Ujima means "collective work and responsibility"
Ujima Company’s strength lies in its reliability, the consistency of its artistic vision, and its adherence to the principles embodied by the Swahili word for which it is named. For four decades, under the leadership of Lorna C. Hill, founder and artistic director, 1978-2020, the company has provided diverse Western New York audiences with solid, professional theatre experiences. While firmly rooted in the many traditions of African-American theatre, Ujima includes in its long history, productions from the traditions of other people of color, from other countries and cultures, and from the all-encompassing spectrum of traditional and contemporary American theatre. Ujima is constantly growing, evolving, improving.
Thank you to all those who helped contribute to our August showcase in honor of the Black Lives Matter movement. You all spoke your truth and gave rise to power. Throughout the remainder of this year we will continue to highlight this movement for justice and focus in on the many voices that contribute to the movement. This month we make space for the powerful women and female identifying voices in our movement. Guidelines for submissions are as follows:
Can be original or recreated work (ex. singing a song from another artist)
Can be any art form/medium (ex. visual art, song, dance, movement, monologue, poetry etc.)
Video submissions should be no longer than 3 minutes max
Videos need to be recorded in landscape (horizontal orientation)
Videos should be captured with good lighting and sound
Our #ArtThatHeals Project is also a way for you to submit works in tribute specifically to Lorna. If you have dedicated pieces or messages we welcome you to share those as well.
Our final show of the series, In Her Own Words, is being reimagined in a different form. While we are unable to gather together at Silo City we will still be able to experience the power of our poets at a later date. Stay tuned!
Ujima Company is proud to announce our 3 part SPOKEN series in partnership with Pure Ink Poetry! The series will run for three consecutive Sundays beginning Sunday September 20th.
The Spoken series highlights voices of Women, Men, Nonbinary, and gender nonconforming artists within the literary and arts communities. The goal is for their voices and their stories to be heard, listened to, and understood while building a sense of community in art that allows us to connect through our most uncensored human experiences through the art forms of poetry, music, and theatre.
All events are taking place at Silo City beginning at 4PM. Doors open at 3:30PM.
Seating is limited so arrive early to get a spot!
All patrons should bring their own seating/chair and masks are required to enter the event.
Donations will be graciously accepted at the door.
Any questions? Please email or call us at 716-281-0092
On behalf of Lorna's family, we thank you for your very generous response to her crisis. Lorna truly felt the love she was surrounded by and we remain humble and grateful in your light and love. She crossed over in peace knowing her family was debt free.
After much worrisome discussion about friends' and family's health and safety it has been decided to delay Lorna's Celebration of Life for one year, to Saturday, June 26, 2021, in order to celebrate her life in the manner in which everyone wants, and in the manner for which she herself asked, we must wait. We regret this, but it makes the most sense to celebrate her most remarkable life and make note of all that she accomplished for her beloved community.
We invite all of you to keep in touch with Ujima Company and the house that Lorna built. Many people have committed themselves to carrying on her legacy of Love and Justice through the work of Ujima for generations to come. Opt in with your email for future announcements and keep updated on our work and Lorna's Legacy.
With Gratitude Always,
Dear Friends and Family,
Lorna C. Hill, beloved champion for change in our community, has given Ujima Company members the responsibility to carry forward her vision of a community educated and healed through their art.
Ujima Company is not taking a pause. We are moving forward.
In her final direction to the company Lorna spoke of Love and Justice. Company members, new and many alumni members, are rededicating themselves in this moment to do the necessary work to make Ujima sustainable for many generations to come. To ensure that our grandchildren are also blessed by her work.
Ujima was blessed with Lorna’s physical being for over 40 years, guiding us through her vision, foresight and presence in the evolving world climate. Stories of African Americans brought forth to the world community through the stage touched the lives of all of us in a transformative way. How many lives did Lorna transform through her artistic vision? Through her writing, her poetry, her plays, her acting? These messages spread beyond the theater as art was used to educate in classrooms, in the streets, as we became collaborators and activists with Lorna.
Lorna’s genius was that she saw our potential when we had no idea of our own gifts. Lorna blessed us with the ability to see ourselves and our own power as individuals in the community of the world. She was the ultimate leader and team player who provided dynamic direction that allowed the picture to be created by the actors, all the while expecting and inspiring us to think about it, to always be present. You DARED NOT let her jump into action because you did not receive her direction, which was always given with the bold truth and love. Direction often started sweetly with the simple word: “Team…”
Lorna gave us a strong and magical foundation to build upon – Ujima: Collective work and responsibility. Over the last year the Board of Directors, Company Members and Staff have worked on a strategic plan to evolve the organization. Little did we know that the strategic plan would become the blueprint to move forward without her.
The theatre company is stronger as we have engaged new and alumni members to continue to produce work representative of Ujima’s excellence and to Lorna’s standard. Our hearts break and make us stronger in our resolve, prepared to move forward building a team that is cohesive and in love with what we do and the purpose we serve.
Honestly, a world without Lorna C. Hill is unimaginable. Yet, she gave us a vision to imagine and make real. Lorna’s spirit will never leave us, as we each carry her in our hearts. Her love and passion were so plentiful that you could not help but feel it! She made us all want to do better and do more, and every day ask ourselves did we do better today? We will, with Lorna in our hearts.
Thank you, Lorna.
Board President and Company Member
Lorna C. Hill BUFFALO, NY - Founder and Artistic Director of Ujima Company, Inc. for 41 years. Born June 25, 1951 at Mount Vernon, NY. Departed this life peacefully June 30, 2020. Dearest daughter of Ruby Byars, sister of Donna Mills, beloved mother of Amilcar Hill, and Zoe Scruggs, grandmother to Asa Hill and Solace Hill, and Aunt of Rikkia Mills. Dearest beloved friend of Rahwa Ghirmatzion, Bob Ball, and all of the Ujima Company Members 1978-present. A celebration of life is being planned and will be announced at a later date. To offer your sympathies during this difficult time you can send cards and gifts to Ujima Company, Inc. 429 Plymouth Avenue, Suite 2, Buffalo, NY 14213. For online messages of sympathies please share your condolences to the facebook page www.facebook.com/LornaCHillLove/.
In lieu of flowers donations will be graciously accepted at bit.ly/lornachill.