Tuesday, October 9, 2018

JCTC Presents Unbossed & Unbowed, a new play about the life & times of Shirley Chisholm


In 2015, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Shirley Chisholm the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Ingrid Griffith brings to life this remarkable woman to life in a reading of her new play Unbossed & Unbowed to Merseles Studios in Jersey City.

Chisholm, who dedicated her life to fighting for the poor, working class, people of color, and women, was one of the most unlikely and groundbreaking politicians of the 20th century. Born in Brooklyn, NY to immigrant, Afro-Caribbean parents, Chisholm, became the first black woman elected to congress in the turbulent year of 1968, representing New York's 12th Congressional District and went on to serve seven terms before retiring in 1983. In 1972, she became the first black candidate for a major party's nomination for President of the United States, and the first woman to run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

Unbossed & Unbowed is a work in progress by Ingrid Griffith, playwright, journalist, educator and actress. This solo-show has been in development for three years and the presentation by Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) will be the 4th public, staged-reading of the play – following a high-profile, well-received reading last August at Broad Views on Broadway, Living Room Reading Series in Brooklyn.

Unbossed & Unbowed is a featured reading in Connection, JCTC’s series of visual arts, theater, dance and readings that explores the truly modern conflict of pervasive isolation in an era of hyper-communication. JCTC selects a topic global in scope yet relevant to a community, then explores that theme through multiple art forms, including theatre, dance, readings and visual arts. JCTC’s presentation of Unbossed & Unbowed takes place on the 50th anniversary of Chisholm becoming the first black Congresswoman in History.

“Shirley Chisholm was an important figure whose life and political career was a message of empowerment is more relevant than ever,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. “JCTC is committed to supporting new and emerging voices in theatre and we are proud to welcome back Ingrid Griffith to Merseles Studios and be part of the development of her latest project.”

In February, Griffith brought her acclaimed one-woman, autobiographical show about growing up in both

Caribbean and American cultures, Demerara Gold, for a well-received, 2-show run at Merseles Studios.

Griffith first became aware of Chisholm when many years ago, she watched Chisholm being interviewed on television.  The politician reminded her of her great aunts who were teachers in Guyana.  After Chisholm’s death in 2005, Griffith began research on her life.

“The more research I did, the more I became fascinated with Shirley Chisholm as a person, how she was seen in the 1960s and ’70s, and what she sacrificed for her political career,” said Griffith.  “I'm delighted to have another opportunity to share a longer version of Unbossed & Unbowed especially before these crucial mid-term elections when more women than ever before, are in national politics, standing on Shirley Chisholm's shoulders. Shirley Chisholm was about inclusivity and diversity, so I'm very glad to be returning to JCTC because of its diverse audiences and Jersey City’s diverse community.”

Ingrid Griffith, who studied acting with Wyn Handman, Vivian Matalon and Terry Schreiber, earned a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in English from City College of New York. In addition to working as a journalist, she’s an Adjunct Professor in the Communication and Theater Arts Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Demerara Gold has been performed more than 75 times throughout the U.S., U.K. and Caribbean, including the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival.

JCTC Play Reading: Unbossed And Unbowed
Thursday/October 25th
Doors: 7:30/ Show: 8:00
Tickets: $5.00 (suggested donation)

For more information or to purchase tickets visit:

Jersey City Theater Center
Merseles Studios
339 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 795-5386

Funding for Unbossed & Unbowed was made possible by generous support from the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive and the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Unbossed & Unbowed was also made possible through the generosity of Ben LoPiccolo Development Group, JCTC’s Board of Directors, private donors and local Jersey City businesses.

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