Throughout her career Judyie Ella Al-Bilali has been an innovator in the field of performing arts and arts education. As a performer, writer, director, producer, administrator and teacher she has worked throughout the United States and internationally.
Judyie received a BA Cum Laude in African American Performing Arts, a degree of her own design, and a MFA in Theater from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She has taught at New York University, City University of New York at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, and has traveled around the world as a drama professor with Semester at Sea.
Judyie is the recipient of numerous awards including Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Specialist awards, a Whiting Foundation Travel Fellowship, a Javits Fellowship in Arts and Humanities in addition to grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, MacDowell Colony for the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts.
In the field of arts administration, Judyie was a Board Member of the Kentucky State Arts Council, the Development Director for Crossroads Theatre Company, the Festival Coordinator for Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana and Shorts Festivals, and an Arts Program Analyst for the New York State Council on the Arts.
From 2002 – 2009 Judyie lived and worked in Cape Town, South Africa where she founded Brown Paper Studio, an applied theatre process and currently an accredited course at UMass Amherst. As Professor in Theater for Social Transformation at UMass, Judyie serves jointly between the Theater Department and Commonwealth Honors College and is Affiliate Faculty in the WEB DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies.
She is the author of several plays, a book of haiku poetry, and a memoir For the Feeling: Love & Transformation from New York to Cape Town. Her work is featured in the 2017 publication Black Acting: Critical Approaches (Routledge) and appears online in Imagined Theatres: South Africa.