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Tempestuous Elements

"A big chunk of hidden history…and hidden D.C. history"

Molly Smith

Tempestuous Elements reveals the struggle of educational luminary Anna Julia Cooper as she fights for her students’ rights to an advanced curriculum. In a scandal orchestrated by the government, her tenure as principal of  D.C.’s historic M Street School is sabotaged by her colleagues and neighbors leading Cooper's professional and personal relationships to become fodder for innuendo and social ostracization. Witness the journey of this formidable Black feminist’s fight for educational equity, freedom, and legitimacy at the turn of the 20th century.

Arena Stage thanks Tiffeny Sanchez and Reg Brown for their generous sponsorship of Tempestuous Elements and their tremendous support of Black storytelling in DC.

Tempestuous Elements is also made possible through generous funding from  with additional support from Susan and Steve Bralove, Dr. Donald Wallace Jones, Dr. Betty Jean Tolbert Jones, and Tracey Tolbert Jones,, and The Drs. Elliot and Lily Gardner Feldman Endowment for New Plays at Arena Stage.

This project is supported in part by the .
To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.

Cast

KELLY RENEE ARMSTRONG

Abigail/Lottie

JOEL ASHUR

Mr. Turner/Francis/Atwood/Charles

RO BODDIE

Hiram/W.E.B. Du Bois/Rep. White

PETER BOYER

Male Understudy

RENEA S. BROWN

Ernestine/Lula/Mrs. Cook/M. St. Pres

GINA DANIELS

Anna

JONATHAN DEL PALMER

Male Understudy

BRITTNEY DUBOSE

Lucretia/Annie

YETUNDE FELIX-UKWU

Minerva/Miss Patterson

JASMINE JOY

Ruth/Ivy/Josephine/Principals' Rep

LOLITA MARIE

Hannah/Mary/Nellie

PAUL MORELLA

Hughes

MONIQUE PAIGE

Female Understudy

KEVIN E. THORNE II

Lawrence/Silas/John/Dr. Purvis/Dance Captain

RENEE ELIZABETH WILSON

Female Understudy

Creative

KIA CORTHRON

Playwright

PSALMAYENE 24

Director

TONY THOMAS

Choreography and Associate Direction

TONY CISEK

Set Designer

LEVONNE LINDSAY

Costume Designer

WILLIAM K. D'EUGENIO

Lighting Designer

LINDSAY JONES

Original Music and Sound Design

LASHAWN MELTON

Hair and Wig Designer

LISA NATHANS

Dialect and Vocal Coach

ANITA MAYNARD-LOSH

Text Director

OTIS RAMSEY-ZÖE

Dramaturg

JOSEPH PINZON

Casting Director

CHRISTI B. SPANN

Stage Manager

JALON PAYTON

Assistant Stage Manager

Photos

Gina Daniels in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Kian McKellar.
Lolita Marie and Gina Daniels in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Kian McKellar.
Gina Daniels, Brittney Dubose, Ro Boddie, Joel Ashur, and Jasmine Joy in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Kian McKellar.
Ro Boddie in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Kian McKellar.
Gina Daniels in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Teresa Castracane.
Renea S. Brown and Kevin E. Thorne II in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Teresa Castracane.
Jasmine Joy in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Teresa Castracane.
Lolita Marie in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Teresa Castracane.
Gina Daniels and Lolita Marie in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Teresa Castracane.
Gina Daniels in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Kian McKellar.
Cast of "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Teresa Castracane.
Gina Daniels and Brittney Dubose in "Tempestuous Elements". Photo by Kian McKellar.

Videos

Tempestuous Elements In The News

NBC4 WASHINGTON

Play about education luminary Anna Julia Cooper debuts at Arena Stage

THE WASHINGTON POST

“powerful new work gives Cooper the Mount Rushmore treatment she so richly deserves”

THE WASHINGTON INFORMER

Equal Access to Education at the Core of Arena Stage Production of ‘Tempestuous Elements’

BROADWAYWORLD

“play about brilliant educator Anna Cooper provides a much-needed history lesson”

MARYLAND THEATRE GUIDE

"In Director Psalmayene 24’s hands, [Kia] Corthron’s play is an historical document to be treasured and studied"

DC THEATER ARTS

An extraordinary woman in the eye of the storm in ‘Tempestuous Elements’ at Arena Stage

A THEATRE-GOER'S THOUGHTS

"Playwright Corthron captures Cooper’s passion and compassion, infusing many of the scenes with subtle humor." 

MARYLAND THEATRE GUIDE

‘A Quick 5’ with Jasmine Joy, Actor in ‘Tempestuous Elements’ at Arena Stage

DC THEATER ARTS

‘It’s time for a celebration of Black women’: Psalmayene 24 on directing ‘Tempestuous Elements’ at Arena Stage

WASHINGTON CITY PAPER

With Tempestuous Elements, D.C. Trailblazer Anna Julia Cooper Gets Her Flowers

WASHINGTON BLADE

Tony Thomas brings ‘Tempestuous Elements’ to DC

MARYLAND TODAY

The Most Important Black Educator You've Never Heard Of

THE GEORGETOWNER

Onstage, Georgetown: March Into These Shows

PLAYBILL

Cast and Creative Team Set for Arena Stage's World Premiere of Tempestuous Elements

BROADWAYWORLD

Cast and Creative Team Set for TEMPESTUOUS ELEMENTS World Premiere at Arena Stage

Special Performance Notes

Educator Spotlight
Every weekend, Arena Stage will celebrate the transformative power of education and the invaluable role of educators. Inspired by Anna Julia Cooper, Arena similarly wants to give back to modern-day education heroes by inviting them to a performance and publicly recognizing their critical role in our community.
Saturday, February 24 at 2 p.m. — Honoring Dr. Grace Holloman Davis
Saturday, March 2, at 2 p.m. — Honoring Dr. LaMar Bagley

Early Curtain
Sunday, March 3 at 6 p.m.

Southwest Nights
Friday, February 16, at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 17, at 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 18, at 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 18, at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 15, at 8:00 p.m.

Post-Show Conversations
Tuesday, February 27, at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 29, at 12 p.m.
Wednesday, March 6, at 12 p.m.
Thursday, March 7, at 12 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13, at 12 p.m.

Audio-Described Performance
Saturday, March 16, at 2 p.m.

ASL-Interpreted Performance
Saturday, March 16, at 8 p.m.

Mask-Required Performances
Sunday, February 25, at 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 9, at 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13, at 12 p.m.