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Breath Project Announces Lineup For Virtual Festival In Partnership With ASF

 Alabama State University student and faculty works included in project archives.

Today, The Breath Project-a new theatrical initiative formed by Artistic Director and Co-Founder Gamal Abdel Chasten and Co-Founder Marieke Gaboury in response to the current global spotlight on racial injustice against Black people-announced the lineup for the inaugural The Breath Project Virtual Festival being held on Saturday, October 24 (2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET) and Sunday, October 25 (5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET).

In partnership with Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF) and 23 other theater companies across the country, the free festival will feature 24 world premiere 8-minute, 47-second works created by multidisciplinary theater artists of color. In the wake of the death of George Floyd, the 8 minutes and 46-second time frame has become a symbol for the racial injustice faced by countless members of the Black community across the United States. To RSVP for The Breath Project Virtual Festival, visit tinyurl.com/tbp-festival-2020.

"We received many inspiring submissions from around the country to be housed in our archive, and a third of those will be featured at the virtual festival," said Chasten. "The range of works we received was vast, and included more traditional theatrical presentations and those that challenged the idea of what is theater in this moment of isolation. It is my hope that when people visit our website, attend the virtual festival, or follow and support our vision, they will have their boundaries pushed and their ideas challenged, and that, in the process, we change the face of American theatre."

"Nina Simone once said an artist's responsibility is to reflect the times. The Breath Project gave artists across the country the opportunity to respond to our national moment. I'm pleased ASF could play a part in helping showcase Montgomery's artistry and activism to the world," said ASF Artistic Director Rick Dildine. "I am particularly proud of the participation from the student and faculty artists at Alabama State University who contributed to this project."

Following a call for entries in August 2020, over 65 original works-ranging from monologues and slam poetry to puppetry and dance activism-were submitted. From those entries, a diverse panel of artists of color selected the 24 works that will comprise the inaugural festival. All works that have met the required submission guidelines will be archived on The Breath Project website.

The 24 selected works (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Mhir Agrawal / Gamal Chasten - "Say Hello Stewart"
  • Aldo Billingslea - "3 Story Walk Up"
  • Alumni Theater Company - "Perspectives"
  • Ananya Dance Theatre - "Just Breathe"
  • James Brunt - "Waiting for Death"
  • Giovanny Camarena - "Don't Be Afraid"
  • The Char'Actors - "The Cycle"
  • Tyharra Cozier - "Breath"
  • Henri Franklin - "Views of Color in 8:46"
  • Yetta Gottesman - "Oh, Maria"
  • Ilasiea Gray - "Acting While Black"
  • David Guster - "Nice to Meet You"
  • Candice Handy - "Black Quarantine Date"
  • Harvey - "Breonna's Prayer"
  • Gabrielle Jackson - "The Ballad of Jacob Blake"
  • Angela G. King - "8:46"
  • Bruce Lemon, Jr. - "The Act of Ownership"
  • Anthony Sky Ng-Thow-Hing - "Transcending Isolation: Hope"
  • El Colectivo de Dramaturgos de Puerto Rico - "inhala - exhale"
  • Josh Richardson - "Choosing Sides"
  • Derek J. Snow - "The Ballad of the Dying Body or The Breath to Say"
  • Jessica Gabrielle Thomas - "Glow | Eternal"
  • Bil Wright - "Pulse"
  • David Zayas / Gamal Chasten - "I Just Don't Know"

Alabama State University students and faculty submitted four works for the project that will be included in the archives available for viewing at thebreathproject2020.com:

  • "Who Will Speak for Justice?"
  • "Just Breathe"
  • "We Still Breathe"
  • "Stature"

The Breath Project seeks to build a more equitable theater community in the country and to actively dismantle structural racism in the American theater through a three-pronged mission: Art, Action, and Advocacy.

  • Art. In partnership with organizations and artists across the nation, The Breath Project will create, develop, and support original theatrical works, created by BIPOC artists. The work that is housed by The Breath Project will be used as a tool for education and advocacy, as a living time capsule of this moment in history.
  • Action. The Breath Project is working to build relationships between local artists and theaters in their community and region, creating more opportunities for BIPOC theater artists, technicians, and administrators throughout the country. Working across national partnerships, The Breath Project will seek to end the notion that plays by BIPOC artists fulfill a quota or check a box for a theater, and instead become an organic and permanent part of the American Theater landscape.
  • Advocacy. The Breath Project will work to support the organizations that produce, fund, and support the American Theater to eliminate the racism and biases that exist in our institutions and business practices.

Theaters partnering with The Breath Project include (in alphabetical order): Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Montgomery, AL); Alumni Theater Company (Pittsburgh, PA); Cherry Lane Theatre (New York, NY); Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (Cincinnati, Ohio); City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh, PA); Cornerstone Theater Company (Los Angeles, CA); Curious Theatre Company (Denver, CO); Detroit Public Theatre (Detroit, MI); Dorset Theatre Festival (Dorset, VT), Face Off Theatre (Kalamazoo, MI), Flat Rock Playhouse (Flat Rock, NC); Flint Repertory Theatre (Flint, MI); Kumu Kahua Theatre (Honolulu, HI); Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA); Network of Ensemble Theaters (National Service Organization); Palo Alto Children's Theatre (Palo Alto, CA); Pillsbury House Theatre (Minneapolis, MN); Portland Center Stage (Portland, OR); Rude Mechs (Austin, TX); San Diego Repertory Theatre (San Diego, CA); Southern Rep Theatre (New Orleans, LA); Studio Theatre (Washington DC); Two River Theater (Red Bank, NJ); and Western Michigan University Department of Theatre (Kalamazoo, MI).

For more information on The Breath Project, visit thebreathproject2020.com.


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