Juneteenth is here, and the theatre industry is celebrating with a slate of virtual programming honoring Black culture, theatre, dance, and more.
The June 19 holiday commemorates the day in 1865 when many of the last slaves in America were informed of their freedom.
Among the highlights are the inaugural Antonyo Awards, honoring the best of Black artists and shows Broadway and Off-Broadway; The Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project; and The Old Globe's fourth annual Juneteenth celebration. Events are organized below in chronological order.
Looking for more way to support the Black Lives Matter movement? Check out our list of resources here.
Juneteenth Day of Dance
12-8 PM ET on Instagram and YouTube
Celebrate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth with a digital day of dance from SummerStage. Tribute performances include Tamar-kali in a “Resistance” excerpt from Demon Fruit Blues, featuring ASE Dance Theatre Collective and Isio-Maya Nuwere of Harlem School of the Arts performing Phenomenal Woman. The day will culminate in a performance and a panel discussion, “Reflecting the Times,” led by Hope Boykin of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, followed by “Hanging Tree”, featuring Jamel Gaines Creative Outlet Dance Theatre, vocalist Marcelle Davies-Lashley, and poet Carl Hancock Rux.
CoLAB's Juneteenth Digital Presentation
3–7 PM ET on YouTube and Facebook.
The Old Globe's fourth annual Juneteenth celebration includes a presentation of the new play Ode to My Mothers by Joy Yvonne Jones in a reading directed by Delicia Turner Sonnenberg. In addition, participants can revisit video excerpts from previous productions of The Ruby in Us and Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley: From Slavery to Modiste. Presented in collaboration with the Fourth District Seniors Resource Center, the festival also includes music, spoken word, crafts, at-home activities, and an educational presentation that shares the story and history of the holiday. All proceeds will go directly to the FDSRC’s George L. Stevens Seniors Resource Center via a GoFundMe campaign available during the event.
Art & Insurrection with Dominique Morisseau
6 PM ET on Zoom
Girls Write Now continues its Friday Night Salon Series, Art & Insurrection, with Tony-nominated playwright Dominique Morisseau (Ain't Too Proud, Pipeline, Skeleton Crew). The event is open to the public as a space for the community to learn from and write with authors, poets, journalists, and novelists.
The Antonyo Awards
7 PM ET on YouTube and Facebook
Broadway Black presents the inaugural Antonyo Awards in a starry presentation celebrating Black artists and shows on Broadway and Off-Broadway. The event includes a pre-show virtual red carpet, original musical numbers, presenters, and performers. Among the celebrities joining the festivities are Audra McDonald, Tituss Burgess, Alex Newell, Jordan E. Cooper, Teyonah Parris, Ephraim Sykes, LaChanze, Derrick Baskin, Nicolette Robinson, Jelani Alladin, Christiani Pitts, James Monroe Iglehart, and Amber Iman. Check out the full list of nominees and performers here.
Juneteenth Theatre Justice Project
7:30 PM ET on YouTube
6 PM PT on Zoom
7 PM PT on Zoom
Several theatres around America have formed local collaborations to present Polar Bears, Black Boys & Prairie Fringed Orchids by Vincent Terrell Durham. The free events are part of a mission to raise money for Black theatre projects in America. In San Francisco, over 30 Bay Area groups have come together to present the work, including PlayGround, Berkeley Rep, and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. The L.A. cohort includes Skylight Theatre Company and Echo Theatre Company. On the East Coast Barrington Stage Company and Capital Repertory Theatre unite to present the play.
Black Women and the Ballot
7:30 PM ET on YouTube
Phylicia Rashad stars in one of three short radio plays during the event. The Tony and Emmy winner will voice The Ancestor in Judy Tate’s Pulling the Lever, which follows three inter-generational women as they remember their most important experiences voting. In the Parlour, also by Tate, returns to the eve of the historic 1913 Women’s March for votes through the eyes of a young Howard University student. The third title is Saviana Stanescu’s immigrant-focused Don’t/Dream. The event is presented by American Slave Project and a consortium of NYC and regional Black theatres and allies.
Downtown Variety: Juneteenth
8 PM ET on LaMaMa.org
Over the past two and a half months, La MaMa and CultureHub have teamed up to create Downtown Variety, which uses emerging technologies to create a new venue for artistic expression and creative connections. Now, the collaborators pass the mic to Poetic Societies residents Ava Ansari, Salakastar, Ian Fink, Ahya Simone, Jonah Mixon-Webster, Halima Cassells, Rafael Leafar, and Salar Ansari for an ancestral healing tele-protest to extend the resilience of Detroit and Flint artists to the multiverse of the global Black movement.
A Day of Remembrance Concert
8 PM ET on Zoom or YouTube
Sweet Honey in the Rock presents a virtual concert and panel. Through song, poem, and discussion, audiences will reflect on our nation’s turbulent racial past and present, while uplifting the dignity and well-being of all people. On the lineup are Jenifer Lewis, Bryan Stevenson, Danny Glover, Gina Belafonte, Sonia Sanchez, Aloe Blacc, and more. There are two ways to watch: a $19 ticket to join an interactive audience via Zoom video conference with a digital red carpet, sing-a-longs, and participate in discussions, plus a free live stream of the event on the groups' social media.
In addition to these virtual events, check out these in-person happenings.
3 PM ET in Harlem (in-person event)
A number of Broadway alums will take part, including LaChanze, Britton Smith, Sasha Allen, Aisha Jackson, Mykal Kilgore, George Faison, and Anastacia McCleskey. The musical celebration will lift up and center the Black queer and trans community. The event is co-organized by the new arts activism collective The Blacksmiths, community organizers Intersectional Voices Collective, and multi-disciplinary network The Wide Awakes. Festivities will kick off at 110 Street and Malcom X Boulevard in Manhattan. For more information, click here.
Princeton Juneteenth Block Party
5–7 PM ET at the Princeton Family YMCA, Princeton, NJ (in-person event)
McCarter Theatre Center is one of several sponsors for this celebration. Honor the cultural achievements of Black Americans and commend the efforts of activists for the Black Lives Matter movement by listening to Black artists, speakers, and activists while also learning how to take action locally in your own communities, both geographical and social. There will be resources available to illuminate the history and current work of the BLM movement. For more information, click here.