Earlier this month, Theatre Philadelphia announced that Sabriaya Shipley (TFM '18) would be assuming the role of Executive Director ahead of their 2023-24 season. Since then, they have been profiled by so many publications including, American Theatre Magazine, Metro Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Tribune and more! We were able to sit down with Sabriaya briefly to reflect on her journey since their time at Temple, and what they're looking forward to next!
Since graduating from the school of Theater with a concentration in Acting and a minor in African American Studies, Sabriaya (she/they) has worked with local theaters such as Theatre Exile, Power Street Theatre, the Colored Girls Museum, Mural Arts Philadelphia, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and more. They have been named an A+ Educator by Philadelphia Family, and were a 2021 Black Lives Matter Philly fellow and educator.
"One thing I am grateful for in my journey is that the skills I learned from my mentors, Amina Robinson and Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon here at Temple equipped me to be able to go fill out those grants." Sabriaya said while reflecting on what she took from her time at Temple. "To go out for those opportunities. To explore the world. And also to just be a champion for the arts."
When asked what advice they would give to current students, they said, "Find your core. One of the most important things as an artist is to find your core.... Once you [do] everything that's meant for you will find you.... I wish the best in that journey, because it's not easy, but I also wish for you finding your community. That's the second thing.... I'm thankful for the friendships I still have from Temple, the familiar faces that cheer me on in LA, in New York, in London, all over, because we made a connection here and found our cores together."
Sabriaya will be the first Black LGBTQ+ executive director of Theatre Philadelphia, which helms the annual Philly Theatre Week and the Barrymore Awards. To hear more about stepping into the Executive Director role and the importance of the Philadelphia theatre community, look for the full interview with Sabriaya that will be posted on the TFMA YouTube channel!