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Feb 17, 2016 | News

WISE—Nationally renowned speaker and Broadway performer Wambui Bahati will speak from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 19, 2016, at the Prior Convocation Center, University of Virginia College at Wise. An advocate and public speaker, Wambui is a survivor of mental illness and domestic abuse. Since 1998, she has trekked across the United States reaching audiences from New York to San Diego, and most recently presented at several locations in Australia. Wambui created a new piece for this event, “Remembering Your Magnificence,” the story of her journey through mental illness and domestic violence. The performance is sponsored by Frontier Health, Planning District One Behavioral Health Services, UVa-Wise and Mental Health Recovery. The event is open to the public. She regales the story of her life that she combines with the wisdom and strategies that helped her reclaim her health, happiness and peace. She tells it through her uncanny gifts as a performing artist. “Don’t let her youthful looks and boundless energy fool you!” declares one review. “This captivating woman presents with more than 45 years of professional theater and public speaking experience, spanning a wide range of venues, audiences, and cities throughout the United States and Canada. She inspires and motivates thousands.” Past events include a one-woman musical, “Balancing Act” and play, “I Am Domestic Violence,” that Wambui wrote, produced and stars in that tells the journey through mental illness. Both shows received national acclaim for the unique way they blend entertainment and the important issues we face. She began her formal theatrical studies at the New York University School of the Arts (The School was later renamed the Tisch School of the Arts.) and made her professional theatrical debut in Godspell at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. She went on to perform in the Broadway productions of Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. Her original Actor’s Equity (actor’s union) name was John-Ann Washington. Wambui’s regional and touring credits include starring roles in The Magic Show, Joseph Papp’s rock version of “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” “Little Ham,” “Nunsense,” “Don’t Bother Me,” “I Can’t Cope,” “Gone With the Wind,” the musical, “The Wiz” and “Crowns.” She’s written and performed custom presentations for organizations including Habitat for Humanity, National Organization for Women, and the Carter Center. She received the Greensboro Commission on the Status of Women Achievement Award; Bennett College Belle Ringer Image Award; the national Lionel Aldridge Award; the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Award; and the North Carolina’s President’s Award. Wambui is the author of “You Don’t Know Crazy— My Life Before, During, After, Above and Beyond Mental Illness;” “Domestic Violence and Relationship Abuse Awareness and Prevention for College Women—A Reminder;” and “They Are Not Going To Save Us.”

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