Nashville, TENN. (TN Tribune) – Actors Bridge Ensemble (ABE) is pleased to present the World Premiere production of THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY by Cynthia C. Harris. Ms. Harris, who also directs the play, is a graduate of Hume Fogg High School, Florida A&M University (B.S.) and Tennessee State University (MPH).

STORY: THE CALLING IS IN THE BODY is a choreopoem telling the story of Deidre Williams, a Nashville hero and early HIV advocate in the 1990s as the pandemic was growing internationally and changing culture and language around sex, safety, and intimacy. It is the story of her memory and legend as told by a young high school student who searched for closure after losing contact, a nurse practitioner and HIV/AIDS care trailblazer who befriended her, and a woman in recovery who commits to her cause and champions her work.

Deidre was studying pre-med when she contracted HIV from her fiancé. She became one of the first Black women in Nashville to publicly tell her story in an effort to save the lives of countless others.

“One of the things that is really interesting to me about the piece is how differently we respond as a culture and community to HIV now as opposed to when I was younger. So many people don’t have that experience of it being the epidemic and pandemic that it was. Now it’s a chronic disease. That looks very different for humans relating to each other, for physicians and people caring for folks. This is going to take people back in time to the realities of those moments,” reflected playwright and director Cynthia C. Harris.

“While this piece is very much about lifting a southern hero for us, in her work to educate people, we’re also making a statement about bodies in general. No matter what happens to the body- whether that is some form of illness or accident or assault that changes how we relate to our bodies, changes how our bodies function, changes how they look- that can radically change us and our sense of self. We still get to acknowledge that these bodies deserve goodness. These bodies, our bodies deserve joy, these bodies deserve pleasure. No matter what the experience of the body is,” Cynthia continued.

Cynthia Harris is available for media interviews beginning July 14, 2022.

Venue Information:

Darkhorse Theater

4610 Charlotte Ave

Nashville 37209

Parking Information:

Free parking is available on 47th Avenue, in the Truist (formerly SunTrust) lot at 46th and Charlotte Avenue, and in Richland Park. The lower lot behind McDonald’s at 47th and Alabama Avenue is a pay lot.


Actors Bridge Ensemble strives to make our performances and facilities accessible to all our patrons. Due to the intimate size of our venues, we have a limited number of accessible seats; please indicate any special needs when purchasing tickets.

Ticketing Information:

Tickets: $25 in advance/ $30 at the door

Ticket Link:

Performance Schedule:

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5 – 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 – 7:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 7 – 5 p.m.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 11 – 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 12 – 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 13 – 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.


Cynthia Teacora Sherrill

Deidre Destinee Monét Johnson

Ms. Mary Nicole Mason

Bev Rachel Agee

Grandma Lisa Yolanda Treece


Producer Vali Forrister

Director Cynthia C. Harris

Asst. Director Alimah Akbar

Stage Manager Kat Tierney-Smith
Movement Director Gabrielle Saliba

Scenic Designer Paul Gatrell

Lighting Designer Richard Davis, LC, MIES, Ardee Design Group

Costume Designer Denese René Evans
Marketing Daryn Jackson, Etta Bea Design

House Manager Stacey Hucks

Actors Bridge Ensemble is a non-profit acting school and professional theater company established in Nashville in 1995. Our mission is to tell the stories Nashville needs to hear, as we produce socially conscious plays, responsive to the current cultural moment, create new work, train theater artists, and become a safe home for our artists and audiences to find their authentic voices on stage and in life. We are proud to be the leading theater for contemporary works that engage audiences in curiosity and conversation about justice, equity, and inclusion. The company is led by co-founder and Producing Artistic Director Vali Forrister. For more information: