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Howard University's Department
of Theatre Arts is an internationally acclaimed leader and producer of artistic merit. Each season the Department of Theatre Arts presents classical and contemporary plays in its two-theatre complex. These plays offer not only entertainment, but also a forum for ideas and discussion.

Events & Announcements
THE DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE ARTS
2014-15 SEASON...

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The Department of Theatre Arts is committed to the training of knowledgeable theatre and dance artists, theorists, historians, and teachers in the theatre arts. The Department is dedicated to the principle of developing the highest quality of theatre art, and to the serious investigation and perpetuation of the experiences and aesthetics of Black theatre and dance.

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On Stage: Current Productions ~ Be the First to Know!

2013-2014 Theatre and Dance Season

The Department of Theatre Arts Announces
its 2013-14 Season
HURT VILLAGE
FABULATION OR, THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE
DANCE SHOWCASE
HOWARD PLAYERS PRODUCTION
THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN
HAMDAN: THROUGH THE GATE OF TEARS
(ANNUAL DANCE CONCERT)
CONNECTING THE GEMS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN: FROM OMAN TO EAST AFRICA

6 WORKS WILL BE PRODUCED: A 4-PLAY THEATRE SEASON (INCLUDING A MUSICAL AND STUDENT WORK), AND 2-DANCE CONCERTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – ENTITLED TO A DREAM: Struggling to Fit In – Enter into the exciting world of The Ira Aldridge Theater and Environmental Theatre Space 2013-2014 season. The full six-production lineup continues the Department of Theatre Art’s ongoing commitment to the highest quality and thrilling performances. Conquering tragedy and hope in an urban crisis, exploring the black bourgeoisie through comic social criticism, tackling family, self, and identity along with the excitement of dance styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, the theatre and dance season is sure to amuse, captivate, and fuel audiences into action.

Click Here for the 2013-14 Theatre and Dance Season Press Release

The season begins with HURT VILLAGE, a family on the cusp of hope and homelessness written by Katori Hall. Continuing with FABULATION OR, THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE, Lynn Nottage reminds us of the lessons parents taught about the truly important things in life that can be all too easily forgotten, and our ANNUAL DANCE SHOWCASE, will highlight the choreography of our current Dance students. Our Spring 2014 Semester productions will include a student produced work by THE HOWARD PLAYERS, along with the THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN, the annual spring musical a traditional coming of age story, taking us on a journey of self-discovery and racial identity from Los Angeles in the early '60s to New York in the mid-'90s written by Kirsten Childs. And the season concludes with our ANNUAL SPRING DANCE CONCERT - HAMDAN: THROUGH THE GATE OF TEARSshowcasing an array of modern dance movement choreographed by Ray Mercer, esteemed principal dancer from Broadway's THE LION KING NYC.

The 2013-2014 Theatre and Dance Season:

A Family on the Cusp of Hope and Homelessness!
HURT VILLAGE
by Katori Hall
directed by Eric Ruffin
October 9 - 13, 16 - 19, 2013
In the Environmental Theatre Space
passionate, rhythmically eloquent explorations of tragedy and hope… – Time Out NY
It's the end of a long summer in Hurt Village, a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee. A government Hope Grant means relocation for many of the project's residents, including Cookie, a thirteen-year-old aspiring rapper, along with her mother, Crank, and great-grandmother, Big Mama. As the family prepares to move, Cookie's father, Buggy, unexpectedly returns from a tour of duty in Iraq. Ravaged by the war, Buggy struggles to find a position in his disintegrating community, along with a place in his daughter's wounded heart. Click Here for the full Press Release. *Production contains strong and graphic adult language.

Hurt Village

WHERE: 
Howard University, Environmental Theatre Space

DATES:
 Wednesday – Sunday, October 9 - 12, 16 - 19, 2013 at 7:30pm, Sunday, October 13 at 3:00pm; Saturday, October 19 at 2:30pm

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET PRICES*
: $17.00 General Admission; 
$10.00 Faculty/Staff/Senior Citizens/Alumni; $7.00 Students (with valid ID); 
$5.00 Cushioned Floor Seating

GROUPS:
 Discount rates are available for Groups of 10 or more, contact Denise Saunders Thompson at (202) 806-7050.

