Women’s History Month: Highlighting Storyteller Ianne Fields Stewart

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Ianne Fields Stewart is a storyteller through and through. Stewart (she/her/they/them) is a Black, queer, transfeminine playwright, director, actor, choreographer, and activist. Stewart’s work at the intersection of theatre and activism is implemented through their role as Program Director at the viBe Theater Experience, a free after-school program in New York City. Since 2002, this organization has focused on the growth of young girls of color by nurturing their artistry in order to build their careers and their confidence. It provides girls with platforms to tell stories that address their biggest challenges and societal issues. These components of the program, which promote the amplification of these young voices of color, hope to build a strong and prominent community that puts these young women first as well as improves the livelihood and conditions that they grow up in and with. The program also grants the girls time with professional artists that help to guide them in crafting their creations and their subsequent performances.

Stewart also founded The Okra Project, which hires Black Trans chefs to provide culturally-specific meals to Black Trans people in their communities when they do not have access to fresh, healthy food. This organization holds community events that Stewart hopes will inspire and expand into other organizations. Their art and organizations overlap in meaningful ways and allow for art to imitate the life of the Black, queer community. Stewart is a part of the Black Woman Radicals (BWR) advocacy organization and believes in loving one’s blackness out of pure, honest love and not obligation.  

Some of their most prominent on-screen role includes work on shows such as Pose, Dash and Lily, and The Bold Type. Stewart was one of the 15 US Fellows for Humanity in Action’s 2017 John Lewis Fellowship and they have made their mark in many theatres including The Alliance of Resident Theatres, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Musical Theatre Factory, and more. Stewart’s voice and mission are crucial to the cause, and their art is most definitely one of a kind.