Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and Project1VOICE (P1V) is presenting a screening series tour for the #LegacyLeaders video of Douglas Turner Ward in three cities this fall. The tour celebrates the half-century legacy of the famed classic Negro Ensemble Company (NEC) and its three visionary co-founders Robert Hooks, Gerald Krone, and Douglas Turner Ward.
The three-city video screening tour kicks off in Los Angeles at Ebony Repertory Theatre — the resident theater company of the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center — on Saturday, September 23 at 7:00pm. This event will include: a pop-up gallery exhibition, a reunion of NEC alumni who were involved with NEC during Douglas Turner Ward’s artistic leadership, excerpts from the company’s award-winning and critically-acclaimed canon of plays, and a moderated panel discussion about the innovative legacy and initiation of the NEC with the company’s co-founders and other NEC alumni.
Notable Classic Negro Ensemble Company alumni include: Mary Alice, Debbie Allen, Angela Bassett, Rosalind Cash, Judyann Elder, Charles Fuller, Adolph Caesar, David Alan Grier, Bebe Drake, Giancarlo Esposito, Lawrence Fishburne, Louis Gossett, Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Barbara Montgomery, Denise Nicholas, James Pickens, Jr., Phylicia Rashad, Esther Rolle, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Michael Schultz, Wynn Thomas, Glynn Turman, Denzel Washington, Lynn Whitfield and Hattie Winston.
Tickets are $20 and available for purchase at www.ebonyrep.org or by calling Ebony Repertory Theatre at (323) 964-9766. Tickets will be $30 at the door.
TCG created the Legacy Leaders of Color Video Project (LLCVP) over a two-year period. With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to work with video production company MOPED, TCG filmed a series of interviews chronicling the stories of founding leaders of theatre of color, including Douglas Turner Ward. Screening events will be held in the leaders’ communities to further celebrate their legacies and galvanize support for their enduring impact.
“This event celebrates the robust future of the American theater by honoring, celebrating and acknowledging its richly diverse past,” said Erich McMillan-McCall, CEO/Founder of Project1VOICE. “The classic Negro Ensemble nurtured, cultivated, and inspired generations of talented professionals from all backgrounds in all aspects of the entertainment industry and beyond. A legacy of this magnitude has no expiration date and continues to blaze trails because it was built by a visionary triumvirate who fully understood the gravitas of pride, tradition and above all excellence.”
“Our theatre field and broader culture owe an enormous debt to the artistry and activism of these extraordinary leaders,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “We hope these videos and screening events not only honor these nine leaders, but raise awareness more broadly of the essential role played by theatres of color in our field. As more and more theatres make equity, diversity, and inclusion central to their work, we must remember the theatres that have been working with artists and communities of color for generations.”
Project1VOICE, Inc. is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit performing arts service organization based in New York City. Its mission is to support and promote the American theater specifically the narrative of and by people of African descent. P1V was formed after the economic downturn in 2008 to create awareness and support for the many community-building African American theaters whose doors were closing with no hope of re-opening. P1V’s core activity is the coordination of an international, same-day staged reading series that revives and re-introduces forgotten seminal works by playwrights from the African Diaspora, a critical thread in the tapestry of the American theater. This annual event is called Project1VOICE One Play One Day and takes place on the third Monday in June. The success of One Play One Day has resulted in full productions—Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress (2011), The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe (2016) and Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith (2017)—and other programs in African American and LORT theaters across the nation. Other P1V programs include P1V 2.0—an Online Book Club, P1V Conversations with Pioneers, P1V Workshops—networking and knowledge-building opportunities and P1V Honors—recognizing outstanding contributions in the arts. P1V has expanded its reach and influence by partnering with nationally and internationally recognized organizations like Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Howard University, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), Temple University, Theatre Communications Group (TCG) and Theatre for Young Audiences/USA (TYA/USA). To date other United States organizations, include League of Resident Theatres (LORT) members, African American theater companies including Billie Holiday Theatre, Congo Square Theatre and Ensemble Theatre —Houston as well as, other diverse educational, artistic and social institutions. P1V’s network also includes theater companies in Nigeria and South Africa. Through its robust programs and innovative partnerships, P1V works to provide significant support, accessibility and adequate representation for African American theater, an integral sector of the English-speaking theater. For more information, visit: www.project1voice.org.
For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research, and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG’s partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 15 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its Member Theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field, and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org.