Dominic Taylor is a scholar of African-American theater and a writer-director whose work has been seen across the country. He is the former associate artistic director of Penumbra Theatre Company in St. Paul, Minn., one of the premiere African-American theaters in the country. There he utilized his unique culturally specific play development process called OKRA.
Since his arrival at UCLA TFT, Taylor has reshaped the school's curriculum for African American theater with a cycle of courses that begin in 1619 and go through contemporary African American life. He is on the Faculty Advisory Committee for the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and was a guest speaker at the "UCLA Institute of American Cultures Film Festival: Celebrating 50 Years of Ethnic Stories." In UCLA TFT's 2018-19 Theater Season, he directed Paula Vogel's play The Long Christmas Ride Home.
His essay, "Don't Call African-American Theatre Black Theatre: It's Like Calling a Dog a Cat" was published by Massachusetts Review in September 2019.
Early in 2015, Taylor directed Alice Childress' Trouble in Mind at Augsburg College in St. Paul. In 2014, he re-envisioned and directed a classic of the Harlem Renaissance, The Purple Flower, at Boston's Factory Theatre, and incorporated shadow puppets as his characters. His directing projects have been as varied as the opera Fresh Faust at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston; The Negroes Burial Ground at The Kitchen in New York City; Destiny and Uppa Creek at Manhattan's Dixon Place; Ride the Rhythm in the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C., and The Wiz at the University of Minnesota's Rarig Center in Minneapolis. He also reimagined and restaged the Black Nativity for Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, and directed Complicated Fun, a musical about the 1980s music scene in Minneapolis. His next directing project will be a commercial musical, Selassie, which he will also write.
The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop have all commissioned Taylor as a writer. His play, I Wish You Love, premiered at Penumbra Theatre, and was produced at both The Kennedy Center and at Hartford Stage in 2012. His play Hype Hero was developed at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in Waterford, Conn., and was produced at Brown University in Fall 2014. His written work includes Wedding Dance and Personal History, both produced at the Kennedy Center by the African Continuum Theatre. His play Upcity Service(s) is included in the anthology Seven More Different Plays, edited by Mac Wellman (Broadway Play Publishing).
As a scholar, Taylor's training began under the tutelage of George Houston Bass and his Research to Performance Method (RPM) at Brown's Rites and Reasons Theatre. In the summer of 2014, Taylor was part of the Consortium on African-American Aesthetics at Emory University. Nearly 20 years ago, he was part of the original group of artists and scholars gathered at August Wilson's "The National Black Theatre Summit: On Golden Pond." Taylor was part of the cohort that presented a paper on aesthetics.
Previously, Taylor was an associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He has also taught at Bard College and City University in New York; Columbia College of Chicago; Bennington College and Brown University.
Taylor received his bachelor's and master of fine arts degree from Brown University and is an alumnus member of New Dramatists. He is also a member of the Dramatists Guild, and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society; a board member of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature; and an associate artistic director of America-in-Play.