The 17th Hip-Hop Theater Festival Returns To Washington, DC

The 17th Hip-Hop Theater Festival Returns To Washington, DCPresented by Hi-ARTS, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival returns to Washington, D.C., this September 12 through 16 with a boundary-breaking mix of theater, music, poetry, art, dance, lyricism and activism. The free, five-day event highlights a unique art form that has sustained and celebrated the American urban community that birthed it while also being embraced by fans worldwide. The festival-one of the signature programs of Hi-ARTS, a leading organization within the urban arts movement-is presented in conjunction with venue partners Anacostia Arts Center, Anacostia Community Museum, Bloombars, the Kennedy Center, and Marvin. The festival is funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities as part of Mayor Muriel Bowser's 202 Creates initiative.

Launching on Wednesday, September 12, with a day dedicated to rhymes, art, dance and business at the Anacostia Community Museum, participants of all skill levels are invited to attend master classes led by teaching artists on a variety of hip-hop core elements including: a master class on MC'ing and songwriting techniques led by Bomani Armah; instructor Kokayi Issa's Music Business 101 session; a hands-on master class on graffiti and street art with artist MasPaz; and a Hip-Hop dance workshop led by Monique Watson. The festival's 8 p.m. kick-off party "No Borders, No Limits" at Marvin will feature a live performance by DC-based rapper Leeocious and the beats of DJ Geena Marie.

"In its 17th year, the Hip-Hop Theater Festival brings together the diverse art and culture of hip-hop. The festival has always showcased hip-hop of innovation, performance and building bridges between artists and communities while having fun and dealing with important issues. This year is no different," said Hi-ARTS Executive Director Raymond Codrington. "We hope festival attendees get to experience the creative and artistic diversity found in hip-hop's past, present and future."

On Thursday, September 13, the festival puts the focus on theater as history and modern-day social justice unite in Lacresha Berry's one-woman show Tubman, which reimagines the story of Harriet Tubman as a girl living in 21st century Harlem. Performances will be held at 10 am and 1 pm at the Anacostia Arts Center. Later that day at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, audiences are invited to listen out for Louder than a Whisper, the Griot Girl Ensemble's hip-hop theater piece that sheds a light on societal pressures faced by black girls. The festival returns to the Kennedy Center on Friday, September 14, as dance troupe SOLE Defined takes audiences back to the Golden Age of hip-hop with SOLE Defined VIBEZ, a performance piece that serves up a fresh mix of tap dance and stepping as DJ The Kid spins the sounds of the 1990s. The weekend brings a mash up of poetry, stage and activism with "Poetics & Paint," hosted by Pages Matam, an invitation for local poets to step to the mic with their dopest verses at Bloombars; WET: A DACAmented Journey, Alex Alpharaoh's play capturing the story of one DREAMer and the experience of being undocumented; and My Barz Heal Scars, a juxtaposition of hip-hop rhymes on a lyrical journey to healing and knowledge of self by Princess Best.

All events are free with admission and seating either on a first-come, first-seated basis or with registration strongly encouraged. To learn more about the 2018 DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival events and schedule or to reserve your spot, visit or call 718-497-4282. Groups are welcome with reservations at Follow Hi-ARTS on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @hiartsnyc.


Located at the center of creative and community practice in El Barrio's Artspace PS109, Hi-ARTS is dedicated to advancing urban art by empowering artists to develop bold new works while creating a lasting and positive impact on communities. For over 17 years, the organization has consistently broken new ground by presenting the work of artists from historically marginalized groups and finding creative and artistic ways to address issues related to equity and social justice. Hi-ARTS presents and produces art that truly reflects the diversity of New York City, giving voice to and celebrating traditionally underrepresented narratives and populations. Serving as a development space, Hi-ARTS works with artists to innovate and incubate theater and performance work along with visual arts and youth education. The commitment to this work has developed programming and an audience that is unique within the arts and culture landscape. Hi-ARTS is supported by the following: DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Humanities New York, Lucille Lortel Foundation, and individual donors.

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