Get Ready for Milwaukee’s First Black Theater Festival

The Milwaukee Chamber Theatre is bringing a new event to Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre has announced an exciting new start to its 2020-2021 season: the first-annual Milwaukee Black Theater Festival, to be held this August. 

In partnership with the Bronzeville Arts Collective, Lights! Camera! Soul! and numerous Black leaders of Milwaukee’s arts scene, MCT is creating the festival to “create highly visible critical mass for Black narratives and focus the energy of theater on the conversation about how Milwaukee can exist as its best self for every Black individual who chooses to call it home,” according to the theater’s website.

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The festival is being produced in place of the musical “Passing Strange,” MCT’s originally planned season opener, which is no longer feasible given the pandemic. Instead, the festival will consist of three readings of three full-length plays centering the Black experience, each of which’s themes will be further explored via “short plays, spoken word poems, curated playlists, education programming, scholarly commentary, audience discussions, opportunities to engage more deeply with our community, and much more.”

“One hundred and seventy-nine bridges connect Milwaukee. The bridge of Theater connects individuals and communities through the empathy produced by both creating and experiencing it. The Milwaukee Black Theater Festival will be Milwaukee’s one hundred and eightieth bridge, connecting Milwaukee’s Black community, its Black theater community, and the rest of the city,” writes the MCT in its statement on the festival.

This year, the festival will be virtual, with play titles and involved artists to be announced throughout July. In future festivals, MCT hopes to stage full productions and is currently looking into the possibility of in-person, socially distanced readings. Check out the MCT website for their full statement, ticketing information and more.

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Jude is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. He is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism, gender and sexuality studies and theatre.