Candis C. Jones


Candis C. Jones

Candis C. Jones is a director and rising theater manager. Select credits include: Colony (The Movement/NYU Festival of Voices), Name Calling (The Kennedy Center, Dance Place), 48hrs in Harlem (Harlem 9, NBT), The Homecoming Queen workshop (New Harmony Project), New Shoes (Drama League Directorfest), Morning in America (Primary Stages), Black Girl Magic (National Black Theatre), TEMBO! (Zanzibar International Film Festival), Daughters of the Bayou (Weeksville Heritage Center).Assistant Director: Oedipus El Rey (The Public Theater), Fucking A (Signature Theater), The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (NY City Center), The Death of the Last Black Man (Signature Theatre). Candis is a proud Drama League Alumni and recipient of the NYWF 2016 Lilly Award.

Hometown: MD by way of CT

Tell me about The Fire This Time 10 min plays:
The Fire This Time Festival was founded in 2009 by playwright Kelley Nicole Girod to provide a platform for early career playwrights of African and African American descent.  The 10m plays are a wild variety of plays echoing that there’s no sole way to represent the Black experience. 

Tell me about your process and concept of this show.
The process was spitfire. One month of conceiving, meeting with design consultants (our production team pitches in where they are strongest to design) and one month staging all 6 plays. With this festival format of new plays, I focused on zooming in on the heart of the pieces and invited the cast to have a good time. 

How would you define your job description for this piece?

What else are you currently busy with?
Just began a new position as the Playwrights Lab Manager at New Dramatists and gearing up for a production at AADA. 

Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a Director and/or as a person.
I had this little pink jeep growing up and my 1st cousin was TERRIFIED to ride in it with me. Well, one day she casually sat next to me in between spins and SLAMMING on the accelerator I went! I was always coercing her to hop in the choir stand with me too- she had a beautiful voice. Hey, I just wanted her to shine and meet her fears ;-) Guess that’s the holistic metaphor or maybe I was just bully?? lol. 

What’s your favorite source of directorial inspiration? Why?
TRAVELLLINNNG. I’m actually around so much theater and really good theater is dreamy but there’s nothing like being on a Caribbean beach with a pina colada to reset or exploring a new country with no agenda. 

If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be?

Who are or were your theatrical Heroes?
So many but right now I’d say- the late Mike Malone (Director, Choreographer, Educator). He and Peggy Cooper Cafritz began my arts high school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He saw the need for the area to have a premiere, pre-professional arts high school and probably saved thousands of eccentric Black kids from being misunderstood and misguided in public schools. At that time it wasn’t easy to encourage residents in Georgetown (NW, Washington, DC) to open their neighborhood to Black students from all over the city. He was ill and passed during my time at Ellington so I never met him but he made my teachers and mentors who they are. Ase’ to Mike Malone!

What kind of theater excites you?
Surrealism, Magical Realism, Satire, social-political work with boiling stealth. Big world plays. Work that makes it's own rules. Work with big-gushy heart exploring age old themes of humanity and relationships with honesty and epic character journey. Sci-fi, poetry, travel writing, Black Female literature...

What do you know now, that you wish you knew when you were just starting out? (What advice do you have for Directors just starting out?)

That you won’t know “everything” and that ok. Each play has it’s own professional and personal gem. Don’t be afraid to just go out to theater events, panels, performances, etc. and engage with people! Every relationship has the possibility to build but it’s important to connect with folks for the sole love of the art/interest versus out of need. 

Shout out to stage crew.
Without our production team Jenna, Kaela, Zhailon, Chris, and Miles TFTT wouldn’t be. ,

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Lili Stiefel