HSA to Present Free Arts & Ideas Festival, INTERFEST
OBIE Award Winning actor Chris Myers, an HSA alumnus and Artist-in-Residence presents, "INTERFEST," a free, three-day arts & ideas festival. This event provides a platform for emerging artists and thinkers to explore the future of culture and community in an energized and transformative environment.
The event will feature prominent voices in the arts, like that of author and activist adrienne maree brown, and will highlight the works of important, award-winning playwrights, including a reading of Academy Award-winner, Tarell Alvin McCraney's play Wig Out, a mesmerizing trip into the heart of African-American drag ball culture.
Inspired by author/documentarian and social activist, Toni Cade Bambara's vision that "the artist's job is to make the revolution irresistible," this unique event aims to disrupt the formal festival experience.
Acting in response to the current challenges facing marginalized groups and their allies within the arts community and beyond, Interfest invites attendees to engage with each other despite their differences, in hopes of strengthening the resolve of communities, while keeping discourse irresistibly fun.
The three-day event includes the following:
Friday, September 22
Intercourse: Intersectionality & Emergent Strategy w/ adrienne maree brown - (4:30pm - 6:00pm)
The festival will open with a panel discussion with pleasure activist and writer, adrienne maree brown, in conversation with the Interfest team, as they explore intersectionality, emergent strategy and how to make revolution the most pleasurable experience we can have.
Intermingle - Dance Party - (8pm - 12am)
This revolution incudes a dance party! Interfest's opening night bash features an open bar, live performances, a unique "vision" mixer, and DJ set by UWS (Chris Myers). Bring a dream and your best dance crew to energize our festival space for the weekend to come!
Saturday, September 23
Interact - Garden Tour + Live Poetry Performance (3-5pm)
Interact with the land and experience the politics of food on a guided garden tour with hands-on instruction. Site-specific poetry performances by Climbing PoeTree, Janine Simon, and The Peace Poets accentuates this immersive experience, which reminds us that we are what we eat. Presented in partnership with The Brotherhood/Sistersol.
Intervene - Outrage and Activism: Building cultural inclusion in American Theater (Panel Discussion) (5:45pm-7:15pm)
This open forum will discuss and dissect the rising paradigm shift currently taking place in the theatre industry. With representation still a systemic issue across the board, we've reached a pinnacle point where our outrage and activism have now intermixed. But what's next? How do we go from voice to action?
Moderated by Andrew Shade (Founder, Broadway Black)
Natasha Sinha (Associate Director, LCT3)
Jonathan McCory (National Black Theater)
Geoffrey Jackson Scott (Co-Founder, Peoplmovr)
SaMi Chester (Founder, BeBop Collective Theatre)
Interpret - Play Reading + Open Discussion (7:30pm-9:30pm)
An emerging playwright will present a stunning new work which mirrors back to us the state of our liberation. Post-performance discussion will invite the community to engage with what liberation means to us. This reading will be co-produced with The Movement Theater Company.
What To Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris, winner of The American Playwriting Foundation's, The Relentless Award
Directed by Mary Hodges
Featuring: Jehan Young, Kayla Jackmon, Sheria Irving, Beethovan Oden, Justin Sams, Cornelius Davidson, Pamela Monroe, Toccarra Cash, and Xavier Evans.
Sunday, September 24
Intertwine - Wellness Brunch + Panel Discussion (11:30am-1:30pm)
Enjoy a fully inclusive brunch over presentations by experts in the fields of mental health, physical health, and food politics/nutrition. Speakers include Jamila Reddy, Brittney Williams (aka Chef Stickxz), Selena Brown, and VisionPledge, moderated by Charly Simpson. These presenters will engage in a moderated cross-dialog about the centrality of health and healing to ourselves and our movements. Rejuvenate in more ways than one.
Interpret - Play Reading + Open Discussion (2:00pm-4:30pm)
Wig Out! by Oscar winner, Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Dell Howlett
Featuring two original cast members from the Studio Theatre production of the play, Jamyl Dobson and Ysabel Jasa, with Eric Lockley, Tatiana Wechsler, Neil Dawson, Ato Blankson-Wood, Portia Boston, Max Cervantes, Cece Suazo, and Ryan Swain.
The Interfest producing team includes:
Kristen Adele Calhoun is the Producing Manager of The Billie Holiday Theatre and RestorationART. Kristen previously served as the founding Program Director of Arts in a Changing America and as a consultant for the Arts & Culture portfolio of the Ford Foundation. She is currently co-writing Canfield Drive, a play about Ferguson, Missouri under the commission of 651 Arts in Brooklyn and The St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre. As an actress, writer, and organizer, her work exists at the intersection of activism and challenging the status quo. A native of Dallas, Texas, she is a graduate of the University of North Texas and the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
Zakeya Monique (Nikki) is a Bronx-bred marketer, theatre diversifier, community engagement producer and most importantly, an active advocate for blackness and its liberation. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NYU Tisch in Dramatic Writing with a concentration in playwriting and a Masters of Science in Interactive and Direct Marketing from Mercy College. You can always find her behind the scenes making sure we have a seat at the table, even if it's a self-brought folding chair.
Chris Myers is an actor, writer, producer, and teaching artist. He is proudly a 5th generation New Yorker and attended the Harlem School of the Arts, LaGuardia High School, and The Juilliard School. He's worked at New York's leading off-Broadway theaters, won an Obie Award in 2014 for his performance in "An Octoroon", and can be seen in Netflix's upcoming "She's Gotta Have It Series" from Spike Lee. As a writer/producer, he has created two short films and one half-hour pilot, "GUAP," which was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter for over $23,000. His dream audience member is you.
Stephanie Rolland is a producer based in Baltimore, MD where she is the Artistic Administrator for Baltimore Center Stage. She is a member of Theater Communication Group (TCG)'s inaugural Rising Leaders of Color cohort, TCG's National Awards Committee and the League of Resident Theater's Diversity Committee. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Theater Management from Yale School of Drama. Her work is fueled by connection, experimentation and laughter. She finds her joy in bringing multi-faceted, swirling, human universes together in space to make magic.
Harlem School of the Arts enriches the lives of young people and their families through world-class training in and exposure to the arts across multiple disciplines in an environment that emphasizes rigorous training, stimulates creativity, builds self-confidence, and adds a dimension of beauty to their lives.
HSA achieves its Mission on-site at The Herb Alpert Center by offering high quality, affordable, arts training in dance, music, theatre, and visual art to ethnically and socio-economically diverse young people aged 2-18; by providing financial aid and merit scholarships to those who need it most; and by developing key partnerships with other cultural institutions, colleges/universities, and conservatories to prepare our aspiring pre-professional students at the highest possible level.