Showcasing the Arts

March/Apr. 2016 Featured Artist:
Mitzi Sinnott


Mitzi SinnottMitzi Sinnott’s time in New York City taught her that we all have a story that should be expressed.

I am the daughter of two artists. I am half Appalachian and half New Yorker. I am mixed-race. I am an artist. I am an educator. I am a dreamer. Those labels I proudly wear. There are many that have been assigned to me by others that I struggled with early on in my life. New York City taught my Appalachian self that we all have a story that should be expressed and it’s our soul’s right to do so.

My solo play “SNAPSHOT: A True Story of Love Interrupted by Invasion” is the first performance piece that has truly turned my soul on. My mother, a dancer and choreographer, used to ask me, “What is it that you want to do? You have to commit to something.” Looking back one might say, “Mitzi was obviously on the path to becoming a performing artist with some successes along the way,” but there was a passion missing.

In 2004, I found my father Lorenzo, a Vietnam veteran suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder and living in isolation in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was quite a reality to digest, seeing how his life had been destroyed and knowing what it was like for me and my mother living without him.

During those same months, a friend in New York City asked me to be part of an artist anti-war performance. I said “yes,” but had no idea what I would present. That night in the shower, the obvious smacked me in the head. I dried off and wrote the first 16 pages of my now internationally acclaimed and 2014-15 PBS broadcast solo play “SNAPSHOT: A True Story of Love Interrupted by Invasion.” What do I know about war? SNAPSHOT is my 68-minute answer to that question.

I bring to life 15 characters in my literal and figurative journey to reconcile with my father, a veteran haunted by his experience in Vietnam. As the biracial daughter of a black man and white woman from central Appalachia, I know my story is, in many ways, a singular one; but, at the same time, the themes I address – racial identity, mental illness, the legacy of war – are anything but rare.

Receiving a Best Actress Nomination from The Stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland) was an incredible surprise. There were 1,500 shows there that year. Since then, I’ve presented “SNAPSHOT” at the Cape Town Festival in South Africa and the European Women's Theatre Festival in Tornio Finland-Haparanda Sweden. I’m grateful to the Brooklyn Arts Council Individual Artists Award for supporting me in developing “SNAPSHOT” to the award-wining piece it is today, and also to the Kentucky Foundation for Women for supporting me in a time when I needed to know people in Kentucky valued me and my art. SNAPSHOT is now airing on PBS stations across America.

Mitzi Sinnott
Flatwoods, Ky.
Telephone: 740-550-2477


Page last updated: June 7, 2018
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