Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby has appointed a lifelong theatre and writing scholar to a top leadership position in Chickasaw Nation Culture and Humanities Department.
Debra Bailey, Ada, was recently named director of Performing Arts Department for Chickasaw Nation Arts and Humanities.
“Mrs. Bailey brings a wide range of experience, creativity and knowledge to her new position,” Gov. Anoatubby said. “She is enthusiastic about helping Chickasaw citizens and other Native Americans develop their writing and acting skills so they will be better prepared to share our story through stage, film and other venues.”
In her new position, Mrs. Bailey will oversee the Performing Arts Department, which develops performance art capabilities and opportunities in the Chickasaw Nation.
“It is an honor to have been appointed to this position by Governor Anoatubby,” Mrs. Bailey said.
One way the department plans to achieve its mission is by rejuvenating the Chickasaw Theatre Company.
“We will also revise and write new vignettes and plays based on our Chickasaw history which will then be performed by the Living History Players, a component of CTC,” Mrs. Bailey said.
A youth theatre program, a variety of performance classes, plays and much more for adults and students are being developed.
Mrs. Bailey said she was excited to work with staff members to develop new programs.
“Most (proposed programs) are based on input from our citizens, as well as other Natives, and the general public as to what they would like for us to do,” she said. “We are open to and welcome suggestions. I look forward to leading our department and building it into something even bigger and better.”
Mrs. Bailey, who has more than 30 years of acting, directing, producing, teaching and writing experience, is an alumna of both East Central University and Oklahoma City University, where she earned master’s degrees in theatre and creative writing.
Previously, she worked in Oklahoma City where she formed and incorporated Theatre Oklahoma, Inc., serving as the executive officer. She also produced children’s dinner theatre through Theatre Oklahoma’s Young Stars (TOYS).
As a teacher she has taught both in private college classrooms and in specialized talent agencies in Tulsa and Oklahoma City where she coached students in stage acting, acting for the camera, voice and diction and creative writing.
She has also taught in ECU’s Community Education Program, as well as classes for the Chickasaw Nation’s MyUniversity.
Mrs. Bailey is also an accomplished writer and has served as artistic director for several theatre companies, as well as various theatre boards of directors. She is currently drawing inspiration from her heritage as she works on writing plays based on Chickasaw stories.
Mrs. Bailey and her husband, Tom, a writer for Chickasaw Nation public affairs, reside in Ada.