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Shirley Jo Finney

About DeanShirley Jo Finney is an award-winning international director and actress. She has worn her director's hat in some of the most respected regional theater houses across the country: including The McCarter Theater, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Goodman Theater, The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, The Cleveland Play House, The Fountain Theater, LA Theater Works ,The Crossroads Theater Company, Actors Theater of Louisville Humana Festival, The Sundance Theater Workshop, The Mark Taper Forum, the American College Theatre Festival, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and most recently the State Theater in Pretoria, South Africa.

Miss Finney has received many prestigious awards over the years for her special talent and eye for storytelling, and creating exciting ensembles. Her awards include The LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award, the LA Drama Critics Award, the Backstage Garland Award, The LA Weekly Award and The NAACP Awards for Best Director for her productions of Emmett Till, Stick Fly, and Yellowman to name a few.

In the spring of 2011 Shirley Jo helmed the critically acclaimed international all South African Opera entitled "Winnie" based on the life of political icon Winnie Mandela. It is slated for a national and international tour.

Miss Finney is also an established television and film director. She has directed several episodes of Moesha, and she garnered the International film award for Best director for her short film, Remember Me. In 2007 she received the African American Film Marketplace Award of Achievement for Outstanding Performance and Achievement and leader in Entertainment.

She is an alumnus of the American Film Institute Directors Workshop for Women and holds an MFA degree in Theater and related fields from UCLA. Miss Finney is also a member of the Society of Stage Directors, The Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. She has been an Artist in Residence at Columbia College in Chicago, and a guest artist and lecturer at USC and UCLA.

Miss Finney is also an accomplished actress with many television and film credits to her name. She is best known for her portrayal in the historic title role of Wilma Rudolph, the first female 3-time gold medalist in the made-for-TV bio picture "WILMA."