• Omi Osun Joni L. Jones
    Omi Osun Joni L. Jones

Southwestern University will host a community dinner to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. in the McCombs Ballrooms.

Featured speaker for the dinner will be Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, associate professor and director of the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Jones earned a Ph.D. from New York University and teaches courses in African-American theatre history, the performance of race, and performance and activism. She also has received awards for her work in professional theatre. Jones was the opening plenary performer at the Second Annual Performance Studies Conference at Northwestern University with “sista docta.” That work has also been presented at National Communication Association National Conference, Pedagogy/Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, and the Black Women in the Academy II Conference.

Her print scholarship on performance and identity have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly, Theatre Topics, The Drama Review, Theatre Insight, Theatre Journal and Black Theatre News. She has served on the Arts Advisory Panel to the College Board, consultant to the Educational Testing Service, chair of the Theatre Board for the National Foundation for the Arts, chair of the Theatre Review Board of the Cultural Contracts Office, parliamentarian for the Black Theatre Network, and member of the Theatre Review Panel for the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Her dramaturgical work includes con flama for Frontera @ Hyde Park Theatre, Clay Angels for New WORLD Theatre in Amherst, Mass., and Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery and Pill Hill for First Stage Productions in Austin.

Jones currently is writing a book on the use of a jazz aesthetic among theatre artists with particular attention to Laurie Carlos, Daniel Alexander Jones and Sharon Bridgforth, as well as a book documenting the work of The Austin Project, a collaborative venture among women of color artists, scholars and activists and their allies.

Music for the evening will be provided by Akina Adderley and Georgetown’s New Generation Voices of Praise.

The dinner is free for Southwestern students, faculty and staff. Members of the community may attend for $8 ($4 for children under 12). For reservations, call 512-863-1342 or write schiltp@southwestern.edu.