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PRELUDE Festival 2023


The New Black Fest

Kemiyondo Coutinho, Dennis Allen II, Hayley Spivey, and Keith Josef Adkins



90 minutes (includes panel discussion)

3:00PM EST

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Elebash Recital Hall, The Graduate Center, 5th Avenue, New York, NY, USA

The New Black Fest will present four excerpts from new and provocative plays that interrogate issues around immigration and green card marriages, toxic patriarchy and climate change, truth and transparency as well as a new play inspired by the absentee black character Donald Muller from the play Doubt.

The four excerpts will be followed by a conversation on the topic of resistance and survival through intimacy, community and knowledge-seeking. The post-reading panel features Kelley Giord, Kemiyondo Coutinho, Hayley Spivey, Dennis Allen II, and Keith Josef Adkins and is moderated by Robyne Walker Murphy.

Content / Trigger Description:

Language, Discussions of race, gender, sexuality

Kemiyondo Coutinho (Playwright) is a multi-hyphenated writer, director and actor hailing from Uganda but who self identifies as an African nomad. Her theatrical debut, "Jabulile!", offered a heartfelt portrayal of Swazi women and transcended borders, captivating audiences worldwide in Swaziland, South Africa, Uganda, Canada, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland. Kemiyondo's poignant play, "’re it," shed light on the lives of HIV-positive women in Uganda, earning recognition with a reading in New York by Hybrid Theater Works. It was further celebrated at the National Arts Festival in South Africa and headlined the 2015 Gates Foundation World AIDS Day Celebration. Notably, Kemiyondo is a recipient of Forbes Africa's esteemed 30 under 30 award, and remains grounded in her commitment to storytelling that bridges hard-hitting themes with witty comedic commentary, all aimed at making audiences feel seen. She is also the inaugural recipient of John Singleton's Filmmaker's Fellowship, Kevin Hart's Laugh Out Loud Filmmaking Fellowship, and the proud recipient of the Shadow & Act Rising Star Award. Furthermore, she has earned a place among OKAYAfrica's 100 Women of Africa To Watch. Currently, Kemiyondo contributes her creative talents as a writer and Co-executive producer on Season 3 of Starz's acclaimed series, "P-VALLEY".

Dennis A. Allen II (Playwright/Director) is a multi-hyphenate in the world of theatre. As a playwright, his play The Mud is Thicker in Mississippi won the 35th annual Off Off Broadway Samuel French Festival. He is the recipient of Atlantic Theater Company’s inaugural Launch Commission, Clubbed Thumb’s Early-Career Writer’s Group, and National Black Theatre’s “I Am Soul” Playwright Residency. Allen has directed and developed new plays by NSangou Njikam, Aziza Barnes, Tanya Everett, a.k. payne, Craig "Mums" Grant and many more. He also served as the National Playwriting Program Vice Chair for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival region 1. An adjunct professor at LaGuardia Community College, Montclair State University, The New School and is the Co-Program Director for the MFA Playwriting program at Brooklyn College. Dennis received his MFA from Brooklyn College's Playwriting program.

Hayley Spivey (Playwright) is a Brooklyn based playwright, dramaturg and actor from Atlanta, Georgia. She received a B.F.A in Theatre Arts from Boston University. In Boston, Hayley worked as a Junior Dramaturg for Company One Theatre as well as freelancing at companies such as SpeakEasy Stage Company and Artists’ Theater of Boston. Currently, she is writing her own stories while working with other writers to foster excitement for their own development.

Keith Josef Adkins (Playwright/Artistic Director) is a playwright, screenwriter and artistic director. His Great Migration play, The West End, had its world premiere at Cincinnati Playhouse and was a finalist for the 2022 Steinberg-ATCA New Play Award. Keith's other plays include The People Before the Park, Safe House, Pitbulls, the Last Saint on Sugar Hill, among others. He’s the recipient of the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award, Samuel French's Award for Impact and Activism in the Theater Community as well as National Black Theater's Teer Spirit Award. He is the artistic director of The New Black Fest, a 13-year-old theater organization committed to fostering insurgent voices from the African Diaspora. The New Black Fest was in residence at the Lark Play Development Center for six years and has commissioned three social justice anthologies, including Facing Our Truth and Hands Up -- both published by Samuel French/Concord Theatrical. Keith and The New Black Fest was also commissioned by the Apollo Theater to develop work for their new Victoria Theater. Some of his TV writing credits include P-Valley, Outer Banks, The Good Fight. He's also developed TV projects with JJ Abrams, Don Cheadle/Steven Soderbergh.

website > - IG> @newblackfestival - Kemiyondo Coutinho IG > @kemi_yondo - Dennis Allen IG > @daallen2 - Hayley Spivey IG > @hay_lyly

Watch Recording

Explore more performances, talks and discussions at PRELUDE 2023

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