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Black Theatre

The rich tradition and current state of Black Theatre is explored in this content, including discussions analyzing contemporary work and pieces honoring trailblazers. Consider starting with the Daughters of Lorraine podcast, the Journal series on the state of Black theatre, or the Journal series on Black women in the performing arts.

The Latest

How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists
Essay
How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists
by Eseovwe Emakunu, Anita Amoma
5 June 2024
Redefining Success with Carla Stillwell
Podcast
Redefining Success with Carla Stillwell
by Yura Sapi, Carla Stillwell
23 May 2024
The New Black Fest
Video
The New Black Fest
A festival curated by Keith Josef Adkins on Unapologetic Humanity and Unapologetic Accountability at the Segal Center
Monday 22 April 2024
New York
A group of primary school students pose for a picture outside.
How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists
Essay

How One Nigerian Theatre Project Turned Students into Climate Activists

5 June 2024

Eseovwe Emakunu and Anita Anoma of Shanty Theatre recently launched a campaign that brought together primary school performers and university audiences for a dance drama performance about climate change. They discuss the creative process and impact of this performance project, which catalyzed action and learning about the impact of climate change and deforestation in Nigeria.

Promotional graphic for building our own tables.
Redefining Success with Carla Stillwell
Podcast

Redefining Success with Carla Stillwell

23 May 2024

In this episode, Carla Stillwell and Yura Sapi challenge the "starving artist" trope, offering tips to overcome scarcity mindsets in theatre. Carla, founder of the Stillwell Institute for Contemporary Black Art, shares personal experiences advocating for breaking traditional theatre boundaries and fostering holistic, inclusive environments emphasizing the importance of community and collaboration, and highlighting storytelling's power, especially for people of color.

an image of a group of people taking a bow after a performance on stage.
The New Black Fest
Video

The New Black Fest

A festival curated by Keith Josef Adkins on Unapologetic Humanity and Unapologetic Accountability at the Segal Center

Monday 22 April 2024
New York

The New Black Fest, which is in its fourteenth year, comes to the Segal Center on Monday, 22nd April 2024, and we hope you will join us for a heart, soul, and mind provoking evening centered around the theme of Unapologetic Humanity and Unapologetic Accountability—as curated by The New Black Fest's artistic director Keith Josef Adkins.

A promotional graphic for the Daughters of Lorraine Podcast.
The Virtuosity of Black Storytelling with Tarell Alvin McCraney
Podcast

The Virtuosity of Black Storytelling with Tarell Alvin McCraney

6 March 2024

Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey interview Oscar winner and MacArthur genius Tarell Alvin McCraney about his work as a playwright, how Black people tell stories, and what it means to be an artistic leader.

A promotional graphic for Daughters of Lorraine.
Opening the Channel with Masi Asare
Podcast

Opening the Channel with Masi Asare

28 February 2024

Masi Asare is an assistant professor of theater and performance studies at Northwestern University. She is a songwriter and dramatist and also works as a performance scholar specializing in the study of race and vocal sound and musicals. On this episode, hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley interview Masi on her experiences as a Black woman working in musical theatre and why Black women’s vocal training is so important. 

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Finding the Individual in Your Digital Choreography Library
Podcast

Finding the Individual in Your Digital Choreography Library

15 February 2024

LaJuné shares about the inception of Black Movement Library: a database of motion capture data from Black folks they created, while seeking to avoid the paradigms of erasure, extraction, and exploitation of Black bodies. In their work, they encourage freedom and personal expression over correct data capture. They believe none of us are just numbers, and to treat our movements in our bodies as just data sets is very harmful.

A promotional graphic for the Daughters of Lorraine Podcast.
Justice for Movie Musicals, or Why the Musical Adaptation of The Color Purple Matters 
Podcast

Justice for Movie Musicals, or Why the Musical Adaptation of The Color Purple Matters 

14 February 2024

Some stories transcend time and continue to resonate across generations. Undoubtedly, one might consider The Color Purple as one of those stories. Hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley discuss this new movie musical adaptation of The Color Purple and delve into questions around the genre of the movie musical and the challenge and necessity of representing Black women stories on screen.

