Director of Good Trouble
Akiba Abaka (she/her/they/them) is a distinguished stage director, dramatist, producer, actor, educator and administrator with over two decades of experience in the arts and culture industry. Her body of work is centered on connecting people, cultures, histories, philosophies, and practices that enable in-depth understanding of human behaviors and advances communities.
Prior to joining BCC, Ms. Abaka worked in audience development and creative producing at ArtsEmerson, the international presenting and producing theatre at Emerson College. There she created and produced banner audience engagement programs and initiatives including, the Play Reading Book Club; the Welcome to Boston Cast Party; Mr. Joy: The Neighborhood Tour; the Doris Duke Building Demand for the Arts Initiative; and served as creative producer for multiple mainstage productions and artist residencies. Ms. Abaka is also a founding partner and co-artistic director of Akiba Abaka Arts & Entertainment, Inc., an international theatre production company that creates plays, concerts and talks centered on narratives from the Black world.
Directing credits include: Bar Girl of Jamaica by Robert Johnson Jr.; A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry; Leading from the Affair by Walter Mosley; 365 Days/365 Plays by Suzan-Lori Parks; In the Continuum by Danai Gurira and Nikkole Salter; Fences and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson; Patience of Nantucket by Robert Johnson Jr.; The Emperor Jones by Eugene O’Neil and To Save a Dying World: or Make Me a Woman and The Begets of Jane Hudson, which she wrote.
Service to the field also includes; American Advisory Board, Italian Playwright’s Project 3rd edition; Reader and Super Panelist, National Endowment for the Art’s American Rescue Plan grants; Board Member, Boston Children’s Theatre; Community Member, Boston Children’s Chorus Innovation Team; Host Committee Co-chair, Theatre Communications Group National Conference; and Steering Committee Member, Berkshire Leadership Summit.
Ms. Abaka is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and the recipient of the Boston NAACP Difference Maker Award; the Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color Fellowship from the Theatre Communications Group; the Independent Reviewers of New England Award for Best Director and the John Andrew Ross Award for Distinguished Direction from Oscar Micheaux Repertory Company. She has presented on storytelling and arts and cultural leadership at TEDx Beacon Street Youth Conference in Brookline, Mass.; Lost and Found: Intellectual Property, Race and Restorative Justice at the Center for Law, Innovation and Creativity (CLIC), Northeastern University; Black Theatre Commons Advocacy Check-In in St. Louis; and Women’s Leadership Conference, American Conservatory Theater, in San Francisco.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in theatre arts from the University of Massachusetts Boston, a certificate in arts and culture organization management from ART/Harvard Business School, and a Master of Fine Arts in theatre education and applied theatre from Emerson College.