Can you introduce yourself to our audience?
Hi, I’m Keith Arthur Bolden. I am a professional actor and director. I am also an associate professor of Theatre at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.
Did you take up any training in acting?
Yes, I trained for 10 years, three of those years being intense conservatory training at the University of Illinois, where I received my Master of Fine Arts in Acting.
When did you start acting? What got you started?
I began acting when I entered Fresno State as a freshman Journalism major. At the same time I was entering the college the school was starting is Black Theatre Program by hiring their first African American in the department. I auditioned for the first production, which was The Colored Museum, by George C. Wolfe and I was bitten by the bug and I subsequently changed my major to theatre arts.
What sort of person is going to love this character?
The person who is the smart alec skeptic. They will be rooting for this guy, but my hope is that we see how being prideful can inhibit us from seeing the full picture. I too believe that black men will respond to seeing my character in the film, the horror film, the genre that doesn’t enjoy seeing black man last until the end of the film. The representation of a black man in an authoritative position is extremely important and beneficial to others coming up.
In your latest acting role you play Detective Sergeant Clay in the The Conjuring 3, What do you like most about this particular character?
I would say I like his beard the most, but then I would be only looking at the surface. I love that Sgt Clay cares. He cares to the point of sacrificing his own, sleep and peace of mind. He has a heart for people and helping people solve their problems. He is a really good man.
How is this character like you? Different?
He is altruistic, which is my jam…that is who I am at my core. I believe Sgt Clay is this person, once he trusts you. If he doubts you, one iota, he is done. He does not suffer fools.
What’s the biggest challenge about taking on this role? What are you most grateful for?
The biggest challenge for me was staying away from set and not watching Patrick and Vera work every day. I am so grateful to be working alongside these masters of the craft and Michael Chaves (the director) gave me the most amazing gift. He gave me two hours on his day off to just run the scenes with him and his assistant so that I would be comfortable with Patrick and Vera on set. I am a theatre guy at my core, so reps is amazing for me to settle in. I have never had a director care that much about what I was doing and bringing to the project. I am forever grateful to him.
What creative abilities and strengths are most admirable to you?
You know it changes over the years. For me, now, its listening and comprehension. It is so important for people to learn how to listen instead of waiting for their own insertion. If you are listening and comprehending, you actually may say less. I think it is a remarkable skill to develop.
What’s next for you?
A few projects coming down the pipeline…returning to season IV of Cobra Kai, was in the series finale of Black Lightning (I play his father), prepping to shoot The Waltons Homecoming, episode of Creepshow and in the fall I am co-directing a play called Hands Up at the Alliance Theatre.
How can our readers connect with you?
I am on all social media platforms as @keitharthurbolden
The Conjuring: “ The Devil Made Me Do It” is available in theaters now and HBO MAX