The National Black Theatre's 55th season, titled NBT Beyond Walls: Love, A Ritual of Repair, will launch November 9-13 at the Chelsea Factory with Resident Playwright Tylie Shider’s The Gospel Woman. Directed by Adrienne D. Williams, the play concerns sisters Ruth and Orpah Fowler, who are part of a ministry family in early 1970s Plainfield, New Jersey. The sisters must find a way to end a feud, stemming from a demo that helped launch Orpah’s R&B career, if they are to help their father keep the church from foreclosure.
The world premiere of Amani, written by a.k. payne, will follow, running February 6-March 5, 2023, at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, which co-produces. Josiah Davis directs this story of hope and one father’s dream to build a rocket ship with his young daughter Amani. As she enters adulthood, Amani begins the search for her own voice and her own dreams.
(pray), a boundary-pushing dance-theatre work created by choreographer, director, and playwright nicHi douglas, will play the Greenwich House March 9-April 8. A co-production with Ars Nova that features the music of Starr Busby and JJJJJerome Ellis, the world premiere musical is inspired by the structure of a Sunday Baptist church service, combining song, text, and dance to create a healing experience for audiences and artists.
The world premiere of Diane Exavier's Bernarda’s Daughters, directed by Dominique Rider, will be presented May 2-June 18 in the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center. Inspired by Federico García Lorca's House of Bernarda Alba, the co-production with The New Group is told through the eyes of the five Abellard sisters, who take refuge in their family home in Flatbush following the loss of their Haitian father, amid gentrifying construction and street protests.
The 55th season will conclude with a new play by Resident Playwright Fedna Jacquet, Black Mother Lost Daughter, which will play the Chelsea Factory on dates to be announced. The new work—about Princess, whose sister, a painter named Queen, is killed by police—offers a haunting look at the trauma of loss as the playwright challenges audiences to consider the gap between justice and responsibility.
“I was raised by a mother who deeply believed in the revolutionary power of Love to shift, shape, and change the world. Love in action is the most ancient ritual of repair. Powerful enough to mend hearts and heal past traumas; a strong enough currency to revitalize communities. This season all of NBT’s programming is dedicated to the catalytic vibration of Love as a ritual offering by our diverse roster of artists to the communities we all love so dear,“ says National Black Theater CEO Sade Lythcott.
“Love is the foundation. Love is a force that artists have continually used to keep the lights on in the midnight hour, and these works this season are dedicated to celebrating that moment in the midst of the darkness. We have crafted a LOVE note forged out of lessons learned since 1968 from Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, who provides us with space during our 55th season. A series of connected events has become a ritual that invites us to have a conversation around repairing the spaces that as a society and a community need mending,” adds Executive Artistic Director of National Black Theatre Jonathan McCrory.
The upcoming season will also include the initiative Learn to Love Yourself: Silent Disco and Portrait Series beginning August 13. For additional information click here.