Sydney-Chanele Dawkins, beloved DCMetroTheaterArts writer and columnist, lost her battle with breast cancer last evening. She was only 47 years-old.
The DCMetroTheaterArts family mourns her passing and offers our condolences to her husband Aaron and her parents and sibings, who were by her side when she passed away.
Sydney-Chanele championed the work of local female playwrights and artists in her in depth interviews in her column The Playwright’s Playground.
In her own words:
The Playwright’s Playground is a monthly in-depth conversation with local female playwrights and artists in the D.C. theatre community. Female theatre artists make up more than 50 percent of those involved in the theatre, yet the number of female playwrights being produced is dramatically lower. In this continuing Column, I will also interview and introduce DCMTA readers to the many talented playwrights in the DMV area to learn about their writing process, their inspirations, and their motivations.
In her column Cinema Speak with Sydney-Chanele she interviewed film directors and reviewed AFI Docs and other film festivals.
Cinema Speak with Sydney-Chanele is a new column that embraces the landscape of film, filmmakers, and film festivals. This will be a canvas where film reviews, and in-depth interviews into the filmmaking process will be shared, and the world of cinephiles will be celebrated. A dedicated space to cinema outside the mainstream, the emphasis of Cinema Speak with Sydney-Chanele will be foreign cinema, independent films, documentaries and the filmmakers who make them.
Sydney-Chanele Dawkins was an award-winning feature filmmaker, film curator, film festival producer and a theater/film critic and arts writer. She also served as an impassioned advocate for the Arts as Chair of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts in Alexandria, VA.
Fearless. Tenacious. Passionate. Loyal. These characteristics best described Sydney-Chanele’s approach to life, her enthusiasm for live theater and the arts, and her cinephile obsession with world cinema. Her successful first film, Modern Love is Automatic premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and made its European debut at the Edinburgh Film Festival. She recently completed her third film, the animated – The Wonderful Woes of Marsh – which is rounding the film festival circuit.
In 2013, Sydney-Chanele produced the box office hit, Neil Simon’s Rumors for the McLean Community Players at Alden Theater. Her next producing effort came in 2014 with Pearl Cleage’s Blues for an Alabama Sky for Port City Playhouse.
Programmer for Cinema Art Bethesda and Co Chair of the Film Program for Artomatic, Sydney-Chanele was the past Festival Director of the Alexandria Film Festival, the Reel Independent Film Festival, and Female Shorts & Video Showcase. She was active in leadership and programming positions with DC Metro area Film Festivals including: Filmfest DC, DC Shorts, the Washington Jewish Film Festival, Arabian Sights Film festival, and AFI Docs.
Sydney-Chanele Dawkins was ‘the soul’ of DCMetroTheaterArts. She will be sorely missed, but her legacy and her interviews, reviews, and articles will live on forever.
Rest in Peace Sister!