On July 8, 2015, Sydney-Chanele Dawkins, film maker, film producer, theatre/film critic and arts writer, died at the age of 47. It is a tragic loss for her family, her abundant friends and followers and her colleagues at DCMetroTheaterArts, for whom she wrote interviews and reviews since 2012.
In their latest posting, Joel Markowitz sent this message:
“A funeral service for Sydney-Chanele Dawkins will be held on Friday, July 17th. You will be able to offer your condolences to Sydney-Chanele’s family from 10 AM and the service begins at 11 AM at Ebenezer A.M.E Church – 7707 Allentown Road, in Fort Washington, MD 20744.
There will be no viewing. A repast will immediately follow the funeral at the church. All flowers and cards can be sent directly to the church.
I hope you will come and celebrate the life of this remarkable woman.
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 column Cinema Speak with Sydney-Chanele she interviewed film directors and reviewed AFI Docs and other film festivals.”
Many knew and loved her, among them DCTS writer Debbie Jackson:
“With her signature hat, winning smile, clear resonant voice and confidant stride, Sydney-Chanele Dawkins was easy to pick out in a crowd. We both stood out like that, in spaces and places one wouldn’t expect to see women of color. But there she was, always eager to capture and reflect a poignant scene on stage or in films she produced. Her writing reflects her sense of humanity, appreciation for life’s struggles, and triumph of the spirit, especially women’s stories. We shared insights and reflections about the latest plays we had seen, and I treasure our late night post-show discussions at the Contemporary American Theater Festival last year. She was always writing, analyzing, crunching concepts together, challenging the traditional for fresh new approaches.
Oh, how she would have basked in the focus on Women’s Voices in theaters this Fall. Like so many whose lives she touched I miss her terribly already, but I know in my heart and soul that some way, somehow, she’ll be there.”
Interviewed by Jacqueline E. Lawton, Sydney-Chanele spoke movingly about her love of theatre and writing theatre criticism:
“The performing arts have always been a part of my life and I thank God and my parents for raising me with a full embrace and appreciation of the arts as a desired and consistent component of my education and upbringing. Freedom of expression is a gift, and that what writing is for me.”