Imani Uzuri Receives Hermitage Major Theater Award
color photograph portrait of Imani Uzuri
Imani Uzuri

Manasota Key, FL The Hermitage Artist Retreat has announced Imani Uzuri as the recipient of the Hermitage Major Theater Award (HMTA). Established in 2021, the national jury-selected prize offers one of the largest non-profit theatre commissions in the United States. Uzuri will receive a cash prize, a six-week residency at the Hermitage, and a developmental workshop in a major arts capital in the fall of 2024.

“I am ebullient, in awe, and overwhelmed with joy and gratitude!” said Imani Uzuri in a statement. “Receiving this phenomenal award and residency will enhance my artistic life immeasurably and transform the landscape of my theater career.”

The Hermitage also announced three HMTA finalists: Nissy Aya, AnnMarie Milazzo, and Daniel J. Watts. Each will receive a Hermitage residency and fellowship in addition to a cash prize.

HMTA recipients are encouraged to create commissions that directly or indirectly represent the role and impact of art in our society. Uzuri explains that her new work will “illuminate Southern Black American vernacular art practices and folkways—quilting, yard art, congregational sacred singing, instrument making, storytelling, folklore, healing modalities, and foodways—celebrating the ways these cultural practices are used to heal, transform, protect, sustain, and unite family and community.”

Raised in rural North Carolina, Imani Uzuri is an award-winning composer, vocalist, experimental librettist, improviser, and lyricist. She composes, performs, and creates interdisciplinary works including concerts, ritual performances, albums, sound art installations, and compositions for chamber ensembles, film, voice, and theatre (including experimental and musical theatre), often dealing with themes of ancestral memory, magical realism, liminality, haunting, Black American vernacular culture, spirituality, and landscape. Uzuri received her MFA from Goddard College Vermont and her M.A. in African American Studies from Columbia University.