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Trenton Native, MCCC Alum Returns to Kelsey Theatre Stage for Special Presentation of "Black Girl Magic"

originally published: 02/22/2024

Trenton Native, MCCC  Alum Returns to Kelsey Theatre Stage for Special Presentation of "Black Girl Magic"

(WEST WINDSOR, NJ) -- It will be something of a homecoming for Trenton native Taylor Pickett-Stokes when she takes the stage at Mercer County Community College's (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre with the Virginia-based Underground Performing Arts Collective (UPAC) and their presentation of "Black Girl Magic," March 1-3, 2024.

"Black Girl Magic" is a powerful story that combines poetry, monologues, and conventional drama with film. It is the tale of Sister, a young Black woman, struggling to find a place of acceptance in the world. Guided by the Ancestors, African Warrior Queens, Sister comes to a place of self-reconciliation and acceptance as she is given a glimpse into the lives and legacy of Black women, past and present. Taylor-Stokes plays multiple roles, including Harriet, Stacy Abrams, Mahalia Jackson, Celie and as a Church Medley singer.

Pickett-Stokes is a graduate of Hamilton High School West and graduated from MCCC in May 2013 with a degree in Fine Arts and a minor in Psychology. After Mercer, Pickett-Stokes transferred to Montclair State University, majoring in Theatre Studies, with a minor in Sociology, graduating in 2015. Since then she has traveled and worked with at-risk youth, the homeless, and formerly incarcerated individuals. She will be completing dual master’s degrees at Rutgers University in Social Work and Public Affairs and Politics in May.

It was an online call for auditions that first drew Pickett-Stokes to the UPAC, as she found the "Black Girl Magic'' project intriguing. Driven by the stress and challenges of graduate school, she found the need to get back into a creative space and made the commitment to make the frequent trips to UPAC’s rehearsals in Suffolk, Va., to prepare for the show.

Pickett-Stokes credits her time at Mercer as an inspiration to take on new challenges and expand her horizons, and embrace her love of the arts.

"If not for the wonderful people and teachers that I had at Mercer, I don't know how my life would have played out otherwise," Pickett-Stokes said. "Being a student at Mercer allowed me to take advantage of opportunities that have changed the scope of my approach in life, such as study abroad, theater, relationship building and giving back. My pursuits after graduation were built upon those very core things that I obtained while at Mercer.



 
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"I learned to build meaningful relationships inside and outside of the arts. I feel that the arts are a universal language, so it is foundational to a lot of the connections I have made and maintained over the years."

Performances of "Black Girl Magic" are Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2 at 8:00pm and Sunday, March 3 at 2:00pm. Performances will be at the Kelsey Theatre on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $20 for children, students, and senior citizens, and may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.org or by calling the Kelsey Box Office Monday through Thursday, 9:00am - noon, at (609) 570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.


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