Inaugural Forum On Black Theater Among Highlights Of Cultural Festival

The Bronze Collective Theatre Fest, “A Week’s Infusion of African American Theatrical Arts,” marks its fifth anniversary with nightly performances from Feb. 18 to 23 followed by a special afternoon program Feb. 24 at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center (MuCCC), 142 Atlantic Ave.

Produced by the Bronze Collective, which promotes Black theater in the Rochester area, the festival will explore the roots and evolution of this artistic movement nationally and locally during a 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24 inaugural forum that will also touch on author and social critic James Baldwin’s contributions as a playwright to this genre.

The forum titled, “There’s a Beale Street In Every City in Black America,” features Dr. James H. Evans, Jr. and Dr. John S. Walker, pastors respectively of St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church in Rochester and Christian Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Henrietta. Both scholars are experts on the literature of Baldwin, whose novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” was recently adapted for the screen.

“We wanted a way to acknowledge how far we’ve come since our beginning, and this program  — with an eye to the festival’s next five years —  fits the bill perfectly,’’ said Reuben J. Tapp, a performing artist and educator.  Besides Tapp, the other executive producers are David Shakes, a local actor and director, and Curtis Rivers, a playwright and director.

With the exception of the 2 p.m. inaugural forum, each night of the festival begins at 7:30 p.m.

    *Monday, Feb. 18: “You Shouldn’t Have Told,” directed by Gary D. Marshall and written by Anne L. Thompson-Scretching.  A domestic drama about sexual molestation within a family. 

    *Tuesday, Feb. 19: “Anansi Tales For The Holidays,” by (theatre} + {nafsi} For Youth Ensemble, returns bringing popular folktales to the stage for the enjoyment of the whole family.

   *Wednesday, Feb. 20: “The Secret,” by Delbra Brown. Family bonds are on the edge of fraying when hidden personal matters surface following a grandmother’s death.

   *Thursday, Feb. 21: “If Their World Was Ours,” by Rudolph Valentino. An engaged couple is faced with how to cope with an unexpected pregnancy caused by an angel from heaven.

    *Friday, Feb. 22: “2 + 2 = 7, or The Lesson,” by Grace Flores. A blues legend’s final gig may turn out to be a struggle for his very life.

   *Saturday, Feb. 23: “No Bad News,” by Karen D. Culley. Regulating one’s own body can be a daunting task. This play chronicles the health issues women face in today’s society.

   *Sunday, Feb. 24: “There’s A Beale Street In Every City In Black America,” the festival’s inaugural forum on the roots and evolution of Black theater nationally and in Greater Rochester.

General admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door.  At the Tuesday, Feb. 19th encore performance of  “Anansi Tales For the Holidays,” with a paid adult admission ($15 in advance; $20 at the door), one accompanying child is admitted for free. Otherwise, tickets are $5 per child.