New Black Fest Theater Reading June 15

From a release:


with guest curators Judy Tate and Godfrey L. Simmons Jr.
in association with
651 ARTS
June 15, 2011

In recognition of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War (now through 2015), The New Black Fest with Guest Curators Judy Tate and Godfrey Simmons, launch the American Slavery Project Series, a monthly reading series that celebrates the work of African American playwrights who boldly and refreshingly explore slavery and/or the Civil War.

Its purpose is to initiate new conversations around theater’s role in counteracting the increasing revisionism in our political/social discourse about the Civil War and slavery. More importantly, the American Slavery Project aims to promote a generation of African-American voices who are telling the diverse and rich stories from an era that most adversely affected us.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7 p.m.

Safe House
Written by: Keith Josef Adkins
(in partnership with The New Black Fest,

The Audubon Ballroom at The Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center. 3940 Broadway, New York, NY 10032


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1843. Kentucky. Addison Pedigrew is a free man of color who has big dreams of opening a shoe business. His family also secretly helps fugitives flee to Liberia. When a young woman knocks on his door seeking refuge, Addison's loyalty to race and family finally clashes with his unrelenting desire for success.

Keith Josef Adkins is a playwright and screenwriter. His plays include SUGAR and NEEDLES (slated for the June 2011 Sunshine Series at Epic Theater – NYC), THE LAST SAINT ON SUGAR HILL (currently at Greenhouse Theater by MPAACT Theater Company - Chicago), THE FINAL DAYS OF NEGRO-VILLE (slated for July 2011 Represent Festival at A.C.T. – Seattle), THE DANGEROUS, a commission from The Public Theater, HOLLIS MUGLEY'S ONLY WISH (NYC Hip Hop Theater Festival 2007 - NYC, Intersection for the Arts – San Francisco), FAREWELL MISS COTTON (Black Dahlia Theater, 2006 – Los Angeles), PITBULLS, (Bay Area Playwrights Festival2006- Honorable Mention), COBRA NECK, ON THE HILLS OF BLACK AMERICA, SWEET HOME, among others.

His awards include a 2010 Gateway commission from the Obie Awardwinning Epic Theatre, a 2010 A Contemporary Theatre/Hansberry Project Commission, a 2009 New Professional Theater Playwright Award, a 2009 New York State Council on the Arts playwriting grant, a 2008 Kesselring Fellowship nomination, Richard Sherwood Distinguished Emerging Theater Artist Award, a Van Lier Fellowship with New York Theater Workshop, and a Sloan Science Foundation Playwriting Grant. Keith has been published in Humana Festival 2003 – The Complete Plays, Playscripts, and The Best Women's Stage Monologues 2005.

Keith worked as a TV writer on the CW hit comedy GIRLFRIENDS. Hisfeature film script THE DISAPPEARING is in development with SimonSays Entertainment (2010 Sundance's Night Catches Us with Anthony Mackie). Keith also worked as a story editor on the feature film Gun Hill Road, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

He has blogged on culture and the arts for and has made radio appearances on NPR, BBC Worldservice Radio, among others.

In 2010, Keith co-founded The New Black Fest, a festival of new and provocative playwriting, music and discussion from the African Diaspora. He serves as co-artistic director. In 2011, Keith also co-founded the American Slavery Project, a five-year series of plays and conversations around the topic of slavery and the Civil War to complement the Civil War's sesquicentennial.

Post Show Conversation:  Free People of Color and the Trek to Liberia

Co-Presented by The Classical Theatre of Harlem