instincts and thorough analysis. Pencil in a provisional Helen Hayes nomination for her if you’re the kind of theater-goer who makes such predictions." -Alan Katz, DC Theatre Scene

Photos: Traci J. Brooks / Lock & Company


by Dael Orlandersmith

July 16 - August 14, 2016

Anacostia Playhouse

Featuring Stori Ayers and Justus Hammond

LISTEN to my interview with Kojo Nnamdi on WAMU about directing Yellowman and using the arts to address colorism in the black community.

"In the hands of director Thembi Duncan and her talented cast of two, Anacostia Playhouse’s production is an energetic and powerful must-see." Amy Lyons, Washington City Paper

"Director Thembi Duncan really got this play. She just got it, everything about it. And she cast it and shaped it with enormous empathy and purpose." John Stoltenberg, DC Metro Theatre Arts

Photos: Michael Dubois

Br'er Cotton

by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm

February 13-20, 2016

Catholic University of America

Featuring Kevin Berry, Kevin Boudreau, Regina Childs, Ime Essien, Tendo Nsubuga, Danielle Scott, and Addison Switzer

Everyone in Ruffrino’s life is content to live in the shadows of paradise, but he is young, gifted, and militant and can no longer stand to have heaven’s gate just beyond his reach. He’s out to save the world, wake up the zombies, and prove by any means necessary that Black Lives Matter.

Photos: DJ Corey Photography

Staged readings

Top Girls

by Caryl Churchill

October 31, 2016

Everyman Theatre Salon Series

Featuring Beth Hylton, Susan Rome, Tuyet Thi Pham, Emily Kester, Lilian Oben, and Jade Wheeler

Camp Logan

by Celeste Bedford Walker

August 30, 2014

Kennedy Center Page To Stage Theatre Festival

Featuring JaBen Early, Jeremy Hunter, Vaughn Irving, Manu Kumasi, Jason McIntosh, Vaughn Ryan Midder, and Daron P. Stewart.


A'nat Dittni

by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm
April 17, 2014
Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival
Featuring Deidra LaWan Starnes and Randall Shephard


Mon Chaton

by Thembi Duncan

2013 Kennedy Center American Page to Stage Theatre Festival

Featuring Patricia Dugueye, Audra Polk, Tricia Homer, Carolyn Agan, Justin Fair, and Matthew Sparacino

Bud, Not Buddy

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Adaptation by Reginald André Jackson
Produced by Adventure Theatre-MTC

Featuring Dionne Audain, Ayesis Clay, Keith Irby, Joshua Nelson, Addison Switzer, Nick Vaughn, and Tara Yates-Reeves.