National Black Theatre launches its 48th season September 7 with a dramaturgical lobby exhibition, The Alchemy of Black Joy, which features the photographic work of Peter Cooper and an interactive art installation by NBT CEO Sade Lythcott with excerpts of poetry by Marc Bamuthi Joseph.
The exhibition runs through October 14. NBT’s season continues this fall with the world premiere of Harrison David Rivers’ play Sweet, set to run October 19-November 20. Directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges, the story follows the tumultuous lives of three Midwesterners during the late ’60s. Set on the outskirts of an all-black town in rural Kansas, Sweet is billed as “a coming of age story about the sacrifices we make to hold on to the ones we love.”
This season’s theme is “In Pursuit of Black Joy,” which Lythcott says is particularly important today. “With the inundating images and news of the slaying of young Black people, NBT feels it imperative to dedicate our full season to the creative investigation, expression and pursuit of joy—on our own terms, in our own words,” commented Lythcott in a press statement. “The intention here is to reclaim our stories and introduce a counter-narrative that authentically celebrates who we are as people and hopefully helps to bring about a healing that we are all very much in need of today.”
The NBT line-up will conclude with another world-premiere production yet to be announced. This season will also include two workshop productions by NBT’s playwrights in residence: Dennis A. Allen II’s Manhood in February 2017 and Nambi E. Kelley’s Blood in March 2017. Additional information about the workshop productions will be released later this year.
“In a time when the Black body is continuously under assault, NBT creates a healing space, reminding us all of the awesome power we each have as members of a community,” Lythcott said.
Tickets can be purchased online at nationalblacktheatre.org, by calling NBT directly at (212) 722-3800 or at NBT’s Box Office. National Black Theatre is located at 2031 Fifth Avenue between 125th and 126th Streets in Harlem.