Louis Gossett, Jr., Ed Wheeler, Timothy Douglas, Dominique Morisseau, Ron Himes, Ron Simons, Thelma Pollard, Mabel Robinson, Gregory Horton, Allie Woods, Antoinette Tynes, Ed De Shae, Stephen Byrd, Alia Jones-Harvey, Corey Mitchell, Cleopatra Solomon, Wilbert T. Jenkins and More to be honored at the Opening Night Gala of the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival on July 31

Opening Night Gala

Purchase tickets through NCBRC office.

The Opening Night Gala of the 2017 Black National Theatre Festival takes place at  the Salem Ballroom – The Benton Convention Center 301 West Fifth Street, Winston Salem, NC. 

Please contact the NCBRC office to purchase ticket(s) for this event.

5:30 pm Opening Night Gala $265 (#1)
Tickets $265 per person, $2,650 per table seating (10)
6:30 pm Celebrity Procession
with NBTF Co-Chairs, Obba Babatunde and Anna Maria Horsford
6:45 pm Awards Presentation


Sidney Poitier Lifelong Achievement Award
Louis Gossett, Jr.

Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award
Ron Himes

Emerging Producer Award
Ron Simons

August Wilson Playwright Award
Dominique Morisseau

Lloyd Richards Director Award
Timothy Douglas

Living Legend Award
Thelma Pollard • Mabel Robinson
Ed Wheeler • Allie Woods

Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
Gregory Horton

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design
Antoinette Tynes

Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
Chris Cumberbatch

Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management
Ed De Shae

Theatre Longevity Award
Paul Robeson Theatre, Buffalo, NY

Special Recognition Award
Stephen Byrd • Alia Jones-Harvey
Corey Mitchell • Cleopatra Solomon
The Negro Ensemble Company
The Late Walter Marshall (In Memoriam)

Marvtastic Philanthrophy Award
Wells Fargo

Theatre Arts & Humanitarian Award
Wilbert T. Jenkins

9:00 pm Five Guys Named Moe

An exuberant musical tribute celebrating “The King of the Jukebox,” singer and bandleader Louis Jordan. This exhilarating musical, set to Jordan’s iconic jump blues/jazz score is sure to “Let the good times roll!”

Location:  Steven Center at University of North Carolina School of the Arts

10:00 pm Celebrity Reception

Mix and mingle with the honorees, celebrity guests and other theatre patrons

Location:  Marriott Hotel

Festival History
Founded in Winston-Salem by the late Larry Leon Hamlin in 1989 and hosted by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company (NCBRC), NBTF is a biennial event with a purpose of uniting black theatre companies from around the world and ensuring the presence of this phenomenal genre. Mr. Leon Hamlin described the experience as “MARVTASTIC,” a combination of marvelous and fantastic! With the support of Dr. Maya Angelou, who served as the Festival’s first Chairperson, the National Black Theatre Festival was born. The ’89 Festival offered 30 performances by 17 of America’s best professional black theatre companies. It attracted national and international media coverage. According to The New York Times, “The 1989 National Black Theatre Festival was one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and American theatre in general.” Over 10,000 people attended. Today that number reaches well over 65,000 attendees.

Ten years prior to starting the National Black Theatre Festival, Larry Leon Hamlin founded another black theater movement in Winston-Salem that is still present today. The North Carolina Black Repertory Company is the state’s first professional Black theater company. NCBRC is committed to introducing diverse audiences to Black classics, the development and production of new works, improving artistic quality, and sustaining Black theatre internationally. NCBRC was founded with the purpose of providing theatre professionals the opportunity to earn a living through their craft.

NCBRC presents three to four productions annually featuring members of its ensemble or through collaborations with other theatre companies from around the country. The annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration and the holiday presentation of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity have become two of the Company’s staples. The critically acclaimed NCBRC production, Mahalia, Queen of Gospel (written and directed by Mabel Robinson, the company’s Artistic Director) was a National Black Theatre Festival showcase performance.

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