Boone sparks theatre program by: Ashton Ross
Vanecia Boone, an associate adjunct Theatre professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and alumnus was born in Raleigh and raised in Jamestown, North Carolina. Boone, or as some of her students call her “Miss Vee,” has been a performing artist since she was 3 years old. Boone could not pinpoint a singular performing inspiration because, according to her, she has “been acting forever.”
“You’re supposed to be completely uncomfortable to the point of where’s it’s like ‘I’m going to change something now,’” said Boone.
Her artistic depth and prowess were apparent during her undergraduate years at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. One of Boone’s most renowned performances was in “The Stronger” by August Strindberg. The one-act play is comprised of one scene with two actors who never speak, but instead, tell the story through a series of detailed movements.
“She was brilliant. It’s not easy to captivate an audience with no words, but she did,” said N.C. A&T theatre faculty member and choreographer, Tina Yarborough-Liggins.
She also described Boone as a student who grew greatly in “discipline and structure” during her time at N.C. A&T. These traits served Boone well during her graduate years as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA)- acting student at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV).
After earning her Bachelors of Fine Art in the spring of 2010 from N.C. A&T, Boone attended the UNLV on a full ride scholarship.
Coming from a historically black college/university where there was no shortage of opportunities for actors of all colors to joining a predominately white program undoubtedly came with obstacles for Boone.
Yet, she refused to let this deter her from achieving her dreams. Boone, alongside a handful of other students of color, decided to change not only the face of UNLV theatre but the Las Vegas arts scene altogether. The first step was to create a safe space for Black creatives to feel as though they had a voice.
With the help of fellow black MFA candidates, Boone founded the African-American Association of Theatre and Film. This organization was dedicated to offering representation and exposure for actors of color to the UNLV community.
Through this outlet, Boone and other creatives were able to produce such notable black contemporary shows such as; George C. Wolfe’s “The Colored Museum” and Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls.”
As Boone and her team became increasingly recognized for their high-quality work and professionalism, doors began to fly open for student-produced productions and mainstage roles at UNLV became more available for black actors.
Boone’s role as Juliet in the classic romantic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet” brought unforeseen controversy.
“I was a black girl and my Romeo was a white guy. People hated it. After one of the performances, a friend of mine who saw the show said two audience members expressed disgust watching an interracial performance.
They left the theatre before the show ended,” Boone said. Nevertheless, Boone gave memorable performances throughout her time at UNLV and continued to break barriers in the Vegas arts scene even after earning her second degree.
In the future, Boone says she would like to use theatre and film as vehicles to promote environmental awareness as well as the societal awareness of nutritional health and holistic healing. She stated that she wants to use art as a medium to “awaken people.”
As a professor, Boone aspires to bring infectious positivity into the hearts and spirits of her students. She desires to be a voice for others to realize how life-changing it can be in theirs as well. Boone is determined to be a positive force beyond the stage and in the classroom.