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Help Support this unique and valuable program with a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE gift! Any amount will help us continue this EVERY QUARTER for the forseeable future! It will also support the publication of a booklet containing the biographies of 26 playwrights and dramaturgical essays on 30 plays written between 1668 and 1966!

New Perspectives Theatre Company's ON HER SHOULDERS program

in association with The New School for Drama


"A Form Apart" plays and poetry by May Miller

Stragglers in the Dust (1930) and Nails and Thorns (1933)

with three poetry selections

Directed by Mary E. Hodges

Dramaturgy by Sandra A. Daley-Sharif

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Doors open at 6:30pm; Admission by Donation ($10)

The Play in Context Introduction which situates the script in its historical time and place, begins 6:45pm followed immediately by the staged reading. Running time, including a post-performance Q&A is approximately 90 minutes. Refreshments will be served for the Q&A.

The performance is at The New School, Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street. R.S.V.P. to

MAY MILLER (January 26, 1899 – February 8, 1995) was an African-American poet, playwright and educator, who became the most widely published of the female writers of the Harlem Renaissance. Her father, Kelly Miller, was the first African-American to attend Johns Hopkins University, a pioneer in Sociology and a leading African American intellectual. May Miller attended Dunbar High School in Washington D.C., where the School Progress Magazine published her first poem in 1913 and her first play, Pandora's Box in 1914. At Howard University she studied drama and was involved in acting and writing plays with the Dramatic Club. She graduated at the top of her class in 1920 and was awarded a prize for her play Within the Shadow. For 20 years, she commuted to Baltimore to teach English, speech and drama at Frederick Douglass HS. During the summers she studied playwriting at Columbia University and  in 1925, her play The Bog Guide was awarded third prize in a contest held by Opportunity magazine which began her association with the Harlem Renaissance. During the 1920s and 1930s, Miller wrote twenty one-act plays, including Stragglers in the Dust and In The Dark (1930), Nails and Thrones (1933), Christophe's Daughters and Samory (1935). She married John Sullivan in 1941 and wrote her last play, Freedom's Children on the March, in 1943. The following year she retired from the Baltimore school system and turned her attention to poetry, publishing seven volumes through 1989. During the 1960s, she was arts coordinator for the D.C. public schools and also served on the Folger Library Advisory Committee. She also held several posts as a visiting faculty member during her long career. She died on February 8, 1995 at her home in Washington, D.C. at the age of 96.

MARY E. HODGES (Director) is a mom, actor, director, dramaturge, and teacher. She has been at the craft for 25+ years, mostly onstage, from Berkeley, California to The Berkshires of Massachusetts. Mary received the "Best Director" Award for Cheryl Davis' The Maids in the 2014 Estrogenius Festival, and was a runner-up for that award in the Downtown Urban Theatre Festival 2010. Most recently she staged two original short plays at The George Bruce Library in Harlem, both written by Cesi Davidson, with whom she has collaborated since 2008.  In the past few years she has directed works at Negro Ensemble, National Black Theatre, Astoria Performing Arts Center, to name a few, and in the In Her Name, Dream Up and other festivals. Mary has a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA The University of Connecticut at Storrs.


SANDRA A. DALEY-SHARIF (Dramaturg) has earned her merits over 25 years as a multi-disciplined theater artist. She recently received a SPACE on Ryder Farm residency. She is a Eugene O’Neill semi-finalist and was named a NYFA Fellowship Finalist for Playwriting. Her 10-minute play, Shirley and Iris, was recently presented at the Going to the River Festival at EST, and One-act, Jake, was produced at New Perspectives Theater and recently, at Silver Spring Stage. Sandra is a member of Beehive Dramaturgy Studio, founded to make skilled dramaturgy accessible to any playwright, director, composer, producer, or other theater practitioner.

ON HER SHOULDERS was founded in 2013 to present rehearsed, staged readings of plays by women from across the spectrum of time, with contemporary dramaturgs contextualizing them for modern audiences. The program seeks to make it impossible to deny or ignore the 1,000-year history and value of women's contribution to the theatrical canon. To date (through Dec 2016), the program has presented 30 plays by 26 writers from the years 1668 to 1966.  OHS is produced by Melissa Attebery and Melody Brooks.


THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DRAMA: The creative home for the future of performing arts. Agile. Engaged. Innovative. Multi-disciplinary. The New School for Drama is home to a dynamic group of young directors, writers, actors, creative technologists, and award-winning faculty. With a core belief in rigorous creativity and collaborative learning, our programs embrace civic awareness across performance disciplines to create work imbued with professionalism, imagination and social context. For more information, please visit


The Play in Context, the dramaturgical and scholarly presentation component to the program, is sponsored in part by the League of Professional Theatre Women, a non-profit organization promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in theatre since 1982.


This program is made possible, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and in part, with public funds from the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.