Meet the 2019 Naked Stages Fellows!

Queen Drea, Hawona Sullivan Janzen, & Amoke Awele Kubat (left to right)

Pillsbury House Theatre is excited to announce the recipients of the 2019 Naked Stages Fellowship: Queen Drea, Hawona Sullivan Janzen, & Amoke Awele Kubat. Naked Stages is a 7-month development program that provides time, financial support, and mentoring to three emerging artists as they create an original piece of performance art.

The 2019 Naked Stages Program Mentor will be Djola Branner. The 2019 Fellows were selected by a panel of artists comprised of past Naked Stages recipients and other professional artists, including Bill Cottman, Jessica Lopez Lyman, and Chamindika Wandaragula.

About the 2019 Naked Stages Fellows:


Hawona is a St. Paul based poet and performance artist whose work explores the complex nature of grief, loss, love and hope. She is the co-founder of Witness Writing, a free community-based writing workshop in North Minneapolis. Her work has been read on National Public Radio, featured in 10-foot-tall broadsides on the side of buildings for the Poetry of Resistance and Change Project, imprinted on coffee sleeves by Coffee House Press and performed as a jazz opera at the Soap Factory Gallery. Her most recent works are: “BLUE: Our Lives Are On This Line,” a collection of encounter poems about life along the Blue Line expansion route in North Minneapolis and the “Rondo Family Reunion,” a public art lawn sign project and performance featuring poetry and photos of life in Rondo Neighborhood of St. Paul.

Hawona’s project will explore her fear of water through conversations with the Yoruba deity of rivers, Oshun.

Amoke Kubat is a ”Northsider for life” who has been involved in empowering mothers and families since 1987. She is a Yoruba Priestess, retired teacher, artist and writer. Amoke partners with community artists, activists and organizations to bridge African/African American culture and historical contributions into transformative actions for healing, and building sustainable families and communities. Amoke uses writing and art making to speak truth to power and to hold a position of wellness in an America sick with inequalities and inequities. She self-published her memoir, Missing Mama: My Story of Loss, Sorrow and Healing in 2012.

Amoke is CEO of YO MAMA! The Art of Mothering Workshops. These art-making support groups are for mothers of all ages. YO MAMA’s mission is to empower mothers by disrupting the devaluation of women’s visible and invisible labor and showcasing their mastery of the art of mothering and traditional women’s work that transforms into daily artistic practices and increased economic security.


Amoke’s project, “Good Old Pussy and Old Good Pussy” (aka “Good Old Kit Kat and Old Good Kit Kat”) is about Black women’s UNSAIDS about AGING; mind, body, and sexuality. This work explores the historical and continual objectification of Black female bodies from slavery to medical progress and bioethics, educational institutions, the workplace and contemporary media images.


Queen Drea creates conceptual soundscapes. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language to her lyrics and compositions, she tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way and likes to involve the audience in conversation as they accompany her on her musical journey.  Her performances directly respond to the surrounding environment and use everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. With a conceptual approach, her work references love, pain, the feeling of not being “enough as a form of resistance against the “Normalcy” box people want to put her in.

Queen Drea’s project is an investigation into her internal and external conversations/thoughts/feelings on how she becomes the “magical” Black woman in predominantly white spaces, and how that pits her against her own culture and conscience. #SafeBlackGirl

About Naked Stages:

This year, 2017 Guggenheim Fellow Pramila Vasudevan begins her fourth year as Director of Naked Stages. A creative opportunity unlike any other in Minnesota, Naked Stages is a 7-month development program that provides time, financial support, and mentoring to three emerging artists as they develop their unique voices as performance artists and creators.  Twice a month, they also participate in workshops focused on the business side of art, from audience development to technical support, helping to develop their unique voice into a sustainable, artistic career.

The performances of the 2019 Naked Stages naked stages artists will be January 16 – 25, 2020. All tickets are Pick-Your-Price. (Regular price = $15).

Tickets: 612-825-0459 or buy tickets online by clicking here.

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