The National Black Theatre (NBT) has been celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 with a series of performances throughout the city ~ all year long. Next up ~ June 22nd and June 29th
Earlier this year, NBT partnered with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with the presentation of “In Perpetual Flight: The Migration of the Black Body” as part of Carnegie Hall’s Migrations: The Making of America ~ a citywide festival featuring events about the journeys of people who have shaped and included American culture.
Continuing with a year of celebration, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre went on to present the world premiere of 125th & FREEdom on June 8th, exploring the question, “If Harriet Tubman were alive today, how would she free Black people?”
125th & FREEdom answers that question with a five-hour, immersive public performance dance piece that is part dance party, part parade, part protest and ritual performance, and all Harlem. Composed of sixteen movements and featuring a New Orleans-style brass band, the choreopoetic performance takes place at eleven sites as pop-up installations, and presents the public with an immersive, audio-partipatory cultural experience.
125th & FREEdom sees a victorious, but battle-weary tribe of nomads led by Tubman’s descendant on an epic journey to a land of promised liberation. Fusing song and poetry with choreography based on historic and current Black social dances, the one-of-a-kind event closes out The National Black Theatre’s milestone golden anniversary season.
The cast includes Audrey Hailes, Courtney Cook, Azusa “Sheshe” Dance, Alec Stephens III and Jason O’Neal. Paris Weeden, Ariel Blackwood, Ava McCoy, Everton Ricketts, Zenni Reach, and Trevor Latez Hayes are also featured.
The creative team includes Alphonso Horne (musical composition), Izmir Ickbal (scenic design), Dominique Fawn Hill (costumes), Belinda Hardin (props), jaime’ Dzandu (associate choreographer), Nina Angela Mercer (dramaturg) and Vir-Amicus and Kirrin Tubo (production managers).
Performances of 125th & FREEdom run from 1pm to 6pm, each Saturday through June 29th. Want to participate? wear comfortable shoes!