New York City — An expansive and expanding harlem is . . . Theater exhibition will move to the New York Public Library Performing Arts Library at Lincoln Center in the first week of February for three months as part of a citywide tour. The library will be open daily during the period, and Community Works will offer exhibition tours for schools and other groups.
Originating in 2005, Community Works’ award-winning harlem is. . . Theater is a multimedia exhibition that tells the story of nearly 200 years of Black Theater in Harlem and New York City. It celebrates both early black theaters and those that continue building the legacy. Through exhibits, memorabilia, photos, film and original artwork, the exhibition tells of the theaters that bloomed and survived, the people who were driven to keep them vital, and the explosion of Black Theater productions that marked the 1960s and continues to this day. Community Works enlisted the help of students in ten schools who interviewed theater veterans, created written and dramatic work, and contributed research.
In 2014, Community Works decided to expand the exhibition with information on more theaters and giants in Black Theater, a rich selection of artifacts, and original artwork related to the history of Black Theater. This expanded exhibition will tour citywide and possibly beyond – and, just as importantly—will explore this important history through panels discussion, symposia and performances..
As the exhibition moves to the the Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center, it will explore the important collaboration in the 1980s between Harlem’s New Heritage Theatre Group and Lincoln Center to bring South African playwrights and voices to New York, exposing audiences both to new, brilliant stage experiences—among them Woza Albert and Sarafina–and to the realities of life under apartheid. Archival materials and rare video footage will be featured. The message of the exhibit is strong: Black Theater has a crucial and continuing role for Harlem, New York City, and the world.
Reviews at the time suggested that theater-goers were as mesmerized by the music and appeal of plays like Sarafina! as by the anti-apartheid messages. At the time, it was considered audacious for Voza Rivers, executive director of New Heritage Theatre Group in Harlem and Bernard Gersten, then executive producer for Lincoln Center, to bring South African playwrights, including Mbongeni Ngema, who created Woza Albert, Sarafina!, Asinamali!, and Township Fever to New York.
Community Works, which is celebrating its 25th year, began in 1990 in a small office on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with a single vision – to advance the arts as a bridge between New York City’s diverse cultures and neighborhoods. Today, more than 100,000 young people and their families participate and enjoy more than 300 unique workshops, theater performances, and public art exhibits every year.
The harlem is . . . Theater exhibition itself will be open from Feb. 3, 2015, detailing traditions in Black Theater and New York City from the founding of the African Grove Theater in 1821 in lower Manhattan to the present.
Several performances, including shows especially for community and schools, and for a family day presentation have been scheduled in connection with the exhibition. In addition, there will be public conversations about Black Theater at Lincoln Center, and the opportunity for school an community groups to arrange guided tours of the exhibition. For information, email email@example.com or call 212-459-1854.
Related programming also will be scheduled at such sites as the Apollo Theater, which will screen a firm about the history of Black Theater, and at the Schomburg Center for Black Research in Harlem, which plans a symposium and other activities. Among them:
FEBRUARY 3, 2015 New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium Exhibit runs from Feb 4 to May 1 in the Plaza Corridor Gallery Special reception and public program of expanded exhibit as debuted in November 2014 with an additional focus on theater film clips, costumes and archival items of New Heritage Theatre and Lincoln Center’s South African Theater programs from the 1980s.
FEBRUARY 12, 2015 New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium Theater Connections Screening: Sarafina! with Intro/Q&A
MARCH 9, 2015 New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium Special Public Event: Woza! The Untold Story of New Heritage, Lincoln Center and the Celebration of South African Voices: A conversation with key figures who facilitated bringing the stories of Apartheid South Africa to New York and the World. Groundbreaking theater works to be explored from behind the scenes include Woza Albert!, Asanimali, Woza Africa, Sarafina! and Township Fever.
MARCH 16, 2015 New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium Theater Connections Performances: Impact Repertory “Peace Warriors” (2 performances) Directly from the hearts and lives of the Grammy-nominated Impact Repertory Theatre Company, this powerful hip-hop musical tells us the heart wrenching story of a teen-age brother and sister who transform the pain of family tragedy into the power of healing and transformation. The stories, music and dance come straight from the real-world experiences of the Impact teens who created this dynamic performance.
MARCH 21, 2015 New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Lincoln Center, Café Space Family event: Interactive “Page to Stage” Performance/Workshop with Daniel Carlton Join Actor/Teaching Artist Daniel Carlton as he brings the Bryan Collier book Uptown to life as he shares the rich mix of flavors, colors, sounds, and cultures that come together to create the vibrant community of Harlem as seen through the eyes of a young child. Blending the book’s poetic text, intricate illustrations and history, this program celebrates the world‐renowned neighborhood, and invites the audience to “stop, look and listen” to what makes their community (and yours!) unique.
APRIL 29, 2015 New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium Theater Connections Performances: Rosena Hill Jackson: “From Harlem to Broadway and Back”. Broadway star Rosena Hill Jackson of “After Midnight” and “The Color Purple” shares her inspiring life story woven throughout with her favorite songs, from the popular, jazz and broadway songbooks. This is an exclusive, interactive, and participatory Community Works show that should not be missed!
For more information, contact Barbara Horowitz, firstname.lastname@example.org