Good People of Playback (Cequita Mckennley)

Cequita brings a joyful presence to the Professional Ensemble.

How long have you lived in Memphis?

I was born in Memphis and have lived here my whole life.

How long have you been a part of Playback Memphis?

I’ve been a part of the professional ensemble for one year, but have been involved with shows for more than 8 years.

What/who inspired you to be an artist? Be a part of Playback?

Life inspired me to be an artist, but Playback musician Ekpe Abioto invited me to join the team.


Garry Gilles is my husband.


Simba my Yorkshire terrier.

What do your friends and family think about your Playback-ing?

My family and friends know it’s very natural for me.

How do you most love to spend your time when you are not Playback-ing?

My family time is precious to me.

What is calling you to be brave these days?

Experiencing life with an open mind, self-awareness and an appreciation for the unknown.

What are the perks of being a Playback actor? And/or practicing Playback?

The perks of being a Playback actor is getting paid to play and then building relationships that nurture my purpose. I also love learning and practicing the tools that help to sustain my quality of life.

Where do you find joy in your life these days?

I find joy in my life these days with the newness of spring. I also always enjoy a hot bath with essentials and candles.

What do you love about Memphis? 

I love the abundance of talent and creativity in the people as well as sunsets on the Mississippi River.

What are you most proud of in your life and work?

I am most proud of mothering the concept of the Precious Cargo Exchange (cafe) and working the business for many years.

Why does Playback matter to you?

Playback matters to me because it is a practice of positive self-nurturing with the opportunity to build a nurtured community.

Why should Playback matter to others?
Playback should matter to others because of the opportunity to experience and or support the real work that is being done to create a more calm space in which to deal with the roses and thorns of life.

What audience would you like to engage through Playback that Playback hasn’t yet?

I did not realize that there was an audience that Playback had not touched.

What’s your Playback dream?

My Playback dream is to have a Playback retreat and exchange with the Memphis ensemble and possibly do it nationally or internationally.

What do you appreciate about Playback as an artist?

As an artist I appreciate the awesome and diligent energy and trust that Virginia has mothered and invited so many of us to become family with.

Do you have a story about a favorite Teller experience?

I can’t say that I have a story of a favorite Tellers experience but so many have resonated with me over time.

What’s your favorite Playback form- fluids, pairs, etc? Why?

My favorite Playback form would be fluids I think because of the layerings of varied perspectives.

Does one Playback performance stand out as profoundly affecting to you?

The Playback performance that stands out profoundly for me would be the creative dance that the police officer did. OMG!!!!!!!

Favorite cocktail?

Red wine is my favorite cocktail.

If you had to pick one ensemble member or staffer to give your eulogy (to speak at your funeral), who would it be and why?

I think if I were to choose a Playback ensemble or staffer to give my eulogy or speak at my funeral it would be Ekpe. The reason being is he has known me the longest he has nurtured and watched me grow as an artist and arts educator and I trust the music would help frame his words of me.

Tennessee Arts Commission
Arts Memphis

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