National Black Theatre (NBT) hosted a special evening of community gathering on Slave Play on Monday as it convened a town hall to discuss the critically acclaimed Broadway phenomenon by playwright Jeremy O. Harris. The intimate event, which included nationally recognized notables, was designed to create an opportunity for New Yorkers who had seen the controversial show to discuss the play and its themes.
National Black Theatre CEO Sade Lythcott kicked off the evening with a candid interview with Harris on his show, his life and influences, and his hopes to use the success of Slave Play to help bring more diverse and inclusive work by other playwrights to wider audiences.
“NBT has long been a space for healing discourse and dialogue for our community around the most pressing issues of the time,” said Lythcott. “We strive to bring our community together around work that examines the complexity of the Black experience so that they feel seen, safe, heard and valued. This was precisely our desire with the Slave Play town hall.”
The conversation continued with GQ’s Deputy Fashion Director Nikki Ogunnaike, activist and author DeRay Mckesson and NBT’s Artistic Director Jonathan McCrory joining Harris and Lythcott for a lively panel discussion on their own reactions to the play and how it has caused a shift in current discourse on art, community and representation.
The evening concluded with an audience Q&A where participants engaged on the topics of the night.
Slave Play continues at the Golden Theatre, 252 W. 45th St in Manhattan through January 19.
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