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The African-American Shakespeare Company and The CRAFT Institute Present 'Echoes Of Us: Now And Always'

The event runs July 15-17 at the Marines Memorial Theatre. 

The African-American Shakespeare Company and The CRAFT Institute Present 'Echoes Of Us: Now And Always'

Funded by The Black Seed, the African-American Shakespeare Company & The CRAFT Institute have come together to form the African Diasporic Network that will debut Echoes of Us: Now and Always July 15-17 at the Marines Memorial Theatre.

"Echoes of Us: Now and Always will consist of a series of monologues that capture the essence and vitality of who we are as Black people," says Monica White Ndounou, Associate Professor of Theater at Dartmouth College and founding Executive Director of The CRAFT Institute. "This collection-centering on our healing and life lessons for thriving-is a powerful opportunity to dramatize our interconnections and embrace the spiral nature of time, as well as our lived experiences across generations and reimagine the possibilities of our existence.

"Our communities," says Director Shay, "will be treated to a delicious staged reading of works by established and emerging writers from the Bay Area and beyond. Celebrated actors from theatre, film and television, will perform monologues and spoken word with music and images that not only celebrate who we are but infuse us with the vitality, clarity and shared enthusiasm to create a future in a world, a country, and family we wish to live in; reminding us how to access joy and healing in these troubled times.

The project began in earnest when call was put out in the spring for submissions from "authors, playwrights, seers and storytellers" to contribute to the collective narrative. Curated by L. Peter Callender, Monica Ndounou, and Michele Shay, contributors include:

  • Nigerian actor and storyteller Mfoniso Udofia (Apple TV's Little America)
  • Activist, playwright and Oprah Book Club featured novelist Pearl Cleage (What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day)
  • Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actress and playwright Regina Taylor (I'll Fly Away)
  • Playwright, screenwriter and associate professor at the Tisch School of the Arts Richard Wesley (Uptown Saturday Night)
  • Bay Area actor, poet, spoken word artists and rapper Jamey Williams
  • Anna Maria Horsford (Fresh Prince of Bel Air; The Wayans; The Shield; Grey's Anatomy)

"We are thrilled to have Michele Shay on this project," says African-American Shakespeare Artistic Director L. Peter Callender. "As a Tony Award nominated performer, a critically acclaimed director and currently on faculty at USC's School of Dramatic Arts, her involvement takes the project to another level altogether."

Plans call for Echoes of Us: Now and Always to tour the country in the latter part of 2022. "This project has been a long road and has finally come together after the last two years of Covid," says African-American Shakespeare Company Founder and Executive Director Sherri Young. "And we looking forward to announcing the tour dates and cities in September.

The performing cast: Sola Bamis (Stitchers and Mad Men); Vanessa Bell Calloway (Shameless, Coming to America and What's Love Got To Do With It); Jason Dirden (Greenleaf, American Soul, and House of Payne) and Desean Kevin Terry (The Morning Show on Apple TV) and AASC Artistic Director L. Peter Callender

What: Echoes of Us: Now and Always
Presented by: The African Diasporic Network (The CRAFT Institute & the African-American Shakespeare Company, funded by The Black Seed)
Where: Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA
When: July 15-17
Times: July 15, 8pm; July 16, 8pm; July 17, 3pm
Tickets: Single Ticket Price: $30-$75 and can be purchased at african-americanshakes.org; season subscription tickets can be purchased for $100 - $199




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