This month marks the launch of New Black Fest at the Apollo, a festival celebrating contemporary Black playwrights from across the nation. On April 22, 23, and 25 at 7pm, audiences will have the opportunity to see original works by 18 playwrights, each commissioned by the Apollo and New Black Fest co-founder Keith Josef Adkins. These commissions focus on how the artists of the Harlem Renaissance responded to their historical landscape, as well as how contemporary creatives are dealing with today’s issues in their own work. The festival also marks the first public presentation from the non-profit theater’s Apollo New Works initiative, a groundbreaking series of commissions dedicated to the creation of a diverse, 21st-century American performing arts canon. Tickets for each evening are $25.
The New Black Fest was founded in 2010 as a means to celebrate, advocate for, and showcase diverse and provocative work of Black theater artists from across the African Diaspora. Each evening will consist of six ten-minute readings. This year’s participating playwrights include Lee Edward Colston II, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi, James Ijames, Eric Micha Holmes, James Scruggs, Zora Howard, Lisa Rosetta Strum, Dahlak Brathwaite, Kareem Lucas, Donja R. Love, Lauren Whitehead, Dennis A. Allen II, Liza Jessie Peterson, Chisa Hutchinson, Michael Bradford, France-Luce Benson, Christina Anderson, and Mfoniso Udofia.
“The Apollo has long been committed to presenting new works and partnering with organizations that share our core values to engage with our community and leverage the Apollo’s platform to give opportunities to emerging artists. We’re thrilled to be working with Keith Josef Adkins on the New Black Fest this year and are eager to share the projects that have grown out of Apollo New Works,” said Executive Producer of the Apollo, Kamilah Forbes.
Part of the weekend’s programming is a free panel discussion on Saturday, April 23 at 3pm, featuring community activist Robyne Walker-Murphy in conversation with award-winning playwright and screenwriter Zora Howard and multidisciplinary artist and Associate Director of Harlem Stage Carl Hancock Rux. During this discussion, Walker-Murphey will explore the impact and transformative power of Black artists.
Tickets for each evening of the New Black Festival at the Apollo are $25 at www.ApolloTheater.org and in-person at the Apollo Box Office. Patrons needing additional assistance purchasing tickets should contact the Apollo Box Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 531-5305.
New Black Fest is presented as part of Apollo’s first-ever major commissioning initiative, Apollo New Works. The Apollo Theater is located at 253 West 125th Street, NYC.
The New Black Fest is also part of The Apollo’s Winter/Spring 2022 calendar of events.