ACCESSIBILITY:
 Accessible seating available by reservation

LOCATION:
 2455 6th Street, NW (located next door to Cramton Auditorium on Howard University’s campus)

INFORMATION:
 Tickets (202) 806-7700; Department of Theatre Arts (202) 806-7050; 
Fax (202) 806-9193

Hurt Village Symposia

On Friday, October 4th from 11-12:30pm in Ira Aldridge Theater the HURT VILLAGE symposia will be held.

Howard University Theatre Arts Administration students will be presenting papers that consider the topic: "How much of Dr. King's Dream has manifested in 2013." Additional student involvement will come from two of the principal actresses in the production, Birgundi Baker (Cookie) and Stephanie Pounds (Big Mama). They'll be discussing the plays themes from the perspective of the characters they play.

Professor Otis Ramsey Zoe and Dr. Gregory Carr will be discussing "How does the infantilization of African Americans create a dependence on the government," and "What role does the lack of essential resources and opportunities in select black communities lead to criminal activity that helps those members to survive?"

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A Comeuppance Tale with a Comic Twist!
FABULATION OR, THE RE-EDUCATION OF UNDINE
by Lynn Nottage

directed by Raymond Caldwell
November 6 – 10, 2013
In the Ira Aldridge Theater
…entertaining…punchy social insights and the firecracker snap of unexpected humor." —NY Times
A social satire about an ambitious and haughty African-American woman, Undine Barnes Calles, whose husband suddenly disappears after embezzling all of her money. Pregnant and on the brink of social and financial ruin, Undine retreats to her childhood home in Brooklyn's Walt Whitman projects, only to discover that she must cope with a crude new reality. Undine faces the challenge of transforming her setbacks into small victories in a battle to reaffirm her right to be. Click Here for the full Press Release. *Production contains adult language.

FABULATION

WHERE: Howard University, Ira Aldridge Theater

DATES:
 Wednesday – Saturday, November 6 - 9, 2013 at 7:30pm, Sunday, November 10 at 3:00pm

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET PRICES*
: $17.00 General Admission; 
$10.00 Faculty/Staff/Senior Citizens/Alumni; $7.00 Students (with valid ID)

GROUPS:
 Discount rates are available for Groups of 10 or more, contact Denise Saunders Thompson at (202) 806-7050.

ACCESSIBILITY:
 Accessible seating available by reservation

LOCATION:
 2455 6th Street, NW (located next door to Cramton Auditorium on Howard University’s campus)

INFORMATION:
 Tickets (202) 806-7700; Department of Theatre Arts (202) 806-7050; 
Fax (202) 806-9193

Department of Theatre Arts
presents a Symposium
in conjunction with the production of
Fabulation by Lynn Nottage

"I Is and Sometimes I Ain’t"

The play Fabulation serves as a springboard to explore issues of racial identity and social posturing and provides opportunity to interrogate the Nottage corpus.

Friday, November 1, 2013
11:10am - 1:00pm
Howard University
Ira Aldridge Theater
2455 Sixth Street NW
Washington, DC 20059

Free and open to the public.

FABULATION SYMPOSIUM

Symposium Participants

Faedra Chatard Carpenter, University of Maryland, School of Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies
Juone Darko, Howard University, Department of African Studies
Jacqueline E. Lawton, Playwright
Jocelyn Prince, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Connectivity Director
Sandra G. Shannon, Ph.D., Howard University, Department of English
Howard University student presenters Tevin Giddens and Nicole Thomas
Organized by Otis Ramsey-Zöe, Howard University, Department of Theatre Arts
with additional curatorial support from Howard University student Kia Griffith 

For more information call (202) 806-7050

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The Dance Students present Stories in Motion!
PATHWAYS AND NEW DIRECTIONS
FALL STUDENT CHOREOGRAPHY SHOWCASE

November 22 - 23, 2013
In the Ira Aldridge Theater
― “Everyone will bring something special to the show!" —Choreographer, Camille A. Brown
The student dance showcase will encompass a variety of powerful and diverse dance styles from Howard University student performers with a wide range of experience and skill level. Genres featured in the 7 dances include African, modern, ballet, hip hop, jazz, and contemporary lyrical. Click Here for the full Press Release.

