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DEBRA ANN BYRD is the Founder of the Harlem Shakespeare Festival and Take Wing And Soar Productions where she currently serves as Chief Executive and Producing Artistic Director. Ms. Byrd has guided the company’s growth from its birth in 1999 into a viable support organization serving women, youth, classical artists of color and theater arts groups throughout New York. As an actor, producer, arts manager, and business leader she has received more than 20 awards and citations, including was recently selected for inclusion in the 2012 Editions of Who’s Who In The World and Who’s Who of American Women; and is the recipient of the 2009 LPTW Lucille Lortel Award and the 2006 Josephine Abady Award for Excellence in “Producing works that foster diversity”. This award winning theater arts professional Debra Ann received a BFA Degree in Acting from Marymount Manhattan College and graduated from the NYSF Shakespeare Lab at The Public Theater, the Arts Leadership Institute, at Teacher’s College/Columbia University, and completed producer training with The Broadway League at the Commercial Theatre Institute.