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Bulldog News

SC State drama professor appearing in Tyler Perry film and television projects

Author: Sam Watson, Director of University Relations|Published: June 26, 2024|All News, Faculty & Staff News

Ursula Robinson
Ursula O. Robinson is a professor of professional drama at SC State University.

Ursula O. Robinson appears in “Tyler Perry’s Divorce in the Black,” which debuts July 11 on Amazon Prime.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. – If you’re going to teach the dream, you have to live the dream.

That’s Professor Ursula O. Robinson’s philosophy about teaching professional drama at South Carolina State University. Her rapidly growing list of acting credits is proof to her students that she teaches from experience and they, too, have chances at success.

“The Professional Drama Program’s motto is ‘Live Your Dreams,’ and how I can lead others to their dream without pursuing mine own?” Robinson said. “I left my dream of working in TV and film to concentrate on my playwriting and teaching aspects of my career.

“But as the Drama Program began to incorporate more TV and film into our curriculum, it was important for us to provide them with up-to-date information about the industry,” she said. “Since I began my journey, I have been in films with my students. Some have graduated with film credits and the tools to move forward in the industry. We are planning more interactions in the industry to enhance their matriculation.”

Robinson’s latest credits include four episodes in the second and third seasons of the television series “Hightown.” She played “Chanise,” a Jamaican seasonal worker who ends up involved in some deep issues.

“I wanted her to be the hard-working woman is presented with a door to the things she dreamed of,” Robinson said. “She had to make a choice that placed her in some hot water, and she decided to make tea.”

Working with Tyler Perry

Her next project was “Tyler Perry’s Divorce in the Black,” a movie written and directed by the entertainment giant. The film starring Meagan Good, Cory Hardrict, Richard Lawson and beloved veteran actress Debbi Morgan is slated to debut July 11 on Amazon Prime Video.. Robinson played “Linda,” a mother who believes her son betrayed her.

“She will stop at nothing to get what she wants,” Robinson said. “I wanted to show her strength and her resolve to protect her world.”

The production was her second time working with Tyler Perry Studios but her first directly with Perry.

“It was a dream come true,” Robinson said. “My first day on set I was nervous. What do you do when your dreams come true?

“Mr. Perry is a wonderful human, and he does so much for so many. I loved working with him., and he is funny, personable and innovative,” she said. “The people at Tyler Perry Studios are out of this world. They are so loving and kind. Working in that space made it feel like family.”

The experience must have been mutually beneficial, as Robinson also was cast as “Delinda” in another Perry project, the Netflix series, “Beauty in Black,” which is still in production.

“I play a woman who has to take the trash in her life and make a feast,” Robinson said. “She is at the core a woman who played the cards she was dealt. You know her, and you admire her but in a secret way.

“I love creating characters that showcase the heart of different kinds of people,” she said. “There are so many invisible people around us. I want to tell their stories.”

Growing the Henderson-Davis Players

As faculty adviser to the Henderson-Davis Players, SC State’s drama troupe, Robinson knows the importance the program’s rich history plays in the traditions and culture of the university.

“Arts in education prepares students to be critical and creative thinkers in the global market,” she said. “Drama at SCSU is a part of the fabric of the university mission to educate and provide opportunities for social elevation. Congressman James E. Clyburn was a Henderson-Davis Player, and he said that the involvement with drama exposed him to ideas that helped to shape his entire life.

“Drama touches everyone who comes through the university in one way or another,” Robinson said. “We are part of the foundation that creates tenacious Bulldogs.”

By students to the film, television and theater industries and focusing on skills, SC State’s Professional Drama Program arms students with tools for success.

“Many times, students come into the program or become a Henderson-Davis Player and realize that they have so much inside of them that they never explored,” Robinson said. “The stage is a magical place that is safe, and it allows you to be something you have never been before.

“What we do is transformative. Our students leave with confidence, experience, and a plan to live out their life purpose,” she said.

Like all arts programs, the Henderson-Davis Players rely in part on support from patrons and benefactors. Robinson said the Henderson-Davis Theater (Turner Hall’s C Wing) needs renovation. The program also needs support for scholarships so students can attend conventions and national auditions, as well as administrative concerns.

“We operate like a community theatre where we invite members of the community and professionals to be a part of our work,” Robinson said. “This kind of environment prepares our students for real world experiences.

“The nature of our theatre goes beyond educational theatre, so we need support with personal and financial support,” she said “We also invite industry professionals to conduct master classes and pour into our students. We can always use mentorship and access to new opportunities.”

Robinson hopes her professional credits also will be a recruitment tool. She wishes to inspire more students to join SC State’s Professional Drama Program and the Henderson-Davis Players.

“We are growing our program by letting the world know the dynamic opportunities that our program offers,” she said. “We are doing long term recruitment though our partnerships with several school districts where we provide classes, mentorship, and performances.”

With the 2024-25 school year on the horizon, Robinson and her colleagues preparing for a season of dynamic mainstage and theater-for-youth productions, as well as master classes featuring entertainment professionals.

For more information about SC State’s Professional Drama Program and the Henderson-Davis Players, visit the program’s webpage at or contact Robinson at  or  803-536-8815. Apply for admission to SC State at

The Professional Drama Program is a unit of the SC State Department of Visual & Performing Arts and the College of Education, Humanities & Social Sciences.