July 10, 2022—Black Theater Matters. African-Americans have a rich and storied theatrical history, which has roots in traditions brought to this country by slaves. Despite the pandemic, the anchor urban theaters located in communities hardest hit by COVID-19—New York, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles—have survived and are both vibrant and strong.
That’s why I am excited to share news with the readers of Arts & Culture Connections that the Black Theatre Network is holding its first in-person conference in three years! The conference will be held in Detroit from July 24-27, 2022, in partnership with the city’s Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship and Wayne State University School College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.
Based on the theme, “Scripting the Flip,” organizers see the 36th annual event as a call to action to carry forward the enormous changes fueled by the last two years of racial and social justice movements. They also see it as an opportunity to anticipate and prepare for the challenges to come.
The conference has a great line-up of panels, workshops, and guest speakers, including:
Michael R Jackson, Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of A Strange Loop
Dominique Morisseau, Tony Award-nominee and playwright
Ron Simon, multiple Tony Award-winner and producer, Thoughts of a Colored Man
Chante Adams, Actress, A Journal for Jordan
Woodie King, Jr., Obie Award-winner and founder of the New Federal Theatre
The Black Theatre Network is comprised of artists working in all facets of theater, educators, scholars, students, and theater lovers who are dedicated to the exploration and preservation of the theatrical visions of the African Diaspora. For 35 years, the Black Theatre Network has collected, processed, and distributed information to support the professional and personal development of its membership.
You can find more information about the conference at this link.
As always, I would like to know what you think. Many of us had our first exposure to the theater at institutions like the New Federal Theatre, Concept East, Black Ensemble Theater, Penumbra Theatre, or the Common Ground Theatre. I invite you to share a story or comments below about a Black theatrical experience that impacted your life.
PS: You’ll find a national directory of Black Theatre companies at this link.