Women in History
Sherrie Tolliver joined Women In History in 1994 and has accumulated a rich cadre of characters. Currently she characterizes Eliza Bryant, Bessie Coleman, Diana Fletcher, Jane Edna Hunter, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Rebecca Cox Jackson, Marie Laveau, Edmonia Lewis, Biddy Mason, Wilma Rudolph, and Dr. Susan McKinney Steward, Susie King Taylor, Mary Church Terrell, and Valaida Snow to name a few.
Ms. Tolliver’s favorite characters are “the ones who have a rags-to-riches theme in their lives. These women inspired me because they triumphed over incredibly difficult circumstances. At a time when being poor, black and female usually meant most doors of opportunity were closed. They dared to dream big dreams and refused to take “no” for an answer. They chose to pursue EXCELLENCE and they did it with vision, courage, and compassion for others. They blazed trails for other, and all of them were dedicated to empowering, encouraging, and educating women and men, so that they, too, could achieve their dreams.”
Ms. Tolliver finds her involvement with WIH rewarding because “it combines the two things I love, history and acting, with the two things I enjoy doing, teaching and performing. The true-life stories of the remarkable women are more fascinating and dramatic than most fictional portrayals of women presented in fictional work. I believe that these women have made such important and significant contributions to history and humanity, it’s important to remember and value women’s history and keep it vital and assessable to the public.”
Ms. Tolliver has a BFA in acting from New York University where she minored in African-American History. She has extensive training in dance, theater and music. Currently she works as an Early Childcare Educator and performs as an actress and standup comic. She has taught drama at the Cleveland School of the Arts, the Beck Center and the Jerry Leonard Youth Theater. She has performed at the Cleveland Playhouse, Cain Park’s Alma Theater, Karamu House, the Front Row Theater, Jewish Community Center’s Variety Tale Theater and Kennedy’s Cabaret at Playhouse Square.
Memorable Women In History Moments
Below as Jane Edna Hunter“My most memorable moment occurred when a woman approached me at the end of a program and told me that she remembered seeing me perform Jane Edna Hunter at a graduation program for Transitional Housing. She had gone through the program and was graduating that night. (Jane Edna Hunter once homeless and displaced and seeing so many other Black women in the same situation founded the Phyllis Wheatley Home and Association for Women.) This woman told me that seeing and hearing me tell Ms. Hunter’s story really inspired her and gave her the extra push she needed to leave the safety of the program and get up on her own two feet. She finished her education and job training, moved into her own apartment, and was finally independent and happy, after having been in dire circumstances for so long.”
Sherrie Tolliver was featured in "Recreating Strong Black Women," The Black Collegian Online.
Portraying Madame C. J. Walker:
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WOMEN IN HISTORY
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