Keith Edward Johnston
(Actor, Director, Musician, Writer and Teacher) Mr. Johnston is a thespian with a wealth of performing and teaching experience. Co-founder of Back-A-Yard theatre, he joined the American Theatre of Harlem in 1990 and was announced Artistic Director at The Apollo in 1997 by the renowned Roscoe Lee Brown after the passing of founder and mentor Hal DeWindt. Mr. Johnston built upon the foundation of ATH with SHINE (arts in education), Cultures Collide Film Festival, Seasons One-Act festival, films, plays, concerts, The B-Hop Lounge and ongoing actor’s workshops. He has been the acting instructor for ATH since 1994 and provides private coaching for actors of all levels. As a Director; Children of Dahomey dance troupe, The Colored Museum, Street Car Named Desire, The Fringe2009 Audience Favorite Award winning play Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han and dozens of productions over the past 20 years. He recently directed the BET 30th anniversary Upfront at the Nokia Theater (Broadways Best Buy theater), and was the MD, composer and performer for the Pulitzer prize winning play RUINED at the Denver Center 2011. On film he recently played the lead in Off the Books and appeared in Pro Black Sheep.
On television and radio he’s acted dozens of commercials and voice-overs (Malibu Rum, GTE, Nike, Sears, Verizon, Radio Shack, etc) and is known as the UPN anchorman on HBO’s “Chris Rock Show”. As an Equity stage actor; Winston (original cast) in “Ave X”, Guitarman (MD) in “Spunk”, Ruined, The Great MacDaddy, Song of Sheba in Japan, etc. As a Teaching Artist, Mr. Johnston is the Program Director for College and Adult Education at CUNY Creative Arts Team (educational theatre company) acting, writing, directing and facilitating workshops, professional developments and productions throughout NYC’s school system, CUNY’s Black Male Initiative, Rikers Island, The Children’s Arts Carnival, Sesame Flyers, New York University, Brown University, Seeds of Peace and South Africa’s Townships, Colleges and Universities. He was the keynote speaker for Clinton Community College 2012 professional development day. Mr. Johnston has also presented his work at many conferences (AATE, BMI, NETA, etc).
As a musician Keith plays guitar, piano, percussion and vocals. He has performed and toured with many recording artist and local bands: Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam, Shirley Murdock, Jon Hendricks, Living Color, Olu Dara, Brian McKnight, to name a few, and his neo-jazz quartet Color 4.
As a writer, Keith was published in NYUs 2011 Dovetail Review and has written and directed three of his plays for the ArtNY summer youth festival; Hal the Wit, Stonetales, Raising Parents and a sketch comedy writer for American Candy. He also wrote and co-produced a film series for NYU’s Child Study Center called “Thriving Teens”.
His greatest accomplishment is being a father to Keith Jr., Sasha Ollie and Elijah Ade. “Let’s Heal the World with Art”. One Love!