Daniel Banks

Bio of Daniel Banks

Daniel Banks is co-founder of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization dedicated to dialogue and healing through the arts by engaging topics of representation, identity, and heritage through art. Daniel has directed at venues including National Theatre of Uganda, Belarussian National Drama Theater, Market Theater Lab (South Africa), McCarter Theatre Center CUNY New York Playhouse Square Cleveland; as well as serving on Camille A Brown Dancers dramaturgical team.

Early Life and Education

At Nordonia High, he excelled at both football and track. With an instinctive sense of political leadership and energy that was undeniable, his charismatic charisma was quickly adopted by local Democratic party members as he campaigned tirelessly with an erect posture and powerful yet captivating speaking voice that captured audiences.

Banks subsequently changed his political allegiance and vied for election as a representative from the American Party – or Know Nothing party – but lost by just one ballot to Abraham Lincoln and later practiced law.

Gabriel Stelian-Shanks and Nilan West discuss Daniel’s work at DNAWORKS, leading the charge on equity discussions, and what our field needs to discuss moving forward. Daniel was recently awarded Theatre Communications Group’s Alan Schneider Director Award as well as editing Say Word! Voices From Hip Hop Theatre. Additionally he co-edited Casting A Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative with Gabriel.

Professional Career

He is cofounder of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization focused on using arts as a catalyst for dialogue and healing around issues related to representation and identity. As director and workshop facilitator he has directed or led workshops internationally in 36 states and 23 countries such as Uganda (August Wilson’s Jitney – African premiere), Belarussian National Drama Theatre Market Theatre Lab South Africa Playhouse Square Cleveland HERE Arts Center NYC DC Hip Hop Theatre Festivals Oval House Kompany Malakhi London Broadway/NY Shakespeare Festival Theatre for a New Audience among others.

He has served as movement director and choreographer on productions at La Monnaie (Belgium), Landestheater (Austria), NYC Shakespeare Festival/Shakespeare in the Park, Dallas Theatre Center, Singapore Repertory Theatre as well as Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater. Additionally he co-edited Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative with Dr. Claire Syler.

Achievement and Honors

Daniel Banks is one of the founding members of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization based out of Fort Worth, Texas. As Director of Hip Hop Theatre Initiative he promotes youth self-expression and leadership development. Furthermore he acts as Associate Director for Theatre Without Borders as well as serving on the Department of Arts and Culture National Cabinet Cabinet.

Banks has distinguished himself in theatre, film, television, lecturing and lectureship through his work and has been recognized by organizations like the American Academy of Religion and National Endowment for the Humanities for his accomplishments.

Banks was raised near Boston and was exposed to big band swing, rhythm and blues and Latin music as a child. He began drumming at seven and soon started performing gigs throughout Massachusetts.

Personal Life

Dan Banks was taken from his mother and family at age 5 and placed into a federal Indian boarding school that aimed to educate and integrate Native American children into mainstream society; this institution became known as Pipestone Indian Boarding School.

His work has taken him around the globe, from directing August Wilson’s Jitney at Uganda National Theatre; Zakiyyah Alexander’s Hip Hop play Blurring Shine in Johannesburg Market Theatre, as well as workshops productions at NYC and DC Hip Hop Theatre Festivals to Oval House / Teatro Technis (London) Bay Area Playwrights Festivals, McCarter Theatre (Sallie B. Goodman Fellow).

Dan is the 2020 recipient of Theatre Communication Group’s Alan Schneider Director Award and editor of Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater. In addition, he co-edited Casting a Movement: The Welcome Table Initiative as co-editor, while founding Hip Hop Theatre Initiative to foster youth self-expression and leadership development.

Net Worth

Daniel Banks boasts a net worth of $13.6 Million dollars. For over 30 years he has been actively investing, most recently serving as Director of Investments at Clarfeld Citizens Private Wealth (the high net worth division of Citizens Bank). Here he was responsible for overseeing investment strategy, portfolio management and trading teams in 13 states.

Banks is also an accomplished vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter. He serves as lead vocalist/lyricist of Interpol – an alternative rock band established in 1997 that has released four albums to date and topped charts both domestically and abroad – as well as four solo albums under Julian Plenti.

Banks has also founded and codirects DNAWORKS in Fort Worth, Texas – an arts and service organization dedicated to community dialogue and healing that prioritizes Global Majority voices such as LGBTQQ2SPIAA+ to create more complex representations of identity, culture, class and heritage through dance theatre and film.

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