Myrna Colley-Lee has been a costume designer for over four decades. She received her M.F.A. in Scenic and Costume Design from Temple University, studied scene painting and properties at Brooklyn College and completed the B.F.A. in Art Education from the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ms. Colley-Lee’s most recent work as a costume designer includes productions such as Gee’s Bend for The Cleveland Playhouse, Becoming Adele for Gotham Stage Company, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Relativity at The St. Louis Black Rep, The Piano Lesson at The Cleveland Playhouse, and The Wedding Band for Steppenwolf Theatre. Upcoming projects include costume design for the world premiere of The Ballad of Emmett Till, by Ifa Bayeza at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre.

Last fall, the Mississippi Museum of Art presented an exhibit of her renderings entitled “GladRags: Sketches, Swatches and Costume Designs by Myrna Colley-Lee”, which is now touring throughout Mississippi.

Other credits include the A.C.E. award-winning video production of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Days Journey into Night, with Ruby Dee and Earle Hyman Jr; the world premiere of The American Music Festival production of the opera “X” by the Davis’s, performed at the Walnut Street Theatre; and costumes for Mothers, which was commissioned by Bill Cosby and performed at Crossroads Theatre.

In addition to being a costume designer for the theatre, Ms. Colley-Lee has been Costume Designer, Art Director, and Set Designer for film and television productions. She has held faculty or staff positions in design at Smith College, The Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival, and at the Design and Management Institute of the National Arts Consortium in New York. Myrna recently designed her first commercial interior for Revelations Entertainment, a movie production company in Los Angeles, and has also designed interiors for two homes, one of which is has recently completed construction in the British Virgin Islands.

Outside the theatre, Ms. Colley-Lee serves as a Commissioner for the Mississippi Arts Commission, as well as The Governor’s Commission to Establish a National Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi. Myrna serves on the boards of the Rock River Foundation, a philanthropic organization for the arts, The Mississippi State University Department of Art, The Mississippi Festival Foundation and The Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. She also serves on the Acquisitions Committee of The Mississippi Museum of Art, and the Advisory Boards of The Charleston Arts Revitalization Effort, and the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Most recently, Myrna has co-founded and serves as the President of the SonEdna Foundation, Inc.

Ms. Colley-Lee received the Doctor of Creative Arts, honoris causa, from Mississippi State University; the 2007 Honored Artist Award of the Mississippi Chapter of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Outstanding Costume Design Award from the National Black Theatre Festival; the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education’s Exemplary Arts Service Award; the Wynona Lee Fletcher Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Designer from the Black Theatre Network; and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Lifetime Achievement Award.


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