Pathways and New Directions

WHERE: Howard University, Ira Aldridge Theater

DATES:
 Friday – Saturday, November 22 - 23, 2013 at 7:30pm

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET PRICES*
: $7.00 General Admission

GROUPS:
 Discount rates are available for Groups of 10 or more, contact Denise Saunders Thompson at (202) 806-7050.

ACCESSIBILITY:
 Accessible seating available by reservation

LOCATION:
 2455 6th Street, NW (located next door to Cramton Auditorium on Howard University’s campus)

INFORMATION:
 Tickets (202) 806-7700; Department of Theatre Arts (202) 806-7050; 
Fax (202) 806-9193

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The Next Generation of Howard Players!
INSURRECTION: HOLDING HISTORY
by Robert O'Hara
directed by LaKeisha Cox

February 12 - 16, 2014
In the Environmental Theatre Space
― “Billed as ROOTS meets the WIZARD OF OZ!" —Variety Magazine
TJ is 189 years old and ready to go. But before he passes on, he convinces his great-great grandson (Ron) to take him back to Virginia one last time. The further they drive, the further back in time they go landing them in the middle of Nat Turner’s slave-led revolution. Ideas about slavery, homosexuality and the value of family converge in this time-bending comic fantasia.

Insurrection: Holding History

WHERE: Howard University, Environmental Theatre Space

DATES:
 Wednesday – Saturday, February 12 - 15, 2014 at 7:30pm, Sunday, February 16 at 3:00pm

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET PRICES*
: $17.00 General Admission; 
$10.00 Faculty/Staff/Senior Citizens/Alumni; $7.00 Students (with valid ID)

GROUPS:
 Discount rates are available for Groups of 10 or more, contact Denise Saunders Thompson at (202) 806-7050.

ACCESSIBILITY:
 Accessible seating available by reservation

LOCATION:
 2455 6th Street, NW (located next door to Cramton Auditorium on Howard University’s campus)

INFORMATION:
 Tickets (202) 806-7700; Department of Theatre Arts (202) 806-7050; 
Fax (202) 806-9193

*Production Contains Adult and Graphic Language

Click Here for the full Press Release

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Humorous and Pointed Coming of Age Story!
THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN
February 27 – 28, March 1, 5 – 8, 2014
by Kirsten Childs
directed and choreographed by Patdro Harris

musical direction by Bert Cross II & Darius Smith
musical arrangements by Bert Cross II

In the Ira Aldridge Theater
“Soul-baring, musical…Childs’ ruminations speak with wisdom and resonance…”―Star Tribune
What's a black girl from sunny Southern California to do? White people are blowing up black girls in Birmingham churches. Black people are shouting "Black is beautiful" while straightening their hair and coveting light skin. Viveca Stanton's answer: Slap on a bubbly smile and be as white as you can be! In a humorous and pointed coming-of-age story spanning the sixties through the nineties, Viveca blithely sails through the confusing worlds of racism, sexism and Broadway showbiz until she's forced to face the devastating effect self-denial has had on her life.

 

Bubbly Black Girl

WHERE: Howard University, Ira Aldridge Theater

DATES:
 Thursday – Saturday, February 27 - 28, March 1, March 5 - 8, 2014 at 7:30pm; Saturday, March 1, 8 at 2:30pm

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET PRICES*
: $17.00 General Admission; 
$10.00 Faculty/Staff/Senior Citizens/Alumni; $7.00 Students (with valid ID)

GROUPS:
 Discount rates are available for Groups of 10 or more, contact Denise Saunders Thompson at (202) 806-7050.

