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How to Begin the Design Process For Actors of Color

September 9 5pm-7pm

September 10 5pm-7pm

From Hollywood to theatre, Black actresses have been vocal about the challenges they face when it comes to on set-stylists, wig supervisors, designers and theaters who don't know how to properly style,  care for or adequately plan for their hair. As a classically trained Actress &  Hair & Wig Designer, Nikiya Mathis has the unique experience of both worlds. In this workshop, she will address the lack of natural hair education that persists in hair design & work to fill in the communication gaps.  She will coach Costume Designers, Wig Designers and Wig Supervisors on how to confidently begin the design process. The workshop will consist of:

  • A panel discussion with actors of color 

  • Strategies on more confidently communicating with actors of color regarding their hair

  • Strategies on establishing trust & avoiding the tension that often persists between actors of color and stylists, designers, or wig supervisors

  • Education on hair types & textures

  • Planning to collaborate with actors of color on a styling plan 

  • Finding hair design/styling options, when the theater is working with a limited budget

  • Resources for natural hair research

  • And more!

YOUR instructor


NIKIYA MATHIS is a classically trained actress, who holds an MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has originated roles in world-premiere plays, including Oscar-winner Tarell Alvin McCraney's THE BROTHER/SISTER PLAYS, at the Public Theatre, Olivier Award-winner Dominique Morrisseau's SKELETON CREW at Atlantic Theatre, Kirsten Greenidge's MILK LIKE SUGAR at Playwrights Horizon's, Pulitzer-Prize winner Lynn Nottage's NY revival of FABULATION; OR THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE at the Signature Theater, and others. Her tv credits include THE LAST O.G., CHICAGO MED, NEW AMSTERDAM, The Blacklist and&  more.


About ActTRESSES Design & Consulting Agency

After years of hearing the complaints of her peers experiencing her own hair-horror stories, in theater and on television sets, Nikiya Mathis created  ActTRESSES Design & Consulting Agency,  which specializes in wig design and styling for actors of color in film, TV and theater. 


Actors she's styled for include tv stars Anika Noni Rose, Susan Kalechi Watson, Dewanda Wise, John Torturro, Andre Holland, Angela Lewis & Adrienne C. Moore, and others. Along with Broadway stars Pascale Armand, Aycon Sengbloh, Susan Hayward, Carra Patterson, Q Smith and more. Nikiya's hair/wig designs and styles have also appeared on television shows such as Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Someone Great, and Charmed, among others. Her theatrical style & design work has been seen in productions at The Public Theatre (For Colored Girls)  Signature Theatre (Big Love and By the Way Meet Vera Stark), New York Theatre Workshop (Hurricane Diane), MCC (Relevance), Soho Rep (For all the Women Who Thought They We're Mad), Women's Project (Our Fear Dead Drug Lord), Ars Nova (Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of The Future), Page 73 Productions @Walker Space (Stew), Ensemble Studio Theatre, Classical Theater of Harlem, National Black Theater, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre, Longwharf Theatre (An Iliad) Berkshire Theatre (Hair), Theatre Works (Sunset Baby), NYU Tisch (Bulrusher, Three Days In the Country, Project/Project), American Academy of Dramatic Art (Picnic) and Barnard College (Funny House of a Negro)

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