Main Street Theater Partners with Harris County Public Library for Black History Month
Main Street Theater is partnering with Harris County Public Library (HCPL) to celebrate the contributions of historical African American actors to Shakespeare. "I am very excited about our partnership with HCPL and grateful for the opportunity to bring our Shakespeare For All program to four separate branches across Harris County," says Main Street Theater Director of Education Jonathan Gonzalez, who created Speak of Me as I Am: a Celebration of African American Contributions to Shakespeare for this partnership. "Our mission is all about engaging and educating communities through the power, beauty, and humanity of Shakespeare, especially communities that have not readily received exposure or accessibility to live Shakespeare performance. Our readings of Speak of Me as I Am... will serve a twofold purpose: to celebrate Black History month through the stories of some of history's greatest Shakespeare pioneers, and to engage audiences in free, live, interactive Shakespeare featuring some of the greatest speeches and scenes from the Shakespeare canon."
"On behalf of the entire team at Harris County Public Library, I would like to express our gratitude to Main Street Theater for giving us the honor of being the first venue ever to host Speak of Me as I Am...," shares Edward Melton, HCPL Library Director. "We are proud to present this unique and important program at several of our branch libraries, as signature events in our celebration of African American History Month. We value our long-standing partnership with Main Street Theater, and we look forward to future collaborations on exceptional programs that foster our mission to enrich lives and strengthen communities."
About Speak of Me as I Am: a Celebration of African American Contributions to Shakespeare
While many African Americans of yesteryear such as Louis Armstrong, Langston Hughes, and Hattie McDaniel are well known for contributions to America's art scene, fewer people know about the great black Shakespearian actors of early America. Figures such as Ira Aldridge, Henrietta Vinton Davis, and Paul Robeson may not be household names, but they enthralled audiences with their truth, dignity, and passion as they embodied characters such as Hamlet, Juliet, Lady Macbeth, and Othello. In this one-of-a-kind reading, actors from Main Street Theater's Shakespeare for All program will share historic accounts, stories, and, of course, scenes and speeches from Shakespeare in an interactive, audience-friendly presentation that reminds us that Shakespeare is, indeed, for ALL.
About Main Street Theater
Main Street Theater provides theater experiences for all ages. Founded in 1975, our MainStage produces professional, intimate, literary plays for adults and operates under an Actors' Equity Association union contract; our Theater for Youth produces professional, engaging productions based on children's literature for families and school groups, both in-house and on tour around Texas; and we offer Education and Outreach programs on-site and at satellite locations around the Greater Houston area for youth aged 4 - high school. We work out of 2 facilities: our Rice Village home on Times. Blvd., and as part of the MATCH (Midtown Arts & Theater Center Houston) on Main Street.
Main Street Theater is a member of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for not-for-profit theaters, of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (formerly ASSITEJ), the world theatre network of theatre for children and young people, and a founding member of Houston Arts Partners. Main Street Theater is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Texas Commission on the Arts.