Celebrate African American arts and artists in the Triangle!
Personal Perspective on History:
Black Designers in the American Theatre
October 5, 2021 from 10 AM - 11:30 AM
Lighting designer and UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Emerita Kathy A. Perkins has enjoyed a 45-year career in the theatre, designing over 400 productions across the country and internationally, including this fall’s Broadway production of Alice Childress’ Trouble in Mind. By blending her experiences as a career lighting designer with her theatre scholarship, Kathy offers a unique view into the history of Black designers in American theatre. She takes us back to the earliest known artists and their work then moves through the over one hundred years of challenges and change that played a role in Black designers’ status in the field today. Location: Zoom Webinar
How We See It, A Co-Production of the Office of Raleigh Arts & Triangle Friends of African American Arts
Our stories are being told and we
should be there to see them.
I just saw The Justice Theater Project’s production of A Doll’s House and Playmakers Repertory Company’s Skeleton Crew. Both performances received rave reviews from audiences and critics. They both have great casts, unique sets and special stories about our community. They were both written by young African American female playwrights.
There is another thing the shows have in common. They did not have enough African Americans in the audience. It is heartbreaking to see such wonderful plays with African American casts and only a few of us there to experience them. In the Skeleton Crew playbill, there was a "Rules of Engagement" from the playwright. Here are some excerpts:
You are allowed to have audible moments of reaction and response. My work requires a few "um hmms" and "uhn uhnns" should you need to use them. This can be church for some of us, testifying is allowed. Please be an audience member that joins with others and allows a bit of breathing room. Exhale together. Laugh together. Say "amen" should you need to. This is community. Let's go.
It is clear who she was thinking of when she wrote her rules. She created her play for us. And we should be there. You know what? You will LOVE both of these shows! And your friends and family will love you for bringing them. And the actors, playwrights and theater companies will love that you were there. So please provide your support. I promise you'll be glad that you did!
By Sherri Holmes, Triangle FAAA Founder & Director
Photo by Bruce Depyssler