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creativityspotlight Spirit Awakening

An Interview with Akuyoe Graham by Kaitlynn Stupak


kuyoe Graham, author, playwright and actor, works with at-risk youth, helping them to realize their spiri- tual nature through self-expression. She will grace

Bucks County with her powerful presence this September to lead workshops with youth and perform her one-woman play, Spirit Awakening.

What about you and your background led you to where you are today? I was born in Ghana,West Africa, moved to England,

then to NewYork, and I now live in Los Angeles. In my mid- to late 20’s, I felt a gnawing feeling inside that I needed to be doing something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. When I met Sandy Meisner, an acting teacher whose methodology involved knowing oneself on a deep level, I decided to get to the root of my feelings of unworthiness by going deep.

I’ve always found

writing to be cathartic and I love the spoken word, so I created and performed a monologue that was a compilation of others’ works. StevieWonder happened to be in the audi- ence and said to me, “But who are you?” This prompted the writing of my play, Spirit Awakening, in 1989, as a way to express my journey of self-discovery.

How did you come to integrate your work with at-risk youth? Everything just fell into place, like a fairy tale or domino

effect. I found a job with a company teaching poetry to incar- cerated teens. Many of these youth struggled with the same issues I had overcome, and they were able to gain greater self-acceptance through the writing process. I also learned a lot from them. I eventually developed a nonprofit, Spirit Awakening Foundation, that had a similar aim but was more spiritually oriented.

What responses or notable differences are there with children as a result of your work with them? The presence you bring is important, because kids are

incredibly intuitive and know authenticity. Being myself sets the tone. The success rate has been humbling. Their reading has

improved, and there has been measurable improvement in voice and diction. Children are inclined to better express their authentic selves.

What message do you like to leave audiences with? Spirit Awakening is a truly deep experiential journey that

helps audiences to know themselves better. They release and accept, are inspired and feel lifted. The time is now for us to release what doesn’t serve

us as a society and embrace a new way of being. America would do well to listen to the voice of its own children.

Greenshire Arts Consortium will be hosting Akuyoe Graham’s visit. For more information, visit For more information about Akuyoe, visit

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