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National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem


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Here's the WSJ Editorial announcing this year's National Black Theatre Festival:


Journal editorial board Winston-Salem Journal

The wait is over. The 2015 National Black Theatre Festival begins today, proudly putting us on the national map once again.

For the next six days, thousands of Winston-Salem theatre professionals, patrons and fans will rub elbows with some of the most creative artists in the country as plays, films and poetry proliferate in all corners of the city. Programs take place in venues downtown that include the Benton Convention Center and Hanesbrand Theatre; throughout the city at Reynolda House Museum of American Art and SECCA; and at our local universities, the UNC School of the Arts, Salem College, Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State. No doubt the performances will continue in impromptu format in our local restaurants and local hotels (some of which are solidly booked) after hours.

Every two years, the festival practically transforms Winston-Salem into another, more magical city, one filled with glamour, artistry and enthusiastic comradeship. Founded in 1989 and hosted by the North Carolina Black Repertory Company, the late Leon Harry Hamlin’s vision surely exceeds anything even he could have imagined.  This year’s festival co-chairs are actress Debbi Morgan and actor Darnell Williams, best known as the characters Jesse and Angie from ABC’s “All My Children.” They are fine examples of the talent that will attend this year.  Morgan’s one-woman show, “The Monkey on My Back!” (based on her book of the same title), will return for an encore performance, as will “The Eve of Jackie: A Tribute to Jackie Wilson,” both popular events and well worth seeing again.

Many new shows will also be presented, some in workshop format. Seminars and vendors’ markets fill out the proceeds.  The festival is a joyous and sometimes high-spirited occasion for many participants, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have gravitas. Many of the presentations examine historic events and perspectives, but many also examine the contemporary issues with which society struggles today. The artistry of theatre brings unique insight to these issues.  Shows are individually and variably priced, and it costs nothing to walk around town and gawk at beautiful celebrities, as well as young aspirants.  The National Black Theatre Festival is a gem in Winston-Salem’s crown, one that brings us a sense of excitement and sophistication. It takes a prominent place among all the other ingredients that allow us to call this “The City of Arts and Innovation.”

For more information and a complete schedule, go to: http://nbtf.org/



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