Encore Michigan

DPT and Harlem9 join for 48Hours play festival in March

News March 10, 2022 David Kiley

(Detroit, MI -March 9, 2022) Detroit Public Theatre (DPT) is thrilled to announce that they will be collaborating with the OBIE Award-winning, Harlem9, for a second 48Hours in…™Detroit play festival. The festival will follow the same format as the first 48Hours in…™Detroit, which took place in 2019 and consisted of 6 new 10-minute plays created over the course of 48 hours by native and current Detroit artists. 

The festival has been funded by a 2018 Knight Arts Foundation Award which was matched by The Downtown Detroit Partnership, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)’s Michigan Film and Digital Media Office (MFDMO). 

A whirlwind weekend of play creation with emerging and established artists will culminate with a live in-person  performance on Sunday, March 27, 2022 at 7 PM  The plays will be staged at Marygrove Theater. Visit www.detroitpublictheatre.org to purchase tickets in advance online for $15. A limited number of tickets will also be available at the door for $20. The Marygrove Theater is located at 8425 W McNichols Road, Detroit, MI 48221. 

Detroit Public Theatre and Harlem9 will gather local and native Detroit playwrights, directors, and actors to tell their Detroit stories and visions for the future through the lens of Afro-futuristic texts taken from plays, poems, short stories and other works. In just 48 hours, the 6 playwrights, 6 directors, and 18 actors will be challenged to create ten-minute plays, inspired by the work of Octavia E. Butler, Keisha Thompson, Nic Stone, Nnedi Okorafor, Sun Ra, and Rachael Young.  Playwrights and directors will be announced on March 14th.

“As a native of this city, I was thrilled that we were finally be able to bring “48Hours in…™” to Detroit in 2019.” said Harlem9’s Garlia Cornelia Jones. “We experienced a wonderful collaboration with Detroit Public Theater, and after the disappointing shutdowns in 2020 and 2021 caused by the pandemic, we are super excited to return, recover our momentum, and re engage with Detroit audiences with a theme so relevant to the city’s culture.”

In 2018, Harlem9 and Detroit Public Theatre announced their first collaboration supported by the Knight Arts Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation . Together, they began the dream of working together on this project to tell stories of the city and create more bold, relevant work by, for, and of Detroit. Both DPT and Harlem9 are honored and thrilled to have received an award of $38K from the Knight Arts Challenge Detroit, which funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching the city through the arts. They sought and matched funds to produce 48Hours in…™Detroit in July 2019. A second festival was originally scheduled to take place in 2020 but due to the COVID-19 pandemic the festival was put on hold until it was safe for us to gather together and enjoy  in-person performances again. We look forward to bringing the festival back to audiences in late January 2022.

Since 2011, Harlem9, a collaborative producing organization comprised of a group of Black theater professionals from various backgrounds, has commissioned playwrights of color to tell their stories in the annual 48Hours in…™Harlem play festival. In 2016, the festival expanded to include 48Hours in…™El Bronx. The success of this expansion opened the possibility of engaging even more communities. In 2019, they were able to include 48Hours in…™Holy Ground (North Carolina) as well as the first 48hours in…™Detroit festival.  In 2020, Harlem9 produced their first ever Digital 48Hours in…™Harlem and during the summer of 2021, “48Hours in…™Dallas” premiered.  On the horizon: “48Hours in…™Seattle”.

Detroit Public Theatre is a seven-year-old regional theatre committed to producing bold plays and programs relevant to Detroit with local and nationally acclaimed artists. DPT has made it a priority to collaborate with the city’s arts, community, and educational institutions from its founding and is thrilled about this collaboration. Detroit Public Theatre was founded in 2015. DPT’s artistic leadership team is comprised of  Courtney Burkett, Sarah Clare Corporandy, and Sarah Winkler, and Executive Artistic Producer, Dominique Morisseau.   

The two companies have many artists in common including Morisseau, a Detroit native, award-winning playwright, 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, and 2018 TONY Award-nominee, who who was part of the inaugural 48Hours in…™Harlem in 2011.

At the close of the festival, the 6 plays developed in 2022 and  the six plays developed in 2019 will be collected into a published anthology. The anthology will be available for order online nationally as a celebration of our city’s stories as told by gifted local and native Detroit artists. They will also be promoted to educational institutions, 

For more information on the festival, please visit www.detroitpublictheatre.org or www.harlem9.org.

Week of 9/25/2023

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