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Donna outside smiling and posing with tap shoes


Donna Peckett, choreographer-deviser, actor, tap dancer, and arts educator, is producing artistic director of TNW Ensemble Theater, which she co-founded in 1985. She has performed in and co-produced 40 theater works, touring from Florida to California, from Kansas to Washington, DC, from Canada to Mexico, from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Alaska, as well as venues throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest.

Peckett received two Choreography Fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board and was recognized by the Wisconsin Dance Council for her contributions to the field. She received a BA in Art History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and trained briefly with the Bread and Puppet Theater and at the HB Studio in New York City. Donna was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 19, 1945, and grew up in Homestead, Florida.

Currently on the faculty of the Edgewood College Department of Theatre Arts in Madison, Wisconsin, she teaches technique, choreography, and multicultural perspectives of American rhythm tap dance. She is an instructor for UW Education Outreach and for the UW-Madison Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts.

In 2014, Peckett developed the original concept for Convenience, a site-specific, multidisciplinary performance work about the historic Schenk-Atwood neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin. She appeared in TAPIT/new works’ production Now What, an Ohio-Wisconsin touring exchange theater project with the New World Performance Laboratory in Akron, Ohio, in 2013. She choreographed, co-produced and performed in Take Care, the company’s 2012 production, premiering in Wausau, Wisconsin, playing Madison, Wisconsin’s Overture Center, and touring to The Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, Alaska. In 2011, Peckett choreographed and co-produced Bullying: The Musical at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. She co-produced, choreographed and performed in the Company’s 25th anniversary production in 2010, Help Wanted: The Search for Security, True Love or at Least a Decent Part-Time Job. From 2008-2014, Peckett co-produced and performed in the Company’s production of Mangia Mangia, a play about Madison’s historic Greenbush neighborhood. She toured to Canada in February 2008 with the play Garden Party, which had its Madison premiere in 2005 and went on to tour Wisconsin and Illinois that year, Washington, D.C. in 2009, and continued touring through 2014.

Peckett’s acting and choreography were seen in Source Code: Candide in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in March 2008. She acted in and choreographed the Syncopated Syndromes tour to Door County, Wisconsin, which included cameos and talkbacks with Dr. Zorba Pastor; and The Girls From Building B, performed at Ohio’s Lakeside Association’s 3,000-seat theater and in Miami Beach. Other key performances include her work in Without Pity at the Krannert Center, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and at the AIDS Theater Festival in San Francisco; and Soul Journey in Toronto for the International Festival of Madness and Arts.

In 2014, she co-produced and co-hosted a week long residency with Brenda Bufalino, living legend of tap dance. It was a collaborative effort of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Edgewood College in Madison, and UW-Stevens Point, Wisconsin. A devoted arts educator, Peckett has produced and hosted workshops with some of the leading figures in American rhythm dance, including Roxanne Butterfly, Anita Feldman, Keith Terry, jazz and tap historian Ernie Smith, Frankie Manning, Ralph Brown, Steve Condos, La Vaughn Robinson, and many more. She is a specialist in creative movement and drama for young children. Through TNW Ensemble Theater, she coordinates and teaches in the company’s summer arts programs for school-age students.

Donna standing outside with tap shoes on her hands

As a residency artist, Peckett received training from Kennedy Center facilitators and co-developed a model format combining creative writing, movement, and visual arts for school-age students. She currently co-facilitates creative arts residencies in the Madison, Wisconsin, public schools. From 2006-2012 she co-facilitated stop bullying arts residencies in Madison's public schools. In 2007 and 2012, she co-facilitated theater arts residencies at UW-Marathon County, Wausau. She has performed and taught in a National Performance Network residency, Alverno College, Milwaukee, and served as a featured speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Georgia Association on Young Children. She has facilitated arts residencies and workshops around the U.S.

An artist and activist, Peckett believes that positive social change can be fostered through the arts. A founding member of the International Tap Association, member of the Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Wisconsin Dance Council, she enjoys cooking and gardening.

Black and white photo of four people posing on white blocks in the studio
Donna instructing a tap class. The photo is in black and white
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