France-Luce Benson

The New Black Fest and The Lark, two theater organizations dedicated to celebrating and advocating for stories that explore the intersection of art and social justice, are proud to announce the fifth annual The New Black Fest at The Lark. This week-long event is aimed at showcasing diverse and provocative work in a festival of Black theater artists from throughout the Diaspora, and will feature talkbacks, a panel event, and staged readings of four plays-in-progress. The festival will take place April 9-13, 2018, and will include works by 2017 Djerassi Writer in Residence France-Luce Benson (Deux Femmes On the Edge De La Revolution), 2018 Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award recipient Donja R. Love (soft), 2015 Princess Grace Award-Winner Jonathan Payne (Brother Rabbit), and artist, activist, and The New Black Fest alum Liza Jessie Peterson (Sistergurls and the Squirrel) who has performed excerpts of her one-person play The Peculiar Patriot in over 35 penitentiaries across the country.

The theme of this year’s festival, Black Love, Black Space, and Solidarity, was conceived by Keith Josef Adkins, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of The New Black Fest, in response to the world’s continued shifting. The festival will kick off with a panel discussion on this theme, moderated by Adkins, and featuring Keith A. Beauchamp (Filmmaker, The Untold Story of Emmet Louis Till), C.A. Johnson (Playwright), Dominique Morisseau (Playwright, TV Writer, Actor, and Social Justice Activist), and Quentin Walcott (anti-violence activist, educator, and facilitator).

“As the worId continues to shift and reshape, I found myself asking: ‘what now?'” said Adkins. “After communing with some really smart and compassionate people in the community, the answer was clear: commit ourselves to Black love, Black space, and solidarity. What does that look and sound like today?”

Adkins’ focus on community cuts to the heart of why The New Black Fest and The Lark have sustained this collaboration through to its fifth anniversary.

“The Lark is honored to continue our partnership with The New Black Fest,” said Lloyd Suh, Director of Artistic Programming at The Lark. “Keith’s approach to curating a robust conversation around urgent new plays is grassroots advocacy at its most potent. These plays and playwrights, in conversation with The New Black Fest and Lark communities, provide an extraordinary opportunity to explore the varied ways that theatermakers can challenge the present moment and uplift visionary ideas.”

“The New Black Fest is an exciting venture of bringing Black artists and arts to the forefront of the American Theater conversation,” added Morisseau. “Steeped in the ancient activism of the Black Arts Movement, but also cloaked in a new pedagogy that breaks old tropes and makes space for new identity consciousness, The New Black Fest is one of the nation’s leading creative platforms for contemporary Black artists. And I’m here for all of it.”

For more information about the artists, initiatives and plays of The Lark, please visit: www.larktheatre.org.

Read the full article from Broadway World here