Balancing Act Learning Objectives:
The Balancing Act Performance / Presentation
Performance / Presentation History
In 1996, as Wambui Bahati was starting to recover from many years of dealing with emotional and mental health issues, she was asked the question: "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Her answer was, "Perform again."
However, because of her mental health history, she was certain that no one would hire her again. So she decided to create her own musical show for herself. Advice from other writers was, "Write what you know about." After more than 35 years as a patient in the mental health system, she decided to share her story.
In 1997, Beth Melcher, the president of the North Carolina National Alliance for the Mentally Ill saw the debut performance of Balancing Act in Greensboro, NC. The following week she applied for a grant to sponsor a ten city tour of the show in North Carolina.
After the North Carolina tour (1998-1999), other cities requested the show. The show has been presented as the ‘keynote’ performance at major conventions and conferences across the United States.
Based on the success of the show, Wambui was awarded the 2001 Lionel Aldridge Award. This national honor recognizes individuals who provide extraordinary service and courage on behalf of people with mental illnesses.
Presenter: Wambui Bahati
Wambui Bahati (A.K.A. John Ann Washington) began her formal theatrical studies at the New York University School of the Arts (later renamed the Tisch School of the Arts.) and made her professional theatrical debut in Godspell at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C. She went on to perform in the Broadway productions of Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Wambui's regional and touring credits include starring roles in The Magic Show, Joseph Papp's rock version of Two Gentlemen of Verona, Little Ham, Nunsense, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, Gone With the Wind –the musical, The Wiz and Crowns.
Wambui wrote, produced and stars in the one-woman musical, Balancing Act and the play, I Am Domestic Violence. Both of these shows have received national acclaim for the unique way that they provide outstanding entertainment while dealing with important issues in our communities.
Wambui has written and performed custom presentations for organizations such as NOW (National Organization for Women), Habitat for Humanity, Jimmy Carter Weekend and the Carter Center. As an inspirational speaker and humorist, her presentations are requested throughout the US and Canada.
Named John Ann Washington at birth, Wambui Bahati is her legal name taken on during the "reinvention of herself." In Swahili Wambui means "singer of songs," Bahati means, "my fortune is good." The native North Carolinian lives in New York City and is the proud mother of two adult daughters.
She is the author of the highly acclaimed, tell-all, autobiographical empowerment book, You Don't Know Crazy - My Life Before, During, After, Above and Beyond Mental Illness. Her other popular books are Domestic Violence and Relationship Abuse Awareness and Prevention for College Women - A Reminder, and They Are Not Going To Save Us.