Mar 20, 2019
Arts Administration, Drama, Events

Charlottesville, VA – Award winning British poet, screenwriter, and playwright Nick Drake will visit Charlottesville from March 25-29th. He is currently working on a play on the untold story of President John F. Kennedy’s African American valet, Virginian George Thomas. Drake has reason to believe Thomas may have influenced Kennedy’s perspective on the Civil Rights Movement and is eager to work with the Miller Center and visit Thomas’ hometown of Berryville VA.

The University of Virginia’s Arts Administration initiative, led by George Sampson, secured a Thrive Grant to bring Nick Drake from London to Charlottesville. The Thrive Grant, funded by the Office of the Provost for Academic Affairs and administered by the Center for Teaching Excellence, is available to UVA faculty wishing to incorporate new, transformative learning experiences into their course.

While in Charlottesville, Drake will go to playwriting and other classes at UVA and will visit high school Drama students at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Andrea Douglas, Executive Director of the Jefferson School, offers Drake financial support. He will receive additional support from the UVA Drama Department. Associate Professor of Playwriting Doug Grissom selected Nick Drake to be the 2019 Keenan Lecturer.

Along with his work with students, Drake will give three public talks. On March 27th at 11:00am, he will speak on a panel at the Miller Center about the history of JFK and George Thomas. Later that evening in 160 Campbell Hall at 7pm, he will have a conversation as the 2019 Keenan Lecturer for the Department of Drama. On Thursday March 28th, Drake will engage in a public dialogue at 6pm at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center with African American playwright & director Leslie Scott-Jones.

An article about Nick Drake and his work with George Thomas can be found here:

Residency Events:
Miller Center of Presidential Scholarship Panel
Wednesday March 27th, 11:00am
Miller Center, Free

Nick Drake conversation as the 2019 Keenan Lecturer
Wednesday March 27th, 7:00-8:00pm
UVA’s Campbell Hall, Room 160, Free

Conversation between Nick Drake and Leslie Scott-Jones
Thursday March 28th, 6:00-7:00pm
Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, Free

About the Artist
Nick Drake is an award winning poet, screenwriter, and playwright. His first poetry collection, The Man in the White Suit (Bloodaxe 1999) was a Poetry Society Recommendation and won the Waterstones/Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Since then, he also wrote From The Word Go (Bloodaxe 2006) and book-length poem The Farewell Glacier (Bloodaxe 2012).
Drake also collaborated with United Visual Artists on High Arctic, an award-winning installation. High Arctic is an abstracted arctic landscape made with sculptures, light and sound. It invites the audience to think about human impact in the Arctic region and contemplate its fragility, its beauty, and its scale.

His screenplays include Romulus, My Father (won Best Film at the Australian Film Awards and shortlisted for Best Screenplay), White Mughals (Rainmark Films), Devil in the Kitchen (Scott Free), OUt of Russia (Shoebox Films), Second Best Bed (Ecosse Films) and adaptations of Hassan Abdulrazzak’s play Baghdad Wedding and (with James Marsh) and Graham Joyce’s novel The Silent Land (both Focus Features). Theatre work includes: To Reach the Clouds (Nottingham Playhouse 2007), Success (National Theatre Connections 2009), All The Angels (Wanamaker Playhouse, Globe Theatre 2015). He also wrote the libretto for the opera Between Worlds (English National Opera, 2015) Drake has also written a trilogy of crime novels: Nefertiti: The Book of the Dead; Tutankhamun: The Book of Shadows; and Egypt: The Book of Chaos (all Bantam) which is currently being adapted as a television show for Mammoth Screen.

Sponsors & Collaborators:

The Nick Drake Residency is sponsored by these UVA Units and Community Organizations: Thrive Grant / Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, UVA Arts Administration, Miller Center of Public Affairs, Vice Provost for the Arts, Department of Drama, Department of Art, Jefferson School African American Heritage Center.