A promotional graphic for the Daughters of Lorraine Podcast.
Completing the Unfinished Sentences of Our Ancestors with Jonathan McCrory
Podcast

Completing the Unfinished Sentences of Our Ancestors with Jonathan McCrory

7 February 2024

Jonathan McCrory is a Tony Award and Emmy Award nominated producer and a two-time Obie Award-winning artist who has served as executive artistic director at the National Black Theatre since 2012. In this episode, hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley talk with McCrory about his work with the National Black Theatre and his ongoing commitment to nourishing and cultivating Black creativity and Black life.

A promotional graphic for the Daughters of Lorraine Podcast.
We’re in Our (Black) Opera Era
Podcast

We’re in Our (Black) Opera Era

31 January 2024

In this episode, hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley talk about a filmed production of the opera X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X.

An actress sings passionately during a performance.
Interrogating the Politics of Oppression in The Struggle
Essay

Interrogating the Politics of Oppression in The Struggle

4 January 2024

Dan Kpodoh’s The Struggle dramatizes governmental and corporate exploitation in the oil-rich Niger Delta by telling the story of a group of militants who sought liberation but became corrupted by financial interests. Eseovwe Emakunu, a Nigerian theatre professional, interviews Kpodoh about the play’s function as protest theatre against political oppression.

A promotional graphic for Daughters of Lorraine.
The Thriving Legacy of Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement
Podcast

The Thriving Legacy of Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement

20 December 2023

Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey discuss Woodie King, Jr.’s 1978 documentary, Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement. They explore the documentary’s different themes, its impact on Black theatre history, and what it means for our present and future. 

A promotional graphic for the Daughters of Lorraine Podcast.
We’ve Got Trouble in Mind
Podcast

We’ve Got Trouble in Mind

29 November 2023

Hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley discuss the contributions made by Alice Childress and the historical and contemporary significance of her play, Trouble in Mind, including the filmed 2021 production at the National Theatre in London.

A promotional graphic for the Daughters of Lorraine Podcast
Digging for Bones with Topdog/Underdog
Podcast

Digging for Bones with Topdog/Underdog

15 November 2023

Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey dig into the dramaturgies and theories of Suzan-Lori Parks and discuss Canadian Stage’s production of Parks’s Topdog/Underdog.
 

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
Black Patience and the Theatre of Civil Rights
Podcast

Black Patience and the Theatre of Civil Rights

1 November 2023

Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey interview scholar Professor Julius Fleming, Jr. about his book Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation (NYU Press, 2022). They discuss the importance of theatre to the Civil Rights Movement and the relationship between Black theatre and performance and Black studies.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
The Influence and Impact of the Negro Ensemble Company
Podcast

The Influence and Impact of the Negro Ensemble Company

18 October 2023

This episode focuses on the iconic Negro Ensemble Company (NEC). Hosts Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey delve into the NEC’s founding and history, its track record of producing successful Black plays, and its legacy within Black theatre and performance.

event poster for the The Afro-Atlantic Playwright Festival 2023.
What Is the African Diaspora?
Video

What Is the African Diaspora?

A Conversation About Afro-Atlantic Culture with Playwright Zainabu Jallo and Africana Scholar Maboula Soumahoro

Sunday 15 October 2023
Minneapolis, MN

Moderated by director and festival curator Carlyle Brown, this conversation was a post-show discussion after a performance of Zainabu Jallo's play We Take Care of Our Own, a tale of migration and aging in the diaspora.

