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Black Theatre Week – a Virtual Event Presented by the Black Theatre Network July 27 – 31, 2020

Stage Directions • Theatre Buzz • July 20, 2020

The Black Theatre Network (BTN) has been at the forefront of ensuring the survival of Black Theatre since 1986. The nation’s premiere organization of actors, playwrights, designers, technicians, academics, students and theatre lovers announced Black Theatre Week: A Virtual Event (BTW). From July 27 to July 31, 2020, the organization will celebrate established and emerging voices from the Black Theatre community, nationally and internationally with panel discussions, conversations, readings, and performances. The week is free and open to the public, but registration is required for all events.

Those interested can register for BTW at www.blacktheatrenetwork.org/black-theatre-week-1. BTN’s 34th annual conference was scheduled for Detroit, MI July 24 – July 27, 2020. In addition to exploring best practices, the conference was to honor the city’s massive contribution to Black Theatre. The devastating effect of COVID-19 on the entire country forced BTN to postpone the conference and to plan a series of “virtual” events instead.

“We are pleased to continue supporting Black Theatre scholars, performers, designers, technicians and all practitioners with our virtual convening #blacktheatreweek, BTN President André Harrington said. We will miss our face to face presence planned for Detroit 2020, but we are honored to be able to broaden our exposure and reach across the globe as we celebrate the rich and beautiful world of Black Theatre, including Black Theatre artists from the city of Detroit.”

The Black Theatre Week schedule is as follows:
Monday, July 27, 2020
2:00 pm -2:15 pm Welcome from BTN President Andre Harrington and Vice President and Conference Planner Chris Berry.

2:30 pm-3:30 pm New Federal Theatre 50th Anniversary. Select artists come together to honor NFT Founder and Artistic Director Woodie King, Jr. and the institution where many of them started their artistic journeys.

7:00 pm-8:30 pm BTN/BTW Kick Off Party.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
2:00 pm-3:30 pm Developmental Workshop Reading: BrokenHearted, a new play by Michael Dinwiddie. Based on the E. Lynn Harris memoir What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, the play explores the sensational life of the bestselling author whose books exposed the “down low” lifestyle to millions of readers. Proteus Spann directs.

5:00 pm-6:00 pm BTN General Business Meeting #1 (BTN Members Only)

7:00 pm-8:00 pm “Black Theatre: Radical Longevity:” A conversation between Detroit born luminaries Tony nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau (Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Time of the Temptations) and award-winning scholar, NYT best-selling author, and political analyst Dr. Michael Eric Dyson (Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America). Playwright, NYU Associate Professor and fellow Detroiter Michael Dinwiddie moderates this marquee event.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
2:00 pm–4:00 pm Voices From The Black: LGBTQAI+. Curated by Dr. John Shevin Foster.
Voices From The Black: LGBTQAI+ is a presentation of monologues and 2-person plays that shed light on areas and subjects which are relevant today, but usually hidden from the mainstream. Playwrights and casts TBD.

7:00 pm– 8:00pm Kamilah Forbes, Executive Producer of the Apollo Theater moderates a conversation between Tarik Trotter (aka Black Thought) of the Grammy-winning Hip-Hop band The Roots and Academy Award-winner John Ridley (Twelve Years A Slave) about their upcoming collaboration on the new musical Black No More. With music and lyrics by Trotter and a book by Ridley, the musical is based on the 1931 novel, a satire on race relations by George S. Schuyler, is scheduled to be produced by The New Group in 2021.

Thursday, July 30, 2020
2:00 pm-3:30 pm BTN highlights its student scholar and design competition winners. The session offers presentations by Jazmine Logan (Randolph S. Edmonds Young Scholars Winner) and Judy Dearing Design Competition awardees Harold Horsley (Costume Design), Antonio Ferron (Scenic Design), and Rachael Blackwell (Lighting Design).

7:00 pm-8:30 pm BTN partners with the Obie Award-winning Harlem 9 to an evening of new exhilarating voices in Black Theatre. Founded in 2010, Harlem9 is a collaborative producing organization, comprised of a group of Black Theatre professionals from various backgrounds. The mission is to produce together, exploring the past, present and future of black culture, celebrating its rich and diverse history of storytelling.

Friday, July 31, 2020
2:00 pm–3:30pm The Black Theatre Preview! Culturally Black Theatres from across the country provide an exclusive look at how the global pandemic and the racial uprisings have affected their upcoming seasons.

“The Black Theatre Network is so happy to present Black Theatre Week! We have postponed our formal conference convening for Black Theatre Week as a service to the Black Theatre Community and to take a moment to celebrate Black Theatrical Excellence throughout the field, said Chris Berry, BTN Vice-President/Conference Planner. During these unprecedented times, the Black Theatre Network will continue to be a service organization for the Black Theatre Community. We hope that a broad audience will join us for the diverse programming during our first Black Theatre Week.”

Black Theatre Week: A Virtual Event is sponsored in part by DTE Energy Foundation.

Further information from the Black Theatre Network: www.blacktheatrenetwork.org

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