National Black Theatre (NBT) has announced its 2023-2024 season, which is titled Defiance of Our Bloom. As part of its upcoming programming, NBT will present the world premiere of (pray) as a co-production with Ars Nova at Off-Broadway's Greenwich House.
nicHi douglas is playwright, director, and choreographer of (pray), which will feature music by Starr Busby and JJJJJerome Ellis. Running September 23-October 28, the production will include set design by dots : Kimie Nishikawa, lighting design by Cha See, and sound design by Mikaal Sulamain.
(pray) is a new choreopoem dedicated to the complex relationship between Black womxn and their spirituality. Considered both "a celebration and a reckoning," the work combines the form of a Sunday Baptist Church service with the isolation of an ancestral forest to offer a communal space of healing.
Following in 2024 will be the Washington, D.C. premiere of The Gathering: A Collective Sonic Ring Shout for one night only. Playing The Kennedy Center June 1, 2024, The Gathering previously sold out its world premiere at the Apollo Theater. The music-driven piece is focused on "centering the soul of Black folks and the heart of America's brilliant and bitter present through orchestral and choral music."
In addition to its premieres, the season will also feature public presentations of Oya Mae Dxtchxss-Davis' Packages O’ the Things We Deliver (March 27-31, 2024) and Kristin Adele Calhoun's Bloodwork (June 25-29, 2024) at Chelsea Factory.
“I am so proud of this season’s offerings, which continue to widen the aperture of the Black experience, while simultaneously challenging the traditional western theatrical norms and championing the rich diaspora and diversity of our communities. From the Gulla Geechee tradition to the Queer and disabled, NBT continues to introduce new groundbreaking artists and work to the field both locally and nationally. The Defiance of Out Bloom is a celebration of a cultural cornucopia of Black traditions that is intended to preserve the past while trailblazing towards a more liberatory future," said NBT CEO Sade Lythcott.
NBT Executive Artistic Director Jonathan McCrory added, “This season is dedicated to the seed sowing, the rooting and the prosperity housed in our bloom. To artists that have leaned into providing a resource to get us there by crafting works that help us honor our shared humanity through the power of Black Liberation. Through the 56th Season, we are calling on the need to release into the unknown and allow for what you once knew to become something different, something new, something you can use to meet the world you now live in. This season is rooted in an intervention of love, a restructuring of those rough grooves to be met with care, so you can answer the call to transcend and recycle trauma into life-bearing lessons.”
NBT made its Broadway debut this past season with Fat Ham, which earned five Tony nominations.
For additional information about the upcoming season and tickets, click here.