A woman holding a tiny doll with glasses up to the camera.
Lambe-Lambe and the Radical Generosity of Miniature Puppet Theatre
Essay

Lambe-Lambe and the Radical Generosity of Miniature Puppet Theatre

10 October 2023

Kristin Idaszak reflects on experiencing Nina Vogel’s lambe-lambe piece ConCordis at the Prague Quadrennial. This deceptively simple puppet performance aided Kristin in processing her feelings about her work in theatre while navigating chronic illness, and also reminded her of the deep connection to the universe that we all share.

Four women play the drums together on stage.
An Art Festival in Rwanda Converses with the Past and Celebrates Our Shared Present
Essay

An Art Festival in Rwanda Converses with the Past and Celebrates Our Shared Present

5 October 2023

Giulianna Marchese discusses productions from the Ubumuntu Art Festival, which is held annually at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda. Throughout this year’s festival, performances explored what it means to be a human post-tragedy—the highs and the lows.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
Staging Black Intimacies
Podcast

Staging Black Intimacies

4 October 2023

Hosts Jordan Ealey and Leticia Ridley interview Kaja Dunn, who is an intimacy professional, director, actor, and scholar. They discuss her journey as a theatre artist, the importance of intimacy coordinator for theatre and television, and Kaja’s own artistry and creativity.

Promotional graphic for "Black and Indigenous Futures Aligning".
Black and Indigenous Futures: Aligning Our Visions and Activism
Video

Black and Indigenous Futures: Aligning Our Visions and Activism

Thursday 21 September 2023
Boston, Massachusetts

This discussion explored visions of activism, advocacy, co-leadership, and solidarity in Afro-Indigenous, Black, and Indigenous futures.

Promotional graphic for "Black and Indigenous Histories to the Now".
Black and Indigenous Histories to the Now: How We Carry Our Past into the Present
Video

Black and Indigenous Histories to the Now: How We Carry Our Past into the Present

Wednesday 20 September 2023
Boston, Massachusetts

This discussion explored the foundations of Black and Indigenous co-leadership solidarity, shared understanding, and movement building.

Daughters of Lorraine Podcast teaser.
What Is Black Theatre?
Podcast

What Is Black Theatre?

20 September 2023

This episode will discuss the age old questions of what is Black theatre? What is a Black play? How do you know one when you see it? Leticia Ridley and Jordan Ealey provide an overview of the some of the most popular commentary on this question from Black theatre theorists of the past such as W.E.B Dubois, Alain Locke, and Alice Childress.

A man holding cards for a speech and a woman who smiles and claps stand together on stage.
Decolonizing Arts Leadership Through Shared Black and Indigenous Leadership
Essay

Decolonizing Arts Leadership Through Shared Black and Indigenous Leadership

12 September 2023

David Howse and Ronee Penoi, co-leaders of ArtsEmerson, introduce the Black and Indigenous Futures Series with an essay that discusses their commitment to a shared leadership approach that foregrounds solidarity between Black and Indigenous communities.

Gender Euphoria teaser image featuring guest profile images.
Queer Archival Praxis Roundtable
Podcast

Queer Archival Praxis Roundtable

With Guests David Silvernail, Janet Werther, Victoria Lafave, Jordan Ealey, and Kelli Crump

6 September 2023

What role does white supremacy play in the creation of the queer theatre canon? What power and what responsibility do we—as queer theatremakers, historians, and educators—have to challenge canons and archives that define “queer” almost exclusively as white and cisgender? Artist-scholars Janet Werther, Victoria LaFave, Jordan Ealey, David Silvernail, and Kelli Crump join host Nicolas Shannon Savard to tackle these questions and to queer the archive.

A tall Black man performs passionately while surrounded by audience members.
Shakespeare Against the Canon in Our Verse in Time to Come
Essay

Shakespeare Against the Canon in Our Verse in Time to Come

22 August 2023

Karen Ann Daniels, Malik Work, and John “Ray” Proctor sit down with Melissa Lin Sturges to discuss their work on Our Verse in Time to Come, a Folger Theatre production that used Shakespeare as a jumping off point to become a testament to “the other bards”—the ones still living and the ones still to come.