A Marv-tastic evening: NBTF holds kick-off reception

A Marv-tastic evening: NBTF holds kick-off reception
March 12
00:00 2015

It was fitting to host the National Black Theatre Festival’s Kick-off Reception at Foreign Cars Italia in Greensboro on the afternoon of Monday, March 8 in light of diverse topics and international theatre groups that will descend on Winston-Salem the first week of August.

“It’s an exhilarating and very exciting time. It’s like an air of energy that’s sweeping through right now, especially with the announcement of the co-chairs. It’s a feeling of expectation,” said Taylor Thierry, executive director for the North Carolina Black Repertory Company. “We are expecting greater sales, more people coming and companies coming from different countries. It’s kind of a cross-cultural explosion.”

The festival has been held biennially since 1989 and is the only national black theatre in the country offering six consecutive days of professional theatre, film, poetry, workshops, seminars and shopping, attracting theatre patrons, professionals and scholars.

“It’s really an opportunity to get their works broadcast to a very diverse audience. An audience that is historically known to have all types of taste,” Thierry said. “Our taste ranges from the strict theatre-goers, to people who come for comedy, to people who come for the lighter type of productions or the one-woman shows. There’s such a wide variety, I think that when folks see that there’s an opportunity to bring their company here, they see the diversity, themselves and they see that black theatre is for everyone.”

Attendees had the chance to join the NCBRC Guild and the Marvtastic Society, two organizations that help support and fund programs like the NBTF.

Sylvia Sprinkle-Hamlin, president of the NCBRC Board of Directors and executive producer for the NBTF, said that she’s excited about the festival, its history and how it’s maintained over the last 20 years. She is particularly excited about the agency’s fundraising efforts this year.

“As of today (Monday), we’ve raised $393,000 and our goal is $500,000. We think that we are going to make our goal,” she said.

The agency is also looking to branch out and connect with those potential sponsors and attendees in the surrounding area that may be familiar with but have never participated in the festival.

“We felt this would be a good location [to have the reception] because we could reach people in Greensboro, High Point and Winston-Salem. We have people coming from out of state, all over America and from foreign countries to come to the festival,” Hamlin said. “We have people right here in our own neighborhood that don’t come or say that they don’t know anything about the festival. We are an international festival, so we are trying to get people in the local area involved.”

There’s even a chance for aspiring actors and actresses to audition, but Hamlin said that none of it would be possible without the help of the festival and office staff, and volunteers.

Cleopatra Solomon, who helps coordinate the Youth Celebrity event, said that she is excited. She helps set up workshops and sessions for local children in the area.

“I’ve been working with the festival from 1993,” she said. “It’s important to show the kids they can dream, not be a basketball or football player, in away that they didn’t know they could. One being behind the scenes in set design, technicians and producers. We try to expose them to all types of things and have people come in to address them, not just the celebrities.”

For more information and a schedule of events, visit or call 336-726-2266.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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