Actively designing since the late 1960s, she is credited as one of the foremost costume designers in the Black Theatre Movement.
Most recent works: All My Sons and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (St. Louis Repertory Theatre), Two Trains Running (Geva Theatre Center) Radio Golf (Pittsburgh Public Theatre), the world premiere of The Ballad of Emmett Till (Goodman Theatre), Gee’s Bend, The Piano Lesson, Forest City (Cleveland Play House), the Off-Broadway production of Becoming Adele (Gotham Stage Company), Ain’t Misbehavin’, Relativity (St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre), Wedding Band (Steppenwolf Theatre), Bus Stop and Fences (Allentown Playhouse).
Her exhibition, A Theatre of Color: Costume Design for the Black Theatre,debuted at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in 2014. A comprehensive exhibition of Colley-Lee’s work, the show highlighted over 200 original costume designs, renderings and collages as a study of her design process.
Colley-Lee’s work was also featured at the 2012 exhibition Songs of Social Significance at the San Antonio Tobin Collection Gallery of The McNay Museum, at the 2006 major exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art and in GladRags: Sketches, Swatches, and Costume Designs, which toured over a dozen venues. Colley-Lee has received numerous awards, including Outstanding Costume Design from the National Black Theatre Festival, the Winona Lee Fletcher Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Designer from the Black Theatre Network, Honored Artist from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Lifetime Achievement Award and the Doctor of Creative Arts, honoris causa, from Mississippi State University.
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