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2017 National Black Theatre Festival

The Ensemble Theatre has been invited back to perform at the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, NC

Please join us in sending our love and warm congrats to Eileen J. Morris, The Ensemble Theatre Artistic Director for her recognition by the Black Theatre Network with the Larry Leon Hamlin Legacy Award!


The Ensemble Theatre accepts an invitation to participate in the National Black Theatre Festival held in Winston Salem, NC August 3 – August 7, 2017.

The National Black Theatre Festival is the largest platform for bringing black theatre companies together across the country to participate in presenting plays, readings, workshops, and seminars to ensure the survival of the genre. Held biennially, the festival attracts more than 65,000 people during the six-day event.

“It is imperative that black theatre companies continue to grow professionally, explore new perspectives, and find innovative ways to tell our stories,” says Eileen J. Morris, Ensemble Artistic Director. “We are excited about this being our fifth opportunity to exhibit, network, and exchange ideas with our regional and national cohorts.”

The Ensemble Theatre will participate in the festival with a performance from its 2014-2015 Season: What I Learned in Paris by best-selling novelist and author Pearl Cleage, and directed by Ensemble Artistic Director Eileen J. Morris.

The Ensemble Theatre Performances will be:

Thursday, August 3, 2017 8pm
Friday August 4, 2017 8pm
Saturday, August 5, 2017 3&8pm

University of North Carolina School of the Arts
Catawba Theatre
1533 S. Main St.
Winston-Salem, NC 27127

Additional information may be obtained by contacting the host organization:
North Carolina Black Repertory
610 Coliseum Drive Winston-Salem, NC 27106
(336) 723-2266 or   

What I Learned in Paris brings forth an old love to rekindle and a new love to ignite in this funny and delightfully urban love story. Set against the colorful and passionate times of the 1970’s this sparkling new romantic comedy takes audiences back to when mini-skirts and bell bottoms rocked to the tune of Stevie Wonder’s 1973 hit, “Livin’ for the City; women’s liberation raised the conscience of the nation; and Atlanta made history by electing Maynard Jackson as its first Black Mayor.

Belated, Larry Leon Hamlin founded the National Black Theatre Festival in 1989 to unite Black theatre companies in America and ensure their survival into the next millennium. With the support of Dr. Maya Angelou (who served as the Festival's first Chairperson) the National Black Theatre Festival was born. The '89 Festival offered 30 performances by 17 of America's best professional black theatre companies. It attracted national and international media coverage. According to The New York Times, "The 1989 National Black Theatre Festival was one of the most historic and culturally significant events in the history of black theatre and American theatre in general." Over 10,000 people attended. It lived up to its theme: "An International Celebration and Reunion of Spirit."

“Leon Larry Hamlin was a pioneer who had a dream, much like The Ensemble Theatre’s founder, George Hawkins…he pursued every avenue possible to make that dream come true with his vision to create a festival that celebrates the art of African Americans in which celebrities, theatre founders, technicians, actors, directors playwrights, filmmakers, and educators come together through performing, networking, and engaging in a dynamic way,” says Morris. “Larry Leon Hamlin left a legacy of engaging the arts that would forever change and impact the nation’s perspective of our culture.”