Viera Whye

Artistic Director, Tabia African American Theatre Ensemble
February 22, 2008 1:02:30 PM PST
Viera Whye has been an active member of the San Jose community over twenty-seven years (since relocating here from Balt., MD in 1979). Viera is one of the co-founders and the Producing Artistic Director for Tabia African American Theatre Ensemble in San Jose, CA since its inception in 1987.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Sociology from Towson University in Baltimore; and received her Master of Arts in Theatre from San Jose State University in May 2004 (while at SJSU she was a graduate advisor and taught beginning acting classes). Viera has numerous stage, video/film, and commercial credits as a professional theatre practitioner in the Bay Area. Viera successfully combines art and technology in her role as an IT Tools Support Manager at Siemens Communications, where she has been employed since 1982. She was selected as one of the Women of Color in Technology "Who Make A Difference" by US Black Engineer Magazine in December 2000.

Viera receives requests to teach workshops, assist with productions, and give lectures from the community on a regular basis and has always responded positively to these requests. She has spent countless hours coordinating, discussing, guiding, and leading others to share in the creation of theatre arts, their own personal development, and work with youth. She is passionate about her work in the theatre as a means for cultural expression and celebration; human connection and spirituality across all age, race, and ethnic backgrounds; and as a tool for expressing creativity, building positive self esteem and confidence.

For her work with Tabia and in the community Viera received the Drum Major award from the MLK Luncheon Cmte in San Jose last week; was nominated in the arts category as one of the Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area in 2000 by City Flights Magazine; and received the Kwanzaa Festival 7 Principle's Community award for Creativity in 2000. In January 2004 she received a "Good Neighbor" award from the MLK Association of Santa Clara Valley. Under Viera's direction Tabia has become the premier black theatre arts group in Santa Clara Valley -- Tabia received in 2003 a San Jose NAACP "Circle of Friends Award," was voted best Black Theatre Troupe by Metro magazine in 1992, received a Girl Scouts "World of the Arts Award" in 1993, and in August 2004 received a Commendation from Mayor Ron Gonzales and the City of San Jose for their contributions to the arts and culture in the community. In 2004 Viera was awarded first place in the graduate division writing competition by National Black Theatre Network, and presented her paper entitled "The Urban Circuit ? Thriving Black Theatre: Like it or Not" at their conference held at Kent State University. Viera is the proud parent of two sons, professional football athletes - Copeland and Courtney Bryan.

Viera is co-chair for "First Voice" (an advocacy group for Artists of Color), and member of the focus group for First Act. She is a member of the National Black Theatre Network, and Theatre Bay Area; she is past member the Jazz Arts Music Network - Kwanzaa Committee, the Mexican Heritage Cultural Connection Committee, and the African-American Greenroom (cmte for support of local African-American theatre artists), and the committee for the Mayor's Task Force for the Renovation of the Foxx Theatre (the current California Theatre).

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