Conversation with Tonya Pinkins Kicks Off New Black Fest 2012, Oct 8

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THE NEW BLACK FEST, a festival of theater, music and discussion from the African Diaspora will launch its 3rd season in October at various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. With support from TimeWarner and a partnership with 651 ARTS, the Festival will take place October 8 – 13 at various locations, including the National Black Theatre, Mark Morris Dance Center, the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center. All of the events are Free and open to the public.

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights Lynn Nottage and Suzan-Lori Parks are on The New Black Fest's Advisory Board, among others. Ms. Nottage told The New York Times, "This [event] is not about separation, it's about inclusion. It's about inviting people who don't get access."

The kick off event is a collaboration with The New Black Fest and 651 ARTS. It's a candid conversation with Tony Award Winning Actress Tonya Pinkins moderated by PONY Fellow Dominique Morisseau. The event will be hosted by The Classical Theatre of Harlem at the Audubon Ballroom in NYC on Monday, October 8 at 7pm.

Featured artists and works include the New Black Fest inaugural playwriting fellows Kevin R. Free, Mfoniso Udofia and Glenn Gordon (in partnership with 651 ARTS), Chicago-based playwright Carla Stillwell and her play BODIES about homosexuality in the black church (in collaboration with Woodie King's New Federal Theater), Marcus Gardley and his play black Odyssey about a Harlem-born soldier who never returns home, singer/songwriter imani uzuri (Gypsy Diaries) with excerpts of her new musical GIRL SHAKES LOOSE HER SKIN based on the texts of sonia sanchez, violinist/singer Mazz Swift (All Ya Needs That Negrocity, The Today Show), dancer/ choreographer Andre Zachery (Renegade Performance Group) and his solo piece I WANT TO GIVE YOU SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, and Ugandan playwright and Fulbright fellow Judith Adong and her politically-charged play SILENT VOICES that boldly examines the war in northern Uganda. (Silence Voices is hosted by Classical Theatre of Harlem).

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Monday, Oct 8 – Live & Outspoken Event with Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins moderated by Pony Fellow playwright Dominique Morisseau– Shabazz Center, NYC
Tuesday, Oct 9Marcus Gardley's black Odyssey – National Black Theatre, NYC
Wednesday, Oct 10 – Carla Stillwell's Bodies – National Black Theatre, NYC
Thursday, Oct 11 – New Black Fest Fellows (Excerpts) – Mark Morris Dance Center
Friday, Oct 12 – New Black Music Night (w/Mazz Swift, Andre Zachery, imani uzuri), National Black Theatre
Saturday, Oct 13 – Judith Adong's Silent Voices - Shabazz Center, NYC

All events are free and begin at 7pm (except Saturday, Oct 13 at 2pm). Visit thenewblackfest.org and 651arts.org for more info.

The New Black Fest is a theater collective committed to celebrating insurgent voices within the diverse African Diaspora through theater, music and discussion. The New Black Fest is a gathering of artists, thinkers, activists and audiences who are dedicated to stretching, interrogating and uplifting the Black aesthetic in the 21st century.

It is the mission of 651 ARTS to deepen awareness of and appreciation for contemporary performing arts and culture of the African Diaspora, and to provide professional and creative opportunities for performing artists of African descent.

Keith Josef Adkins (TNBF artistic director) is a playwright, screenwriter and artistic director. His plays include SUGAR and NEEDLES (2013 Prototype Production at Epic Theater – NYC), SWEET HOME (2012 production MPAACT Theater Company – Chicago), THE FINAL DAYS OF NEGRO-VILLE (2012 Playwrights Foundation Rough Reading Series – San Francisco, 2011 Represent Festival at A.C.T. – Seattle), PITBULLS, among others.

Keith was also recently selected into the Lark Play Center's 2012-2013 Monthly Meeting of the Minds playwright group. In 2010, Keith co-founded The New Black Fest, a festival of new and provocative playwriting, music and discussion from the African Diaspora. He serves as co-artistic director. In 2011, Keith also co- founded the American Slavery Project, a five-year series of plays and conversations around the topic of slavery. He teaches playwtriting at Columbia University.

Photo Credit: Peter James Zielinski

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