Performances of Annabelle from Playwright Vanessa L. Wright Jackson

VCUarts and The Anderson are pleased to present Annabelle from 2023 Excellence in Adjunct Research Award recipient and playwright Vanessa L. Wright Jackson with a series of performances and talkbacks in collaboration with The Conciliation Project and The Wright Penn Company.

See below for the full roster of events or visit the Eventbrite page to claim your free ticket!

Annabelle: A Story of Love, Faith, and Resilience

“Have you ever had a time when you knew you were supposed to do something, but you didn’t do it?” Yes. You’re not alone, Annabelle certainly has. Annabelle, set in the late 1700s reaches through time and takes the audience on a journey, filled with suspense, close calls, and questions of what is real and what is an illusion. Annabelle explores themes of spirituality, and equality coupled with folkloric elements and symbols. Annabelle is a voice from the past whispering into the ears of the present. Listen!

Vanessa L. Wright Jackson as Annabelle

Directed by Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates

Annabelle Performances & Events

1. Saturday, February 10, 2pm: Performance & talkback with Dr. Michael L. Dickinson, Author of Almost Dead: Slavery and Social Rebirth in the Black Urban Atlantic

2. Saturday, February 17, 2pm: Performance & talkback with Dennis Harvey, agricultural contributor to Annabelle

3. Friday, February 23, 7:30pm: Performance

4. Saturday, February 24, 2pm: Discussion of Annabelle Research with Damon D. Manning & Vanessa L. Wright Jackson (no performance)

5. Saturday, March 2, 2pm: Performance

Vanessa L. Wright Jackson is a 2018 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Pedagogy, a 2015 graduate of Virginia Union University’s School of Theology, and a 1999 graduate of VCU School of Business. Vanessa worked as a Financial Analyst for more than 12 years. She has been a playwright for over eighteen years. She began writing for small productions within her local church, St. John United Holy Church. Her productions grew from the quaint facility of her church to several stages throughout Virginia. Vanessa is founder of The Wright Penn Company, a growing performing arts company committed totelling stories that are vital to the spirituality of her community. Vanessa’s dramaturgical credits include Fences (Virginia Rep), A Raisin in the Sun (Virginia Rep), and Blues for Mister Charlie (University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University). Vanessa also worked with Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates as a contributor and dramaturg for the Festival of the River in conjunction with the Institute for Contemporary Arts at VCU and the Conciliation Project. She is an adjunct faculty member at VCU teaching Effective Speech and Organizational Communication.

Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates is a world class educator and performer. After graduating from Carnegie Melon University, she landed a role in the Broadway production of For Colored Girls… which transformed her artistic career forever. She later received her PhD in Seattle, WA where she also established The Conciliation Project. Then she was offered a teaching position at Virginia Commonwealth University where she now resides in Richmond, VA. Here in Richmond is where she has begun to canonize her methodology of Ritual Poetic Drama. She is a published author whose work appears in Black Acting Methods, Luckett/Shaffer, Multiethnic American Literatures, Androne, and African American Arts, Bucknell University Press. You can learn even more about Dr. T at