Stage & Stanza


Angie Smith and Jean-Remy Monnay

held on Weds. April 21, 7:00pm

Watch the recording of this event here:

The Theatre Institute at Sage and Opalka Gallery, in partnership with local poet and playwright, Carol Durant, hosted the fourth installment of their bimonthly theater and poetry series, Stage & Stanza, to highlight local and national figures in the theatre and poetry fields whose work has meaningful connections to current events. This virtual program was Wednesday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. and honored two people making a difference in the Capital Region: Angie Smith and Jean-Remy Monnay, each in their own ways have provided insight, history, and mentorship in the fields of English and Theatre. 

Professor Angie Smith, a lecturer in the English department at Russell Sage College who also manages The Rev, the college’s literary and arts magazine, has taught creative writing and drama for many years around the world. She founded the literary arts magazine and creative blog Haringey Unchained, which developed into CreativityUnleashed, a not-for-profit which uses the creative arts to improve outcomes for disadvantaged young people. Smith was commissioned to run summer drama and media studies workshops at Oxford University in the UK and has been a guest speaker at The Royal Opera House in Central London, Pepperdine University, and Lipscomb University Study Abroad programs. Download a copy The Rev and Haringey Unchained with special guest Durham University here.

Jean-Remy Monnay is the founder and artistic director of the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York, a theatrical outlet for people of color. He has appeared in over 100 plays, films, commercials, including three films soon to be released: Blood Conscious (2021), Grand Army (2020), and Follow Her (2020) on Netflix. As director, Monnay has helmed more than a dozen productions. He was recently honored by Capital Repertory Theatre as one of four talented individuals into the 2021 class of Associate Artists, and will serve a three-year term as an ambassador. Monnay was just tapped as director of Park Playhouse’s summer musical production of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

The cast was made up of Russell Sage College and Haringey Sixth Form College in London, and local theatre talents, including Charles Barnett IV, a costume and wardrobe designer, Sheilah London, a director and actor, and Carmen Lookshire, singer and actor. The cast will read excerpts from each honoree and there will be a conversation with Smith and Monnay led by Carol Durant, an actor and stage manager, most recently with the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York, and the Theatre Institute Managing Director and Associate Professor of Theater, David Baecker. 

About Stage & Stanza

Carol Durant is a poet, author, playwright and event host. She is an actor and stage manager most recently with the Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York. She has a M.A in Africana Studies from University at Albany. She is the founder and host of Outliers Poetry Brunch, which is a monthly poetry brunch at Eden Cafe in Loudonville and online. She is a longstanding board member of Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar. Durant’s newest book is Cold Pressed and Just Brewed Poetry. Her first book, Whole Phat and Gluten Free Poetry was published in 2017. Her play, Center of Lying Down was recently cast and performed on Zoom by Quarantine e-Theater, as a wildly successful fundraiser for Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York.

David Baecker is Managing Director of the Theatre Institute at Sage and Associate Professor of Theatre at Russell Sage College. He is also a communications coach with the New York State Defenders Association. Locally, he has directed readings and/or productions for Saratoga Shakespeare Company, the Rensselaer County Historical Society, Troy Foundry Theatre, Theater Voices, and the New York State Theatre Institute. Baecker has an M.F.A. in Acting from Florida State University and a B.A. in Theatre from Washington University in St. Louis.

Theatre Institute at Sage. Established in February of 2011, the Theatre Institute at Sage is dedicated to providing quality live theatre and arts-in-education programming to Capital Region youth, educators and residents. The Institute also provides opportunities for Russell Sage students as performers, technicians and teachers.