ACCESSIBILITY:
 Accessible seating available by reservation

LOCATION:
 2455 6th Street, NW (located next door to Cramton Auditorium on Howard University’s campus)

INFORMATION:
 Tickets (202) 806-7700; Department of Theatre Arts (202) 806-7050; 
Fax (202) 806-9193

Click Here for Full Press Release

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A Celebration of Oman and East Africa!
HAMDAN: THROUGH THE GATE OF TEARS
CONNECTING THE GEMS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN: FROM OMAN TO EAST AFRICA
ANNUAL SPRING DANCE CONCERT
April 11 - 12, 2014

In the Cramton Auditorium
“The students had stamina, precision and stage presence...their sophistication allowed the artist to expand his choreography and let his ideas flow!”The Washington Post
The spring dance concert is the year-long culmination and final presentation of the Howard Dance students learned performance skills of dance.

Howard University’s Department of Theatre Arts has been awarded $275,000 for a new dance commission by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art as part of a multiyear series of programming, Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa. HAMDAN: THROUGH THE GATE OF TEARS, is a Modern Ballet celebrating one man's journey from his homeland of Oman to East Africa. On the southeast coastline of the Arabian Peninsula lies Oman, a land filled with Wadi's deserts, beaches, and mountains. Using Modern dance and contemporary Afro Arabian music, Hamdan tells the story of his momentous decision to leave his country and sets sail aboard a dhow headed to Zanzibar, for a better life. This World Premier presents modern dance styles, as it explores the folktale of Hamdan's journey steeped in the cultural traditions of Oman and East Africa. Ray Mercer, esteemed choreographer brings this impassioned tale to life!

The dance commission will feature Howard University students, faculty and professional dancers (to include Alumni Howard University Dance Majors) from the Washington, DC area. Additional programming for Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean will include:

  • Traditional and newly commissioned dance and music performances based on contemporary and historical connections between Oman and East Africa
  • An art educators’ exchange program between the National Museum of African Art, Bait Al Zubair Museum Bait Al Baranda Museum, Sultan Qaboos University and the National Museum of Oman
  • A lecture series presenting lectures from Omani artists and cultural scholars, virtual exhibition, cross-cultural exchange and hands-on art workshops that will allow local U.S. teachers to broaden their students’ knowledge of Omani art
  • A video documentary on the collaborative work in Oman that will feature the influences between Oman and East Africa
  • Hands-on public workshops on calligraphy and Majmar craft painting, which is popular in Oman
  • A virtual exhibition of 19th- and 20th-century Omani postcards held in the museum’s Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives
  • A celebratory look at Swahili traditions will take place, including the art of spoken word and history and a performing arts program with several U.S. partners, including the Kennedy Center
  • A fully illustrated catalog, Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa, will be available in 2015. It will include essays and photographs about the project.

Oman Project
(L to R: Denise Saunders Thompson, Theatre and Dance Manager, Kim James Bey, Chairperson, Ray Mercer, Choreographer, Lela Sewell-Williams, Co-Coordinator of Dance Program, Pat Thomas, Rehearsal Director)

With a population of about 4 million, the Sultanate of Oman is a country in Southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It borders the United Arab Emirates in the northwest, Saudi Arabia in the west and Yemen in the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea in the south and east, and the Gulf of Oman in the northeast. Oman’s monarchy is ruled by Sultan Qaboos of Oman.

