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Nicole Watson

MA '08 - History and Theater

After earning a BA from Yale in history with a focus on African-American and Caribbean history, Nicole, who is Jamaican, moved to New York to become an actor. She has racked up an impressive number of directing credits for someone in the early stages of her career. In the summer of 2008, she was the assistant director for The First Breeze of Summer at the Signature Theater, and in 2009, she guest-directed Derek Walcott’s Ti-Jean and His Brothers at NYU Tisch.

At Gallatin, she developed her thesis “Resurrecting the Dead," an exploration of history and theater. “I liked Gallatin because it was both academic and artistic,” says Nicole, who was a Newington-Cropsey Fellow while she was at the School.

In 2011, she was director and mentor for the Gallatin Summer Theater Lab, where she developed Jack Moore’s play Killing John Grisham. The play was subsequently performed in the 2011 Fringe Festival in New York, with Gallatin faculty member Christopher Cartmill playing Grisham. She won the 2011 Josephine Abady Award, which recognizes emerging directors, from the League of Professional Theatre Women.

She served as a director at the Women’s Project Lab, the nation’s oldest company dedicated to producing theater created by women, where she was one of four directors involved in We Play for the Gods. And she directed Foreign Bodies by Eboni Hogan at the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival shortly after wrapping up her role as assistant director of The Total Bent, Stew and Heidi Rodewald’s musical production at the prestigious Public Theater.

 In addition to her other directing commitments, she is in the midst of directing a play written by a 10-year-old girl at the 52nd Street Project, which will be performed by adults. “There’s nothing like the imagination of a 10 year old,” she said, laughing. “Other scripts seem like a piece of cake to figure out.”

Nicole Watson