The Classical Theatre of Harlem Kicks Off Season With UPTOWN MEETS DOWNTOWN, Reception 11/09

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The Classical Theatre of Harlem (Producing Artistic Director, Ty Jones) kicks off their 13th season in a groundbreaking co-production with The Public Theater and National Black Theatre of DETROIT '67. The UPTOWN MEETS DOWNTOWN kick-off reception will be held on Friday, November 9, 2012, at 7:00 pm at the National Black Theater, 2031-33 Fifth Avenue, between 125th Street and 126th Street in Harlem.

UPTOWN MEETS DOWNTOWN is an unparalleled theatrical collaboration not seen in Harlem since the late 1960's when Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, founder of The National Black Theatre and her friend, Joe Papp, founder of The Public Theater first imagined projects in the late '60s to carve out new spaces on their own terms. It was their vision that theater could be a viable tool for embracing and confronting the complexities of contemporary society while nurturing artists, developing audiences, and affecting change. Fifty years ago, they partnered together on a musical adaptation of Gwendolyn Brooks' poem WE REAL COOL that toured the five boroughs of New York City.

The March 2013 co-production of DETROIT '67, by award-winning playwright Dominique Morisseau and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, is the fruit of a new collaboration between these uptown and downtown theater companies, reigniting a connection that began decades ago, bringing together diverse neighborhoods across New York City.

Ty Jones, Artistic Director of CTH, says, "The Classical Theatre of Harlem is standing on the broad shoulders of Dr. Teer and Mr. Papp. These artistic pioneers created institutions that have persevered for over 50 years. I hope to take lessons of their leadership to help preserve and develop cultural treasures for the next 50 years and beyond in the city of New York."

Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater, says "I am thrilled that the Public is collaborating with CTH and our dear friend Ty Jones on this production of DETROIT '67. The fit between CTH and the Public is a natural one, our missions complement each other beautifully, and I hope this uptown/downtown partnership can be the first of many."

The Classical Theatre of Harlem's new season brings programs from Future Classics, Project Classics, Playwrights Playground, and a summer production of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Marcus Garvey Park. The Classical Theatre of Harlem's firm resolve is to serve the needs of the community and the partnership with The Public Theatre and National Black Theatre furthers their mission to create enriching opportunities for theater arts in Harlem. For more information about the season kick-off reception and to purchase tickets visit http://www.classicaltheatreofharlem.org/.

The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) combines non-traditional casting, original adaptations, music and dance in ways that render works from the classical canon as fresh, innovative, and essentially a new experience of world classics. It is CTH's vision to create the 21st Century Theatre company whose value to its community is inherent and essential, a company that is engaged in producing theatre that has the capacity to change lives and truly reflects the diversity of ideas and racial tapestry that is America. The Classical Theatre of Harlem has garnered critical acclaim from diverse yet established institutions and seeks to create comprehensive access for theatre artists of diverse backgrounds. This includes not only actors, but directors, designers and playwrights. Since its founding in 1999, CTH has presented nearly forty productions including works by Anton Chekhov, Samuel Beckett, Euripides, Jean Genet, Langston Hughes, Adrienne Kennedy, William Shakespeare, Derek Walcott and August Wilson among many others.

The National Black Theatre was founded in 1968 by Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, the National Black Theatre (NBT) is a historic institute in the heart of Harlem for African-American dramatic arts and was the country's first revenue-generating black theater arts complex. In the words of National Black Theatre founder, "It is our stand to create in urban communities where indigenous people work, live and serve; a culturally conscious leadership of entrepreneurial artists whose commitment is to ownership, self -empowerment, self-determination and full creative self-expression. NBT is an example for artists to aspire to own and produce art forms that encourage building theatre environments that instill dignity, respect and self-love."

The Public Theater is the only theater in New York that produces Shakespeare and the classics, musicals, contemporary and experimental pieces in equal measure, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder, Joe Papp, by acting as an advocate for the theater as an essential cultural force, and leading and framing dialogue on some of the most important issues of our day. Creating theater for one of the largest and most diverse audience bases in New York City for nearly 60 years, today the Company engages audiences in a variety of venues-including Joe's Pub; the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to the beloved, free Shakespeare in the Park; the Mobile Unit, which tours Shakespearean productions for underserved audiences throughout New York City's five boroughs. The Public's wide range of programming includes free Shakespeare in the Park, the bedrock of the Company's dedication to making theater accessible to all, new and experimental stagings at The Public at Astor Place, and a range of artist and audience development initiatives including its Public Forum series, which brings together theater artists and professionals from a variety of disciplines for discussions that shed light on social issues explored in Public productions. The Public Theater receives annual support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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