2020 Award Recipient
Daniel Banks was nominated by Ty Defoe, Writer and Interdisciplinary Artist, and Katherine Freer, Multimedia Designer. Defoe said of the director:
"Instead of uplifting the westernized, Eurocentric model of making American Theater, Daniel models a movement of inclusion by truly stewarding a community of sharing, healing, and cross-cultural communication between actors, designers, and even the institution of theatre hosting... Daniel has made roads for marginalized and oppressed individuals and communities beyond his own identity, often bridging these gaps with the way he leads... He has shaped American Theater in ways both public and private that have made a lasting impression for us working today, as well as for generations to come."
Watch Daniel's acceptance speech: [CLICK HERE]
Read an interview with Daniel in American Theatre: [CLICK HERE]
Daniel Banks is a director and deviser with roots in movement theatre and new play development. Credits include: Jitney by August Wilson, National Theatre of Uganda (African premiere); Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz, Belarussian National Drama Theatre (Eastern European premiere); Blurring Shine by Zakiyyah Alexander, Market Theatre Lab, South Africa; Tap Into Peace, concept/choreography by Ayodele Casel and Sarah Savelli, Playhouse Square, Cleveland; Deep Azure by Chadwick Boseman, DC Hip Hop Theatre Festival at Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C; Bosoms and Neglect by John Guare, Teatro Technis, London (UK premiere); Hollow Roots by Christina Anderson, South Dallas Cultural Center and KC MeltingPot (Kansas City); The Real James Bond…Was Dominican by Christopher Rivas, HERE Arts Center, NY, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, and Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Dallas; as well as productions at the Skirball Center, John Houseman Theatre, and Queens Theater in the Park in NYC, among others. He worked as choreographer/ movement director at Shakespeare in the Park/NY Shakespeare Festival, Theatre for a New Audience, Maurice Sendak’s The Night Kitchen, Singapore Rep, and La Monnaie (Brussels).
Daniel is the co-director of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization dedicated to dialogue and healing through the arts, engaging topics of representation, identity, and heritage. He is currently working on The Secret Sharer (recipient of the 2019 MAP Fund Award), an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s novella, considered an early LGBTQ+ text, exploring fragility, tenderness, and intimacy in times of danger. Daniel is founder of the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative, promoting youth self-expression and leadership.
Daniel served on the dramaturgical team for Camille A. Brown & Dancers (Black Girl: Linguistic Play and ink). He is Associate Director of Theatre Without Borders and on the National Cabinet of U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC). Daniel is editor of Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater and co-editor of Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative. www.danielbanksdirector.com