National Black Theatre is presenting the institution’s first produced radio play, Retreat, written by NBT I AM SOUL Playwright Resident Tracey Conyer Lee (Rabbit Summer) and directed by Zhailon Levingston (Neptune; Dixon Place and The Brooklyn Museum). This piece was originally slated to be a workshop production as part of the NBT’s 51st Season to culminate Lee’s residency with NBT and was reimagined due to the impact of COVID-19. The release of Retreat as a radio play will run as a limited release from November 19-22, 2020 as part of NBT’s 52nd season entitled, “Building the Future Now.” Retreat features Brittany Bellizeare (Romeo and Juliet; Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Patricia R. Floyd (Flying West), Jennifer Fouché (Chicago; Broadway National Tour), Kevin R. Free (“Welcome To Night Vale.”), Russell G. Jones (Ruined; Goodman Theatre), Tracey Conyer Lee, Eric Lockley (Choir Boy; Studio Theatre), and Art McFarland (The Most Dangerous Man in America; New Federal Theatre). The production and creative team is comprised of Izmir Ickbal (Set Design Renderings), Andy Jean (Costume Design Renderings), Nehemiah Luckett (Composer), Twi McCallum (Sound Designer), Samara Naeymi and Chai Sangco of Brick Shop Audio (Sound Engineering), and Katie Kennedy (Production Stage Manager). Retreat follows a story that explores how when justice fails us, we all do time. From his childhood friend to a dude he’s never met, Curtis’ life sentence has been placed on us all. Who gets exonerated? Whose appeal is heard? And who chooses solitary confinement? Inspired by a true story, Retreat’s concrete walls and barbed wire fencing infest the prison of our minds, of our reactive life choices, and our inability to live free. #FreedomAndJusticeForAll. The I AM SOUL Playwright Residency is the only playwright residency program in the nation dedicated solely to the development of Black playwrights, with a commitment to producing a workshop production of a new original text conceived over an 18-month process. The goal of the program is to diversify the narratives, the points of access, and possibilities being developed and produced about Black lifestyle in American theatre. This program is housed in NBT’s Soul Series LAB (Liberating Artistic Bravery). Former recipients who have completed the residency are Mfoniso Udofia (Her Portmanteau), Aurin Squire (Zoohouse), Nambi E. Kelley (Blood), Dennis A. Allen II (Manhood), Derek Lee McPhatter (Serious Adverse Ef ects), Angelica Chéri (Crowndation: I Will Not Lie to David), Lee Edward Colston II (The First Deep Breath), Eric Micha Holmes (Mondo Tragic), and Darrel Alejandro Holnes (Bayano). The current NBT residents are Oya Mae Duchess-Davis, TyLie Shider, Fedna Jacquet, Kristen Adele Calhoun and Nathan Yungerberg. Retreat runs in November as an on-demand experience from November 19-22, 2020. Tickets officially go on sale through NBT’s website www.nationalblacktheatre.org on Thursday, October 22, 2020 and can be purchased for $10. Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.