Forging Ahead


Shontina Vernon is a theatre artist, filmmaker, musician, and educator whose interdisciplinary and experimental work centers the narratives of marginalized communities.

Artist Bio

Forging Ahead is an experimental narrative feature film drawing upon a hybrid form of cinema and theater performance to tell the story of a young woman confronting the impact and dissociative nature of incarceration on her adult life. When the process of evolving a solo show collides the central protagonist with a younger version of herself in need of rescue, this dramedy unfolds in surprising ways to illuminate the journey to voice and agency those scarred by the criminal justice system must take.


Award Year
2019
Status

In Progress

Vernon-Shontina

Shontina Vernon

Atlanta, GA

Shontina Vernon is a theater artist, filmmaker, musician, and educator whose interdisciplinary and experimental work centers the narratives of marginalized communities. Vernon received a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation “Artist as Activist” Fellowship for the creation of the Visionary Justice StoryLab to address the impact of systemic oppression through media, storytelling, and performance based healing practices. Her work champions the necessity of arts and culture to catalyze social change. As such, it has been recognized nationally and internationally for both its artistic merit and risk taking.

Currently, Vernon is developing Forging Ahead, a follow up to her solo show Wanted (commissioned by the Hip Hop Theater Festival and developed in part by the New York Theatre Workshop) that continues an exploration of youth incarceration and its impact on identity. Her recent short film, GRRRL JUSTICE, looking at the pathways of girls and gender non-confirming youth of color into the criminal justice system was completed in 2018.

Photo credit: Joanna DeGeneres