DOWNTOWN URBAN ARTS FESTIVAL is Offering Free Tickets To Vaccinated Patrons This Month

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination must be presented at the door for seating.

By: Jun. 04, 2021

The Downtown Urban Arts Festival (Reg E. Gaines, artistic director; Creative Ammo Inc., producer) today announced its 19th year of new works for the stage by 16 playwrights at the Abron Arts Center (466 Grand Street, New York City) from Thursday, June 10 through Saturday, June 26, 2021. For the first time, theatre tickets will be free of charge.

Reservations must be made by visiting Proof of COVID-19 vaccination must be presented at the door for seating. Masks must be worn inside.


The original festival, founded in 2001, was conceived as a theater series and curated by artistic director Reg E. Gaines (Tony Award-nominated playwright and Grammy Award-nominated lyricist for Bring in da' Noise, Bring in da' Funk) with the mission to build a repertoire of new American Playwrights that echoed the true spirit of urban life and spoke to a new generation whose lives defy categorization along conventional lines. The addition of poetry, music and international film selections was added to the Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF) as a unique cultural blend of other festivals' offerings such as the NY Fringe Festival, Toronto Film Festival and SXSW. Last year's festival was canceled due to pandemic, and this year's festival will return to its original roots as a theatre series. In the past 18 years, 261 plays have been produced by 203 playwrights.

2021 DUAF theater schedule follows:


Date: Thursday, June 10 at 7pm


Playwright: Sheila Duane

Director: Sophia Parola

Evie hides at a safe house after being attacked by a group of white nationalists called the Aryan Power Congress. Then she hears the sound of a woman being murdered. Because she has PTSD, no one believes her . . . except the Gail whose sister was murdered by the same white nationalists.


Date: Friday, June 11 at 7pm


Playwright: Mel Nieves 

Director: Wilimina Olivia Garcia

Date: Friday, June 11

Working from home is supposed to be a luxury, but when your home becomes your workplace that luxury turns into just another place to punch the clock.


Shown with:



Playwright: Malique Guinn

Director: Desi Brown 

When a mathlete’s old bully transfers to his high school, he is forced to confront his old demons as he attempts to crack the oldest math enigma that can change his life for the better in this mathematical hip hop tale. 


Date: Saturday, June 12 at 7pm


Playwright: Alano P. Baez

Directed by Dawn Crandell

In 1954, a New York city factory worker named Lolita Lebron, entered the United States Capitol building brandishing arms, unfurled a Puerto Rican flag, shouted "Que Viva Puerto Rico libre!" and began firing. In 2001, a young Puerto Rican woman travels on a NYC subway train headed for a mission to free her people.


Date: Wednesday, June 16 at 7pm


Playwright: Allison Whittenberg

Director: Dria Brown

Choice, a single mother, is faced with a Hobson's choice as she is faced with the possible increase to her family. Her ultimately aching decision is a most realistic one.


Shown with:



Playwright: Antionette Ellis-Williams 

Director: Darrell Willis

Scarf Diaries, written and produced by Antoinette Ellis-Williams, is a one-woman play consisting of multiethnic intergenerational vignettes/monologues telling the stories of life. Scarves serve as visual conduits of the complex narratives of religion, culture, sexuality, work, childbirth, mourning, abuse, sickness, beauty and choices.  They mark rites of passage in public ways. Women wrap, drape, cover, hide and adorned themselves with scarves throughout the world. For some women they are symbols of private convents, pain, shame, secrets or ugliness and for others declarations of independence, joy or tributes of honor. If scarves could tell our stories they would speak of these truths. 


Date: Thursday, June 17 at 7pm


Playwright: Sarah Congress

Director: Miriam Grill

Lights up: Staten Island Ferry. A COVID first date. Isabella, chef. Michael, copywriter. Their socially distanced “get to know you," dance goes really well...until it doesn't. Will they make it safely back to Manhattan? 


Shown with:



Playwright: Mary Weems 

Director: Ajene Washington

A Black Lives Matter activist, whose parents are civil rights attorneys and an upper middle-class white woman get stuck in an elevator and have a conversation, which reveals how each feels about the state of racism in America.


Date: Friday, June 18 at 7pm


Playwright: Cris Eli Blak

Director: Christine Sloan Stoddard

After a young immigrant is murdered by police officers for seemingly no reason, a popular rapper decides to make a statement, much to the dismay and disapproval of his white publicist. 


Shown with:



Playwright: Sheldon Shaw 

Director: Liza K Lee

In a cell, waiting, two African American men with different belief systems, one Jewish and one a non-believer, clash.


Date: Saturday, June 19 at 7pm


Playwright: reg e gaines

Director: Andres Pina

A weekly Bid Whist game takes place between four childhood friends now in their early to mid-twenties. Three of the men are waiting for Lester Ellington. They sip wine while talking smack about females and Lester’s egotistical attitude. The stereo blasts as they question the possible reasons for Lester’s lateness. 


Date: Wednesday, June 23 at 7pm


Playwright: Rollin Jewett

Director: J Michaels

An edgy comedy about the life and times of an actor who may be on the verge of success. For Jack, “The Big Dream” is when he gets everything he ever wanted – fame, riches, respect, and love. But has he gone too far into his fantasy world to ever make it a reality?


Shown with:



Playwright: Marcus Scott

Director: Dev Bondarin

Two newly-minted sophomore students fresh from their first year at university return home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under quarantine and taking shelter within their homes, just as these two sexually curious and sexually-active young men hop online to unleash carnal desires, news of a horrific incident prompts them to not only ask questions about the worth of the black body in America, but also its endurance.


Date: Thursday, June 24 at 7 pm


Playwright: Juan Ramirez Jr

Director: Juan Ramirez Jr and Jason Westby

In the South Bronx, two emcees stand at the corner, waiting to earn their next stripe and as they try to rap their dreams into reality, they want to know, if within their hopeless lives, will anyone hear their voices?


Date: Friday, June 25 at 7pm


Playwright: Tommy Jamerson

Director: Nicholas J. Clarey

Jacob Freeman seems to have it all - a thriving career, a successful novel, and an adoring wife. But when his past comes to haunt him in the form of his estranged eighteen-year-old daughter, secrets long since buried begin to rise to the surface yet again.



Date: Saturday, June 26 at 7 pm


Playwright/Director: James Earl Hardy

Confessions explores Tyson’s hard-scrabble roots (growing up in the ‘hood, dealing and getting hooked on drugs, brushes with the law, becoming a single father) and professional triumphs (forming his own multi-million dollar company, induction into the Porn Hall of Fame). With moments of gut-busting laughter and several shocking revelations, the show illuminates a truth that many xx fans forget: Porn stars are people, too.

 For more information, tickets visit:


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