The creative team behind "Veils" is celebrated Playwright and Actor Steven A. Butler, Jr. and revered Director and Educator Courtney Baker-Oliver. Steven A Butler, Jr. is a former Arena Stage Playwright’s Arena Playwriting Fellow and actor whose plays have been viewed and taught around the world. His first full-length play, “THE TRUTH,” had its’ premiere at the H Street Playhouse on May 28, 2005. The video of “THE TRUTH” has been acquired by libraries on five continents (in thirty-six countries) for inclusion in the archives and curriculums of several universities, sold more than a thousand copies, and has been viewed more than one hundred thousand times on YouTube. The video of the live production of “THE TRUTH” appeared on Nigerian television and was screened as part of Nashville, Tennessee’s Pride celebration in 2007.
Steven is the co-founder of Restoration Stage, the theatre company established for the production of his works. Produced by Restoration Stage, Steven’s plays have toured in numerous cities including Miami, FL (Gusman Center for the Performing Arts), New York City, NY (Mid-town International Theatre Festival), and Greensboro, NC (Greensboro Coliseum) as well as in numerous venues across the Washington capitol region. In 2008, Steven wrote the tribute “Humbled, Honored, Afraid” presented in the presence of Cicely Tyson when she was honored by the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs.
Steven is a proud graduate of Howard University (where he enjoyed a close relationship with his artistic mentor, the legendary stage, television, and film actor Al Freeman, Jr.) and a veteran of the United States Air-Force. He is a member of Actors Equity Association—notably appearing in Dianne McIntyre and Olu Dara’s Helen Hayes Award-winning production of “Open the Door, Virginia!” in both the Theatre of the First Amendment production and the run of the play in Farmville, Virginia that commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that is the focus of the piece. Steven’s plays include “THE TRUTH,” “Chocolate Covered Ants,” “All That Glitters,” “Veils,” “The Katrina Project,” “Drag On!,” “The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus,” and “Silver Foxxes,” as well as his new play, “Live from the Whitelaw Hotel,” currently in development. “Live from the Whitelaw Hotel” is the story of the historic Whitelaw Hotel, the first five star hotel built to accommodate African-Americans (which opened its’ doors in the U Street corridor in 1918.) His first screenplay (adapted from “The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus” was completed earlier this year.
Restoration Stage alumni who have performed Steven’s work include Isaiah Johnson (Hamilton, Broadway), (The Color Purple, Broadway), (Cornelius Smith, Jr., ABC/Scandal), Sasha Sloan (Fox/Star), and recent Emmy Award winner, Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale/Orange is the New Black.)
Courtney Baker-Oliver is a graduate of Howard University; earning his B.F.A. in Theater Education. For fifteen years he worked as Assistant to the Director on the productions of legendary Duke Ellington School of the Arts co-founder Mike Malone. He completed coursework at La Sorbonne and the American University of Paris and is near completion of his Master of Education and Administration degree at Nova Southeastern University.
As a producer, director, writer, and teacher Courtney has spent more than twenty years making theatre. From his role as a faculty member at Duke Ellington School of the Arts to his work as Education Director of the Theatre Washington (Helen Hayes Awards) and beyond, he's been developing the skills set required to direct and produce large scale productions on the world's stage. Courtney developed tributes presented before legendary leaders Maya Angelou, Cicely Tyson and Congressman John Lewis among others. He wrote and directed the debut tributes for the U.S. Postal Service's African-American stamps honoring Paul Robeson (2004) and Marian Anderson (2005) and was a master teacher at Britney Spears' Summer Arts Camp on Cape Cod.
Courtney has worked with Diana Ross, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Taraji P. Henson and many more. He has directed or taught notables including Frenchie Davis (American Idol), Cornelius Smith, Jr. (Scandal), Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black), Corey Hawkins (24) and numerous others. In 2005, Courtney co-founded Restoration Stage, Inc. in Washington, DC. Restoration Stage has been featured on AOL Black Voices, in CLIK Magazine, Bleu Magazine, Washington Post, Metro Weekly and in numerous newspaper and television profiles. Restoration Stage, Inc. productions include "The Truth," "All That Glitters," "Chocolate Covered Ants," "Veils," and "The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus." Productions are led by the creative team of Steven A. Butler, Jr. (Arena Stage Playwriting Fellow) and Baker-Oliver.