Roberta Uno

Recognizing the need to support cultural diversity and public participation, Roberta Uno, a theater director, founded the nationally renowned New World Theater at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1979, which produced works by artists of color, who have been underrepresented in the country’s arts programming. Uno brought 23 years of nonprofit experience to the Ford Foundation and has led initiatives that place artists at the center of changing demographics, expanding networks, and creating new work. Uno’s research on hip-hop, primarily its function as a platform for young adults to develop their own youth-led aesthetics and movements, has been influential in building a field, expanding the work of organizations like Youth Speaks and Hi-Arts, the producer of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Uno’s books include The Color of Theater: Race, Culture (2002) and is editor the 2015 edition of Contemporary Plays by Women of Color. She is also currently directing a new commission by singer-songwriter Martha Redbone for the New York Voices Program.