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Crossroads Theatre Company Takes Part in EVERY 28 HOURS Play Festival

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Crossroads Theatre Company is taking part this week in "Every 28 Hours," an examination of black lives in America through drama with a focus on last year's events in Ferguson, Mo. The weeklong event in St. Louis is a collaborative project of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) and the One-Minute Play Festival. Its title refers to a widely shared statistic: Every 28 hours in America, a black person is killed by police.

Theater artists from around the country are in St. Louis Oct. 18-25 to engage with the Ferguson community, citizens, activists, and organizations in dialogue and storytelling around last year's police shooting of Michael Brown in August 2014 and the events that followed.

Participants will generate a body of one-minute plays, using the specific One-Minute Play Festival playmaking methodology, and will cast/rehearse/perform them as a rapid response to what was learned, heard, and experienced. On Oct 25, the plays will be performed in St. Louis, and possibly in Ferguson. The body of plays will be made available to participating theatre companies and other national partners.

Crossroads' Producing Artistic Director Marshall Jones III has written two one-minute plays for the festival - "White Air" and "Black Air" - the same topic told from the perspectives of a white female and black male. They will be part of the body of work emerging from the collaboration.

"As a black male in America, I know that I can easily become a statistic," said Jones, who also heads the bachelor of arts in theater program at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts. "Crossroads is pleased to work with the distinguished Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the One-Minute Play Festival to use the craft of dramatic storytelling to help heal the Missouri community as well as the nation at large. Visual storytelling can offer a stirring and impactful portrait of the state of race relations in our country."

Representing Crossroads in St. Louis are playwright Nikkole Salter, whose play, "Repairing a Nation," was directed by Jones and premiered by Crossroads last season, and actress Chantal Jean-Pierre, who performs regularly at Crossroads.

Founded in 1978 by Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson, Crossroads Theatre Company embraces the vision that African-American theater is intended for a broad-based, diverse audience. As a major force in the development of new ideas and the introduction of formerly marginalized writers, Crossroads produces works that enrich and diversify the representation of African American culture on the American stage.

The One-­Minute Play Festival is a New York City-?based theatre company, founded by producing artistic director Dominic D'Andrea. It is America's largest and longest running short form theater company.

For information on Crossroads Theatre Company, go to crossroadstheatrecompany.org or call 732-545-8100. Crossroads is located at 7 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick, N.J. 08901.


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