Interview with new Theatre Philadelphia Exec. Director Sabriaya Shipley ('18)

Interview with new Theatre Philadelphia Exec. Director Sabriaya Shipley ('18)

Sep 25 2023

Last month, Temple alum Sabriaya Shipley (BA ‘19) became the Executive Director of Theatre Philadelphia. Founded in 2012, Theatre Philadelphia leads efforts that expand and engage audiences through the theatrical arts in Philadelphia. They helm the annual Philly Theatre Week, as well as the nationally recognized Barrymore Awards for theatrical excellence in regional theater. 

Since graduation, Sabriaya has become a Philadelphia-based playwright, poet, educator, storyteller, artist, and community ethnographer who brings experience working with community organizations and theatre companies, including Theatre Exile, Power Street Theatre, Painted Bride Art Center, Colored Girls Museum, Mural Arts Philadelphia, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and many others. Named a 2019 A+ Educator by Philadelphia Family Magazine and a 2021 Black Lives Matter Philly Educator /Fellow, Shipley holds a BA in Theatre from Temple University and an MA in Social Justice and Community Organizing from Prescott College.   

“On behalf of the board, I would like to let you know how thrilled we are to have Sabriaya helming Theatre Philadelphia,” said Theatre Philadelphia Board of Directors President, Jason Lindner. “Sabriaya’s skills and experience offer an embarrassment of riches in organizing, production, education, and development. In particular, Sabriaya brings a community investment centered on outreach that is truly inspiring. We're so excited to support their vision for the future of this organization.” 

We had the opportunity to sit down with Sabriaya shortly after they assumed the role. She spoke to us about her new responsibilities and her focus on community building. “The warmth that I have felt from my Philadelphia theatre community has never wavered,” they said. “Theatre in Philadelphia is unique because we have these big, large universities like Temple, like UArts, Villanova, Arcadia. It’s like a very beautiful journey to see the transitions, how we transition from out of these institutions into creating together.” 

You can check out our full interview with Sabriaya on our YouTube channel. Congratulations, Sabriaya! We can’t wait to see where you lead Theatre Philadelphia. 

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