All across the country next weekend, Black creatives and fans of Black theatre will be observing a special day in American history. On September 17, they will mark the 202nd Anniversary of the inaugural opening night for the African Grove Theatre. Named “Black Theatre Day,” this cultural movement has been building momentum over the last two years. This year, Detroit has scheduled activities to commemorate the day.
Plowshares Theatre Company, with support from the Black Theatre Network, is sponsoring Celebrating Black Theatre Day. The programming recognizes more than 200 years of Black creativity in the Theatre. Some activities are online while others are in-person events. The public is invited to take part in a number of activities beginning on September 16 & 17, 2023. All in-person events will be held at TechTown, 440 Burroughs St., in Detroit.
Celebrating Black Theatre Day Events
Celebrating Black Theatre Day activities will kick off at 12 noon on Saturday, September 16th. The list of in-person activities includes:
- FREE Creative Acting Class for young people ages 12 – 20, conducted by Ariel Pompey. September 16 at 12 noon PM
- Black Theatre Trivia Challenge September 16, 2023: An interactive pop quiz game that asks players to answer questions from Black Theatre history.
- Staged reading of ACADEMIC by John Shevin Foster: September 16 at 6:00 PM
Additionally, participants on Saturday will receive a Free Giveaway of Plowshares T-shirts and caps (First Come, First Served). While supplies last. Food will provided as an annual Detroit event where patrons and artists can enjoy free food, prizes, fun games, and great theatre.
The list of online activities includes:
- Black Theatre Did You Know Tuesdays? Sept. 12, 19, and 26: A weekly online quiz about Black artists.
- Detroit Black Theatre Milestones: The celebration and acknowledgment of the contributions of Detroit or Detroiters to Black Theatre history. September 17, 2023
Save the date and plan to participate in Celebrating Black Theatre Day. Also, share this information with your friends and family. Some activities will be in person and online. All events are FREE TO THE PUBLIC.
Black Theatre Day is a significant day in American history. Before our ancestors were freely-born citizens, they hungered for a safe space to express themselves unfiltered, unedited, and firmly. Every September 17 allows us to pause and acknowledge the first known Black-led and centered theatre institution in the United States. This day celebrates the audacity of Black creatives to believe in the importance of telling Black stories, uplifting the experiences of Black people, and inspiring the next generation to climb higher.
An annual opportunity to celebrate Black Theatre on or around September 17th. Building fun and informative public activities creates greater awareness of Black Theatres nationwide. Also, it amplifies the work and encourages contributions of funds and time to Black theatres.
About Black Theatre Day
Black Theatre Day is an annual, international “Day of Service and Solidarity” encouraging everyone to support and engage with Black theatres. It is a collective effort introduced and anchored by The International Black Theatre Summit, which is led by Dr. Monica White Ndounou, Associate Professor of Theater at Dartmouth College and founding Executive Director of The CRAFT Institute, with additional support from WACO Theatre Center (Los Angeles), Project1Voice (New York), and Plowshares Theatre Company (Detroit) with regional planning committees that include Support Black Theatre (Los Angeles), African American Shakespeare Company (San Francisco), Birmingham Black Theatre Collective (Birmingham, AL), the Hansberry Project (Seattle), the Black Theatre Network, and St. Louis Black Repertory. Additional participating organizations and supporters are made up of cohorts and allies throughout the Black Theatre field who have joined over the past two years.
Celebrating Black Theatre Day in Detroit
We look forward to celebrating 202 years of powerful Black storytelling with you!
#BlackTheatreDay celebrates Black Theatre.