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Ngaujah in June 2012
|Occupation||Theater director, actor|
|Known for||Last Resort|
Sahr Ngaujah, is an American theater director and actor, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Early life and career
Ngaujah was born in the United States and is of Sierra Leonean ancestry. He began his career in theatre, working in Atlanta with the Freddie Hendricks Youth Ensemble of Atlanta, through 7Stages Theatre in Little 5 Points. Freddie has been Sahr’s mentor and friend since 1992.
As an actor Sahr has had a rich career from the early age of 15, and has worked with the likes of Gerrit Timmers (Onafhankelijk Toneel, Rotterdam), Falk Richter (Berlin Schaubühne, Berlin), Del Hamilton (7 Stages, Atlanta), Walter Chakela (Windybrow, Johannesburg), Tim Habeger (PushPush Theater & Film, Atlanta), Made n da Shade/MC (Amsterdam). Sahr has also maintained a presence in the world of film since the late 1990s, with appearances in Passing Glory (TNT), A Lesson Before Dying (HBO), How I Spent My Summer Vacation (Castle Way), among other films, and more recently in The Signal (Magnolia/Pop Films, 2008), Stomp the Yard (Sony/Rainforest Films – Jan. 2007), and (Blood Done Sign My Name, 2009 release).
Sahr began as a director under the guidance of Freddie Hendricks, working as an assistant director on FH Y.E.A. productions, playing for audiences ranging from the Atlanta Black Arts Festival to the Tweetakt Festival 2000 Antwerp.
Since relocating to Amsterdam in 2001 Sahr has worked as a theater director and developer with Rotterdam’s Lef and ACT Festival, and as a collaborator with Made n da Shade. He completed his studies at Dasarts in Amsterdam 2006, under the direction of Alida Neslo and Monique Toebosch. Under the primary influence of his work with Freddie Hendricks, as it relates to his creating of original works, integrating music into every layer of the developmental process, together with what he gained through close work with Made n da Shade and their extensive exploration into the weaving of interactive design technology throughout the base fibers of their theatre, Sahr used the laboratory of Dasarts and his encounters with Shu Lea Chang and Germaine Acogny to search for his own unique language and process, in an effort to lay a foundation that will hopefully allow him to all ways break new ground in his personal approach as a Maker.
Conversations With Ice is his most recent work, dealing with the question of value (who decides, who buys), within the context of the global diamond trade, Sierra Leone’s child soldiers, and its links to the Bling sub-culture in hip-hop.
In November 2008, Ngaujah received the Audelco Award (or "Viv award") for his work on the Off-Broadway musical Fela!, under the direction of Bill T. Jones, which explores the life and inspiration of the Nigerian composer Fela Anikulapo Kuti. He also received a Tony Award nomination and a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for his role in this musical. In December 2008 Fela! The Musical was classified as the #1 theatre show of 2008 in New York, by New York Magazine.
Ngaujah is of Sierra Leonean ancestry. During the Christmas of 1999 he began the writing process that led to the short-story collection Refracting (Dasarts 2004), which inspired the piece Conversations with Ice Amsterdam-BitterZoet (Dasarts 2006). Over Het Ij Festival, Amsterdam, 2007 (Made n Da Shade/Cosmic Theater). Sahr has appeared at speaking engagements, at art conferences in Northern Europe (2007–08) about the construction and development of Conversations With Ice, with invitations pending to present this work in Sweden and Tokyo. Ngaujah continues to work with a host of inspiring artist between Europe, Africa, and the U.S. He is actively attempting to help forge stronger links between the artist community between Atlanta and the Netherlands through the development of an art festival called A to the A, celebrating and exploring Global Underground Art and Culture.
- Green, Jesse (23 August 2009). "You Can’t Stop the Afrobeat". New York. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- Adam Hetrick and Andrew Gans, "Fela! Ends Limited Broadway Encore Engagement Aug. 4", Playbill, 4 August 2012.
- Laurence Olivier Awards 2011: full list of nominees
- Larry Rohter, "From Atlanta to Europe to ‘Fela!’" The New York Times, 12 May 2012.