12th Annual Shades of Black Theatre Festival

Cast of Sunset Baby: (Left to right): Kenny Dozier (director), Joel Diggs, Candace-Omnira LaFayette, and Clark Harris.

Cast of Sunset Baby: (Left to right): Kenny Dozier (director), Joel Diggs, Candace-Omnira LaFayette, and Clark Harris.

The 12th Annual Shades of Black Theatre Festival will run at the Darkhorse Theater from Monday, August 28th through Saturday, September 16th. Dream 7 Theatre Productions, the Destiny Theatre Experience and SistaStyle Productions is once again presenting the festival, featuring full-length shows, an opening mixer, a short film showcase, workshops, poetry night, a comedy show, and other special events.

The Shades of Black Theatre Festival is designed to provide an outlet for showcasing African American-themed theatre in the Nashville area. The festival also serves as a platform for actors, directors, producers, writers, and theatre enthusiasts to learn, network and enjoy quality theatre. While individual event ticket prices will vary, all Shades of Black events will be held at the Darkhorse Theater, located at 4610 Charlotte Ave., Nashville, TN 37209.

On Monday August 28, at 6:30 pm, the Festival begins with a FREE Opening Mixer, with Food, Music, and Networking. Workshops will be held on Saturdays, Sept. 9th and 16th, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Upclose & Poetry, hosted by Michael Diallo McLendon, is Friday, September 15th at 10 p.m. On Saturday, September 9th the Festival presents a Late Night Comedy Show hosted by Renard Hirsch at 11 p.m. Donations will be cheerfully accepted and deeply appreciated at these events. Event information can be found at darkhorsetheater.com and Facebook.com/shadestheatrefest.

Partial 12th Annual Shades of Black Theatre Festival Plays Listing

Sunset Baby by Dominique Morisseau. Kenyatta Shakur is alone. His wife has died, and now, this one-time Black Revolutionary and political prisoner is desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter Nina. If Kenyatta truly wants to reconcile his past, he must first conquer his most challenging revolution of all – fatherhood. Directed by Kenny Dozier, starring Joel Diggs, Clark Harris, and Candace-Omnira LaFayette runs September 10th, 11th, 12th (Sun – Tues) at 7:30 PM; tickets $15 adv., $20 door. Call (615) 730-0581 or www.kennieplayhousetheatre.com email: akennieplay@gmail.com Sunset Baby is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

Louie & Ophelia by Gus Edwards / presented by SistaStyle Productions. Romance can be complicated trying to balance children, ex-spouses, jobs, ambitions. In Gus Edwards’ charming tale, a working-class couple falls in love and struggles to maintain a relationship without giving up their old dreams, habits and commitments. Ophelia is a go-getter and fiercely devoted to the idea that her children become “professionals,” while Louie is a gregarious family man who just wants to build a home. Louie & Ophelia paints a real, gently humorous portrait of contemporary love and its trials. During its Atlanta run, Louie & Ophelia received the Atlanta Goldstar “Roar of the Crowd” award. Friday, September 8th, 7:30 p. $10.

Chasing Jeremy by Mary McCallum / presented by SistaStyle Productions. After a run-in at a convenience store, Jeremy is haunted by the revenge-seeking black male teen victim. Tensions escalate as both families struggle to deal with the tragic event. As media pressure continues to mount, the community is confronted with issues of race, class and police handling of the case. One moment forever changes two lives, and the men must face their altered futures and the impact of their actions. Thursday & Friday, September 14th & 15th at 7:30pm. $10.

ESSAYS – Written and directed by Michael L. Walker / presented by Dream 7 Theatre Productions. Essays weaves a rich tapestry on the subject of love — not only romantic love but love in its many forms and fashions. A mother’s unconditional love, self-pride, and more are some of the colorful threads that weave this story. The piece features favorite monologues and short skits from Dream 7’s sixteen-year journey, along with a few new additions. The cast includes Derrick Renolds, Chi Winter, Christan Lyons and more. Showtime is Saturday September 16th, 7:30 pm, admission $10. For ticket info, call 615-474-
0161.

No Child by Nilaja Sun, directed by Shawn Whitsell / presented the Destiny Theatre Experience. No Child follows the story of Miss Sun, a visiting teacher in a 10th grade classroom at Malcolm X High School in the Bronx. The play includes 16 characters, a mixture of students, teachers, and administration. The play was created by Sun based on her eight-year experience with arts education in New York City schools, including at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. The story is narrated by the school’s longtime janitor and follows the character’s ups and downs as Miss Sun directs them in the performance of Timberlake Wertenbaker’s 1988 play Our Country’s Good. Through the play, Sun wants to show how the school system is breaking and ultimately hopes to capture the life and love that exists in schools. No Child is filled with humor, but representative of the experiences of children and teachers in under-resourced public schools across the U.S. Thursday & Saturday, September 7th & 9th at 7:30 pm. / $10. Contact: destinytheatreexperience@gmail.com

Come Go With Me: An Afternoon of Spoken Word, Music and Storytelling. Actor, spoken word artist and Bounce TV-Nashville Personality Michael Diallo McLendon shares his music and spoken word as well as stories that stir the soul including ‘The Legend of John Henry’ and ‘A Tale from Bre’ Rabbit.’ A Stellar Award – nominated spoken word artist, Diallo will use poetry, songs and folktales to create a Shades of Black experience designed to capture the imagination of patrons of all ages. Bring your children, your parents, your best friend or just treat yourself to creative journey you won’t forget, with inspirational storyteller Michael Diallo McLendon. Saturday, September 9th, 2 p.m. / $10 / Contact: experiencediallo@yahoo.com

***More events to be announced***