By Terri Mason

It has been said that mastery is a true “gem” that all humans have in common; a natural gift that brings equality to subconscious fruition. As a little boy, Terrance Spivey made an innocent yet predestined decision to live with his great-grandmother while his other siblings stayed with their mom. This was a decision that would later give him a life of artistic freedom and theatrical mastery.

Although a native of Kountze, Texas, Terrance’s dreams, visions, and goals led him to the heart of Cleveland, which became his home. Terrance graduated from Prairie View A&M University, then resided in New York as an actor and studied at William Esper Studios. Terrance appeared in “The Fruits of Miss Mourning” at the National Black Theatre, “Waiting for Lefty” at Michael Chekhov Studio, and “Stringbean” at Lincoln Center Lab. Terrance later came back to Cleveland to be Artistic Director for the historic Karamu House, the oldest Black theater in the country. At Karamu, Terrance programmed over 70 productions and garnered many awards leading to 2013, when Karamu achieved the Repertory Company of The Year award by the Audience Development Committee, Inc. (AUDELCO), an organization that acknowledges and honors Black Theatre and its artists in New York City.

Photo credit: T. Mason

Terrance directed a plethora of plays and was appointed to direct “Objectively/Reasonable: A Community Response To The Shooting of Tamir Rice” in 2014, a play produced by Cleveland’s Playwrights Local. The cast was then invited to perform excerpts for NPR’s Going There with Michel Martin. During the pandemic, Terrance directed the film short, “Resurrection of the Last Black Man in 08:46.” This received numerous accolades at film festivals, including the 2020 Toronto Black Festival and the 2021 Black Panther Film Festival.

Currently, Terrance is the founding director of Powerful Long Ladder. Under this company, he has directed James Baldwin’s “The Amen Corner” and “Lady Day” at Emerson’s Bar & Grill, both in collaboration with Holy Trinity Culture Arts Center. He also directed the urban drama, “Thiz Girlz Lyfe” in collaboration with the Playwrights Local.

Terrace’s list is ongoing and limitless, which clarifies the mastery of his inner gem. He has expertly mastered it and is still defining it.