Connecting the Gems

RAY MERCER is a native of Omaha, NE.  He is currently in the Broadway cast of THE LION KING, NY. Ray started his dance training at the age of 17, where he studied at the University of New Orleans, Chicago, and New York. He has danced with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Chicago, and the Boston Ballet (guest artist). He has worked with Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Kevin “Iega” Jeff, George Faison, Louis Johnson, and Garth Fagan. He was awarded Joffrey Ballet's Choreographers of Color Award 2012, and Pensacola Ballet Choreographers Award. Ray was a 2011 Capezio Ace Awards Finalist. He has won Broadway’s Gypsy of the Year Award for best onstage performance in 2005, 2008 and 2012, the Michigan Dance Council Award, and the Black Theater Alliance Award/Chicago, for his choreography. Ray was the resident choreographer for All-City Dance Co in Detroit and Chicago. He has worked with several outreach programs including the Alvin Ailey Summer Camp Program, Ailey Fordham B.F.A  Program, Joffrey Ballet Educational Program, E-Moves Choreographers Showcase (New York), and the National High School Dance Exchange. He has set ballets on various companies and Universities across the country, such as Philadanco, Dayton Contemporary Dance Co., Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Pensacola Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and DRA: Dancers Responding to Aids/New York. In addition, he has taught classes and master dance series classes all over the world.  Ray was recently acknowledged in the New York Times, the Chicago Sun Times, and Movmnt Magazine for his choreography. (raymercerdance.com)

WHERE: Howard University, Cramton Auditorium

DATES:
 Friday – Saturday, April 11 - 12, 2014 at 8:00pm

PERFORMANCE AND TICKET PRICES*
: FREE and OPEN to the General Public

ACCESSIBILITY: Accessible seating available by reservation

LOCATION:
 2455 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059

INFORMATION:
 Tickets (202) 806-7700; Department of Theatre Arts (202) 806-7050; 
Fax (202) 806-9193

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THE IRA ALDRIDGE THEATER INFORMATION:
“The premier performance space for students at Howard University.” The Washington Post
The Ira Aldridge Theater is a famous theater located within Howard University. Named after the great African American actor, Ira Aldridge, the theater helps promote and train actors and other artists. With excellent facilities and a calm and relaxed atmosphere, both locals and tourists regularly frequent the theater. It's comfortable and equipped with lighting, sound, and staging systems.

Ira Frederick Aldridge developed a love of the theater at a young age. Aldridge spent his life dealing with racism, but he did not let it interfere with his acting. In his late teens, he went to England and appeared in plays all over the country. Aldridge then traveled to Russia and became one of the highest paid actors in the world. He played Shakespeare's Romeo and became a notable Hamlet. The founders of the Department of Theatre Arts chose to call it the Ira Aldridge Theater in hopes of inspiring young African American actors. The beautiful Ira Aldridge Theater is a stage where many prominent artists started such as Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad, Anthony Anderson, Taraji P. Henson, Isaiah Washington, Josephine Baker, Charles Brown, Richard Wesley, Robert Crawford, Karen White and many others worked on the stage with professional artist, directors, and playwrights such as Tim Bond, Charles Davis, James W. Butcher, Owen Dodson and Ted Shine. "Like Aldridge our students and faculty are extremely passionate.”

The Department of Theatre Arts is committed to the training of knowledgeable theatre and dance artists, theorists, historians, and teachers in the theatre and dance arts. The Department is dedicated to the principle of developing the highest quality of theatre and dance art, and to the serious investigation and perpetuation of the experiences and aesthetics of Black theatre and dance.

GENERAL INFORMATION:
Location: 2455 6th Street, NW (next to Cramton Auditorium, on Howard University’s campus).
Contact Information: Tickets: 202/806-7700  | Fax: 202/806-9193 |
Administration: 202/806-7050
Tickets: $7.00 student w/valid ID, $10.00 Faculty/Staff/Alumni/Senior Citizens;
$20.00/$17.00 Gen Admission
Groups: Discount rates are available for Groups of 10 or more, contact Denise Saunders Thompson at 202/806-7050.
Web site: www.coas.howard.edu/theatrearts
E-mail: ddsaunders@howard.edu

Click Here to download the Full 2013-14 Theatre and Dance Season Press Release

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  Howard University. All rights reserved | 2455 Sixth Street NW, Washington, DC 20059 | Phone (202) 806-7050 | Fax (202) 806-9193 | Contact Us | WWW Disclaimer
Wendy Racquel Robinson Eric Roberson Debbie Allen Carl Anthony Payne Lynda Gravatt Isaiah Washington Taraji P. Henson Anthony Anderson Phylicia Rashad
Department of Theatre Arts College of Arts and Sciences Division of Fine Arts