Tabia African-American Theater Ensemble has been performing in the Bay Area under the direction of Viera Whye since its founding in 1985. “Tabia” is a Swahili word for “talented,” and represents the creativity, devotion, and diversity of the Ensemble’s pool of artists.
Tabia’s purpose is to present plays written by and about African-Americans, and African influence and culture throughout the world. Tabia brings the unique creativity of African-Americans to the stage through universal themes that enlighten, educate and entertain audiences with powerful messages and spirit.
The Ensemble has earned a reputation for presenting high quality productions that celebrate and explore the African-American experience ranging from touching dramas to clever comedies. The Ensemble consists of a dedicated and talented group of individuals who have been working together and in the broader community since the organization’s founding. Viera Whye has been the Artistic Director for Tabia since its inception. Tabia’s core group members are Cheryl Bennett-Scales, Glenna Brambill-Williams, Carrie Farley, Jeff Jones, Ann Johnson, Donna McCraney, Sharon Moore, Patrice Payne, Arlene Sagun, Sonya Stamper, and Ayisha White. Associate members are Alysha English, Postoria Aguirre, Yvette Glasgow, and Hedwig Gayle Rucker. Resident Director is Buddy Butler.
Tabia is the only group in the South Bay that provides consistent opportunities for African-Americans to gain visibility and experience on the stage. Our goal is to produce high quality, thought provoking, professional theatre that enriches the lives of our audiences and fosters positive relationships and understanding among people of varied backgrounds. Tabia produces stage productions and performs as a traveling troupe, taking its touring Black History Show to schools, festivals, corporations, churches, and conferences throughout California. Tabia’s traveling show is a dramatic presentation that is enlightening, educational and highly entertaining; it consists of the presentation of historical figures, poetry, song, and dance to convey the contributions and culture of African-Americans.
Tabia operates under the umbrella of the San Jose Multicultural Artists Guild, a non–profit organization established in 1990. Tabia’s founding members were Ann Johnson, Robert Parker, Rudy Morris, Arlene Sagun, Adaku Davis, and Viera Whye.