Jennifer Ruvarashe, Elizabeth Willard (left), and Wensley Sarkar Byone (right), RI State House, Providence Student Union BLM March, June 2020. Photo by Marvin Sarkar Bynoe.

Meet our new Director of Community Engagement, Wensley Bynoe

Hello Trinity Rep! I am excited to join this theater as the new director of community engagement. This role gives me the opportunity to enjoy two of my favorite things: a good story and connecting with folks.

I moved to Providence from New York in late 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since coming to Rhode Island, my wife and I welcomed our child into the world and steadily explored the state’s many parks, beaches, and restaurants as we try to keep them entertained. I have come to enjoy many things about our new home, from the clam cakes to the people, but Trinity Rep stands out as one of our favorite places.

We were first introduced to this theater when we saw the production Fairview in 2022. Fairview was a special experience: it is rare to experience a production that speaks directly to folks of color, and it was something that neither of us had experienced before. It has lingered with us in the way that wonderful experiences tend to. I brought my dad to the show a week after seeing it for the first time. He would hardly call himself a “theater person” but he was wiping away tears by the end of the show and hesitated to leave, hoping that it might not be over quite yet.

Wensley Bynoe

Needless to say, we have been to every show since.

As a Black, Latinx, child of an immigrant, incredible productions like Fairview mean a lot to me. I am committed to increasing access and building authentic connections with folks of color and communities across the state. I want to ensure that our theater is a space that welcomes and appreciates them.

I am proud to join a theater that appreciates the power and potential of its stage. Each show I see reminds me that stories shape the way we see, understand, and create the world. I am always grateful for the reminder and am happy for the opportunity to work with Trinity Rep’s talented team to continue bringing moving stories to all of you.

During my time in Rhode Island, I have met and built relationships with people across the state. My work gave me the opportunity to engage with folks in many ways. I began by delivering housing, family, and food support during the pandemic, followed by working alongside Providence teachers and our state’s incredible network of youth organizations to fight for a K-12 ethnic studies course requirement in Providence public schools. These opportunities were a chance to listen, learn, and collect inspiration from
folks from varied perspectives, backgrounds, and zip codes. I look forward to bringing those relationships and lessons to Trinity Rep as I continue to support the theater as a space of shared joy, laughter, learning, love, and imagination.

As I begin my first full season with Trinity Rep, we have a lot of exciting events planned and I hope to meet all of you in the coming months and years. Please feel free to reach out to me for more information about community engagement events, our show’s lobby art, our Community Reps program, any ideas for events or collaborations, or just to say hi. I hope you enjoy the show!

Upcoming Community Engagement Events

Connecting Stories Book Club

New this season is Trinity Rep’s book club, in collaboration with the Providence Public Library (PPL), where you’ll read and discuss literature related to this year’s productions. Engage with our onstage work in a whole new way as we create space for learning and discussion, led by Ivy Brunelle, information services librarian at PPL. Learn more here.

Broad Street Tours

Trinity Rep and Rhode Island Latino Arts will offer barrio tours of Providence’s Broad Street to supplement our production of La Broa’ (Broad Street) later this season. Please join us to experience El Museo del Barrio (The Latino Museum Without Walls) and learn more about La Broa’, an area that has served as the center of Hispanic commerce, activism, and Latin cultural expression here in Rhode Island. More details to come!

Veteran Voices

Veteran Voices combines Trinity Rep’s longstanding theatrical traditions with the emotions and experiences of local veterans. Veterans read original and existing writings as well as perform music and monologues. By sharing work, they have created or felt resonates with them, local veterans are able to connect with and educate our community. This event is produced alongside the Providence Clemente Veteran’s Initiative (PCVI). Date to be announced.

Community Reps

Do you have a passion for theater and storytelling? Would you like to work alongside Trinity Rep to find meaningful ways for the theater to build a relationship with your community? Please consider joining our Community Reps program. Community Reps have the opportunity to be a voice in shaping the State Theater of Rhode Island. If you are interested, please send me an email at sharing a story that you love (it can be any type of story; a personal story, performance, song, book, etc.), what communities you are a part of, and why you would like to be a Community Rep.