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Project1VOICE Presents Juneteenth Celebration of the History of Black Artistic Endeavor
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 02:19 pm EDT 06/03/21

Project1VOICE presents
Us Supporting Us
A Juneteenth celebration
of the history of
Black Artistic Endeavor

Program begins June 19 with
200th anniversary remembrance of
NYC's African Grove Theatre


Project1VOICE, an organization dedicated to supporting theatre and the performing arts by people of African descent, will commemorate its 10th anniversary with Us Supporting Us, a free three-day online event for Juneteenth.

Us Supporting Us begins June 19, 2021 with a 200th anniversary celebration of the African Grove Theatre, the first Black theatre company in the United States. The theatre was founded by William Alexander Brown, a free Black man from the West Indies, and was in operation at several locations in Lower Manhattan and Greenwich Village from 1821-1826, until it mysteriously burned down.

In addition to an in-depth conversation about the legacy of the African Grove Theatre, Us Supporting Us events will include an award ceremony honoring the outstanding achievements of Black creatives and a staged reading of Autumn's Harvest by Dominique Morisseau.

All events will be hosted on Project1VOICE's new virtual performing arts center (VPAC), an online portal which will be renamed in honor of each event.

For the three-day event Project1VOICE will rename the VPAC The African Grove. Subsequent gatherings will be renamed to pay homage to the countless shoulders on which we all stand. All Project1VOICE online events will have an ASL interpreter.

Erich McMillan-McCall, Founder and Director of Project1VOICE, has dedicated the past 10 years to uplifting other Black creatives and providing education on the contributions of Black artists throughout the history of the United States and beyond. With Project1VOICE's new virtual performance platform, programming and initiatives, Mr. McMillian-McCall hopes to continue this necessary work and draw additional support.

"I believe that the key to continuing our robust and rich history of Black theatre in this country will depend on four areas of action: Sustain, Endow, Access and Thrive." McMillan-McCall explains. "This is how we will endure and exceed. These three days are intended to connect us to our varied and robust past, present and future. During these three days we will be commemorating the 'emancipation' of our collective and individual voices, paving the way for the better future that is always ours to claim."

A recent recipient of a generous gift from The Black Seed/Mellon Foundation, Project1VOICE will use the funds as intended: to plant the seeds of growth for Black creatives and arts professionals by honoring Black theatre artists, actively engaging and hiring Black people and specifically Black women for the organization's initiatives, and using their platform to encourage support for Black creatives and performing arts organizations.

Juneteenth Programming:

Saturday, June 19 - 7pm EDT
Liberation: African Grove Theatre, a conversation on legacy

Us Supporting Us will begin with an in-depth conversation celebrating the 200-year legacy of the African Grove Theatre, founded by William Alexander Brown, a free Black man from the West Indies that was in operation in NYC from 1821 - 1826 when it mysteriously burned down.

Moderated by Michael Dinwiddie (NYU Professor/Playwright), the panel will focus on the history of Black creativity from 1821 to the present. The panelists will include Awoye Timpo (Director/founder of CLASSIX), Eileen Morris (Artistic Director Ensemble Theatre, Houston) and Marvin McAllister (Winthrop University), a nationally recognized author and scholar on the African Grove Theatre and the American theater.

For this event the VPAC will be named the New African Grove Theatre in honor of the 200th anniversary of its founding. Black Theatre Network is joining as a partner for this event.

Sunday, June 20th - 7pm EDT
Jubilation: Project1VOICE Honors

Project1VOICE Honors is an annual award given to organizations and individuals whose contributions to American culture empower and amplify Black agency and expression in the creative and performing arts. Past honorees include Douglas Turner Ward, Irene Gandy, Linda Twine, Wilhelmina "Billie" Allen, Wynn Thomas, The Billie Holiday Theatre, Allen Lee Hughes and Danny Holgate. This year's honorees will be announced closer to the date.

Monday, June 21 - 7pm EDT
Community: One Play One Day - Autumn's Harvest, for all ages

A virtual staged reading of Autumn's Harvest by Dominique Morisseau will be presented on the VPAC stage, directed by Jade King Carroll, with cast members from the original production. This play is for young audiences.

Project1VOICE will present additional programming throughout the rest of its 10th anniversary year, including a reading of The African Company Presents Richard III by Carlyle Brown, Richard II on September 17, 2021 and semi-monthly live conversations each highlighting a Black arts organization.

Learn more at www.Project1Voice.org. Free tickets to all of Project1VOICE's Juneteenth programming will be available for reserve on the website on June 11.

Biographies:

Project1VOICE is a 501(c)(3) performing arts service organization based in New York City. Our mission is to provide significant support, accessibility and adequate representation for the Black experience in the American theater through robust programming and innovative partnerships.

Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle) which includes the following plays: Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit '67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre); Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie's (Premiere Stages). She is also the Tony-nominated book writer on the Broadway musical Ain't Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). Dominique is an alumna of The Public Theater Emerging Writer's Group, Women's Project Lab, and Lark Playwrights Workshop and has developed work at Sundance Lab, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series "Shameless" (three seasons). Additional awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, Variety's Women of Impact for 2017-18, and a recent MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow.

The Black Theatre Network is composed of artists, educators, scholars, students and theatre lovers who are dedicated to the exploration and preservation of the theatrical visions of the African Diaspora. For 30 years, the Black Theatre Network has collected, processed and distributed information that supports the professional and personal development of its membership (composed of individuals engaged in the full range of theatre professions, professional and community theatres and organizations, and academic institutions). www.blacktheatrenetwork.org
Link http://www.blacktheatrenetwork.org
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