A group of Black, femme theatremakers have banded together to form a new collective called Afrofemononomy, which will present a series of digital and in-person events exploring explore Black women, art, health, and balance. The founders include Lileana Blain-Cruz, Eisa Davis, Charlotte Brathwaite, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Ayesha Jordan, Joie Lee, April Matthis, Jennifer Harrison Newman, Okwui Okpokwasili, Stacey Karen Robinson, and Kaneza Schaal.
The group’s first residency, titled Work the Roots, begins March 1 at Performance Space New York to illuminate texts by Kathleen Collins and Adrienne Kennedy. Throughout, Afrofemononomy plans to broadcast their investigations via a dedicated web-based radio station.
The artists will examine Begin The Beguine, a 1984 quartet of unproduced one-acts by the late Kathleen Collins, via panel discussions and rehearsals. Afrofemononomy will also explore Etta and Ella On The Upper West Side/The Vanishing Literary Club, a recent duo of intertwined texts by Adrienne Kennedy, and The Essentialisn’t, a music-theatre project by Eisa Davis.
The group’s engagement with these pieces will manifest as a synchronized world premiere of live outdoor offerings during the weekends of May 15 and 22: in the 122CC courtyard of Performance Space in NYC; on a lower Manhattan loading dock as part of Downtown Live, presented by the Downtown Alliance in association with En Garde Arts and The Tank; in various outdoor venues in Brooklyn and Harlem; at a parking lot drive-in performance spearheaded by Oakland Theater Project; and in Norway and Senegal with Afrofemononomy artists overseas.
Along with live outdoor offerings, Afrofemononomy will also host an in-person, pay-what-you-can, audiovisual installation with the occasional surprise live sound interaction at Performance Space May 22–June 27 with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. A portion of proceeds from the ticketed production will benefit Black Women’s Health Imperative.
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